Our weekly "Chips Report" will always include two blue chippers (outstanding, exceptional play), two red chippers (good, though maybe not great) and two cow chips (dud performances). From the annual practice Saturday night at Lambeau Field...
- Defensive lineman Mike Pennel—If there was an unheralded player that made the most of the game-like atmosphere inside Lambeau Field Saturday evening, it was the undrafted rookie out of Colorado State-Pueblo. Pennel made a handful of tackles, at least one for loss, and showed several impressive traits to his game. He displayed a quick first step, strength with his bull rush and didn't give up, hustling after the ball. As one of only two defensive players over 315 lbs., he's giving himself a chance to make the roster after flashing at Family Night.
- Kicker Mason Crosby—It was one year ago when Crosby's job was seriously in jeopardy after going two-for-six in field goal attempts at last year's Family Night practice. Crosby rebounded to have a solid 2013 season and picked up where he left off Saturday night by converting on all six field goal attempts in the last segment of the evening. The veteran kicker made kicks of 28, 33, 38, 43, 48 and 50 yards and looked similarly solid on kickoffs.
- Wide receiver Kevin Dorsey—The highlight of the evening was when Dorsey settled into a zone, catching a touchdown pass from Matt Flynn in the skeleton drill. But Dorsey also showed his willingness and drive to make the team by any means possible when he dropped back to return punts as well as work as a gunner on the punt squad. Now that it appears Jared Abbrederis is out for the year, Dorsey has one less competitor to leap frog on the depth chart, and he's making the most of every opportunity.
- Safety Micah Hyde—It's difficult for a defensive back to stand out in a practice that doesn't include live tackling, but Micah Hyde was in perfect position nearly all evening. Not only was he in perfect trailing position in coverage on several occasions, he expertly left his zone on multiple check-down passes to running backs, ready to make plays in front of the first-down marker. He also continued to take punt returns, which he may have to do more often, now that it's looking likely Abbederis will be lost for the season.
- Running back Michael Hill—It was unfortunate Hill took a shot to the head in the two-minute drill at the end of practice, fumbling the football, but the reason for making the "cow chips" list has more to do with his fumble earlier in practice. On a routine handoff from quarterback Scott Tolzien, Hill failed to corrall the ball between his arms, squirting out before even being touched. The running play was so routine, even a high school player shouldn't be fumbling it away.
- Wide receiver Chris Harper—During the "Move the Ball" period of practice, Harper did a terrific job getting behind the defense, wide open for a big play, but blew the opportunity by dropping a pass deep down the field from Tolzien. Yes, Tolzien underthrew the football, but that is a play Harper absolutely has to make after hitting him in the chest. If he's going to make a bid to win a roster spot, especially with Abbrederis gone, Harper has to make plays like this.
Brian Carriveau is the author of the book "It's Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America," and editor of Cheesehead TV's "Pro Football Draft Preview." To contact Brian, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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