Packers camp: Three things (and more) developing
With day three of Packers camp in the books and the first day of pad work being held Monday night, there seem to be three things (among others) developing that are of interest to the final coming together of a team.
First, the rookies – it looks like first and second round choices, Derek Sherrod and Randall Cobb, are being looked to quickly for contributions.
Cobb, according to tweets last night and early morning news reports, made several difficult catches yesterday, showed impressive bursts of speed and is being touted as everything he’s been billed in the early going. Getting his timing with quarterback Aaron Rodgers is going to take some time.
“Not only reps between him and the quarterback, but also the timing and spacing of the routes and how each concept works,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “Identifying the coverages and the cheat system, as I always refer to it. Everybody plays football. Everybody has similar plays. But it’s the ability to cheat within the particular play with anticipation, coverage recognition, all the things that help a receiver be productive and create a smart path to run a good route and create separation for a quarterback.”
Sherrod has been worked extensively at left guard and left tackle, joining both the starting offensive line and the seconds.
While Tyler Dunne of JSonline said that he was overwhelmed by defensive linemen in one-on-one drills, Dunne admitted that “his head must be spinning” with the work.
McCarthy said about Sherrod: “”Really like what you see physically, but we’re asking him to do things a little differently from what they asked him to do in college. So, it’s going to take some time.”
The second thing is the depth at tight end.
Reporters have been impressed in particular with the play of rookie D.J. Williams, who has been tweeted about by reporters for his ability to use his hands well in catching the ball. And with Ryan Taylor, Andrew Quarless and of course the return of Jermichael Finley, the Packers have a group that is just plain solid … and deep.
On the bubble at that position is Spencer Havner, who has been with the team, cut, brought back and on injured reserve the past two seasons. There is talk that because of the depth at tight end, Havner could be moved back to linebacker because of the team’s lack of depth at that position.
Which brings us to our third point: linebackers.
One of the best battles for position has been at right outside linebacker opposite Clay Matthews. Brad Jones, Frank Zombo and Erik Walden have all worked with the first team defense at the position and all three have a shot at being the main guy. However, because of the glut of outside linebackers, it’s possible one of the three could be moved to play inside because the team is thin at that position with the loss of veterans Nick Barnett and Brandon Chillar.
And as a couple side notes, the races to fill the spot left open by the loss of Cullen Jenkins and the safety position competition between Morgan Burnett and Charlie Peprah are shaping up. C.J. Wilson, Jarius Wynn and Mike Neal are all vying for the defensive end position, while Burnett and Peprah will be competing at safety. Neal and Burnett are both working their way back from injuries. We’ll be watching those competitions develop with interest.
So as the team continues toward its first “public” appearance at Family Night this weekend, there are several areas to watch. It will be an interesting camp as players continue their development and the rookies stay on the fast track of learning a complex system quickly.
Stay tuned …