Training Camp Observations — August 17
The following is a look at Green Bay Packers training camp on Tuesday, August 17.
The Green Bay Packers third running back is…..
With Kregg Lumpkin and rookie James Starks both injured, it’s a little unclear who is going to step up and take the third running back spot on the team. Now that Brian Westbrook signed with the 49ers there doesn’t seem to be a free agent who will help much either. The Packers are giving undrafted free agent Quinn Porter a shot after a strong showing in the first preseason game, but it’s hard to know what he can bring to the table just yet. One option I see is using fullback John Kuhn as the third option since he was frequently asked to carry the ball around the goal line last season. I have also noticed numerous screen passes to him throughout camp, so the Packers may be grooming him to become more of a tailback than a traditional fullback.
Aaron Rodgers is in MVP form
Rodgers looked even sharper than normal yesterday by putting three passes into the trash can-sized basket from about 40 yards away. Graham Harrell was able to land one pass inside, as well.
Shields only has one opportunity
Another practice and another dropped return for rookie Sam Shields. Luckily for Shields, his play at cornerback may be good enough to land him on the team, but his chances as a returner seem to be diminishing fast.
Justin Harrell injury
Yep, it must be this time of year and by that I mean the annual Justin Harrell back injury. He has been kept out of the last couple practices due to stiffness in his back and it seems like that’s how it always starts… miss a couple practices, come back, and then hit the shelf for the whole year. Let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself once again.
The kids can play
So far through camp, it looks as if the Packers may get some early returns on their high draft picks this year as Bryan Bulaga, Mike Neal, and Morgan Burnett have all shined at one moment or another. I’ve already revealed my man crush on Burnett. Save for one big missed tackle on a screen pass against Cleveland and he’s looked like a reliable starter. Mike Neal has shown his tremendous strength on a variety of occasions, but I was really impressed with his speed in practice last night, using it to beat Chad Clifton on the edge and get to the quarterback. Neal has also shown the awareness to react quickly to screen plays and blow them up on occasion. Bulaga looks the part and plays the part of what a first round tackle should be like. There hasn’t been a situation that I’ve seen where Bulaga doesn’t look like he is equipped to get the job done. It’s about time the Packers name him the starter at left guard so the line can work on it’s continuity. He is clearly an upgrade over Daryn Colledge.
Goat of the day
Matt Flynn. With Aaron Rodgers looking extra sharp and Graham Harrell providing a couple eye-catching moments, Flynn did nothing to establish himself as the number two quarterback yesterday. He routinely missed passes and was hardly able to put a ball near the 40-yard target in the quarterback drill. Flynn is typically a better player on game day, but his practice today didn’t help his chances.
Play of the day
Aaron Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson on a deep pass down the middle of the field against the number two defense. The ball was put in a spot that left no chance for the defenders to make a play on it and Nelson reeled it in with ease. The play likely would have resulted in a touchdown.
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