What the beat writers are talking about after the first preseason game and another week of practice
Bob McGinn (@BobMcGinn)
-Phillip Merling, brought in as a veteran free agent from Miami, had a great week of practice. While he hasn’t been much of a pass rusher (3.5 sacks in 47 career games) his toughness playing run defense makes him stand out.
-Practice squad wideouts Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel, who both turned down opportunities to get on the 53 man rosters of other NFL teams last season, are now hampered by groin injuries. Whether this will harm their chances of making the Packers’ crowded receiving corps remains to be seen.
-While the replacement referees in San Diego didn’t embarrass themselves too badly, it’s a matter of time before they do.
-Good looking second-year defensive back Davon House was injured playing special teams in the second half versus the Chargers. No criticism from McGinn on the fact that House was playing, as young guys need to be on the field to show what they can do.
-Mike McCarthy didn’t publically lament the loss of Desmond Bishop to a hamstring injury, but it is a huge blow.
*BTH Note: So much for my predictions about A.J. Hawk being cut. The loss of Bishop all but ensures the overpriced 7th year man from Ohio State will be on the Packers roster in 2012.
Wes Hodkiewicz (@WesHod)
-Tom Crabtree’s determination to make the roster is apparent. Not only has the backup Tight End sworn off Twitter (in order to focus), he is the only Tight End in camp who has not missed a single practice to this point.
-Ted Thompson said in a press conference last week: “Jeff Saturday fits into an offensive line like a gently worn baseball glove.”
-Veteran guard Reggie Wells has signed with the Packers. He’s appeared in 117 career games with 91 starts (79 at Left Guard, 10 at Right Guard, 2 at Left Tackle). Was Arizona’s primary Left Guard from 2004-2009 and has since spent time with the Eagles and Panthers.
-Wells is the fifth person on the Packers’ current 90 man roster over the age of 30.
-Herb Taylor struggled mightily as the Left Tackle in Thursday night’s preseason tilt versus the Chargers.
-Only Alex Green and Marc Tyler were healthy at running back after the first preseason game, which may have prompted the Packers’ signing of veteran Cedric Benson.
*BTH Note: Benson was signed for the veterans’ minimum, and his contract apparently includes zero (0) guaranteed money. For all intents and purposes, his stay in Green Bay could consist of a glorified three week tryout if he isn’t up to speed by week 1. The move a) shores up Running Back depth, b) lights a fire under James Starks’ behind and c) is the type of low-risk, high reward move Ted Thompson is known for.
Tom Silverstein (@tomsilverstein)
-Mike McCarthy was concerned about injuries heading into Thursday’s preseason game against the Chargers… and the game itself just created more injury issues.
-Davon House’s injured shoulder will likely keep him out 2-3 weeks.
-Cedric Benson, on signing with the Packers: “At some point, I just had to take what I could get.”
-D.J. Smith will be the new man in the middle with Desmond Bishop likely to miss a lot of time (if not the entire 2012 season).
-Marshall Newhouse has returned from his concussion, a welcome sign for a thin (and oft-jumbled) offensive line unit.
John Rehor (@jrehor)
-No one in their right mind wanted Aaron Rodgers to play against the Chargers… but he did anyway.
-In news around the NFC North, the Bears held a retirement ceremony for former DE Alex Brown. If you’re wondering, “Who the hell is that?” – you’re not alone. He never made a single Pro Bowl and had 43 career sacks in 123 games with Chicago. It seems the standards for players who warrant retirement ceremonies are plummeting.
-Bishop’s injury is a cruel reminder that preseason games are where pointless injuries happen.
*BTH Note: It was a little surprising to see Bishop playing since he had missed so much time early in camp due to injuries. Freak accidents can happen anytime during a football game, and that’s exactly what Bishop’s injury looked like. A reduction from four to two preseason games would still be nice, though. No one doubts that.
Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky)
-Mike McCarthy showed a sense of humor –poking some fun at his predecessor (Mike Sherman) by saying “This is where I’m supposed to freak out, right?” when a cell phone rang during his press conference a week ago. Apparently, Sherman had a very short temper when it came to such things.
-Practices were much shorter this past week, mostly due to the long list of Packer injuries.
-If Randall Cobb misses any time this season, the other options for returning kicks and punts are not nearly as good.
-Last year’s first round pick, Tackle Derrek Sherrod, will likely begin the season on the PUP list, meaning the earliest he’ll be back is in Week 7.
*BTH Note: While the injuries on the defensive side of the ball (to Bishop and House) are worrisome, the juggling that has been done along the offensive line can’t be a positive sign, either, and shouldn’t go unnoticed. Ted Thompson has had a strong aversion to signing veteran free agents, preferring instead to drafting and finding undrafted free agents to plug the holes as needed. His signing of Reggie Wells indicates that no one has really taken the reins to replace the retired Chad Clifton at Left Tackle.
Protecting Rodgers’ backside has to be priority number 1 for the Packers. Improving the defense won’t matter if Rodgers is hurt. Hopefully, Newhouse is the guy who can do it – and hopefully his concussion issues are behind him.
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!