Football is back and it feels weird. All of it feels weird. Face scans, temperature checks, reporters, all in masks, standing socially distanced on the sidelines. Weirdest of all? I had to put on a belt for the first time in six months.
Everything felt weird except for the only thing that really matters, the players on the field. That just felt sloppy, but that should’ve been expected. All the coaches had masks on as they marched up and down the field barking orders, but the players were out there running through all the drills like they normally would. That part felt almost normal, until remembering how weird everything else was then all of a sudden it felt weird that they were acting so normal. 2020 is wild but you already knew that.
As for the actual football played on the field, well there’s not much to talk about. It was their first day of practice in over six months, something that was constantly pointed out, usually in a sarcastic tone, throughout practice. There was a whole lot of rust and sloppy play which of course doesn’t mean anything other than they haven’t practiced in over six months.
The big news of the day was second-round draft pick, Denzel Mims, being held out of practice with a hamstring injury. Adam Gase told reporters that Mims, “took a weird step and really stretched himself out,” when he tweaked his hamstring and they’ll have to wait and see how the hamstring responds in the coming days. With Jamison Crowder being the only known quantity in the receiver group it will be important for the rookie receiver to be able to get back as quickly as possible so he can develop some chemistry with Sam Darnold. Gase acknowledged that the receiver group could use a veteran presence, but because of COVID-19 protocols it will take awhile to get one on the field with them.
Veteran running back, Frank Gore, was also held out with a hamstring injury but he’s Frank Gore. He’ll be able to get you three-and-a-half yards a clip until the year 4765. He was held out for precautionary reasons only, but honestly he can sit out the entirety of camp and still be able to hit those holes hard once the season starts.
Cornerback Pierre Desir was also held out of practice with a hamstring injury.
“We have a long ways to go,” Gase said after practice. “We had too many pre-snap penalties today.” The good news is, I think it’s safe to assume all of the other 31 teams had a similar first practice back and there’s plenty of time to shake off all of that rust.