By Chadd Cripe
© 2012 Idaho Statesman
MOBILE, Ala. — Here are some quick highlights from the North team’s practice in full pads Tuesday morning at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. I’ll post some quotes and a photo gallery shortly.
Kellen Moore: As is typical for Moore, he didn’t look great during drills. All of the quarterbacks struggled with their timing with the new receivers and Moore was involved in back-to-back fumbled snaps. He also missed back-to-back throws on a double-move route, where the timing was clearly off. “You’ve got to throw them on air (without defense) and kind of get a feel for how they’re running it and how our drops need to be adjusted,” Moore said. But when the practice turned competitive, he was at his best. He was 7-for-7 in 1-on-1 passing drills, including a pretty deep fade on his first throw. He stayed hot during 7-on-7 passing drills, hitting his first three throws to three different receivers. He was 4-of-6 in that session with one drop — the Vikings’ coaches were more upset than Moore, because it was a nice throw into a hole in the defense — and one incompletion on a deep ball. In the 11-on-11 session, Moore only got three snaps. He threw an incompletion (couldn’t tell for sure from my angle, but looked catchable) and was forced to throw the ball away after a shotgun snap at his feet. His third play was a run. “The practices go really fast,” he said. “You get a few reps in there and before you know it they blow the horn.” On the fumbled snaps: “It’s a combination (of center and quarterback). The bottom line is we’ve got to get them no matter what. We’ll continue to work through this.”
Doug Martin: He didn’t get much of a chance to carry the ball, but he was the only running back who was able to hold up in the blitz pickup drill. While others were getting whipped, Martin put one defender on the ground and drew cheers of, “Nice job Bronco!” from the Vikings coaches on another block. Martin also looks like the primary kickoff returner and, despite playing personal protector on the punt team, still was one of the first players in the returner’s face in punt coverage.
George Iloka: He followed up a strong first day with the best play of the second day — a diving interception in front of Massachusetts tight end Emil Igwenagu. The pass was thrown by Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins. Iloka played free safety and strong safety, at times lining up over the slot receiver. He looks very comfortable and confident on the field. On the interception, Iloka tracked the play across the field. “I caught up to him and undercut the ball like (former Boise State defensive backs coach Marcel) Yates taught me and I just caught it,” he said. Iloka stayed on the ground after the catch until the Vikings coaches reminded him that in the NFL, he can get up and run. “I heard someone saying, ‘Go score. Go score,’ ” he said.
Shea McClellin: He spent the day at linebacker again, playing almost exclusively inside. (UPDATE: I talked to a couple of people who saw McClellin in some pass-rush situations and they said he performed well.)
Billy Winn: I didn’t get a good look at Winn because the area where I had to stand to take pictures was 80 yards from where the defensive line was working. I hope to get a better look at him tomorrow. (UPDATE: I'm told he was shown on TV getting knocked to the ground on one play and didn't have much impact all day.)
Here is my photo gallery from the North practice. I'm not a photographer, so go easy on me.
Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Gene Smith said he was impressed with Moore on Monday, which was his first look at him, and he isn’t bothered by his lack of size.
“Drew Brees has helped a lot of guys that don’t have the prototype size per se,” Smith said. “To me, it’s how they play the game.”
On the five Broncos, Smith said: “Outstanding group.”