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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Random Thoughts from 8-22 Training Camp

by Lare
for PackerChatters

Attended TC practice yesterday with my son and his girlfriend under beautiful sunny skies in GB. It was hard to cover the entire practice field with so many people watching and so much going on at any given time, but here are some of my impressions from what I saw.

QBs- Favre is looking as sharp as I've ever seen him. The only incompletions I saw from him were dropped balls or good defensive plays. Also, in my opinion Rodgers looked better than Nall and O' Sullivan, although they also had their moments. However, that may have been due to the fact that Rodgers mostly threw to his shorter receivers instead of throwing downfield. Got to give Rodgers credit for sticking around after the practice and signing autographs for the kids for about a half an hour.

RBs- They appeared to work quite a bit on the running game yesterday. Green looked good as did Harris and Johnese (Davenport didn't practice). They had a full-contact scrimmage at the end of the practice with mostly the 2nd and 3rd string offensive and defensive players. Both Harris and Johnese had some good runs showing good change of direction and vision in traffic.

WRs- Walker didn't practice, so Driver, Chatman, Thurman and Breeden got a lot of work. Both Driver and Chatman seem to be right in tune with Brett as he repeatedly hit them in stride for completions.

TEs- I only saw one dropped ball from the TEs yesterday (Fleming), and they were passed to often in dump-off situations. I don't know if that was by design to see what they could do with Franks, Martin and Steele out, or if it was just good coverage from the defense.

OL- Hate to single him out, but I can't see any chance of Morley making the team. He played quite a bit yesterday, but looked lethargic and disinterested to me. I even saw one play where he could have made a block on a sweep around his end and he just quit and let the LB make the tackle at the line of scrimmage. I would say that Ruegamer is a lock to make the team. He was the starting center yesterday with Flanagan not suited up, and he also alternated with Davis as the long snapper early in the ST practice. Hard to really judge the OL's performance because there wasn't any full-contact until the end, but one thing I do know, there's some real beef on the line when Barry and Whitticker are playing next to each other on the right side.

DL- Lee and Washington played quite a bit with the 1st and 2nd string defenses, and neither was too impressive in my opinion. On several of the plays they just got blown off the line of scrimmage, and Washington just never seemed to be giving 100%. We noticed Bates working by himself with Grady Jackson on some drills across the field and Grady seemed to move pretty well. Overall, I never saw any real pressure on any of the QBs and several good runs by the RBs, so that's probably an indication of how much of a weakness this area is going to be this season unless Jackson and Hunt come back healthy and enthused.

LB- Don't know if it means anything but Sherman spent a considerable amount of time watching the LB's during their team drills. Of all the defensive positions, I was probably more impressed by the play of the LBs than any other. Manning, Barnett and Lenon played well and were singled out for praise by the coaches.

DBs- Collins, Roman, Harris and Carroll were the starting defensive backfield in practice, although Roman only played a short while and then was on the sideline with an ice bag on his hamstring. Carroll looked very fast on all the drills and ST's portion of the practice, although he seemed to have trouble grasping one of the drills forcing Bates to show it to him several times before he understood. Dendy made a great play on one pass, knocking it away at the last minute. Collins' ankle was heavily taped and you could tell he wasn't able to run full-speed, but as he was riding a bike over to the practice I asked how it was as he passed us and he said it was alright.

ST- Don't know if it was due to their poor play Saturday night, but Bonamego was pretty loud and animated during the ST portion of practice. They mostly worked on coverages for directional KOs and downing punts within the 20, and both Sander and Longwell looked good although it was hard to judge distance from our angle.

Other- After the practice, I was able to talk to Jim Bates for a couple of minutes walking across the parking lot as he was autographing a football for my son. I asked him how things were going and he expressed frustration in not being able to really judge where the defense was at with so many starters out with injuries. Although it was unsaid, I got the impression that was also a sign of frustration in how many of the young players (probably on the DL) haven't developed as they'd hoped. I told him we had faith that he'd get it done, and he smiled and said thanks, he hoped so.
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