Hope everybody had a nice Fourth of July weekend. Here’s what’s going on in the world of the Green Bay Packers …
Drawing more attention to defensive lineman Johnny Jolly’s legal battle was Monday’s arrest of former 2007 No. 1 overall draft choice and current free agent quarterback JaMarcus Russell for codeine syrup, popularly known to make make a concoction known as “Purple Drank,” “lean” or “sizzurp.” CheeseheadTV’s own Brian McIntyre was among the first to draw the comparison between Jolly and the former Oakland Raiders quarterback. “Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Johnny Jolly is presently awaiting trial on felony drug charges in Clark County, Texas for his involvement in a drug operation,” writes McInyre. “Jolly was in possession of 200 grams of codeine, and faces over 10 years in prison, if convicted.” The codeine-infused beverage was the subject of a recent ESPN Outside the Lines episode given its increased usage among professional athletes.
Outside linebacker Clay Matthews tweeted yesterday that he’s in the “best shape of [his] life” and is up to 261 pounds. After putting in his first offseason as a professional, Matthews is giving reason to believe he can be even better in his second year. He’s listed as being at 250 pounds on his NFL.com profile and 255 on the Packers official website. Those extra pounds should equate to being at a more ideal playing weight for an NFL-caliber 3-4 outside linebacker.
An update on the recovery of wide receiver Brett Swain from last season’s ACL tear in his left knee was given by Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com. Swain said he feels “pretty good” but more interesting may be Wilde’s insight that Swain should still have the inside track into the No. 5 wideout job. “While Swain will have to make up for lost time in training camp after missing all of the organized team activity practices and the two days of work during the mandatory minicamp, none of the other receivers behind Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones and [Jordy] Nelson did enough to stand out significantly, meaning Swain should be in position to reclaim the No. 5 job once he’s cleared medically,” writes Wilde. Swain’s primary competition should come from Patrick Williams, who spent a small amount of time on the 53-man roster last year after Swain was lost to injury.
Wide receiver James Jones has some pretty lofty goals that came to light in an interview with Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I have set my goals. I definitely want to have a 1,000-yard season. That comes with opportunity, so we’ll see,” said Jones. “I always tell myself to shoot for 1,000 yards and double-digit touchdowns.” If and when either Donald Driver or Greg Jennings gets hurt, those goals could become reality. Until then, Jones may have to be satisfied with second-fiddle status. Working in his favor, however, is the praise of head coach Mike McCarthy during this offseason. That can’t hurt.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is against the NFL’s proposed enhanced schedule notes Alex Tallitsch of Packers Lounge. Tallitsch goes on to write, “From a pure fan’s point of view it’s a hard pill to swallow. Now we have perhaps my favorite Packer voting against something I would love to see happen. Games that count and are on national television are a big part of what I crave as a fan, and knowing that a stand up guy like Rodgers is opposed to the idea leads me to believe it never will happen.”
Over the weekend, Rodgers was a guest at the wedding of Oakland Raiders quarterback Kyle Boller and former Miss California Carrie Prejean, according to the Associated Press. Rodgers succeeded Boller as the University of California’s starting quarterback.
Guard Josh Sitton was named as the 25th best player in history at the University of Central Florida in a countdown by Jason Galloway of the Orlando Sentinel. “Made All-Conference USA first team after opening holes during Kevin Smith’s 2007 season, in which he came 62 yards shy of breaking Barry Sanders’ single-season rushing record,” writes Galloway. I’d be willing to bet Sitton will be thought of more highly than just the 25th best player in a couple years when he has a more lengthy and prosperous professional career.
CheeseheadTV’s own Corey Behnke did Packers fans a favor by compiling the Top 15 Packers blogs. I read all those blogs on a daily basis and they’re all worthy to be named among the top 15 (although I’m not sure Packer Chatters technically qualifies as a blog, but that’s besides the point). If there’s an honorable mention, it might go something like this: The Packer Ranter, BrentFavre.com, PocketDoppler and The Bucky Channel. There’s other blogs that didn’t make the list, but it’s probably because they’re either too new, don’t post often enough or aren’t 100 percent Packers oriented. If they keep working on those things, they’d probably be higher in the pecking order next year.
Some offseason thoughts on the Packers are provided by “Pigskin” Paul Guillemette, particularly the rookies. Among them is this opinion of the undrafted rookie inside linebacker Alex Joseph that provides some good insight: “He is the slightly undersized (6’2/240), but very active type of athlete the PACK prefers in their 3-4 Scheme. He could have a very solid shot at making the final roster this Summer if he excels on Special Teams, and if the PACK does indeed slide BARNETT outside in certain pass-rush situations. Because of the multiple player/position options, and their importance in a 3-4 scheme, the LB corps competition should be intense when Camp opens.” Working in Joseph’s favor is that the Packers only have five true inside linebackers on their entire roster. Based upon that logic alone, he could only be an injury away from making the 53-man roster.
The so-called battle for the third wide receiver job is broken down by Ian Hanley of Bleacher Report. Calling this a battle is quite overrated, but Hanley does provide some intriguing statistics. “In 2009 Jones’ production rose again but he was dropping 21.95% of the passes thrown his way, which according to Profootballfocus, was the 2nd worst in the league,” writes Hanley. The reason the “battle” between Jones and Nelson is overrated is because they’re both going to see significant playing time no matter what. This was also one of the battles to watch last year during training camp, so it’s basically a redux of last season.
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