MANKATO – A day after overthrowing Laquon Treadwell on three occasions when the receiver had gotten behind the defense, quarterback Sam Bradford said the chemistry between the two is still a work in progress because they got so little practice time together last season.
“He did a good job getting behind the defense [Saturday],” Bradford said Sunday. “And then it’s just me giving him an opportunity to make a catch. It’s one of those things of just working through those deep balls. Just trying to figure out what trajectory the ball has to be on. I think it’s a little bit different with each guy. It’s just part of developing chemistry.”
Treadwell’s speed has been a question mark since he was drafted in the first round last year. On Saturday, Bradford, who is an accurate deep-ball passer, clearly overestimated how far he can lead Treadwell beyond the defender.
“The more time you have with someone, the more you kind of figure them out,” Bradford said. “I think it’s hard to put an exact time frame on something like that. But hopefully it’s something that comes pretty quick.”
KR job wide open
Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer still doesn’t have a front-runner for the kick return job.
“It’s too early,” he said. “Jerick [McKinnon] is hurt right now. I’d like to give him an opportunity. Rodney [Adams] is doing a good job and is getting better. Marcus [Sherels] has told me he’s durable enough to do [punt returns and kickoff returns].
“Coach [Mike Zimmer] teased me after I mentioned I’d like to use [Dalvin] Cook there. But if [Cook] isn’t carrying the ball a lot, I’m going to jump on the table for the guy.”
When it was suggested that Sherels is a “comfortable fallback option,” Priefer said, “For a lot of teams, he’d be the starting kickoff returner.” He also said he wouldn’t hesitate in letting Sherels handle both return jobs if the team believes Sherels can do it without breaking down physically.
Stacy Coley is another candidate still in the competition.
Punts are booming
The interesting competition at punter continues with 24-year-old Taylor Symmank being, as Priefer put it, “a little bit younger and stronger” while the 27-year-old Ryan Quigley has, as Priefer said, “the veteran [consistency] in him.”
Symmank is a first-year guy with no regular-season experience, but his superior leg strength is head-turning.
“[Saturday], three of his four punts in the team period were over 5-second hang time,” Priefer said.
Symmank had one particular punt — a 57-yarder with a 5.1 hang time — that stood out. But with nine games indoors this season, Priefer is stressing directional punting and not outkicking coverage. Those are two of Quigley’s strengths.
“If we can net 44, 45, 46 [yards] with a guy who can put it outside the numbers with great hang time, that’s what we’re looking for,” Priefer said. “I’m not looking for the 70-yard punt with 4.5 hang time.”
Floyd turning heads
Fans weren’t the only ones oohing and aahing over receiver Michael Floyd’s effort and production in Sunday’s team drills.
Zimmer also gave a nod to the backup receiver, who had three impressive touchdown catches. He had a one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone in a red-zone drill, a deep-ball score and a practice-ending catch of a ball thrown behind him in the two-minute drill.
“So far, he’s made some big-time catches,” Zimmer said. “He’s got good speed, physicality. You know like that last play in the end zone there. He kind of bodied the guy up and made a hell of a catch.”
‘No idea’ on Reiff
Left tackle Riley Reiff missed his third consecutive practice because of an undisclosed injury. Rashod Hill once again played with the first team. When asked when he thinks Reiff will be back, Zimmer said, “I have no idea.”
Staff writer Andrew Krammer contributed to this report.