Thursday, August 30, 2007

Packers drop final preseason game

The Pack lost their final preseason game tonight against the Tennessee Titans, 30-14. About the only people that can make sense of these final games are general managers and coaching staffs. Most fans, even diehards like us, sometimes don't find much worthwhile in these games. Maybe a young player will do something to get noticed and make the team. Or it's one big fiasco fest.

Anyway, Brett and the first team offense looked good, with some great pass receptions by Bubba Franks and Greg Jennings. Scored a TD on a long drive. The second and third team...well, looked like what they are. The line didn't do much and neither did anyone else. The Pack was taking a long look at rookie RB DeShawn Wynn tonight and it was a mixed bag. He dropped a couple short passes he should have caught, had perhaps two or three runs of maybe 10 yards or so. On the night, he had 22 carries for about 55 yards. Seemed to get a bit stronger with more carries -- and remember, this was essentially his only action in preseason. But whether he will make the team? The Pack is high on him, but has he really shown anything? Not yet, but you can see why the coaching staff would like to keep him around for the future. And, given the absence of healthy running backs right now, he's probably a shoe-in.

First round draft pick Justin Harrell's preseason highlight was a fumble recovery for a touchdown at the start of the second half.

Mason Crosby, one of the two kickers still battling it out, missed a 52-yard field goal in the first half. Plenty of leg, just wide to the left. That was his first miss in a game situation.

Other than that, the only injury of note (at least as far as we could tell) was safety Tyrone Culver, who perhaps dislocated a shoulder attempting to make a tackle. He had it wrapped on the sideline. Will have to wait until tomorrow probably to find out the seriousness of it all. RB Noah Herron seemed to tweak a knee somewhere along the way and saw no more action. Didn't seem serious, but will have to wait to see. Given the injuries to backs so far...never mind...let's not even go there.

Will have to check out other viewers' and reporters' assessments tonight and tomorrow for their take on things. By end of day Saturday the team will have to go from 75 players to 53. The Packers' coaching staff and GM have some interesting decisions ahead of them. Whether tonight told them as much as they would like about some of these players, we'll find out soon.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Running backs getting even thinner

No, we don't mean the guys in the backfield have gone on a diet. We mean that what was already a real area of concern for the Packers got even more so over the weekend. Rookie RB Brandon Jackson, seen as perhaps the season starter due to the injury to nominal starter Vernand Morency, may have suffered a concussion in practice during a 2-minute drill. Not good.

Luckily, DeShawn Wynn, another rookie who the Pack is high on but who has also been hurt most of training camp, returned to practice. So, right now, here are the current running backs available to the Packers along with Wynn: Noah Herron and Corey White. Ditto the "not good" from above.

Whether there are any veteran cast-offs which might be of interest to the Packers after final cuts this weekend, who knows? But one would think Packers GM Ted Thompson and Coach Mike McCarthy have to be sweating bullets right now about this situation. Losing Ahman Green to Houston in the offseason was a definite blow. Having a series of injuries to contenders for the starting spot -- especially a plethora of rookies -- didn't help matters any.

Expect Wynn to get a lot of playing time during this Thursday's final preseason game at Tennessee. Whether he can pick up enough game feel and conditioning during the next week or so remains to be seen, as does the recovery of Jackson and Morency. Beyond that...let's not even go there.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Driver expected back for opener

Packers GM Ted Thompson said on Friday that he expected WR Donald Driver to be ready for the season opener against the Eagles. "That's what we think will probably happen. You never know, but we feel pretty good right now. We're lucky," Thompson said during his news conference.

How does Driver feel about it? We have no idea, as Driver has yet to speak with the media since his injury. He was seen, however, wearing a boot to protect the ankle. One of his fellow receivers, Chris Francies, said that Driver looked "too sad" in the meetings, so much so that Francies didn't even want to talk to Driver about the injury.

Thompson acknowledged that Driver has had incredible recuperative powers over the years. Barring any additional problems that might yet reveal themselves, the good news is that Driver may be ready to go when the first kickoff of the regular season starts things at Lambeau. Let's continue to hope so.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Pack cuts 11 players

The first roster cuts came a day early for the Packers. Perhaps the one small surprise was second-year quarterback Ingle Martin. He was being pushed hard in camp by rookie Paul Thompson, and had a lackluster performance in last night's game, although to be fair there wasn't much protection for him. What this move ultimately may translate into is the following scenario: the Packers keep only two QBs on the roster, Brett (a-duh!) and Aaron Rodgers; Thompson gets placed on the practice squad.

Other cuts were center C.J. Blomvall, wide receiver Carlton Brewster, fullback Erryn Cobb, punter Ryan Dougherty, defensive end DeVon Hicks, cornerback Antonio Malone, guard Pat Murray, running back P.J. Pope, linebacker Juwan Simpson and tight end Joe Werner.

Poster "Remember when Favre..." speculates on the linebacker situation in his recent posts. While Hodge may be on the bubble, he survived this first cut. If Desmond Bishop continues to perform as he has, he will lock up the backup middle linebacker slot and Hodge may indeed find himself looking for work elsewhere.

There was a good personnel analysis yesterday at Check it out here.

Personnel speculations

I had lunch with a guy who is pretty sharp on Packer personnel moves. He thinks Crosby will be the kicker that they keep. He says LB Hodge is gone. Nothing surprising.

Linebacker depth looks very poor. Hodge is done, Bishop had a couple of good hits, but otherwise got blocked a lot, and I didn't see White do anything. Are there others?

On another note, did you see the article by M. Vandermause in the GB Press Gazette on Mike Holmgren as the next President of the Pack? Here's the link. Its from the Aug. 19 issue. Be sure to read the comments. Folks have some energy around the "walrus".

Driver has sprained foot

Reports this morning are that Packers Pro Bowl receiver, Donald Driver, has a sprained right foot, which he suffered in last night's game against the Jags. The severity of the sprain is still unknown. Whether it is the dreaded Lisfranc injury (that's the name we couldn't come up with last night, by the way) which sidelined former Packers receiver Robert Ferguson for most of 2006 is yet to be seen apparently.

According to a report in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Coach Mike McCarthy told reporters in the post-game news conference about team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie assessment of Driver's injury: "Pat didn't seem that it was that (extensive) as far as the location on the foot. He just told me it was a foot sprain. (Driver) is in good spirits. I don't have a diagnosis as far as weeks."

Let's hope it is in fact just a few weeks and not months...or a season.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pack vs. Jags: 2nd half review

The Packers lost the game to the Jags 21-13, after leading 10-0 at half. The game was basically decided when Coach McCarthy opted to go for a 38-yard field goal instead of going for it on fourth-and-one late in the fourth quarter. The Pack had a shot at pulling it out with about a minute to go when they recovered a fumble deep in their own territory. Unfortunately, third-string quarterback, Ingle Martin, was sacked on the first play, the second down went nowhere and then Martin threw an interception that was returned for the Jags' final touchdown.

The other news was that there was still no definitive news on receiver Donald Driver. After half, a Fox on-field reporter said he had spoken with Packers' team physician, Dr. Patrick McKenzie. McKenzie had indicated that preliminary tests revealed the injury wasn't in the ankle as originally thought, but was rather in the foot. McKenzie further stated that a final diagnosis probably wouldn't be made until after the game. It's relieving to hear the problem is not an ankle injury. On the other hand, there is a certain type of foot injury that can be even more serious than an ankle injury. Can't remember the name of it. But let's hope -- whatever it is and whatever it's called -- that it isn't serious. The team needs Driver on the field.

A couple other comments on the second half:
  • Free agent running back Corey White ran authoritatively in the fourth quarter.

  • The Packers' backup offensive linemen were like a sieve, allowing pressure on Rodgers and Martin the entire half.

  • Can't really read too much into anything, but it just seemed as if rookie kicker Mason Crosby was getting most of the work.
Watch for further updates on Donald Driver as they become available. Tuesday is also the first cut-down day for NFL rosters. We'll take a look at who gets cut, as well as who the Packers pick up along the way. Stay tuned.

Pack vs. Jags: 1st half review

Quick observations from the first half of tonight's game versus the Jaguars, where the Packers lead 10-0:
  • The running game is still basically non-existent.

  • The defense looked very good, coming up with a few fourth down stops, a sack or two, and lots of pressure on Jags QB Byron Leftwich with only a four-man front.

  • Brett looked a bit out of sync with receivers early -- or, more likely, the receivers (with the exception of Donald Driver) were not where they should have been.

  • For as out of sync as the passing game looked early, Brett looked very sharp in the second quarter before giving way to Aaron Rodgers. He led a great drive, throwing to at least 6 different receivers on the drive, only to have a sure touchdown pass tipped at the line of scrimmage; the Pack had to settle for a field goal, which continued that disturbing red zone trend from last year.

  • Rookie receiver James Jones really came on strong in the second quarter, with more than 80 yards in receptions.

  • Bubba Franks continues his path back to reliability, coming up with a couple big catches.

  • Aaron Rodgers, taking over for Brett in the second quarter, led a TD-scoring drive, finished off by a short run by rookie RB Brandon Jackson.

  • The big hit of the first half -- probably the entire preseason -- was made by backup linebacker, Desmond Bishop. He hit the Jag receiver on the slant route so hard that the receiver's helmet was knocked off and the receiver "de-cleated" (as John Madden might say).

  • The down side to the first half was seeing Pro Bowl receiver Donald Driver carted off the field with an unspecified ankle injury. It appeared from replays that his ankle was rolled up when he was tackled trying -- what would you expect? -- to pick up additional yardage after the catch. The Pack can't afford to lose Driver. He's the glue of the receiving corps. Let's hope it's a minor sprain. Driver looked in pain on the field. But if there is anyone on this team that rivals Brett for toughness and playing with injuries, it's Driver. But an injured ankle on a receiver is never a good thing. Hold your breath...cross your fingers...and hope...

Does the Pack have sufficient LB depth?

Packrphan seems to have his pulse on the team's personnel and the info. that is available about them. So, I am wondering what is the strength of the LB crew. I haven't seen or heard anything lately. Last I heard is that Hodge is not performing. First team seems solid (Popinga?), but I for one will be watching for how the second and third-string LB's do. I see that Trotter was let go by Philly yesterday. Would he be a reasonable pickup for depth, or perhaps he sees himself as a starter only? Anyway, I would be interested in seeing and hearing some confidence building material on the Pack's LB depth. Anyone?

Packers doubleheader today

Yes, you read that right. The Packers play two games today. Well, technically, one they have already played and the other is tonight's regularly scheduled preseason game against Jacksonville.

Let me explain. At 2:30 p.m. today Central time, the NFL Network will air the Packers game from last weekend against Seattle. For those fortunate few who actually receive the NFL Network, it might be worth checking out if you weren't in the original broadcast area, especially since it was such a solid and high-scoring game for the Pack. This is not to say that you don't have a life just because you can actually spend 3 hours in the afternoon watching the NFL Network (hey...I heard that!). Just passing along info here for those interested.

The second game of the day is the nationally televised game on Fox beginning at 7 p.m. Central. The Pack take on the Jags at Lambeau. This should be an interesting game for a few reasons. First, to see whether the sharpness that was present in Saturday's game carries over to this game. Secondly, because this is normally the preseason game where the starters typically play at least 3 quarters to try to get in sync before the start of the regular season; but that's not going to happen tonight...more on that in a moment. Finally, because some players will be battling in perhaps their last bid to make the roster.

Now, as to the starters and how long they play. Coach McCarthy indicated to the press earlier this week that because of the competition the team has at so many spots, the staff wants to see as much of these players as possible in order to assist their evaluations. So, you can probably read into that the starters may only play a half. Perhaps Brett might only play a quarter or so, although you can be sure he'd just as soon play the entire game. The balancing act in this third game, regardless of how long the starters play, is that they escape without injury. The Packers have already been hit with injuries -- some possibly season-ending -- at a number of positions and thus depth is already spotty in spots (is that a redundant redundancy?).

One of the positions at which the Pack thinks they may have found a gem in the rough is at fullback. After relying on William Henderson to always be there for so many years, the task of filling his big shoes (literally...I saw a pair once) might have seemed insurmountable. Yes, Brandon Miree did a serviceable job last year and was penciled in as the nominal starter this year until injuries kept him on the sidelines during most of training camp. That allowed rookie FB, Korey Hall, to step in. A converted linebacker from Boise State, Hall might at first have seemed a real project. But, barring injury, Hall may actually find himself as the starting fullback for the Green Bay Packers come regular season. There is great article about Hall and his progress in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Check it out here.

Regardless of whether you watch one or two games today, regardless of whether you have a life or not, enjoy! We are, after all, Packers fans. And it just doesn't get any better than that.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Here's something you haven't seen since...

The Packers defeat last evening of the Seattle Seahawks by a score of 48-13 was the most points scored by the Pack in an exhibition game since...oh...1938, to be exact. Against the Cedar Rapids Crush. Remember them? And, the game was played in Escanaba, Michigan. Why the Packers were playing a team from Iowa in Michigan...well...that's another story for another time by another writer who really cares.

As for us, we can be happy that there was some definite progress from the week before. Brett looked like Brett...the really good Brett. Let's face it, a passer rating of 104.2 is really good...even if you don't understand what a passer rating is. And seeing Bubba Franks catch more than a few passes was also encouraging. Brandon Jackson looked good. James Jones continues to impress. The defense...very impressive, scoring twice in the first half. And Atari Bigby, who didn't look too sharp last week looked very solid this time around.

Special teams, however, suffered a loss when return man Shaun Bodiford left with an unspecified knee injury. Will Blackmon filled in and wound up having an 83-yard kickoff return as well as a nice punt return. Hopefully, Bodiford will return without a significant injury or time away.

All in all, an excellent preseason game #2. But, remember, it is still just preseason.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ferguson released

Oft-injured six-year veteran receiver Robert Ferguson was released by the Packers on Friday. According to reports, the team tried to trade Fergie and had no takers. Given the glut of young and apparently talented receivers the Pack now have in camp, Ferguson -- as had been speculated since Spring practices -- was deemed expendable.

In a statement by Packers GM Ted Thompson, he said: "We thank Robert for everything he has given to the Packers. In addition to his contributions on the playing field, Robert has been a positive influence in our locker room and a good teammate. As with any veteran player who has been here, we wanted to make this move early because this gives him the best chance to catch on with another organization in the NFL."

No doubt some team will pick him up. On those seemingly rare occasions when he wasn't nursing an injury, Ferguson showed real flashes of what he could be: a very solid receiver. He was also a leader on special teams. So give Fergie his due.

Still, many fans never liked this pick by former GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman. As you may recall, Sherman chose the raw and unproven potential of Ferguson ahead of the proven abilities of University of Wisconsin receiver Chris Chambers. Wisconsin fans never quite forgave Sherman for that choice, nor Ferguson for being the choice. It was an unfair bit of baggage the yougster had to carry with him his entire time in Green Bay. Of course...this is just this own writer's critical as this same writer's posts have sometimes been of Ferguson. You still have to wish Fergie well wherever he lands.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Favre Says...

Packers QB Brett Favre spoke to reporters yesterday on a variety of things. Some interesting comments from ol' #4, including what it's like to actually be ol' #4 among a cast of youngsters. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel did a nice job excerpting his comments. You can find that article here. Enjoy.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Packers preseason games on NFL Network; other ways to listen

For those Packer fans not within the range of the Packers broadcast network for preseason games, there is another option. Well, two options really: (1) live in/near the home market of the Packers' opponent; (2) watch the game replay on the NFL Network. Of course, not everyone has access to the NFL Network, either. But if you do...

You can see the NFL Network's preseason broadcast schedule here. It would seem you could turn on the Network anytime and see one of the many games being rotated. Apparently, there is one team replay per week only. And not all replay times are exactly user-friendly. For example, the upcoming game vs. Seattle will be re-broadcast at about 11:59 p.m. (Eastern time) on Sat. Aug. 18. The week #3 game vs. Jacksonville, however, will not be re-broadcast at all. Perhaps it's due to the Fox Network broadcasting this nationally (?) on Thursday, Aug. 23. The final preseason game at Tennessee will be re-broadcast Sunday, Sept. 2 at 8 a.m. Eastern time. Guess those lucky enough to have caught the re-broadcast yesterday of the first preseason game against the Steelers couldn't complain, though: 5 p.m. Eastern time is...not bad.

Of course, you can also catch the games -- including regular season -- on the Packers Radio Network. Who knew there was actually coverage in six states? Now you do. Check here for the complete listing.

If none of these options work for you, and you have a broadband Internet connection, you can also subscribe to the NFL's Field Pass audio feeds. Right now, it's only $29.95 if you subscribe during the preseason. No, I don't get a cut from this. But for Packer fans in places that might not get on-air TV or radio coverage of games, this is an inexpensive alternative to consider. Here's the link to subscribe.

Rooting for James Jones on and off the field

OK, it's early in the season, let alone early in a career. But after reading this story, you get to know a bit more about Packers' rookie receiver, James Jones, and you can't help but hope he succeeds. Not only for the sake of the Packers' future, of course, but also his own.

Story sounds somewhat similar to that of another Packers' receiver, Donald Driver. No doubt there are any number of players on the Packers squad and throughout the league that have overcome obstacles to be where they are. Some are able to excel in positive ways, not only on but off the field. Others fall prey to their backgrounds; coupled with the privileges that come with fame and fortune, they can't handle it.

Let's root for Mr. Jones to fulfill the promise he brings...and to perhaps follow in the footsteps of Mr. Driver...on and off the field.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Packers 13 - Steelers 9

The Packers won their first preseason game versus the Steelers last night. Was it a great game? No. It's preseason, after all. Was it interesting? Yes. Not because there were a lot of fantastic plays -- there weren't -- but because there was an opportunity to see some of the many young players on this squad compete. Last year, the Pack had the youngest roster in the NFL. This year they are still young. But, it's that youth which makes things interesting. Will players emerge and make names for themselves? Will this young team be able to build off the momentum of last season's four straight wins down the stretch? Lots of questions. No real answers at this point.

But...some observations of the game, in particular order:

  • The first string offense looked awful. Brett was 2 of 7 for 7 yards, in four three-and-out situations. The running game was non-existent. Receivers were unable to get separation on their defenders (which might explain Brett's completion stats). Not good.

  • The first string defense looked in fairly good form, especially the line and linebackers. Neither Al Harris or Charles Woodson played, so the team was able to get a good look at the plethora of defensive backs looking for work. Atari Bigby did not have a good night, giving up a couple big plays and missing tackles.

  • Individually...Aaron Rodgers looked...actually very good. He ran the two-minute drill with authority, setting up a 32-yard field goal by Dave Rayner to close out the first half, Steelers 9 - Packers 3. He moved well in -- and out of -- the pocket. He wound up the night 18 of 27 for 168 yards and 1 TD, a nice fade route pass in the endzone to Carlyle Holiday.

  • Bubba Franks -- carrying on a disturbing trend from last year -- dropped a wide open pass for a first down. He was visibly upset, as he should have been. If Tory Humphrey hadn't been lost for the season already, and with the emergence of Donald Lee, Bubba might be looking for work elsewhere. As it is, the Packers are pretty thin at tight end and Bubba might wind up sticking by default.

  • Rookie RB Brandon Jackson, filling in at starter for the injured Vernand Morency (and the departed Ahman Green...sigh), had mixed results. He did next to nothing with the first string offense against the first string Steelers' defense. Although to be fair, no one else did much either. However, in the third quarter and against second and third string defenders, Jackson made some nice cuts, broke some tackles and had runs of 16 and 14 yards after having only 14 yards total on eight carries in the first half; Jackson wound up with 16 carries for 57 yards, or a 3.6 yards-per-carry average.

  • Rookie receiver James Jones appears to be the real deal. Made some nice moves, showed great hands, and had six first-half receptions for 58 yards.

  • Defensive end Cullen Jenkins had two sacks, KGB had one, as did rookie DE Larry Birdine. Jenkins also stripped Pittsburgh starting QB Ben Roethlisberger of the ball as he dropped back to pass and recovered the fumble. First round draft pick Justin Harrell also got one, and showed flashes of being able to generate a real pass rush. Nice to see.

  • Special teams -- both coverage and returns -- still seemed to be where they were last year. In other words, not good. This is an area that HAS to shape up, and soon.

  • The kicking game still looks like a draw. Dave Rayner made a 32-yarder at the end of the first half, and Mason Crosby drilled a 52-yarder in the third quarter that had room to spare. He was also nailing his kickoffs. Perhaps a slight edge to Crosby on the night

  • Best news: no major least that are known of at this time.

Next up: Seattle and ol' Coach Holmgren return to Lambeau on Saturday.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Pack vs Steelers Tonight

This should be an interesting game for a few reasons. First, let's see if there are is anything resembling a running game. With the continued absence of Vernand Morency, the youngsters will get some extended playing time, particularly Brandon Jackson. Secondly, it will be an opportunity to see what kind of receiving corps might develop. Look for second-year receiver Greg Jennings to continue his emergence. And watch for rookie James Jones to show in game conditions what he has shown in practice: that he could be a legitimate #3 receiver. And what about Bubba? Yeah, what about him? Hope to see some sign of life there. Also, let's watch how that young O-line is continuing to develop. Oh yeah, let's see how that backup (i.e., heir apparent) QB, Aaron Rodgers, is coming along, too, shall we?

On defense, keep an eye on the D-line and the fine young group of players assembled there. Over the next few games, the starters will show themselves. The linebacking corps? Let's just hope no one gets hurt...this is a good young group. As for the D-backs, LOTS of competition there, with some good possibilities to make an impact over the course of the season.

Finally, special teams...let's be honest, they can't be worse than last year. If Shaun Bodiford is able to show in a full contact game what he did in the Family Night scrimmage perhaps the Packers have finally found their return man. Let's hope so. We could sure use one! As for the kicking game, it's basically a toss up right now between incumbent Dave Rayner and rookie Mason Crosby. We'll see what happens tonight in game conditions.

Only a couple hours until kickoff. Will do a post-game wrap-up, as it might be difficult if not impossible for those outside the Packers' broadcast area to hear, let alone see, any of the game. That's why we're here: we live to serve.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Another RB goes down

In an already questionable running back situation, the loss of nominal starter Vernand Morency last week to a knee injury that could keep him out two to four weeks was not a positive sign. Well, we aren't done yet. Backup RB P.J. Pope, who reports say was having a very good camp, is now lost four to eight weeks with a knee injury suffered during Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage. So, that leaves third-year RB Noah Herron and rookies Brandon Jackson, DeShawn Wynn and Corey White. No indication that the Pack is looking for another RB...yet. Let's see what happens.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Observations on "Family Night" scrimmage

The Packers held their annual "Family Night" scrimmage in Lambeau Field tonight. And, as always, 60,000 fans show up -- actually pay -- to watch the action. Only in Green Bay. And that's said with pride. Of course, for those who couldn't make it to Lambeau, the scrimmage was carried live on statewide TV. Only in Wisconsin. And, again, that's said with pride.

A few observations, in no particular order:
  • Brett Favre directed two opening TD drives against the #2 defense, looking extremely sharp on his throws. Both Donald Driver and Gregg Jennings made some excellent catches. Later, in a two minute drill, Brett was intercepted by Nick Collins on a bad throw to the endzone.

  • Shaun Bodiford had a nice kickoff run back, finally being forced out of bounds by the kicker, Dave Rayner. David Clowney, rookie wide receiver, returned a kickoff for a TD. It should be noted in both cases, though, that there was no tackling allowed on special teams during the scrimmage. Still, both Bodiford and Clowney showed exceptional speed.

  • The #1 defensive line seemed to put constant pressure on backup QB Aaron Rodgers who looked, well, like Aaron Rodgers under pressure. When given time, however, Rodgers completed some nice throws...not including an ill-advised toss up interception in the endzone.

  • Third-year RB Noah Herron now is the "oldest" back on the team in terms of tenure with the Packers. Scary, isn't it?

  • Rookie QB Paul Thompson, a free agent signing out of Oklahoma, showed a live arm and exhibited good movement in and out of the pocket. He was picked off on a tipped pass at the line of scrimmage. If you want to know more about Thompson -- who knew the Pack even had him? -- go here. Interesting prospect. Practice squad candidate? Or bumps Ingle Martin out of the #3 spot?

  • Tramon Williams, second year CB, delivered a huge hit on WR Chris Francies to break up a completion.

  • In the field goal kicking competition at the end of the scrimmage, incumbent Dave Rayner missed a couple, as did rookie Mason Crosby. The kickers kicked from both ends of the stadium, various yardages and placements, and also switched holders. Call it a draw.
So, it seems as if everyone got out unscathed with no injuries. That's the best outcome of all.

Now, the team gets ready for their first preseason game next weekend at Pittsburgh. Oh yeah!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Favre speaks on Sports Center

Brett Favre was featured on a segment of today's ESPN Sports Center. He said he returned for another season because he felt he could still play. Said he'd know it was time to retire when the team either makes it clear that it's moving in another direction or he feels he can no longer make the plays he used to make and needed to make. When asked about his frustration this Spring with the Packers inability to pick up wide receiver Randy Moss, Brett said he knew the team had money available and that he doesn't have a lot of time left to develop chemistry with young players. Essentially, although he didn't say it, Brett knows his window is closing and he -- like many fans -- couldn't understand why GM Ted Thompson didn't do everything possible to bring Moss in. (The flip side of that story, as we now know, is that the Packers did pursue a trade for Moss but were beat out by the Patriots.)

There will be more of an extended version of this interview segment on ESPN at 10:30 a.m. Eastern time Sunday.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Driver Back, Jones Impresses, Bubba Redux

News out of Packers training camp (Reader's Digest version...RD is a registered trademark of...well, look it up):

  • WR Donald Driver was cleared by the team docs to resume practice. He had failed his physical because of a shoulder problem going back to last season. Apparently, problem is now resolved or otherwise managed. Driver returned to practice and began doing what he does best: catching passes and providing leadership to the rest of the receivers.

  • Rookie WR James Jones is making a great impression at camp, catching everything in sight. In the first seasonal edition of the televised Mike McCarthy Show, a fan who had attended several days of practice gave the coach his favorable impressions of Jones and asked what the coach thought about his newest receiver. McCarthy told the fan he agreed totally with his assessment. But he also acknowledged that these are practices and it remains to be seen what can be done in actual game situations. Still, if last year's rookie sensation, Greg Jennings, is able to pick up where he left off and Jones is also the real deal, the Pack could have a dynamite 1-2-3 receiving group. There's a good article about Jones here.

  • Bubba Franks is looking to be the Bubba of old. That would be as opposed to just an old Bubba. After being hurt in 2005 and having a horrible 2006 season, Bubba changed his diet and workout regimen to better fit the Packers' zone blocking scheme. He had bulked up to provide extra blocking ability in the pre-McCarthy days; now, he will be asked to do less of that in this new scheme. He reported lighter and leaner than in past years. While Bubba will never be one to stretch the field, it would be nice if he would at least return to being the reliable set of hands he once was, especially in the red zone where the Pack had problems last year.

It will likely be a quiet day today. It's a designated off day in the training camp schedule.