And we’re back with yet another heaping helping of training camp stew, your nightly recap of the most interesting bits of information from today’s practice.
The Green Bay Packers practiced just once Monday, but there was still quite a bit going on. Let’s get to that now, shall we?
As always, a thanks to the fine folks at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Green Bay Press Gazette and Jason Wilde of ESPN Milwaukee (a newcomer to the Stew, yes, but Wilde rocks, no question about it).
- The biggest news to come out of Monday’s practice was the update on Clay Matthews’ hamstring injury, suffered during the “Family Night” scrimmage Saturday. According to head coach Mike McCarthy, Matthews will be out at least a couple of weeks (maybe closer to three). Matthews told reporters it’s in the same area of the same hamstring he injured last summer. He also said he won’t push himself in rehabbing the injury like he did last time around.
- The injury, while it will cause him to miss a significant amount of practice time, doesn’t concern me all that much – especially if Matthews takes a smarter rehab approach this time. Frankly, I’d rather not have him play in any preseason games, anyways. One thing I am curious about, though, is how it will alter his recent position swap. Remember, Matthews had spent a lot of his time in camp at a new spot, left outside linebacker, with Brandon Chillar playing the right side. You have to wonder now if the Packers will continue that switch once he returns.
- The other big news Monday comes in the form of first round pick Bryan Bulaga sharing starting snaps at left guard with Daryn Colledge. It sure seems like Bulaga – who has impressed McCarthy quite a bit, from the sounds of it – has a legitimate chance to beat out Colledge for the gig. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Part of me really likes the idea of Bulaga strictly focusing on his left tackle duties, so he can fully learn the position and be ready if/when he’s called to play when Chad Clifton injures his (fill in the blank). Having him play left guard could leave him unprepared in that instance. On the other hand, if Bulaga is flat-out better than Colledge – certainly a possibility – maybe he should be the guy there. After all, the goal is to have the best players out there, right? Definitely something new to focus on as camp progresses.
- There’s more fallout from this potential switch, too. Jason Spitz – who left practice with a calf injury – may end up serving as a “Sixth Man” of sorts for the line this season, as he can play both guard spots and center. Originally, Spitz and Colledge were going to battle it out at LG. T.J. Lang – the guy I originally had filling that “Sixth Man” role – will likely get his work on the right side alone now. We’ll be taking a look at the offensive line situation at some point this week, for sure.
- Now, on to some things that actually happened in practice…
- Kicker Mason Crosby followed up his strong scrimmage performance by hitting six of eight kicks. One was missed from 43, but that was apparently due to a poor hold from Chris Bryan. The other miss was from 53. So, in the end, you could say Crosby was, essentially, six of seven. Not bad – or, at least, not any worse. I’ll take it.
- A.J. Hawk would have had himself a sack of Aaron Rodgers…you know, if people were allowed to hit No. 12. Hawk was a major standout in the scrimmage. It sounds like he might be building on that just a little bit. That’s a positive as, again, it’s a make-or-break year for him in Green Bay.
- Some one-on-one reports: Justin Harrell dominated Lang at one point and Jarius Wynn crushed Allen Barbre at another. It’s really nice to see Harrell contributing in any form (now that I’ve said that, back injury coming in three…two….). As for Barbre’s loss…well, let’s just say he’d be wise to give his realtor a call right about now. He’s not long for this roster.
- Am I concerned about the Rodgers-led offense being 0-for-5 in the two-minute drill so far in camp? Not really – but I wouldn’t mind seeing something more than zero. It’s hard to win when you have to settle for three points everytime, you know?
- Finally, an apology to Donald Driver: We failed to mention his two-year contract extension Friday. We should have. The extension keeps him in green and gold through the 2012 season and Driver himself said he’ll definitely retire as a Packer. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Mr. Driver, we have been extremely fortunate to be able to root for you for the past 11 years. You’re nothing but a class act and you always make us proud to be Packers fans. Here’s hoping you see, not only the end of that deal, but one more, too.