Takeaways from the Second Week of Packers Camp
By Dan Dahlke
Jul 26, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Graham Harrell works out during opening day of training camp at Nitschke Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
We’re are in the middle of the second week of Green Bay Packers Training Camp. The Family Night Scrimmage is in the books and the Packers preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals is fast approaching.
Let’s take a look at what’s been happening in camp the past few days.
Injuries Continue to Headline Camp
The injuries continue to pile on for the Packers. Early in camp it was Casey Hayward, Tramon Williams, Mike Neal, and DuJuan Harris who headlined the injury list, but more key players have gone down in the past week.
Jun 11, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson works out during organized team activities at Clarke Hinkle Field in Green Bay. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
The most notable being Bryan Bulaga, who suffered a torn ACL during the Packers Family Night Scrimmage and will miss the rest of the season as he has surgery to repair the damage.
Jordy Nelson also sat out the scrimmage and the past few days of training camp due to a knee injury that he has been dealing with for the majority of his career. Reports say that the knee has flared up and been bothering Nelson recently so he opted to undergo minor surgery to repair the knee. He will miss the rest of training camp, but may return for the season opener.
Other recent notable injuries, but not quite as serious, are Randall Cobb with a bicep injury, who returned to practice today but will be closely monitored, and Eddie Lacy who sat out practice today because of a pulled hamstring. Lacy’s injury is significant to note because Lacy dealt with hamstring issues coming out of college which caused him to miss the NFL combine and drop in the NFL draft.
Lacy Getting Work with First Team Offense
Let’s hope Lacy’s hamstring issues aren’t serious or dog him the rest of the season. Up until sitting out in today’s practice, Lacy was really making a lot of progress in Packers camp. This week he began getting a lot of work with the ones at running back and handled a majority of the team’s carries during practice.
Lacy began turning it on in camp last week and continued this momentum with his outstanding performance in the Family Night scrimmage on Saturday night. Lacy was putting together another strong week of practice before going down with the injury. Hopefully, the hamstring issues clear up and we’ll get to see how Lacy looks in the preseason opener this Friday.
Bakhtiari to be “the Guy” at Left Tackle
Jun 11, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari during organized team activities at Clarke Hinkle Field in Green Bay. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
With Bulaga out for the season, the Packers are calling on rookie offensive lineman David Bakhtiari to replace the veteran at left tackle. The Packers’ fourth round pick from this year’s draft has been one of the standout players in camp so far.
He continues to hold up against Green Bay’s veteran pass rushers in the one-on-one pass rushing/pass protecting drill. Yesterday, Bakhtiari was an impressive 5-0 during the drill, holding his own against Palmer, Matthews, Mulumba, and Jolly. In fact, Bakhtiari seems to be the only offensive lineman so far in camp that has given Matthews a run for his money in the drill.
Bakhtiari also performed well during the Family Night Scrimmage, and hasn’t given his coaches any reason so far to doubt he can perform the duties at left tackle. McCarthy even noted that Bakhtiari has only made one mental error so far in camp. A pretty incredible achievement for any offensive lineman, especially one that’s a rookie.
Harrell Ahead of Coleman in Quarterback Competition
All offseason most of us have been speculating that second year quarterback B.J. Coleman will surpass Graham Harrell in camp for the top reserve spot behind Aaron Rodgers, but so far, this has not been the case.
Harrell is having a much better camp than Coleman, and Harrell isn’t giving the coaches any reason to replace him yet. Harrell threw a couple of touchdowns today in practice and looked sharp. Coleman has struggled this week, coming off a terrible performance in the Family Night scrimmage.
Now with Vince Young added to the mix, Coleman will need to pick up his game to make the final roster.
Young Wide Receivers Continue to Impress
Jul 26, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jeremy Ross (10) works on ball drills during opening day of training camp at Nitschke Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Rodgers called this year’s group of young receivers “one of the deepest in his time here at Green Bay,” and for good reason. Second year players Jarrett Boykin and Jeremy Ross have really stood out in camp so far.
Boykin has made big catch after big catch in practice and continues to prove he is a reliable target for quarterbacks in camp.
After having a relatively quiet Family Night, Ross has made a lot of plays this week in camp. He caught a couple of touchdowns today in practice, one of them being a 50-yarder where he flew past Davon House for the score. Ross also had an impressive jump ball catch over the top of cornerback James Nixon.
To make the final roster, Ross will need to prove he can do more than just return kicks, and so far, he’s on the right track.
Undrafted rookies, Tyrone Walker and Myles White, continue to have good camps, as well. The young receivers are making it hard on Ted Thompson and company to make their final roster decisions at wide receiver.
Bostick Making the Most of His Opportunities
July 26, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers tight end Brandon Bostick (48) rushes with the football as safety M.D. Jennings (43) defends during training camp practice at Ray Nitschke Field in Green Bay, WI. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
The tight end position has been decimated with injuries the past week. With Andrew Quarless and Ryan Taylor sitting out this week, second year man Brandon Bostick has been getting some looks with the first team offense. He has been rotating in with Jermichael Finley and has taken advantage of the additional opportunities.
In Tuesday’s practice, Bostick caught two touchdown passes in the red zone—one where he ran over safety Chris Banjo crossing over the middle of the field to get across the goal line. Bostick has also been demonstrating his improved blocking skills, squaring off against a blitzing Nick Perry and holding his own.
It’s Time to Hit Players Wearing Different Uniforms
Wednesday’s practice got a little chippy. A few scuffles broke out between offensive and defensive players during running drills. A fight between guard T.J. Lang and rookie Sam Barrington led to another altercation between lineman Greg Van Roten and linebacker Robert Francois.
The tension in practice reached its climax when a scuffle led to Finley throwing a punch at linebacker Jarvis Reed. Linebackers coach Kevin Greene even got involved, and exchanged some words with lineman Josh Sitton. (Click on the link to see video of the practice fights.)
These scuffles just prove one thing. It’s that time in camp where the players are beginning to get sick of practicing against each other. It’s time for the team to play against players wearing different uniforms.
They’ll get that chance this Friday when the Arizona Cardinals come to Lambeau Field for the preseason opener.
(Camp reports courtesy of the Green Bay Press Gazette, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Packers.com.)