Football is back! Well, sort of. With real practices edging closer, the first week of June marks the time of year when coaches note how good players look in shorts. And while die-hards make their pilgrimage to Ray Nitschke Field to catch a glimpse of their new squad, beat-writers and bloggers rejoice for the plethora of real content they are able to churn out. Regardless of who you root for, everyone's an optimist this time of year. Almost everybody, that is. Let's take a look at this week's news.
Donald Driver is back. Trading in his dancing shoes for cleats, Driver started the week by telling ESPN's Scott Van Pelt that he'll be back in Green Bay this season. After tweeting that he would be a “Packer for life,” it was confirmed that the 14-year veteran would indeed return for another season. And by the looks of his contract, he’s all but certain to make the final roster.
Marshall Newhouse is Chad Clifton’s heir apparent…unless he’s not. Newhouse opened OTAs as the team’s starting left tackle but is expected to be challenged by last year’s first-round draft choice, Derek Sherrod. Sherrod’s broken leg will keep him sidelined until training camp, but the Packers coaching staff expects Newhouse to “make strides” in his first full offseason since taking over at left tackle.
Charlie Peprah isn’t a lock to start opposite Morgan Burnett at safety. 23-year-old M.D. Jennings is filling in for Peprah while he recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery and turning a few heads while he’s at it. Add in fourth-round pick Jerron McMillian of Maine, and the possibility of Charles Woodson playing anywhere Dom Capers sees fit, and the Packers have plenty of options to replace Nick Collins.
Ted Thompson’s work is never done. In the midst of OTAs, Thompson made another move to boost his team’s secondary by claiming rookie defensive back Micah Pellerin off waivers from the Indianapolis Colts. Pellerin, a small school standout from Hampton, is a smart, instinctive player who, at the very least, will be a solid practice squad prospect.
Good Week For:
Stating the obvious: First, Sam Shields proclaims that he needs to improve upon last year’s performance. Then, cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt says the whole unit will get better. Finally, Jermichael Finley declares, “me and the QB didn’t have chemistry” last season...I'd say it's time to put your money where your mouth is gentlemen.
Tori Gurley or Diondre Borel: Despite the return of Donald Driver, prospects are looking up for one of these two players. Head Coach Mike McCarthy told reporters this week that the team could keep six wide receivers this season.
Bad Week For:
Nike: Packers fans who receive emails from NFL.com were treated to a solicitation selling the jersey of league MVP Aaron Rodgers. The only problem was Nike’s marketing department failed to notice the lack of a letter ‘d’ in the quarterback’s last name. Oops.
Marcus Rivers: The rookie wide receiver out of Buffalo joined his former teammate James Starks on the Packers roster last month but was waived on Friday to make room for newly claimed Micah Pellerin.