Recapping Preseason game number 2 and the past week in Titletown
Bob McGinn (@BobMcGinn)
-Reggie Wells, signed to plug holes as needed at both guard spots and left tackle, still has plenty in the tank. In addition to his athleticism, he is, as McGinn puts it, a “pro’s pro.”
-Safety Sean Richardson has plenty of talent to make the team and earn playing time this year; at a weak position on the squad, he has been a standout in camp.
-Get used to D.J. Smith, who will be on the field for 100% of the defensive downs in the upcoming season. He’s the number 1 linebacker in dime sets (over the high-priced A.J. Hawk) and has taken over the role vacated when Desmond Bishop went down to severe leg injuries.
-Add McGinn to the list of doubters that the Packers will make a play for Browns QB Colt McCoy if he is made available via trade.
*BTH Note: Add me to the list of doubters regarding any potential deal involving former Viking (and current Seahawk) Tarvaris Jackson. Rumblings out of Seattle indicate the team is exploring a trade, but it’s tough to envision Ted Thompson forking over a coveted late-round draft choice for a marginal QB making $4 million this season. Not to mention, Jackson will likely be cut in two weeks anyway, the odd man out of the Jackson-Matt Flynn-Russell Wilson musical chairs act that’s been going on in the Pacific Northwest during camp.
The team stubbornly kept Matt Flynn as Rodgers’ only backup the past few seasons despite his inexperience; I say Thompson and McCarthy stick with that mindset and enter the year with Graham Harrell as the #2 QB.
Wes Hodkiewicz (@WesHod)
-Ted Thompson says he addressed Cedric Benson’s somewhat checkered past personally, via a private, face-to-face conversation with the Packers’ new running back. The result. “I feel comfortable,” Thompson said.
-From the way Tramon Williams was tackling in Thursday’s preseason loss to the Browns, it sure seems as though the shoulder injuries that plagued him last year are a thing of the past.
-Lost in Thursday’s disappointing showing was the fact that the first team defense (especially Dezman Moses) was able to mount consistent, disruptive pressure against the Browns’ offensive line.
-Greg Jennings returned to practice Sunday after suffering a concussion during the Family Night Scrimmage. It was the third of his career, and according to Jennings, it was by far the worst.
-Guard T.J. Lang’s new deal with the Packers is for 4 years, $20.8 million with $5.5 million in guaranteed money.
*BTH Note: With Josh Sitton (locked up with a 5 year extension) and Lang, the Packers have one of the most reliable interior line tandems in the league… which won’t whip casual fans into a frenzy, but is an important building block for a competitive football team.
Tom Silverstein (@tomsilverstein)
-Part of Cedric Benson’s lure was the fact that he has experience in a one-back system, which Mike McCarthy says the Packers have “evolved into.” Another draw for Benson was his penchant for picking up blitzers in pass protection.
-It was a sprained ankle that knocked John Kuhn out of practice last week, and the team’s nominal starting fullback has had a hard time getting to (and staying on) the practice field all camp.
-Graham Harrell has failed to make the most of his opportunities to prove himself thus far in the preseason.
-Benson had fresh legs and performed well in his first day of padded practice on Sunday.
-The team is down to 13 injured players, far short of the 21 listed a week ago at this time.
*BTH Note: Getting Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley back, along with Benson working with the first team offense for at least a few days, means the team will likely unveil their full starting offense in this coming Thursday’s preseason tilt against the Cincinatti Bengals. It’s the all-important third warmup game, and given the sloppy 8 quarters the team has produced to this point, look for a lot of intensity from the Packer starters during their time on the field.
Rob Demovsky (@RobDemovsky)
-Demovsky saw nothing to indicate A.J. Hawk would have been among the cuts if Desmond Bishop had not suffered his ugly injury. With Bishop likely done for the year, Hawk is almost assured another season in Green Bay.
-It’s looking more and more likely that Derrek Sherrod will open the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.
-Proof the preseason is for coaches too: Mike McCarthy threw the challenge flag when he did not need to and was promptly assessed a 15 yard penalty for the mistake. This is a new rule in place for the 2012 season.
-It was all no-huddle for the offensive starters on Thursday night, and the no-huddle might just be the team’s base offense this season.
*BTH Note: I’m not sure what to make of that last one – no-huddle seems like it’s the way to go when the offense is in a rhythm, but at the same time it’s tough to come out of the gate firing on all cylinders. Having said that, the Packers’ first drive ended in a touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson that looked like taking candy from a baby; plus, I trust McCarthy’s offensive schemes implicitly. It is fair to wonder, though, what the up tempo style might mean for the team’s depth, particularly at reciever and along the offensive line. That’s a lot of running and bumping without many breaks in between plays.
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!