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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

My second practice...my second analysis

by bizarro
for PackerChatters
Training Camp 8-15-2005

Bates Lines of the Day: "Brady, I know you've been out awhile but you gotta' know where the hell you're going out here."

(Poppinga looks a step slow in coverage right now...however, I remain convinced right now that he, next to Manning, is our top backup against the run)

"That's right Marvel! Come gametime that guy's going to go SPLAT!"

Even the omnipresent Bates separated himself from Sherman, however, as the practice wore on. The first portion of Monday's practice was crisp...and then the team portions started and the defense was very very inept. The outcome of this was none other than a complete and utter tongue lashing by Mike Sherman. He called the entire team into a group huddle midway through the practice and unleashed a verbal lashing that could have been heard all the way from the Lambeau Atrium. Needless to say, the defensive Line and LB's continued to play very average. In my opinion, if these practices mimic the games we need Grady and Hunt in there...I have yet to see a DT stop a run for a loss or even gain momentum into the backfield to stop a run. This area remains a concern to me until we get Grady back...the runs continue to go right at the Nose and they go for a minimum of 3-5 yards. Considering we couldn't run to save our lives last week this either means:

a: Our run blocking has suddenly become infinitely better (not the case in my opinion)

b: We really really miss Grady.

On that topic, I want to mention another player's disdain I witnessed today. Robert Ferguson gets open. He gets open...a lot and by two to three steps. He continues to gain separation from CB's. Today it didn't matter if it was Hawkins, Harris, Horton...whomever he was gaining key separation on long routes (posts, flies etc.). The only problem, however, is he continues to be invisible through the QB's eyes. Favre missed him on two "would be" TD's on long routes when he opted to release it early in the flat or over the middle. Fergy was subsequently growing very very frustrated as with each passing over resulting in a slower jog back and eventually he threw his hands up in disgust followed by a loud: "Man....!"
When he finally made it back to the WR's grouping he slammed his helmet down in disgust with another shriek. The point being here I believe there is definitely a gap in the Ferguson/Favre relationship. There has been a gap in this relationship as several of us have surmised in the recent past. Unfortunately, I would no longer be surprised if he actually were traded to the Eagles...something I know several of us here would be unhappy about. But, when I pair this seeming frustration with our apparent ineptitude at the nose...well you can potentially understand what I'm getting at here. But, for now it remains idle speculation.

Terrence Murphy looks very sharp. Our WR group as a whole looks extremely sharp. Vincent Butler received quite a bit of praise today from James Franklin in the 1 vs. 1's as he beat Carroll for a quick out and a nice catch. Murphy is a very big and quick WR who appears to run very crisp routes. He has sharp turns and a quick sudden burst into the second part of his route. Murf (as we call him around here) caught every ball thrown in his direction today and even prompted a slight scuffle with Underwood when he was popped pretty hard over the middle in an apparent no contact 7 vs. 7 drill.

Underwood has been lavishing in heaps of praise thrown his way by Batesy (another common nickname in these parts...OK it's my own nickname...and it certainly doesn't challenge "the clap"). Apparently, as indicated in the press releases, one of the motives of releasing Freeman was more reps and a better look at the other safeties; specifically Underwood. One thing Marvel has demonstrated is he has great range and great hitting ability...even if it is not a requirement in a particular drill-Underwood also apparently "cheapshotted" Anthony Lucas who called him out for a hit on the sideline. In my opinion, considering the lashing the 'D' received by Sherman, Underwood's aggressiveness was a pleasant surprise...however, the type of hit he was using could definitely hurt a WR if he was completely vulnerable wacko.gif

Chris Johnson continues to be brought along slowly...He definitely has his speed back but he needs to continue to work out the kinks in his jam at the LOS. When he was allowed the couple reps in the 11 v 11's he was beat at the LOS by a mere miss of his jam (something he was working on with Lionel post-practice Sunday)...However, he caught up to that same WR within one second. It is very good to see, as many of you know I have been supporting his play for 2 years now-since he has been injured as a matter of fact...I believe these technique issues can be fixed with a bit of tutelage. Another thing to mention here is Johnson has gained some muscle mass...Hawkins has assumed the Johnson rookie physique whereas Johnson now has perhaps the biggest legs of our CB's.

Quick Hits:

Donnell continued to lineup with the 1st defense at Grady's position and as the practice wore on he seemed to get a bit more sure of himself...however, considering how the run defense started this is not much of a compliment.

Hawkins continues to start in the dime...and today he was in the nickel as well. Joey Thomas was out again with the calf injury. The paper is right when they question his ability to gain that starting spot. That is unfortunate, becaus Ahmad had a bit of a lesser quality practice than Sunday.

Sander looks real sharp...he continues to punt balls (from the opponents 40) inside the 15 with super hang time.

Again, if there is a position we could trade from, it is WR...we are solid! Thurman put quite a move on a CB toward the end of the session (don't want to misdirect a name here) and collected a perfect pass from Favre for a TD.

O'Sullivan threw a pretty poor pass into double coverage in the same drill and Leigh Torrance came down with a pretty nice over the shoulder grab.

Ben Steele actually held on to every pass today...well, almost...he seemed to drop one over the middle. I felt it was interfered with...Dad felt he dropped it. We'll call it one or the other but, none the less, Steele is inconsistent.

All in all, Dad likes Chris White and I like Chris Johnson...neither of which see any time with the 1st and 2nd units for various reasons. Monday's practice left quite a bit of room for improvement the rest of the week. Especially, if these practices are, as Coach Sherman says, the most important of TC.

Gotta' run now and head to the casino...Life's a gamble, as they say, but my father and I are definitely going to hit jackpot. ( or go away down 500$) cheers.gif
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