Week one of OTAs wrapped up yesterday and as much as players wanted to get out on the field and play again, they were very happy to get out of the heat and into the air conditioning after some long days. These “Organized Team Activities” often are used to get players back in shape and back in the groove of things and don’t generally provide much to get talent reads on players—new or old.
The wide receiver battle will overshadow some other crucial battles including the one in the defensive backfield. Each cornerback on the depth chart brings uniquely different backgrounds and possibilities.
In what some are dubbing “The Return,” Lardarius Webb’s comeback from a torn ACL will be crucial to a pass defense that was 17th in the league and let up 3650 total passing yards. Webb went down in Week 6 against Dallas and was unable to return for the rest of the regular season. While he might not be Adrian Peterson, folks say he looked good in individual drills last week. It’s great that Webby is back on the field and assuming he can stay healthy, he’ll be back to leading the secondary.
This season will be big for Jimmy Smith as he still hasn’t given a definitive answer on whether he was really deserving of a first-round draft pick. Smith has shown at times to lack agility in one-on-one coverage and has gotten burned in key spots a few times. His upside is through the roof, however, and I think he’s in for a big year. It’s not Cary Williams AND Jimmy Smith anymore, so Smith finally has his own role to take over and prove that he is capable to handle every team’s #2 threat.
The seven-year veteran Corey Graham, best known as a Raven for his game-changing interception(s) against Peyton Manning in the playoffs, will be another nice veteran presence in the backfield. Graham is pretty trustworthy handling a 3rd or 4th receiver and has had a history of making a difference in games that mean a lot. He’ll be great to continue to have in divisional games.
A guy that the coaches have seemed high on, and I think can be a good asset in the future is Chykie Brown, the former 5th round pick out of Texas. Brown has shown flashes of excellence, the most notable when he broke up a Tony Romo pass to Dez Bryant in the previously-mentioned week 6 game. He hasn’t gotten a lot of time, but he has had a few solid games, one of them being against the Giants in week 16. Brown has talent; we just need to see more of “Shock-E”.
A few other players that could help the team build in the back are Asa Jackson, Chris Johnson, and 7th round pick from Cal Marc Anthony. These three will be battling for a spot, as I find it hard to believe that the team is going to keep seven corners on the squad, especially with the incredible depth at safety.