On the calendar today, the Packers do not have an official practice today, although they do have meetings in preparation of their preseason game tomorrow against the Indianapolis Colts...
Rookie Sam Shields is getting an opportunity to prove himself not only on special teams but on defense too. "On defense, Shields will work with the No. 1 nickel group against the Colts, meaning he’ll line up as the third cornerback along with reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Charles Woodson and fellow starter Tramon Williams in passing situations," writes Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin. Shields' play has warranted such an experiment. He seems to have a knack for breaking on the football, which could serve him well in the NFL.
Much to fans' dismay, Jarrett Bush's days aren't necessarily numbered. "While Sam Shields has moved into a spot on three of the four first-string special teams units, Packers special teams coordinator [Shawn Slocum] insisted Tuesday that it doesn’t mean the end of Jarrett Bush, who has been demoted as part of Shields’ promotion," writes Wilde. But is Slocum just paying lip service to Bush?
Al Harris coming back in time for the regular season is becoming increasingly doubtful says Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "Harris was unable to pass his physical Monday, so now he won’t be back until next week at the earliest," writes Dougherty. "Though he’d still have two weeks until the start of the regular season if he returns then, that probably isn’t enough time to get his knee and football skills ready for a regular-season game after major surgery and his long layoff from game action." I personally called Harris' agent, Jack Bechta, to respond to reports that said Harris would be coming back this week, but Bechta has not returned my message.
Expect to see Brandon Chillar at inside linebacker in the nickel, also according to Dougherty. "[Defensive coordinator Dom] Capers didn’t commit to Chillar with the No. 1 defense in the nickel, but it’s clear he and Barnett will be the two inside linebackers on the field most of the time in that personnel group, just as they were last year," writes Dougherty. "The Packers signed Chillar to a contract extension last December that included $7 million in guaranteed pay." That would basically spell the end of Chillar at outside linebacker. Although, I suppose the Packers can now play Chillar on the outside in case of emergency because of his experience there.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers says the Packers had a different type of confidence last season. "I think last year we didn't have the same kind of confidence," Rodgers is quoted as saying by Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel . "This year it's a real confidence; it's a mature, realistic confidence. And last year, everybody was saying we're a good team and we were kind of like, 'Yeah, you know, we can just show up and nobody can stop us, just like the preseason.'" This is expected as the team in general gets older and more mature. While not earth shattering, it's a good sign.
Because no decision has been made at the starting position at left guard, that bodes well for Daryn Colledge, says Bob McGinn of the Journal Sentinel. "The time to promote Bulaga obviously would have been this week so he could have had the chance to play an entire half with the starters," rationalizes McGinn. "If the move was made to Bulaga next week, he'd go into the regular season with minimal first-team exposure." Bulaga still figures to get playing time with the first-team offense in a rotation, however. And then he'll probably get even more time at left tackle in the second half.
The battle for roster spots on the offensive line is broken down by McGinn as well. "If the Packers keep nine offensive linemen for the 10th time in the last 11 years, the final berth is looking more and more as a contest between rookie Marshall Newhouse and Breno Giacomini," writes McGinn. "That assumes T-G Allen Barbre is gone and that the loser at backup center between Jason Spitz and Evan Dietrich-Smith is gone as well." I find the offensive line to be the hardest position on the team to predict what's going to happen. Part of that is because of a potential trade. I also find a hard time seeing either Spitz or Dietrch-Smith simply cut.
On a related issue, both Giacomini and Allen Barbre are in danger of losing jobs with the Packers according to Kareem Copeland of the Press-Gazette. "Both have reached a critical point in their careers," writes Copeland. "With the best depth on the offensive line in Mike McCarthy’s five seasons as the Packers head coach, both Barbre and Giacomini have slipped so far down the depth chart that they’re in danger of hitting the waiver wire when final cuts are made on Sept. 5." Unfortunately, I can't see either of these players bringing in any trade value either.
Aaron Rodgers reportedly was able to have a chuckle with ESPN commentators Ron Jaworski and Mike Tirico after the quarterback was critical of Jaworski this past spring on a local radio show. "Jaworski, Tirico, Jon Gruden and Michele Tafoya were all at practice Tuesday because they’re doing Thursday night’s game between the Packers and Indianapolis Colts on ESPN," writes Wilde. "After practice, Rodgers was among the players who sat down with the “Monday Night Football” crew for production meetings."
Defensive end Cullen Jenkins doesn't seem worried about his calf injury, even though it's likely to keep him out of tomorrow's game. “It doesn't feel like a concern long-term,” Jenkins is quoted as saying by Wilde. “I've never had a calf injury before, so I don't even know what the heck it's supposed to feel like, a good one or bad one. But I don't think it's too bad." The Packers are smart to err on the side of caution when it comes to one of their more valuable pass rushers. Besides, there's lots of young players that can benefit from more playing time in his absence.
The injury troubles of rookie running back James Starks are touched upon by Bill Huber of Packer Report. "That leaves just three practices and one game remaining in the preseason and before the final roster must be set on Sept. 4," writes Huber. "Because Starks was placed on the physically unable to perform list before the start of training camp, putting him on regular-season PUP is one option. That would give Starks six more weeks to heal. The other options are season-ending injured reserve and cutting him and trying to bring him back to the practice squad. Injured reserve guarantees Starks will be around for next season but that forbids him from practicing." I don't think the Packers would place Starks on injured reserve until after a stint on the PUP.
The oft-criticized Justin Harrell impressed Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette on Tuesday. "In the one-on-one pass rushing drill in the only full-pads practice of the week, Harrell dominated," writes Demovsky. "He won both of his reps, easily beating rookie guard Nick McDonald and second-year pro T.J. Lang." I must agree that Harrell has shown a little more urgency this week. I also saw him working in a pass-rushing drill against offensive lineman and Harrell displayed hustle that justified high fives from his defensive line mates.
Waldo is back posting at Where's Lambeau? and says it's time for Brett Swain (among others) to step up. "Interestingly, Swain actually has little competition from other wide receivers, the top 4 receivers being well ahead of him, the rest being well behind," writes Waldo. "His main competition is in the form of a very deep and talented group of tight ends. Swain has shown a little on the field as a receiver, though his primary way onto the roster will be through special team play. And the tight end group is tough to beat on special teams."
Railbird endorsed video: Rob Demovsky takes on Al Harris...
- Like Like
- 1 points