Some interesting things from this afternoon’s practice. (Remember, it’s May. This time last year, Jeremy Thompson was an all star. So take it for what it’s worth, which is not much)
- Brady Poppinga starts at LOLB ahead of Brad Jones
This has got to be the most surprising thing to come out of the first OTA session open to the public. Again, it’s May so this doesn’t mean much at all. But it will be interesting to hear McCarthy’s explanation here. Is this an indication that the coaches aren’t happy with Jones’ work during the break? Are they simply deferring to the veteran? Like I said: Surprising.
- B.J. Raji starts at NT, with Ryan Pickett at DE
Basically a flip of what they were doing last year, today saw the Packers kick Pickett out to RE and saw Raji manning the NT. This doesn’t seem to be a huge surprise, given that this is what they drafted Raji for. But I wonder how Pickett feels about moving to end. I’m sure this must have been discussed when his new contract was negotiated. Regardless, the Packers have some serious beef up front in their base defense.
UPDATE: This is a permanent switch.
Both Raji and Pickett confirmed they have switched positions. Raji is now starting nose, Pickett at left end. It is permanent.
- The starting offensive line is the same one that ended the year
With the drafting of Bryan Bulaga and Marshall Newhouse, a lot of people have been buzzing about how the Packers could upgrade their line this season. But for today, the same five guys who started in Arizona got the call with the first string. Clifton, Colledge, Wells, Sitton and Tauscher were your starting five, with the mild surprise perhaps being Daryn Colledge getting to start the OTAs defending his starting job rather than battling for it. A small distinction, to be sure, but distinction nonetheless.
- Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac takes a special interest in Justin Harrell
The word is that Trgo spent the entire afternoon getting after Harrell, getting in his face and yelling at him all day. If, and that’s a mountain of an if when it comes to Justin, Harrell can stay healthy, I’m very excited to see what Trgovac can get out of this kid.
- Donald Lee will indeed need to play special teams to make this team
Lee was spotted on the kickoff coverage unit this afternoon. Earlier this year, when he indicated that Jermichael Finley would be the starting tight end, McCarthy was quoted saying that Lee would need to be open to expanding his role of special teams. Seems McCarthy wasn’t kidding.