In a bit of very bad news, Darius Fleming, the 5th round LB from Notre Dame tore his ACL in his first pro minicamp last Friday. This wasn’t the nutcracker, or even a hitting drill, but a non-contact drill in which he came down awkwardly on it. He tried to keep going, but it was obvious there was a problem. It is just the ACL, and nothing else that was damaged, so that’s a little bit of good news. However, he’s pretty much gone for the year. He had signed a 4 year deal worth $2.3 million the day before. Fleming was likely going to be a special teamer and back up, but this is a set-back in his development. Hopefully this is a blip in the future of his career.
In other news, Alex Smith’s mechanics are being given a thorough workover, and supposedly he is looking to stop sailing shit high and to the right. Smith had a great year last year, but there were times he was a little off on some throws. He has been working with Tom House, renowned pitcher and pitching guru for the Atlanta Braves, among others (Nolan Ryan ring a bell?). He has a doctorate degree in sports psychology, and had been working with QBs for the past 10 years. Apparently he found a problem with Smith’s delivery where he was compensating for losing a little shoulder strength (due to the surgeries) by moving his head to the left. He rebuilt Smith’s delivery to get a better release point, saying Smith had a perfect delivery before the injuries, so it’s a matter of getting back to that point. He also developed an excersize plan to rebuild strength in that surgically repaired shoulder.
What does it mean? Well diddly-squat. Or it means a break out year. We’ll see when we get there, but with a vastly improved WR corps, and a motivated Crabtree, we should see a better passing game this year. The RG spot remains a concern for me since they are likely to be throwing more, so protection to allow these deep patterns to develop is key. They seem to be fine though with the undersized guys they have in Kilgore Trout, David ‘missing’ Person, and erstwhile backup Alex Boone.