After an ever-so-brief hiatus, we’re back with another helping of training camp stew – your nightly update on the most interesting bits of information to come out of that day’s practice(s).
The Green Bay Packers went at it twice Thursday as they are just two days away from their preseason opener against the highly touted Cleveland Browns (wait – scratch that last part).
- Man, it really sounds like the heat is beyond brutal in Titletown right now, doesn’t it? It was so bad – how bad was it? – that head coach Mike McCarthy decided to avoid going with full pads for the evening practice, also shortening the evening session by over a half an hour. It also sounds like Mike Mac was just a hair irritable during the morning session. As I’ve said before on this site, McCarthy – like myself – is a big guy. We do not take to heat well and, sometimes, we take out our aggressions on those around us. Our bad.
- Sorry to begin with the weather. Didn’t mean to sound like my mother there.
- Back to the lack of full padded practices over the last week or so. It’s a smart idea, really. The team did plenty of full pad, full contact stuff early on. And with the preseason games actually upon us, this team’s going to have more than enough opportunity to start hitting. Really, you’d rather have them hitting players on other teams, anyways.
- Guard T.J. Lang injured his quad in the morning practice and didn’t go during the evening. It’s not yet known how serious it is, but McCarthy did say Lang could very well miss Saturday’s game. In McCarthy terms, that means he’s out.
- Chalk up another outstanding day for my man Sam Shields. With two more interceptions in the morning session, Shields just continues to prove he belongs on the 53-man roster. He’s officially earned “my man” status for the 2010 camp. The past two winners of this honor were Tyrell Sutton (’09) and Kregg Lumpkin (’08, before we had the blog). Something tells me Shields is more Lumpkin than Sutton, in terms of ultimately making the roster.
- Donald Driver, after missing five straight practices, returned for the night session and did what Double D always does: Make plays, including some tough catches in traffic. I really don’t think the calf injury was that serious. Rather, I think the team is being cautious with him, especially when you factor in his offseason knee surgery and age. There really isn’t much Driver needs to work on, anyways. He needs to be locked and loaded for Sept. 12 (less than a month away!).
- Green Bay is so depleted in the linebacking corps – how depleted is it? – that Spencer Havner was actually taking some snaps there Thursday. The move appears to be only temporary, but still, it’s a sign that this team needs to heal up there in a major way.
- Graham Harrell appears to be improving steadily each and every day and turned in another solid day Thursday. You might laugh, but Harrell actually has a decent shot to make this team, in my mind. It’s clear the Packers are grooming Matt Flynn in the hopes of trading him after the season. And it’s no secret that other teams have showed interest in Flynn in the past. That being the case, the Packers need to start prepping their next Matt Flynn. Maybe it’s Harrell and, if that’s the case, he’ll likely get a spot on the team so he can begin to learn the position.
- Some more info on the Browns game. The starters will go roughly 20 snaps, which seems like a higher-than-usual amount considering its the first game. I’d go a series for each side. Games two and three are the ones you should focus on. Actually, I wouldn’t play them at all during the preseason, but that’s just me. I’m terrified of injuries like that.
- Nick Barnett (knee), Jason Spitz (calf), Clay Matthews (hamstring) and Will Blackmon (knee) are all likely to join Lang on the sidelines for the game.
- Finally, this has nothing to do with Thursday’s practices, but I think you all should read Lori Nickel’s outstanding piece on Anna Schmidt, a 13-year old girl who recently visited a Packers practice by way of the Make-A-Wish foundation. We talk about football being a battle – but, really, that’s b.s. Read up on what this kid had to go through. THAT’S a battle. As fans, we need perspective some times (myself chief amongst that group) and this provides it.
We’ll be back Friday with a preview of sorts for the Browns game.