Training Camp Observations 8-1, Full Pads
The Green Bay Packers put on full pads and went full contact for the first time Monday evening. It’s time to see where the players are really at.
Changing of the guard
When the Packers let [intlink id="94" type="category"]Daryn Colledge[/intlink] walk in free agency it left the offense in need of a starter at left guard. The man currently set to take his position is first-round pick [intlink id="1613" type="category"]Derek Sherrod[/intlink]. Now that the pads are finally on I got a chance to see how Sherrod looks and it was a mixed bag, to say the least. There were times where he held up very well and was stout at the point of attack and there were others where he over-extended and was easily pushed to the side. Sherrod plays a little too upright at times, but he has great footwork which is a real asset as an offensive lineman. I’m still not sure how Sherrod will do in the running game, but he mirrors defenders well and shows a good counter-punch. He committed a false start at one point, which promptly sent him to the sideline. Sherrod spent some time with the second team at left tackle while [intlink id="583" type="category"]T.J. Lang[/intlink] lined up at left guard. During one-on-ones Sherrod was able to stone [intlink id="454" type="category"]Clay Matthews[/intlink] once and drive him to the ground, but during full team drills he was beat quite often by the man they call….
[intlink id="473" type="category"]B.J. Raji[/intlink] played at a Pro Bowl level last year and looked like a force in the middle Monday night. He’s consistently beating guys in one-on-one matchups and even showed some wheels, chasing Rodgers from sideline to sideline. Does anybody want to go back to the 2009 draft and take Michael Crabtree instead of Raji now? The scariest part is Raji looks like he’ll continue to get better. He’s developed a nice swim move to complement his outstanding power rush.
Quarterbacks still looking for rhythm
There have been a fair share of beautiful throws to start camp, but the timing for all of the quarterbacks isn’t quite what it needs to be. Yesterday had its fair share of throws behind receivers and today was no different. [intlink id="162" type="category"]Nick Collins[/intlink] and [intlink id="80" type="category"]A.J. Hawk[/intlink] dropped some fairly easy interceptions and [intlink id="25" type="category"]Aaron Rodgers[/intlink] completed a beautifully thrown slant to [intlink id="143" type="category"]Charles Woodson[/intlink]. We can typically expect the defense to be ahead of the offense at the start of training camp, so I don’t believe this is anything to worry about, but it’s worth noting. All the quarterbacks had a difficult time finding open receivers quickly due to excellent coverage. There would of been a lot of sacks if it weren’t for the red jerseys.
Odds and ends
The blazing hot start for [intlink id="1624" type="category"]D.J. Williams[/intlink] cooled down a bit. He had difficulty lining up correctly and also drew a false start. [intlink id="204" type="category"]James Jones[/intlink] could be seen walking the sidelines and received a loud cheer from the crowd. [intlink id="1236" type="category"]Tom Crabtree[/intlink] had one drop, but caught a ton of passes and could be seen chatting with Aaron Rodgers between plays. [intlink id="1616" type="category"]Randall Cobb[/intlink] was excellent again, making catches all over the field and looks to be locked in as the No. 1 punt returner. The kickoff coverage unit looks like they’ll begin in a three-point stance, like a sprinter coming out of the blocks. [intlink id="1038" type="category"]James Starks[/intlink] had some nifty runs finding his way through traffic. [intlink id="1034" type="category"]Morgan Burnett[/intlink] accidentally hit [intlink id="76" type="category"]Donald Driver[/intlink] hard on a drill to teach defensive backs to wrap up and Driver went to the ground, but was okay. [intlink id="209" type="category"]Jermichael Finley[/intlink] participated in most drills and the seven-on-seven sessions and I believe he’ll be able to fully practice on Wednesday. He still looks as dominant as ever. Y8TT8!
I appreciate any comments you guys leave and I will try to answer any questions or concerns you have so keep them coming!