Packers training camp: Injuries give Walker a chance


Tyrone Walker

Jim Biever, photograph

Today was just the second day of workouts for the Green Bay Packers at training camp, but it wasn’t such a great day for the wide receiver corps.

Considered one of the deepest positions heading into camp, it got a bit thinner today when seventh round draft picks Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey went down with apparent injuries.

Though Johnson told reporters after workouts that he didn’t see it as anything significant and that he felt good after practice, he did take a nasty fall trying the grab a pass from Graham Harrell and was on the turf for quite some time before leaving the field on his own power. He later came back to the field, but didn’t participate.

As for Dorsey, his injury came after catching a pass and then seemingly coming up lame – many speculated that it could have been a hamstring injury.

Coach Mike McCarthy said at his post-practice press conference that he didn’t know the extent of the injuries and that both were still being evaluated.

So, when two go down the depth chart moves up, thus giving Illinois State alum Tyrone Walker more reps. And from the sounds of things, Walker didn’t disappoint.

Here’s what McCarthy said at his press conference, as tweeted by Brian Carriveau:

Here’s what Tom Silverstein had to say about him during practice this morning:

So, here we are two days into practice and already the depth charts are giving the free agent guys chances to make an impression. When you’ve got the head coach saying words about him, one would think that Walker is making that impression.

Walker is the guy who came out of nowhere, landing a spot on the training camp roster back in May after a tryout. After that successful tryout when he was one of five signed, the Journal Sentinel put together a post after talking with Illinois State wide receivers coach Dan Shula – the grandson of one Don Shula. His assessment of the new Packer was glowing. He said that Walker isn’t big and doesn’t have blazing speed, but seems to do everything right when he’s on the field.

Here’s one of the quotes from that interview:

"“He was a spectacular player for us from the get-go, from day one. I tried to look back at this season to see where he may have struggled, and he really didn’t. He had pretty much a good game every single week. And especially the last three games of the season. We played North Dakota State the last game, which was the national champ. And then we played our two playoff games and he was fantastic.”"

Here are the numbers he put together while at Illinois State: He was the school’s all-time leader in receptions (250), receiving yards (3,565) and receiving touchdowns (32).

Pretty impressive.

Here’s some more from Shula:

"“When you look at him and look at his measurables, nothing really stands out. He’s not very tall. He’s not lightning fast. So if you just take a snapshot of him, you might not be super impressed until you watch the film and really get a chance to see him … It’s easy to overlook him if you’re looking at the basic things. But when you dig deep with him, that’s when all of the other things kind of comes out.”"

Now that he seems to be getting his chance, it might be difficult for the Green Bay coaching staff to overlook him. We’ll know starting Sunday when the Packers put the pads on.

“I’ve said it all along — and our coaching staff believes it, too — that as long as some team just gave him a chance, he’d do well,” Shula said.