On the Packers calendar today, the Green Bay Packers Youth Camp wraps up today in Glendale/Whitefish Bay and Kenosha. Among the former Packers that help out with camp is wide receiver Bob Long ...
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be holding an open forum Q&A with fans at Lambeau Field on Thursday July 29 beginning at 7 p.m. following the shareholder's meeting earlier in the day. According to Brad Biggs on the National Football Post, "120 fans will participate and an hour of it will be televised live on NFL Network at 8 p.m. No topics will be off limits and no questions will be screened. The next Q&A session will likely be scheduled in New Orleans prior to the season-opening game between the Saints and Minnesota Vikings." It will be interesting to see how the 120 fans are chosen. I'm assuming many of them will be shareholders, but that's just speculation. This is your chance to grill the commissioner on the labor negotiations.
On a related note, NFL executive vice president Jeff Pash appeared on ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike in the Morning show on Thursday in response to having on NFLPA director DeMaurice Smith. Pash dismissed any hints of collusion among first-round draft choices like Green Bay's Bryan Bulaga not having signed yet. "Pash said Thursday that it's normal for so many top draft picks to remain unsigned at this point and used as evidence the fact that only two first-rounders -- Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez -- were signed at this point last year. He said he expected this year's first-rounders to start to sign soon," said an article posted at ESPN.com.
An in-depth season preview is provided by Athlon Sports, and they continue to set the bar high for the Packers from a national perspective. "The pieces are there — or at least the Packers’ brass is convinced they are," says Athlon. "The Packers were, as usual, a nonfactor in free agency, and they drafted with an eye on the future, which means Thompson did little to alter the roster from a year ago. But then this team made a strong run to the playoffs with an injury-riddled roster a year ago, and a healthy lineup could be even better. Barring another rash of injuries, this team should contend for a berth in Super Bowl XLV." Sounds an awful lot like Peter King and the rest of the national pundits picking the Packers to be Super Bowl contenders.
The player-by-player ranking of every player on the Packers roster is continued by Bill Huber of Packer Report. The highest ranked player on today's edition is right tackle Mark Tauscher coming in at No. 21. "If Tauscher were a quarterback who led such a dramatic turnaround, he would be the toast of the sports world," writes In the first nine games of last season, Aaron Rodgers was sacked 41 times. In the final seven games, Rodgers was sacked nine times. Was it a dramatic change in schemes? Not really. Did Rodgers speed up his internal time clock. Sure, a little. The big difference was that Tauscher had replaced Allen Barbre for good at right tackle. Tauscher simply had Midas’ touch upon his return." He's not flashy, but it's possible that Tauscher might be a little low at 21. He's been a rock at right tackle for a decade and was absolutely huge in the 2007 season when the Packers went 13-3 and went all the way to the NFC Championship game. It's a crime he didn't get more recognition for his solid play that year.
This year's edition of the Green Bay Packers Wisconsin Lottery tickets includes club level season tickets for the entire 2011 season as an instant win prize. "Top winners will receive $10,000 in cash in addition to the club seats, which include preseason and playoff games," writes Charles Davis of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "Tickets will be available at Wisconsin Lottery outlets beginning Friday." Sounds good. The $10 price for a single ticket is enough to keep me away, but that's just me.
Extras are needed for a Pat McCurdy video being filmed today at 2:30 p.m. at New Berlin Eisenhower High School for a song called "I Love the Green and Gold." Drew Olson of OnMilwaukee.com writes, "Sources indicate that the video just might end up on the Jumbotron at Lambeau Field." If I know Pat McCurdy this song could be mentioned in the same breath as other Packers classics like "The Bears Still Suck" and "Where the Hell is Neenah?"
Depth at the safety position is considered by Michael Davidsen of Green Bay Packer Nation. Not a lot of thought has been given to the safeties beyond the starting lineup, but two or three jobs are likely at stake after the first two names on the depth chart. "Obviously, a lot will depend on performance in training camp, and from those results, a couple scenarios can occur," writes Davidsen. "The Packers would love to boost their coverage units on special teams, their return game and their safety depth - but in order to fully satisfy all of those things, they would need to keep all five safeties." My guess right now is that the Packers keep Nick Collins, Morgan Burnett, Atari Bigby and Derrick Martin. I'm on the fence about Will Blackmon. The rest are on the outside looking in.
Kregg Lumpkin's confidence is sky high. In an interview posted on the Packers' official website, Lumpkin talks about playing with the first-string offense. “I’m just hopefully building a trust factor with the coaches and the first-team offense,” Lumpkin told Mike Spofford of Packers.com. “That’s a good thing for me, to keep (a) low (profile) and just go out there and do my job.” I'm glad to see Lumpkin displaying so much confidence, but I would tend to think he's skipping a couple steps. I think his reps with the first-string offense will be few and far between in training camp. I see the most important thing for him to do would be to impress when he gets his chances with the second- and third-string "O." But all the more power to him for shooting for the stars.
Max Ginsberg of the blog Purple Pants, Green Jersey helps fans come to grips with what is sure to be a certainty at the kicking position for the Packers this season. "Over Crosby’s first 3 seasons in the league, his field goal efficiency is a mediocre 78%," writes Ginsberg. "Crosby struggled last season and the Packers fan base have begged and pleaded for head coach Mike McCarthy to bring in some competition at the kicker position. McCarthy has stated that he has “zero interest” in bringing in another kicker. Whether the fans like it or not, they will live or die on the right leg of Mason Crosby for at least another season." I'm wondering, what are the odds that Crosby just knocks everyone's socks of this season? From what I gather, people don't even think it's a possibility. I think the potential is there for Crosby to put it all together. Now it's wait and see time.
That's not stopping Donald's Designated Driver from doubting Crosby. "The only explanation that I can come up with is that McCarthy is trying to rebuild Crosby's confidence," writes D.D. Driver over at the blog All Kinds of Time. "But if Crosby can't handle the pressure of another kicker in camp, how is he possibly going to handle the pressure of kicking a 52-yard field goal with time expiring?" I've wondered the same thing before. I don't have the answer. There's always hope that Crosby just wows everyone this season.
JonBob's Packer Blog wonders if Justin Harrell will make the team this year. "Jolly's suspension may be all that keeps Harrell's shot at a roster spot alive," writes Bob. "If he can prove himself as a versatile rotational lineman, it's likely Harrell will avoid the chopping block once again. I think it's partly a matter of pride for Thompson and the guys who drafted him as well. It's hard to cut a guy that's done so little with so much invested in him." And that's really all Harrell has to do this year is be a rotational player. No one is expecting him to be a starter. But if he can come in, spell Ryan Pickett for a few downs and be consistent for an entire season, that would be a huge plus for the Packers this year.
Quinn Johnson isn't a lock to make the roster this season says Michael Rodney of Packer Update. "Don’t hand Johnson a roster spot just yet," writes Rodney. "The former LSU star, who will never be as good on special teams as either Kuhn or Hall, didn’t have an overly impressive offseason. That said, he appears to be one of those players who will always look better in pads than he does in shorts. He’ll need to be if he wants to keep his No. 45 jersey because the competition will be fierce and the days of keeping three fullbacks appear to be over." I tend to believe Johnson will earn a spot on the team, but (as usual) training camp will play a large role in if that becomes true or not.
Here's a man after my own heart. "Maybe I am just desperate for the mind-bending adrenaline rush that is the NFL season," writes Rick in a guest post over at PocketDoppler. "That first update on Mason Crosby’s newfound accuracy (let’s hope), that first glimpse of 4th stringers fighting for their NFL lives during the preseason, that first sack, interception, touchdown and “W” are all enchanting moments impossible to duplicate. Heck I’m even excited to learn what color pen Mike McCarthy will be sporting in his baseball cap this year. Sports in general are great, but there is no rival to the National Football League." I salute you, Rick.
Alex Tallitsch of of Packers Lounge is Nostradamus. He predicts a few things Mike McCarthy is going to say at his training camp press conferences, and I wouldn't doubt if McCarthy utters this phrase verbatim: "Matt is clearly way ahead of where he was year ago. From an experience standpoint he’s playing a lot faster in and out of the huddle. That’s a normal progression for a young quarterback. I think Matt has a bright future in this league."
Whether or not the Packers keep three quarterbacks this season is pondered by PackerWorld Central. "Considering the depth issues they've had with other positions in the past, I highly doubt the Packers will spend a third roster spot on a quarterback," writes the author. I'd have to agree. There's been debate if the Packers keep three fullbacks or four tight ends or five safeties. If they go above and beyond at one position, it's going to take a sacrifice at another position. And it looks like Graham Harrell could easily be stored on the practice squad.
The wide receivers are broken down by Bill Huber of Packer Report in his positional analysis series. "Our two-positions-a-day training camp preview focuses on starting wide receivers Donald Driver and Greg Jennings," writes Huber (subscription required). "We tell you about their strengths and weaknesses, and use our 20-20 general manager's goggles to find better (and worse) options."
We also discussed wide receivers here at Cheesehead TV on our best and worst case scenarios series. Just for fun, here's the best case scenario for James Jones this season: "Any debate about who is the No. 3 receiver on the Packers becomes laughable by mid-season when it’s clear that Jones is far and away the best option. Not only that, there’s talk about how Jones could crack the starting lineup by next season when Donald Driver starts to slow down. Whatever numbers Jordy Nelson puts up this season, Jones doubles them."
The NFL Network has footage from when actor Dan Lauria plus the play Lombardi's producer and director traveled to Green Bay during OTAs on a character study mission. Hat tip to Don Walker at the Journal Sentinel.
Former Packers safety LeRoy Butler made the SBNation Wisconsin Hall of Fame over at Acme Packing Company.
Listen to last night's episode of Cheesehead Radio where I was glad to be a guest on the show. Thanks, guys and gals. I had fun talking about Packers football, especially special teams.
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