Training Camp Observations 8-11, Full Pads
It’s the last night practice of training camp. The Green Bay Packers decided to throw all the tourists off and change the schedule for the rest of the practices. They’ll now start at 11:15 a.m.
I know some of this could be attributed to [intlink id="305" type="category"]Dom Capers[/intlink]‘ defense, but the offense was having a difficult time against the blitz tonight. Free defenders were routinely coming up the middle or off the edge, causing a lot of would-be sacks and errant passes by the quarterbacks. I realize Capers is one of the best at creating favorable situations for his blitzers, but the offense should be able to find a better answer than throwing jump balls to the sidelines. I’m glad to see the offense take its lumps early in preseason, allowing time for correction, because there’s clearly work that needs to be done. Should Packers fans be overly concerned? Not yet, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
“Jarrett Bush makin’ plays”
To quote [intlink id="138" type="category"]Greg Jennings[/intlink]‘ sound bite from the Super Bowl, [intlink id="88" type="category"]Jarrett Bush[/intlink] was making plays. I know this may be like razor blades to the ears of many, but Bush could have been the player of the night Thursday. He routinely broke up passes and even hauled in an interception. Bush has made steady improvement over the years, going from whipping boy to special teams’ ace to picking off a pass in the Super Bowl. I’m not saying Bush should be your favorite player going forward, but the guy is making a positive contribution. Maybe it’s time to change the saying from “Eff’n Jarrett Bush” to “Jarrett EFF’N Bush!”
A look at the Browns
Much of the night was spent using the “look team,” where one side of the ball is preparing the other for the [intlink id="380" type="category"]Cleveland Browns[/intlink] by lining up in formations they would typically be in. Before the snap the players would huddle around a coach who held up a picture of the formation they would need to be in. The look team also did a good job of impersonating the Browns as they were routinely beat, on both the offense and defensive sides of the ball.
- In a scary moment, [intlink id="1061" type="category"]Sam Shields[/intlink] limped off after making a fantastic interception. He reached up and made a one-handed inception as he fought off another player, but looked like he injured his left side as he went to the ground. Players and trainers immediately rushed over. It sounds like he may have injured his hip and early reports are that it isn’t terribly serious. The worst part is it was the second-to-last play of the night.
- Maybe it’s the long days or just the wear and tear of this point in camp, but the players looked a little worn down. Jennings said in an interview that their day starts at 7 a.m. and ends at 10 p.m., so that could have a lot to do with Mike McCarthy’s decision to move practices to 11:15 a.m. from here on out. There didn’t seem to be much urgency in the drills and that seems to be when a lot of injuries happen.
- Night in and night out, [intlink id="1038" type="category"]James Starks[/intlink] looks like the Packers No. 1 running back. His vision, explosiveness, and physicality should push him to the top of the depth chart by the time it’s all said and done.
- [intlink id="700" type="category"]Spencer Havner[/intlink] had a nice night, pulling in a handful of catches.
- [intlink id="82" type="category"]Tramon Williams[/intlink] had a pair of interceptions. He’s still the Packers best cover corner.
- [intlink id="25" type="category"]Aaron Rodgers[/intlink] was pulling some pranks on the sidelines tonight. He started by pulling down on the referee’s shorts and then he squirted water on the butts of [intlink id="225" type="category"]Chad Clifton[/intlink] and [intlink id="583" type="category"]T.J. Lang[/intlink]. Jennings was wise to the shenanigans of Rodgers and advised him not to try.
- [intlink id="791" type="category"]Tim Masthay[/intlink] had a rough night punting. Out of eight punts there were only two he would have liked to keep. His performance last year earns him some freedom, but he’ll have to do better than he did Thursday.
- [intlink id="152" type="category"]Mason Crosby[/intlink] practiced despite the bum ankle and was below average in his kickoffs but made both field goals he attempted. The distance on those field goals was 35 and 42 yards.