Four-Point Stance: Family Night Scrimmage

The potential chink in the Packers' offensive armor was exposed during Friday's Family Night Scrimmage. What on earth would the Packers do without Marshall Newhouse? Plus, our position of the day is outside linebacker and Nick Perry is our rookie of the day.

The Big Story

Anyone have Chad Clifton's phone number?

Is Derek Sherrod anywhere close to being ready to practice?

Toward the end of Friday night's scrimmage, starting left tackle Marshall Newhouse was led to the locker room by one of the trainers. Coach Mike McCarthy had no information on what, if anything, was wrong with Newhouse. Perhaps Newhouse will be back in action when the team returns to practice on Sunday. Perhaps not.

Either way, the injury – or the appearance of an injury – underscores the precarious position the Packers are tight-roping at a key position.

Sherrod, who played 115 snaps but never started as last year's first-round pick, sustained a broken leg in Week 15 at Kansas City. When coach Mike McCarthy was asked about Sherrod this week, he had no idea when the player drafted to be Clifton's successor would step on the practice field. A healthy Sherrod solidifies the position but he's got a long road back after missing the entire offseason while rehabbing the injury. Being healthy and being ready to play are two different things.

Rookie seventh-round pick Andrew Datko's difficult training camp was underlined during the scrimmage, when he had his hands full with outside linebackers Nick Perry and Dezman Moses. Datko's struggles are almost to be expected. He played through a serious shoulder injury as a junior, which forced him to get into bad habits to play through the pain. As a senior, he barely played at all before undergoing season-ending surgery on the shoulder.

"In those two years, I wasn't really using it for football so now I've got to break those habits and start using it again," Datko told Packer Report on Friday night.

Herb Taylor, who has been alternating between left tackle and right tackle with Datko, hasn't played in a regular-season game since 2008.

The most realistic option would be moving Bryan Bulaga from right tackle to left tackle. That, of course, isn't a perfect solution, either, considering Bulaga is on the cusp of being one of the game's top one or two right tackles.

Offensively, the Packers could survive significant injuries to any position other than quarterback and offensive tackle.

"I don't know anything about his injury, but I think what camp's about is seeing how the team comes together," the quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, said. "I think right now we really need to see who that seven, eight, nine lineman is going to be. Right now, we've obviously got our starting five and Evan (Dietrich-Smith), who's played a lot. He's a guy we can count on. Herb is the only guy I think who's played in an NFL game over there. So, we've got to find out who those backups are going to be and get them ready if anything happens."

Rookie of the Day

On Thursday, Packer Report asked Nick Perry if the "real Nick Perry" would show up in the games, when his physical style could be displayed against someone in a different color jersey. On Friday, we asked Perry if a glimpse of the "real Nick Perry" showed up at Family Night.

"There's still a lot to show," Perry said with a smile.

The Packers didn't have a starters-vs.-starters segment at the scrimmage, which allowed Perry to tangle with someone other than Bulaga. Whether it was Datko or Taylor or Shea Allard, Perry was a constant in the backfield. He didn't get any sacks but he forced a few throwaways and errant passes. Perry is strong and tough, traits that should pay dividends on snaps 40, 50 and 60 of regular-season games.

Position of the Day

Outside linebacker: Clay Matthews is having an excellent training camp and Perry showed some of his potential on Friday. At this point, they're the only locks to make the final roster, with undrafted rookie Moses getting pretty close to sure-thing status with every practice.

Who else makes it? Erik Walden has been pretty good but he got three sacks in 15 starts last season and was demoted for Week 17 and the playoffs. The Packers know what they have there and it's nothing great. He's not a great pass rusher, he's never forced a fumble and he's too easily fooled by misdirection. For as so-so as Walden was last year, the Packers never felt compelled to give Brad Jones a shot until Week 17, and then they moved him to inside linebacker during the offseason – though he's back on the outside because of injuries. Vic So'oto has been Mr. Invisible after being Mr. Big Play last summer. Unlike last training camp, So'oto isn't getting to the quarterback. Like last summer, he's been routinely exploited in coverage. Frank Zombo, who played in just five games last year because of a list of injuries, hasn't practiced in camp.

Quoteworthy

Rodgers, on getting just two series: "We took enough reps tonight, I wasn't too disappointed. I think Graham (Harrell) did a really nice job. He made some plays with that group. We moved the ball the way we wanted to. I was throwing it the way I wanted to. I missed a couple I probably should've hit. But we've got so many playmakers, you put it anywhere around these guys … the one to Greg (Jennings) was an incredible catch. It's nice having those kind of weapons."

T.J. Lang, on the pre-snap penalties: "I think it's just mostly the adrenalin factor. Obviously, last night, the first night practice is always physical every year. The adrenalin, it's always high-energy, and guys can play out of character in regard to the pre-snap penalties, the offsides, the false starts. And that just comes with focus."

Jerel Worthy, on being emotional for his first NFL appearance: "I just stayed within myself a little bit and understood that you've reached a level that there's no level beyond this. You're at the top. Everybody's watching you. You've got to represent your organization, and you're out there playing with your friends and your family. You take everything in and play through all those emotions and try to make plays."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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