Packers XLV

Rambling Thoughts on the First Week of Camp

Posted July 31st, 2012 @ 02:07pm

When you're about 300 miles away from training camp, it's hard to consider yourself an authority on what's going down. But The Head Cheese will muse on what's been reported so far.

As of this writing we're still over a week away from the preseason opener and the guys have only been in pads for a day or two, so let's not get too caught up in where position battles stand. When you're coming off a 15-2 season, you're not going to have a lot of position battles, but the most interesting one so far is at cornerback.

Charles Woodson turned a few heads at the first practice when he lined up at safety in the base defense, but really that's not all that new. He lined up there a good amount of time last season and when the team plays nickel (which it does a lot), he's back at corner manning the slot. His days of playing CB on the outside are over--not too many soon-to-be 36 year olds out there--but he will still be asked to move all over the field and still has the skills to be a difference maker.

Jarrett Bush got the first chance to start opposite Tramon Williams, but it sounds like second year guy Davon House has taken a major step up and could compete for that spot. The Sam Shields situation is one I'll be watching closely. He has regressed since his surprising rookie campaign and is being seriously challenged for his roster spot. Sounds like he had a better day on Monday, but keep an eye on the depth chart here. Rookie Casey Hayward has been inconsistent, which is not a surprise. Let's see what he looks like in a couple of weeks.

Aaron Rodgers pronounced this team better than last year's. He stressed the record may not show it, but he likes what he sees in the new defensive linemen the team brought in. He says they've brought a little "nasty" to the defense. The five new guys, Anthony Hargrove, Philip Merling, Daniel Muir and rookies Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels give this unit some much-needed depth. gone are the days of relying on undrafted guys to take meaningful snaps.

Offensively, the only real question mark is the running game. By letting Ryan Grant walk and not replacing him with another veteran, the Pack will be hoping that James Starks can stay healthy and that second year guy Alex Green can bounce back from his knee injury. Brandon Saine showed enough to be a capable backup, but it would be nice if a proven back gets cut somewhere and Green Bay can pick him up on the cheap. The running game will always be an afterthought in this offense; but remember what Starks did in the '11 playoffs? It would be nice to be able to rely on that when the weather turns.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the first week of camp was the release of safety Charlie Peprah. After bursting on the scene following Morgan Burnett's injury two years ago, he fell to earth last season and was a weak link on the defense. MD Jennings gets a chance to get on the field as does rookie Jerron McMillian.

So once the preseason games start, what will you be watching most closely? Send me your comments below and I'll comment on them. I'll be focused on first round pick Nick Perry, who at 265 seems awfully heavy to play OLB. Undrafted Dezman Moses has also turned some heads (a la Vic So'oto a year ago). I want to see what kind of juice he has opposite Clay Matthews.

I'm heading to Packers Family Night on Friday with the wife and three kids. I'll post my diary of the night once the kids are all tucked in. Looking forward to nine year old Jackson's first Lambeau experience. He wants to wear his Percy Harvin jersey. Sigh.

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Comments (24):

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on August 17th, 2012 at 12:33pm

If you get a chance on packers.com the McCarren report is entertaining and informative.

on August 1st, 2012 at 05:26pm

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on August 28th, 2012 at 12:21am

THC--are you for real? That Oline gave up FORTY-ONE SACKS in addition to being 27th in rushing yards last season. That is the 10th most sacks given up in the league and it would have been a lot more if AR wasn't such a great scrambler. Now this year it is the same Oline that struggled last season--EXCEPT minus it's best player in Pro Bowler Scott Wells. Talk about ignoring the elephant in the room......sheesh.

on August 2nd, 2012 at 01:48pm

Your OL is turrible and your secondary has more holes than swiss cheese. CSB

on August 2nd, 2012 at 02:15pm

Your O line is bad! And it should feel bad too!

on August 2nd, 2012 at 02:33pm

The fact that Rodgers had the season he did doesn't mean that the offensive line was good. Rodgers, his receivers and the offensive style was enough to overcome the poor play of the line last season. Going forward, with the linemen that were lost over the offseason, there will likely be a further dedrigation of play up front. The fact that the team scored a ton of points and won games doesn't mean the line played well. It just means that Rodgers was able to do all that DESPITE the poor play of his line. Saying that because the team scored a lot of points this means the line is good is like the idiot Vikings fans that said Charlie Johnson was a good LT because Peyton Manning never got sacked. They may be related, but there are a lot of other factors involved. If the Packers want to maintain their success and keep Rodgers healthy, they will need to really address the offensive line going forward. If Rodgers ends up on the ground every 4 or 5 passes like he did last year I will be very concerned about him staying healthy.

on August 2nd, 2012 at 03:08pm

"I want to see what kind of juice he has opposite Clay Matthews." Am I the only one who cracked up over this line?? LMAO!.... I'm sure it's not quite the same!

on August 2nd, 2012 at 03:31pm

Dave, how tall are you and how much do you weigh?

on August 2nd, 2012 at 04:11pm

The O line is asked pass block, what 80% of the time. Yeah, if you think this should be a run first team, then the O line is terrible and will be. Its a throw first team, and the O line will be improved, but it won't benefit the run game much. As for the Secondary, every thing is predicated on the pass rush. No rush, well then everyone will look bad. So... if the D Ends improve the defense will be better, simple as that.

on August 2nd, 2012 at 04:45pm

Great, the OL won Rodgers and MVP- I guess that's better than back-to-back SB wins? Face facts, the Pack OL got dominated by a vastly superior Giants DL. For them to roll into next season with Newhouse at LT and Grandpa Saturday at C is the definition of insanity. Rodgers already has 2-3 concussions, a bad OL only increases the chances of another.

on August 2nd, 2012 at 06:34pm

Oline is the biggest issue, easily. Newhouse is awful, as is Lang. Saturday is a substantial downgrade from the Pro Bowler Wells. Also, Bulaga has been a pretty big bust for where he was drafted. You don't take a guy in the top 25 to be a mediocre Right Tackle (when healthy). TT really had no business letting Spitz, Colledge, and Wells--all walk. I'm sure it's a decision he regrets. You have to keep the guys who protect your most valuable asset.

on August 2nd, 2012 at 12:12pm

Great take Cane. That terrible offensive line only helped put 560 points on the board and help its QB earn an MVP and one of the greatest statistical seasons in history. The line is the least of the team's problems. They lie on the other side of the ball.

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on August 3rd, 2012 at 04:24pm

Wow...looks like a gloom & doom season on the way. Heck - they'll probably have a worse record than last year...maybe 14-2 or 13-3. I don't know how I going to handle that kind of failure.

on August 3rd, 2012 at 05:51pm

Looks like a few other people agree with my "great take", eh Head Cheese? Good job, good effort.

on August 3rd, 2012 at 06:41am

The O-Line is certainly not a strength, but I would argue that the defense as a whole still is the primary concern. In the past, it has relied on the big plays while offenses put up more yards against the Pack defense than any other. Now their two biggest defensive playmakers are looking to regress with Woodson quickly approaching 36 and Matthews another year removed from the roids.

on August 3rd, 2012 at 08:09am

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on August 7th, 2012 at 02:55am

Dave...with Newhouse and Sherrod out, why aren't the Packers looking at free agent help at tackle?

on August 7th, 2012 at 09:16pm

IMHO, as far as the defense goes, the secondary is the least of my worries. I'm more concerned with the D-line. TT has taken the steps to improve the line, but I'm waiting for a couple of preseason games to show me that those concerns have been addressed. I'm also of the belief that if the line is improved, it will also improve the linebackers just by default. Same goes for the running game - show us something during the preseason. It doesn't have to be "great"...just improved. Go Pack!!

on July 31st, 2012 at 03:55pm

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