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Training Camp: Quick Hits


What the Packers’ beat writers are talking about after the first few practices

@BreakTheHuddle

The Green Bay Packers reported to training camp on Wednesday, had “helmets-only” practices on Thursday and Friday before their first full contact practice on Saturday. Many beat writers and bloggers were present for all the action – what follows is a rundown of what they were talking about (with a few added tidbits from yours truly.. who wasn’t there… and doesn’t know as much about football as these other guys… but hey, this is MY website. I do what I want with it).

Bob McGinn (@BobMcGinn)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

– Rookie CB Casey Hayward (2nd round, Vanderbilt) has been the most impressive rookie in camp – which isn’t a knock against the rest of the first-year players present, but a reflection of how well he has performed the first few practices.

– On the other hand, third year corner Sam Shields, a big part of the Packers 2010 Super Bowl run, has had a miserable start to training camp.

– Charlie Peprah, one of three Packers players who traveled extensively on the offseason caravan tours, was cut the first day players reported (Wednesday afternoon).

*BTH NOTE: Yeah, it seems kind of cold. Peprah showed up, ready to kick camp off, and all the sudden he’s on the unemployment line. That said – he was terrible last season, and as much a reason for anyone as the abysmal pass defense numbers the team put up in 2011-12.

And regarding Shields – it was rather amusing checking into Twitter throughout the first three days of practice. Every other tweet from Packers’ beat writers seemed to say something like “Shields beat by Cobb for deep pass” or “Shields slips on route and James Jones has a big gain.” All day. For three days.

Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde)

ESPN Wisconsin

– ILB D.J. Smith will be seeing a lot of reps with Desmond Bishop sidelined with calf issues, particularly in passing (nickel and dime) sets.

– Jermichael Finley’s wife (@CourtFinley88) broke the news of her husband’s “slight” concussion which kept him out of practice Friday and Saturday. He is expected to miss time into next week.

– Other early camp injuries / players missing time: Anthony Hargrove (personal), Greg Jennings (elbow bruise) and WR Shaky Smithson, who appears to have opened camp as the number 2 kick returner (chest bruise)

Tom Silverstein (@tomsilverstein)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

– LT Marshall Newhouse is off to a good start.

– Randall Cobb is getting reps all over the place. In addition to special teams and WR, he has also seen some time at tailback in no-huddle sets.

– LB Dezman Moses, an undrafted free agent, turned some heads in rookie mini camps and voluntary workouts. Though he’s still a long shot to make the roster, he is known already for “bringing it every down.”

– Backup TE D.J. Williams allegedly stayed in shape this offseason by wrestling cows at home in Arkansas.

*BTH NOTE: No. I’m not kidding about that last one.

John Rehor (@jrehor)

CheeseheadTV

– Have some Tylenol ready if the Packers open the regular season with the same starting cornerbacks as they opened camp with – specifically, Jarret Bush.

– 7 players failed their physicals on Wednesday: LB Desmond Bishop, RB John Kuhn, TE Andrew Quarless, T Derrek Sherrod, LB Frank Zombo, DL Johnny Jones, G Jaymes Brooks.

* BTH NOTE: None of those failed physicals seemed to cause a stir – in fact, I can’t find much other information about them. So they must’ve been (at least somewhat) expected.

Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky)

Green Bay Press-Gazzette

– For what it’s worth, as of mid-afternoon Saturday, Mason Crosby had yet to miss a field goal in camp.

– Charles Woodson is really embracing his role as a safety – for the first time in his career he is attending meeting with the safeties and the corners rather than the cornerbacks exclusively.

*BTH NOTE: Demovsky also indicated in an interview with Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN that Woodson would not be moving to safety in the traditional sense. Since the Packers only played base defense on around 15% of snaps last season, one can deduce that Woodson will be back at safety around 15% of the time. The rest of the time, he will move all over the defense – as the slot man in nickel and dime, playing up to stop the run, and perhaps occasionally blitzing off the edge.

Until next time…

BreakTheHuddle is a fan of the Twins, Timberwolves and the 13-time World Champion Green Bay Packers. Reach him at BreakTheHuddle@gmail.com, @BreakTheHuddle on Twitter or leave a comment below!

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