Soundoff: Three observations from Sunday practice

Posted by DAVID CLONINGER on August 4, 2013 

Jadeveon Clowney has missed a handful of practices over the last week.


Sunday’s last open practice of preseason camp. No chance it would be a normal, everyday affair, right?


1. JD Clowney = E.F. Hutton. Steve Spurrier said earlier Sunday that he was tiring of the attention that Jadeveon Clowney has placed on him, but that’s the way it is. Ever since Vincent Smith’s helmet descended from Mercury last March, Clowney has become a football rock star on the equivalent of Johnny Manziel.

It’s why a minor tremor swept through the field when Clowney showed up sans uniform on Sunday, and magnified to a Richter-shaker when he quickly left the field and headed back to the locker room. He returned and was at practice in pads, although he did not participate, due to a tweaked knee. He’s fine. But every blade of grass that finds its way to Clowney’s oversized cleats will have its own blog this year.

2. Damiere Byrd is gaining confidence with every play. He’s really worked hard at becoming a great receiver in the offseason, and his adjustments are already noticeable. He’s no longer running downfield, arms outstretched, head back and shaking as he looks for the ball. He runs his routes, pops the head back and – bam – the ball is there.

He always had the talent, but he never could put it together consistently. That seems to be changing. He seems much more sure of himself, and now that he’s gotten a few difficult catches under his belt, it can only be a good development.

3. Vic Hampton is going to be a leader and have a great season, I believe, but he’s still got to learn to let bad stretches go. During Sunday’s drills, Hampton got beat a few times, got some words said to him, and he said a few back, and it became a bit of a pout-fest. That became blatant interference, and a talking-to with some coaches, before he returned and played as well as he always has.

Defensive backs will get beat – a fact of life more proven than that women are always right. The best DBs have to let it go, make the next play, and not do anything to make the situation worse. D.J. Swearinger always seemed to be the master of that. His foolish plays were often made up for with highlight-reel moves.

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