The question I got asked more than any other this past week, whether via email or Twitter, is "Which player is flying under the radar?" More often than not they want to know about the draft picks, especially defensive ends Mike Neal and C.J. Wilson.
It's hard to say much about the guys in the interior of either line. When you can go back and look at film, even television broadcasts, you can tell a lot more than you can watching them live from the ground. There's just way too much going on in such a constricted space it's impossible to see technique, etc. You can see who gets a good push, and there Mike Neal is no slouch. Wilson has been basically invisible, but that doesn't really mean much at this point.
Now, for the record, and Bedard and Carriveau can attest to this, Porter caught my eye earlier this week while I was still in Green Bay. And I started to write this post before this afternoons practice when he busted off an 80 yard touchdown run (which some would say he should have gone down for, seeing as it was a run-the-clock drill with the offense backed-up in its own end with 2 minutes renaming.) Needless to say, I think Porter is the running back fans desperately wanted Tyrell Sutton to be. He has shown good vision when caught up in the wash, seems to have soft hands (he does an excellent job of catching swing passes and screens with his hands and not letting the ball get into his body) and, most importantly in this offense and for a rookie back in particular, he is not afraid to step in against guys twice his size in pass protection. Sure he's raw in that area, but on play in particular, I saw him just blow up Brandon Chillar and another where he stepped up and gave Mike Neal a big-time chip, knocking his fellow rookie off balance before heading out into a pass pattern.
Needless to say, its early, and I need to see him in a game - but I really like Quinn Porter.
As for Quarless, its not so much that he's shown anything spectacular, its more that he has looked much better than I expected. From reading about his troubles in college and how supposedly raw he is, I thought he'd look much rougher around the edges than he has. Sure he's dropped a pass here and missed an assignment there, but he looked surprisingly adept inline when blocking in the run game, and showed a better-than-expected knack at finding the soft-spot in zone coverage.
Again, its early, and Quarless has Tom Crabtree breathing down his neck. (Seriously, Crabtree shocked me with how well he blocked even just a week into camp. The kid locks on and rarely gets beat) But again, for a guy that is not getting talked about a lot, there's definitely some talent and potential there that fans should look for when the preseason starts.
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