Who rose and who sank during the first four days of training camp.
By all accounts, the first four days of Packers training camp (six practices, total) were spirited, with few distractions. There were no major injuries, though there were the usual minor ones. A couple of trends: Nobody on the offensive line has really stood out, but the linebackers are looking great.
Here’s a quick look at some players whose stock rose or fell based on their performances:
WR James Jones—The knee injury that nagged Jones through all of last season is fully healed, and he’s been catching balls all over the place, including some deep sideline routes—a part of his game that is underrated.
TE Jermichael Finley—The talented second-year TE has put his money where his mouth is, making several great catches downfield and even making some noise as a blocker, knocking DE Jeremy Thompson out of practice one day.
RB DeShawn Wynn–#42 has seen a lot of action and has looked good carrying the ball and on blitz pickups. His talent has never been in question, and now he may have the conditioning to match that talent.
QB Matt Flynn—Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has good things to say about Flynn. We needed to hear this. Desperately.
DE Justin Harrell—The mere fact that Harrell has been on the field is an unexpected bonus for Packer fans. Even better, he has been flashing some of the talent that made him a first-round pick in 2007. So far so good.
OLB Clay Matthews—After missing most of the minicamps with a strained hamstring, Matthews wasted no time claiming a starting spot, playing strong at the line and also showing some skill in pass coverage.
ILB A.J. Hawk—So far he looks to be thriving in the 3-4. Look for him to lead the team in tackles this season.
ILB Desmond Bishop—He’s shown the same ferociousness that he showed last year and looks like he may be ready to start. It won’t happen with a healthy A.J. Hawk ahead of him, though.
ILB Brandon Chillar—Arguably our best linebacker last season (which isn’t saying much, unfortunately), Chillar has excelled as Nick Barnett’s replacement. He will gain valuable experience playing with the #1’s before Barnett returns from his injury, which is expected to happen in about three weeks.
S Nick Collins—After making a lot of noise about his contract in the offseason and missing the minicamps, Collins sailed in to training camp and grabbed his starting spot without fanfare. He also grabbed the only interception of Tuesday evening’s practice.
OT Allen Barbre—He’s been inconsistent, and if this continues he could lose his standing as the favorite to replace Mark Tauscher. Considering that he faded in training camp last season, this is a real concern.
QB Brian Brohm—There has been little talk of Brohm, and no news is bad news for a player who underperformed as a rookie last year and needs to make a big leap to avoid whispers that he may be a bust.
OLB Jeremy Thompson—When the pads went on, Thompson’s tenuous standing as the #1 ROLB immediately went out the window, as he proved to be soft at the point of attack. That is not the problem one would expect from a former 4-3 DE.
K Mason Crosby—So far he’s been Dr. Hook in training camp, raising concerns that his field goal kicking may be even worse than it was last year.
P Jeremy Kapinos and P Durant Brooks—Neither has looked particularly good so far. It’s doubtful that a new special teams coach can do anything to fix Ted Thompson’s huge blunder of last season, when he cut Jon Ryan.
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