The National and American teams hit the field at Hancock Whitney Stadium on a sun-splashed day in Mobile, Alabama, for the second of three days of practices before the Reese's Senior Bowl.
The 72nd annual all-star game is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. (CT) Saturday on NFL Network.
ESPNU televised each of the sessions Wednesday and will do so again Thursday.
The National team, coached by the Miami Dolphins staff, is scheduled to begin a two-hour session at 11:30 a.m. (CT) Thursday. The American team, coached by the Carolina Panthers staff, is scheduled to start its final two-hour practice of the week at 2 p.m. (CT) Thursday.
One of the most special parts of the Senior Bowl is the opportunity for players to wear their college helmets for the final time in a game. Some players in years past have shared some extra decals with teammates, which was cool but made it a little tougher to identify players. Linebacker Tony Fields II is wearing an Arizona decal on one side of his West Virginia helmet this year to commemorate his time at both schools. Helmets for all players this year will feature a No. 44 sticker as a special tribute to National Baseball Hall of Fame member Hank Aaron, a Mobile native who hammered 755 home runs in Major League Baseball. Aaron, who also has been recognized for advancing civil rights, passed away at age 86 on Jan. 22.
Panthers plans for game day
Panthers Offensive Coordinator Joe Brady did not make the trip to Mobile, so Head Coach Matt Rhule has decided to share play-calling duties. Four assistants will each call a quarter, running backs coach Jeff Nixon explained:
Taking an "advantageous" look
The Dolphins won 10 games in 2020, narrowly missing the playoffs via a tiebreaker. That record and draft placement determined by order of finish (18th) normally would preclude a team from being asked to coach the Senior Bowl. Miami, however, has the No. 3 overall pick from Houston and currently has four of the first 50 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft. Head Coach Brian Flores plans to take full advantage of the increased time with prospects in an offseason when the NFL Scouting Combine is going to be dramatically altered:
Like most aspects of life, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought multiple changes to the Senior Bowl, including how interviews are conducted:
Mining a gem?
Wisconsin-Whitewater offensive lineman Quinn Meinerz is one of several players from "small schools" making an impression on NFL analysts.
NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah liked what he saw on a pancake block during a run play:
Meinerz's post-practice interview look generated a buzz:
Among "biggest winners" so far
Dillon Radunz, who starred at Becker before heading to North Dakota State, was among the "biggest winners" for Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus:
Jackrabbit racks up credit
South Dakota State wide receiver Cade Johnson last played in a game on Dec. 7, 2019, but he has shown few signs of rustiness. Johnson drew credit for his route running …
… and the way he finishes catches …
… even with one hand:
Northern Iowa made sure to point out the work by former Minneapolis South star Elerson Smith against Cal offensive lineman Jake Curhan in this pass-rush drill: