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D.J. Humphries, Veterans, And The Need To Play In Preseason

Notes: Ertz sits out practice; Tune making progress at QB

Between teammates Lachavious Simmons (73) and Hayden Howerton (75), a pad-less D.J. Humphries waits for Friday's game to start knowing he would not be playing.
Between teammates Lachavious Simmons (73) and Hayden Howerton (75), a pad-less D.J. Humphries waits for Friday's game to start knowing he would not be playing.

Don't let D.J. Humphries' smile fool you. He believes he's the meanest and most physical guy when he steps on the field.

But he's got to be on the field, and that might not happen this preseason.

Against the Denver Broncos in the preseason opener, the veteran tackle joined safety Budda Baker, running back James Conner and linebacker Kyzir White on the sidelines as healthy scratches. (Wide receiver Hollywood Brown, who has dealt with injury this preseason, also sat and could remain in that tier.)

When it comes to playing in the preseason, Humphries has mixed emotions.

"It's just something about playing in the preseason," he said. "I do appreciate the reps, and it's good to get out there and get those reps and try to knock that rust off and not really have to worry about trying to do it during the season."

Coach Jonathan Gannon said that there's a chance some veterans don't play at all during the entirety of the preseason. Still, it's on a case-by-case basis for Gannon and his staff.

"It's not just coach-speak," Gannon said. "Everyone has their individualized plan, and then knowing that we're getting closer to Week 1, I like where those plans are set right now."

Entering his ninth season in the NFL, Humphries believes he's one of those veterans that doesn't need preseason snaps to be ready. Then again, he is the meanest and most physical guy on the offensive line.

"I would like to punch somebody and take a set and see if what I'm thinking is spot on before we get to where it actually counts," Humphries said. "I appreciate JG taking care of me in that first game and letting me ease into it. It's definitely mixed emotions for sure."


Tight end Zach Ertz did not practice on Wednesday, but Gannon said the veteran just has a cold. On Tuesday, Ertz practiced for the first time since being activated from the PUP list. Gannon said Ertz is a little sore.

Offensive coordinator Drew Petzing said they'll ease Ertz into the offense and will rely on the training staff to make sure he's healthy. Gannon doubled down on that.

"Obviously that guy has played a lot of ball," Gannon said. "We'll do what's best for our team first, and Zach second. He's on board with that."

Two players that aren't fully healed are linebacker Cameron Thomas and quarterback Jeff Driskel. Both were on the sidelines at practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. Gannon described both of their injuries as a residual effect, Thomas' from the game and Driskel's from practice.


Quarterback Clayton Tune faced an NFL defense for the first time on Friday and learned the importance of details.

"You have got to be right all of the time to give yourself a chance to have a good play," Gannon said. "I think the improvement of all different things of playing quarterback. He knows he has to improve to have the offense operate in a good way."

Friday's stat line was solid, with Tune going 13-for-23 for 135 yards and a touchdown pass to Kaden Davis. Tune's night did include an interception, intended for Rondale Moore, who had fallen down.

Nonetheless, Gannon has said Tune's been doing a good job in practices. Ahead of Wednesday's work, Gannon said they implemented a few schemes to try and confuse the rookie.