Training Camp Observations 8-3, Full Pads
Another hot day for practice, but I do it all for the love.
Tonight marked the first night I was able to see Tim Masthay punt. He shanked his first punt and it went out of bounds after about 35 yards. He responded with at least half a dozen beautiful punts that went between 50 and 65 yards. In a punting session towards the end zone, Masthay was able to keep all of his kicks inside the 20. In one instance, he was under heavy pressure and had a punt that wasn’t pretty to look at, but went out of bounds at the 2. It may sound a little crazy to get excited over a punter, but after B.J. Sander, Derrick Frost, and Jeremy Kapinos it’s refreshing to finally find someone we can count on.
Year of the takeover “Y8TT8″
Defensive coordinators beware! Your game plan is about to be worthless. Jermichael Finley made a full return tonight and he looks as good as ever. One moment he’s running the deep post and catching an over-the-shoulder touchdown and another he’s catching a slant and taking it down the middle of the field. Finley says he’s at about 240 pounds which is the lightest he’s been at professionally. You can see an extra burst of acceleration. Morgan Burnett was able to defend him on a fade route in the end zone, but otherwise it looked damn near impossible. My only concern is Rodgers may lean on Finley too much.
Offense still finding rhythm
Though it isn’t all that uncommon this time of year, the quarterbacks and receivers are still struggling to get on the same page. There were many balls overthrown, a decent amount of drops by wide receivers, and some protection problems. All hope is not lost though. In a drill of No. 1’s versus No. 1’s, there was 1:11 on the clock and the offense was down by four. The first two passes were bombs down the sideline to Jordy Nelson, who battled for and caught both balls. Shortly after, Rodgers completed a pass to Driver on an out and he was able to extend for a touchdown with time still left on the clock. I may get worried if a lot of the second team guys have to play, but it looks like the first team can still function like we expect them to.
Odds and ends
Another night, another four, five, maybe six plays for Randall Cobb. His highlight of the night came on a play where Matt Flynn scrambled to his left and threw a ball that Cobb fully extended for while dragging his feet inbounds. James Starks had a handful of quality runs, picking his way through traffic. Rough night for Tom Crabtree. I counted at least three drops, though two of them would have been very difficult catches. Frank Zombo was tonight’s starter at outside linebacker. Derek Sherrod had difficulty with speed rushers when he was playing left tackle. Ryan Taylor continues to snatch balls out of the air away from his body, which should put a lot of pressure on a body-catcher like Andrew Quarless. Sam Shields looked like he was injured as Nelson fell on him during the first deep ball in No. 1 versus No. 1, but it looked like he was just hit in the groin.