On the calendar today, the annual shareholders meeting gets underway at 11 a.m., the fan Q&A with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell happens at 3 p.m., which will be available for all fans to see on the NFL Network at 7 p.m. (all times Lambeau) ...
First-round draft choice Bryan Bulaga appears close to signing with the Green Bay Packers. "A source with knowledge of the negotiations said on Wednesday that there wasn’t any reason to think the deal won’t be done on time [for training camp]," writes Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "The source said the two sides were 'pretty close,' although the source wouldn’t say whether that meant a deal would be done today, when players can begin moving into their training camp home at St. Norbert College. Players aren’t required to report to team headquarters until Friday, when they are scheduled to undergo physicals and take the conditioning test." Practice begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
The Packers have roughly $1.2 million of available money in their rookie salary pool to sign Bulaga says Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "The Packers have signed all six of their other draft picks at a cost of about $2.6 million in rookie salary cap space, leaving them about $1.2 million to get the Bulaga deal done, according to a source with access to NFL salary information," writes Silverstein. "Bryant's five-year contract is worth $11.8 million and includes about $8.4 in guaranteed money. Bulaga can expect a slight increase from that deal." The $1.2 million reflects how much Bulaga will be paid this season.
Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com is trying to figure out why the secondary struggled at times last season. "Therein lies the problem with diagnosing exactly what ailed the Packers’ pass defense – which for the season ranked fifth in the NFL, as part of a defense that ranked No. 2 overall – in those games," writes Wilde. "Was it a scheme issue? Or was it simply that the secondary was without a key player in three of those four losses?" I think it was primarily a personnel issue last year, a team that was forced to play backups that just weren't up to par.
One statistic about running back Ryan Grant really surprised me. "Last year, Grant's playing time was 57.5%, almost exactly what it was in 2008. That ranked 14th among backs in the National Football League, a far cry from Chris Johnson (86.1%), Matt Forte (82.4%), Maurice Jones-Drew (81.4%), Steven Jackson (80.6%), Ray Rice (75.1%), Frank Gore (73.8%) and Fred Jackson (70.9%)," writes Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Considering Grant has gotten a very large majority of the carries among the running backs, I would have thought his playing time would have been more. This tells me one thing. When Grant is on the field, the Packers run quite often.
Some interesting information on outside linebacker Robert Francois is provided by Pete Dougherty of the Press-Gazette. "The Packers are looking for one of four unheralded players to show something in training camp: street free-agent Robert Francois, who at about 250 pounds looked much better this offseason than while playing almost 20 pounds heavier last year on the Packers’ practice squad; second-year pro Cyril Obiozor, who as an undrafted rookie was bumped up from the practice squad to the 53-man roster two weeks after Kampman’s injury; and undrafted rookies Frank Zombo (6-3, 254) and John Russell (6-3, 260)," writes Dougherty. I never knew Francois was so heavy last season. It's possible that he could be one of the more pleasant surprises of training camp.
Mike Spofford of the Packers official website generally acknowledges that the Packers will probably either keep four tight ends or three fullbacks. "Back in Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s first season of 2006, the Packers made the unusual move of keeping four tight ends on the 53-man roster coming out of training camp," writes Spofford on Packers.com. "Then last year, they made the equally unusual move of keeping three fullbacks." Of course, most people agree that keeping three fullbacks is highly unlikely once again, but it will be interesting to see if the Packers keep four tight ends.
The format of the annual Family Night scrimmage is laid out by Paige Pearson of WLUK-TV in Green Bay. "Typically, the Packers run about 65 plays throughout the scrimmage," writes Pearson. "Recently, the first two minute drill has featured the number offense versus the number one defense. Then, the number two’s hash it out. The field goal unit is next. Then, it’s the number three’s turn. Mason Crosby and company trot out for more field goal work. And, then the victory play is run through."
Ol' Bag of Donuts looks at the training camp battles at some of the skill positions.
The Top 15 celebrity Packers fans are listed by Total Packers.
NFL.com is offering the opportunity to watch every NFL preseason football game streaming live online for about $40.
Pocket Doppler gives some reason for optimism.
That's all for today. I'm headed out to the shareholders meeting and the commish's Q&A.
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