We wrote this morning about the challenges in front of special teams coach Danny Crossman this year. They're going to be significant, and I'm not sure many understand just how big a shift it is away from veteran LS Jason Kyle. Maybe it's because I'm old enough to remember the Jerry Jensen debacle that I'm nervous about the J.J. Jansen (or Nick Sundberg or Patrick MacDonald) experiment.
But on the whole, the special teams were pretty good last year. They ranked 12th in the league in Dallas Morning News football guru Rick Gosselin's rankings, and that was with getting three punts blocked.
What makes this year interesting is that they're going to have to find some new guys to take charge over there. I'm waiting to see how rookie CB Sherrod Martin responds, as I figure he's going to get a chance to win some of the work that Richard Marshall will have to leave behind now that he's a starter. But CB Captain Munnerlyn has a chance to carve a niche here as well.
-- RB Jonathan Stewart had an amazing rookie year. Imagine how well he can play if he ever starts practicing?
Stewart hasn't broken a sweat yet this year, with an ill-defined "ankle" problem. This comes after missing minicamp last year after toe surgery, and 2008 OTAs as well. He'd have missed the June work anyway because of the league's archaic rule that prohibits players on quarter system schedules from joining their pro teams until their class graduates, but that's beside the point.
Stewart didn't get a full training camp load last year, and it's hard to tell what he'll do anytime soon.
He's a special talent, and it'll be interesting to see how much better he gets once he's able to work on his game on the field.
-- After a couple of cookers early this week, it's almost a shame they didn't practice today. Rain-day practice always take on a unique quality.
-- We'll have more on this later on this weekend, but it's getting close to the time to install the rookie free agent sleepers.
We've already told you about return man Larry Beavers, and there are several more to keep an eye on. DT Marlon Favortie's definitely in the group, and has been getting the kind of practice run not all his peers enjoy. He wasn't even a starter at LSU last year (at least in name), but he's got a little something to him, and might make a splash once they get into pads.
Enjoy the weekend everybody.