What the Packers’ beat writers are talking about after the first full week of practice
Bob McGinn (@BobMcGinn)
-Defensive Lineman Ryan Pickett is in great shape, looking 5 years younger than he actually is. He’s been hampered a bit by a bruised knee, but an effective Pickett would do wonders for the interior of the Packer defense.
-Linebacker Erik Walden said this of his 1 game suspension by the NFL (for a domestic assault-related charge late last year): “I don’t agree with it. The decision has been made. I respect it. Gotta take the consequences.”
-Packers Offensive Coordinator Tom Clements believes Graham Harrell has all the tools (arm, size, brain) to be as effective a backup as Matt Flynn was.
*BTH note: The coaching staff’s confidence in Harrell is all well and good, but the fact remains that the Packers probably have the least experienced backup quarterbacks in the NFL. Injuries to signal callers would cripple any team, but losing Rodgers for an extended period of time could turn the 2012 Packers into the 2011 Colts faster than you can say “Slide, Aaron, slide, don’t take the hit, Aaron, ohmigosh ohmigosh ohmigosh…”
Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde)
-Dezman Moses continues to impress and seems to be ingrained at backup ROLB behind Clay Matthews on the second team defense.
-For what it’s worth: Tim Masthay has a contract extension (4 years) and has been excellent in drills, placing 7 of 9 punts in Monday’s practice inside the 20, including the last 3 inside the 5.
-Rookie Javon House has worked his way up from second team to nickel back to (possibly) starting cornerback opposite Tramon Williams.
-As many defensive lineman have done in the past, B.J. Raji took up boxing to improve his hand speed, coordination and footwork over the offseason.
-Replacement referees called Friday night’s “Family Night” game at Lambeau Field, and gave the Packers’ offensive lineman an excessive celebration penalty after they ALL did the Lambeau Leap following a James Starks touchdown run…
-… the same replacement referees did NOT flag Greg Jennings later in the intrasquad scrimmage when he egged on the ENTIRE OFFENSE to do the leap following a 33 yard TD strike from Aaron Rodgers.
*BTH note: The fan injury tally from the offensive lineman doing the Leap: 3 dead, 4 injured, 2 unaccounted for.
Tom Silverstein (@tomsilverstein)
-Rookie Defensive Tackle Jerel Worthy is a very emotional player, needing some extra coaxing from veterans (Anthony Hargrove, in particular) to keep practice mistakes in perspective.
-The legend of Dezman Moses grows: he’s even put outside, covering wide receivers, at practice. This means the defensive coaching staff has a lot of trust in him as a pure athlete.
-Desmond Bishop is off the PUP list and should be a full go at practices beginning Sunday night / Monday.
-According to Commissioner Roger Goodell, who was at Green Bay practice on Wednesday, former Packer Johnny Jolly has still not filed for reinstatement by the league following his release from prison.
– Both LT Marshall Newhouse and WR Greg Jennings suffered concussions during the Family Night scrimmage. Neither one has been ruled out for Thursday’s preseason game against San Diego.
*BTH Note: Tom Silverstein is a very useful guy to follow on Twitter because he is strictly business. He tweets about Packer practice and important roster moves – that’s pretty much it. Sometimes you wish he would get a bit more colorful, though. Take this tweet from last Monday’s practice, for instance:
“Back shoulder TD to DJ Williams. Rodgers does suggestive dance at defensive sideline.”
Come on, Tom, elaborate! Just how “suggestive” WAS this dance?
John Rehor (@jrehor)
-The difference between Green Bay’s Family Night and Chicago’s Family Night is approximately 50,000 fans… (Note: official attendance for Packer Family Night was 55,605.)
The link to the above photo (all credit to John): http://lockerz.com/s/231142998
-With Marshall Newhouse out, the Packers are using Herb Taylor as the Left Tackle. Get your Tylenol ready.
-In addition to Desmond Bishop’s clearance to join practice, fan favorite John Kuuuuuuuuuuhn is also off the PUP list.
*BTH note: Seriously. Look at the picture of the crowds from Packer family night compared to the Bears. The Dolphins had to lure people to their intrasquard scrimmage with promises of free preseason tickets to those who showed up. The Packers sold 55,000+ tickets at $10 a pop. Just further proof that Green Bay is a special, special place.
Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky)
-Family Night tickets were selling on Ebay for upwards of $150.
-Donald Driver has had some very good practices this week, using his veteran smarts to catch TDs over Javon House, Sam Shields and Jarrett Bush.
-Nine players got the night off Sunday, two days after the Family Night scrimmage: Rodgers, Woodson, Bush, Williams, Hawk, Saturday, Driver, Jennings, Hargrove.
-Mike McCarthy’s annoyance with pre-snap penalties wasn’t abated by the false starts and offsides flags that were thrown on Friday night.
*BTH Note: The Packers open preseason play Thursday night versus the San Diego Chargers. The offensive line could be a bit of a mess, as the team seems to want to keep Bryan Bulaga at Right Tackle and could go with the untested Herb Taylor protecting Aaron Rodgers’ blind side. Either way, look for conservative play calling on the starters’ lone offensive series before they give way to the backups.
What I’ll be watching: Personally, I can’t wait to see Dezman Moses. Every beat writer I follow and keep tabs on (including several not mentioned above) rave about the guy. It will be interesting to see if he can help the Packers’ pass rush, an element of the defense that was sorely lacking in 2011.
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!