Thursday, August 9, 2007

Camp News (Will Allen, L.J. Shelton)

The official team site had this interesting tidbit today:
"Then cornerback Will Allen, who Cameron said also has seen some work at wide receiver, broke up a pass intended for Ted Ginn, Jr., and Derek Hagan had a ball go off his hands coming over the middle."
I find that strange since Will has always been a bit stone-handed when it comes to making interceptions. Despite the fact that he's probably the second fastest guy on the team (behind Ted Ginn Jr.) I don't see how he could be a good WR with such poor hands. Also, he's the team's best CB, so I don't see why the team would risk playing him on offense, especially since the CB depth is pretty slim.

However, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to have him as a sixth WR on the active roster in case of an emergency. I could also see the coaching staff using this as a means to get Will more comfortable with catching the football. If he takes a few reps at WR, he may be able to improve his hands a little bit and come up with a few interceptions this season.


In other news, it seems like the muddled situation along the offensive line is becoming a bit clearer. Until Anthony Alabi went down with an injury, the starting OL unit was always:

LT Vernon Carey/LG Chris Liwienski/C Samson Satele/RG Drew Mormino/RT Anthony Alabi.

That configuration was puzzling since both RG Rex Hadnot and RT L.J. Shelton had been the projected starters coming into training camp with a perceived positional battle at LG between Liwienski and Mormino. However, that battle never materialized, leaving instead two battles at the RG and RT spots. Even more confusing, was the fact that Rex Hadnot, who had been highly praised by Cam Cameron in minicamps could not beat out a rookie sixth-round draft pick and that Shelton could not beat out Alabi, who just recently returned from knee surgery and by all accounts has looked slow and out of shape.

Well, the reason for much of this madness is now known. L.J. Shelton is too heavy. Currently weighing in at about 345 pounds, the coaches want to see him around 330 lbs. According to the Palm Beach Post article,
"One source said that once Shelton gets down to 330 pounds, the coaches assured him he will return to the starting lineup."
Now this is starting to make some sense, particularly since Rex Hadnot recently made his way back into the starting lineup at RG. Mormino was moved back over to LG and Liwienski was relegated to the second team. Alabi continues to take the starting reps at RT. It seems it's only a matter of time, though, before Shelton loses the weight and takes back the RT position. Once that happens the starting line will look like this (much like it was projected to look following minicamps):

LT Vernon Carey LG Drew Mormino C Samson Satele RG Rex Hadnot RT L.J. Shelton

Once that happens, the perceived positional battle at LG between Liwienski and Mormino will begin anew and everything will be as it should be (I think).

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