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Alan Branch: Praise for Scruggs & Sweezy

Posted Jul 31, 2012

Alan Branch recaps Monday's padded practice session and is impressed by a couple of drafted rookies who squared off in one-on-one drills.

Sunday night after practice and meetings I just hung out with the boys a little bit, with a few of the D-lineman watching T.V. – a bunch of music videos. I ended up getting to bed early that night. I think I was asleep before the coaches came around to do bed checks at the hotel. I had to catch up on that sleep because Monday I had to wake up at 6:45 a.m. again. Really, Sunday night was about the meetings and just trying to stay focused on camp.

At Monday’s practice we had our pads on for the first time. I was looking at the D-lineman again. It was nice to see today. We’re a lot further than where we were at this time last year because we had the lockout and everything, and because of that we really didn’t have time to meet as a group, so some of these guys weren’t as crisp then as they are now in practice. Even the rookies had time to get their head in the playbook this year. I’m just glad to see everything’s clicking and it seems like guys know what they’re doing to the point where they can actually just focus on the physical part of football.

At the end of practice Monday there was a one-on-one drill between a couple rookies in front of the whole team – Greg Scruggs against J.R. Sweezy. It was nice to see. [Greg] Scruggs did pretty good. He went in there and tried to show his physical side and then showed some finesse on the next one. The kid is good. I just found out about a half-hour ago that Sweezy played D-line in college at North Carolina State. I had no idea about that. For being a D-lineman that’s never played O-line before he’s doing O.K. He has a long way to go, which is normal for rookie offensive lineman because they have a lot more reads. I couldn’t imagine being in his position because you’ve got to change your whole mentality. Being a defensive lineman you’re always thinking about attacking. When you’re an offensive lineman you have to know where you have to be, but at the same time worry about the person that’s attacking you. But I definitely give Sweezy credit for that. After I found out he was a D-lineman I thought he was doing pretty good as far as the transition goes. For the most part though, I just look at the defense. I don’t worry too much about the offensive guys when we’re on the field. So a lot of D-lineman have been surprising me with how tough and how strong they are at the point. That’s definitely a refreshing thought.