Thursday, June 19, 2008

Receivers a-plenty! Jason Taylor in Packers' future?

As all good Packer fans know -- and, of course, that includes every reader of! -- the last team minicamp before summer training camp is currently underway. (Well, it actually finishes today.) As has been the case throughout the Spring OTAs, the coaches are getting a look at all the players, but especially the draft picks and free agents which are part of the squad. They're being assessed on not only their natural athletic ability but also their ability to pick up the Packers' playbook.

One of the things that surprised many Packers fans during this year's draft was the Packers picking up more receivers despite what many thought would be a defensive backfield oriented draft for the team. Maybe receivers are like pitchers in baseball: you can never have too many. We have definitely seen that in prior years when even Brett admitted at times he didn't know who he was throwing to.

So, perhaps it's fitting that there's a good article in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about the competition at wide receiver, a topic which has been addressed here in prior posts. Given that the Packers have a seeming lock on at least the first five receivers -- Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones, Ruvell Martin and top draft pick, Jordy Nelson -- there may be only one or two other spots available. And their are currently seven competing for those slots. Can you say "performance anxiety"?

What will be the deciding factor in keeping one or two of these other receivers versus the rest of the group? Packers receivers coach Jimmy Robinson has come up with a formula of sorts after his 18 years of coaching NFL receivers. According to the article, Robinson said: “I mean, you want hard decisions. But usually there’s going to be something that says, OK, this guy is the guy I feel like in a game, he’s going to be able to play, he’s smarter maybe than the other guy, he plays more positions. And that helps makes your decision easier.” That's how long-shot seventh round pick, Donald Driver, made the team in 1999: because at least in part he was such a good special teams player. I guess you could say it worked out well for him...and the Pack.

To read the full article and get a few insights into the battle going on at receiver, go here.

Packers interested in Taylor?

At age 34, he may not be the player he used to be, but current Miami Dolphin, Jason Taylor, still is better than many at his right defensive end position. And the Packers have apparently expressed interest in him. There is a concern about KGB's surgically repaired knee. And there also is a desire to move Cullen Jenkins into the defensive tackle slot replacing the departed Corey Williams. Getting Taylor would give the Pack insurance at defensive end -- in fact, an every play type of insurance -- and make the move of Jenkins possible.

To learn more about what's cooking on the Taylor front, check out this article.