The Packers takes on the Colts at 7:00 p.m. Lambeau time this evening. Pregame coverage starts two hours prior to kickoff on the Packers Radio Network...
Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune lauds tight end Jermichael Finley and takes a potshot at Packers Hall of Famer Mark Chmura. Finley is praised for his athletic ability and being brash at the same time. "If that makes him a moron, bring me a hot tub full of morons," quips Craig.
The state of the defensive line post-Jolly is taken a look at by Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "The Packers would be in big trouble if [Mike] Neal hadn't looked ready to contribute as a rookie," writes McGinn. "There's a drop-off to Justin Harrell, who is having back woes again, and then a bigger drop-off to Wilson and holdover Jarius Wynn, neither of whom seems capable of contributing valuable snaps this season." During the regular season there will likely be a five-man rotation. And while the Packers will probably keep six defensive lineman, the sixth will likely be a gameday inactive most games.
Speaking of Neal, Dan Pompei of the National Football Post notes some of his strengths. "Neal played three-technique in a four-man front at Purdue, but the Packers front office thought Neal could make the conversion to defensive end in their three-man front for two reasons," writes Pompei. "The first is Neal is wicked strong. He has a physique like Sampson, and he also has functional strength. The second reason is he is aware and knows what’s happening on the field around him. So far the Packers have been very pleased with how Neal has handled the transition." Fans should be able to see a lot of Neal this evening with Cullen Jenkins unlikely to play due to a calf strain.
Possible positions where trades could take place are considered by Rob Reischel of the Journal Sentinel's Packer Insider section (subscription required). "Green Bay has a surplus of offensive linemen, fullbacks and tight ends," writes Reischel. "The Packers also need help at outside linebacker and safety. So Thompson figures to be looking for a trade partner." I would also consider Jarrett Bush among the possible trade bait; not to say he's going to be trades, but there's a chance.
The development of rookie safety Morgan Burnett is touched upon by McGinn. "The coaches have concentrated on improving Burnett's run fits and tackling after his rocky debut against Cleveland," reports McGinn. "They were encouraged by a couple of physical tackles he made in Seattle." It's amazing the dropoff in chatter about the rookie from the offseason to training camp. Burnett has had a quiet camp, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Also, continue to read the notebook section of this McGinn article for information on how guard Josh Sitton has dropped about 10 pounds from last season.
The evolution of the intensity and strenuousness of training camp is looked at by Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "Even in the past decade much has evolved," writes Vandermause. "Packers coach Mike McCarthy’s rest-and-recovery schedule this month includes just 24 training camp practices. As recently as eight years ago, then coach Mike Sherman’s schedule included double the amount of practices. Even considering some of those workouts were devoted solely to special teams, the difference is vast." I consider McCarthy's attention to research as one of his biggest strengths as a coach.
Perspective at the cornerback position is also provided by Vandermause. He recalls former first-round draft choice Ahmad Carroll who's playing in the Canadian Football League. "It brings into focus how much better off the Packers are now at cornerback than they were five years ago, when Carroll and Michael Hawthorne were in and out of the starting lineup opposite Al Harris," writes Vandermause. "Joey Thomas, a third-round draft choice in 2004, was also a disaster waiting to happen in the Packers’ secondary." Credit Ted Thompson for getting out of that quandary. He seems to have done a much better job at scouting cornerback talent than his predecessor.
The 53-man roster is considered by Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com. On the linebackers, Wilde writes, "Poppinga and Zombo figure to be the seventh and eight linebackers. Zombo has been one of the best stories of camp and might start against the Colts, but he still could end up on the practice squad. Poppinga came into camp with his roster spot in question and has answered the challenge."
A new charity endeavor by Greg Jennings is reported by Lori Nickel of the Journal Sentinel. "Jennings has just pledged to donate $1,000 to House of Hope, a Green Bay shelter for women and single mothers, for every time he catches a touchdown," writes Nickel. This comes on the heels of Jennings being named "Player of the Month" for August by Sporting Generosity.
A few wrinkles in the Packers offense were noticed by Waldo over at the blog Where's Lambeau? "This past week, in their preseason game against the Seahawks, we saw at least two plays use concepts with the back that haven’t been oft used in Green Bay," writes Waldo. "The first is that Brandon Jackson motioned out wide from the backfield, lining up at a WR position. The other was a small little screen pass to the interior of the line." If you watch training camp practice, you'll notice the Packers running the middle screen from time to time during their deception period of practice.
Chris Lempesis of Ol' Bag of Donuts wants to see certain things out of tonight's preseason game, among them, a running back emerge. "A clear-cut winner emerge in the Quinn Porter-Kregg Lumpkin battle for the No. 3 running back spot," writes Lempesis. "Both are injured and I’m not sure of either’s status. But at least one of them needs to suck it up and get through this – after all, an NFL job is on the line."
BitterBorderBattle doesn't want to see a vanilla defense this evening. "When the Packers play the Colts on Thursday I really want to see how the Packers match up against one of the most prolific offenses in the League and a possible Superbowl match up," writes mikedsaenz. "Lets hold the 'vanilla' and strap it up and play some real defense and show that high defensive ranking that we ended last year with. If our offense isn't 'vanilla' why should the defense be (sic)."
Bryan Bulaga is given a good review by "Pigskin" Paul Guillemette. "It sure looks like BRYAN BULAGA is the real deal as an NFL lineman," writes Guillemette. "He has been competing with COLLEDGE at LG, and taking over for CHAD CLIFTON at LT when the venerable vet makes his way to the bench with most of the first unit sometime before halftime. It’s not time to nominate him the the NFL All-Rookie Team quite yet, but he seems to keeping mistakes at a minimum, while putting some major hits on defenders with regularity."
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