One: The Big Deal
A change of pace, in light of a short Monday practice ...
With much fanfare at some outlets, the Packers released their "unofficial" depth chart on Saturday.
We stopped looking at it when Dezman Moses was listed as the No. 4 right outside linebacker when he's in the running to be the No. 1 backup (regardless of side) and a key member of a special package.
We've been jotting down personnel groups since camp opened on July 26. This is much more accurate than what the Packers released, though in this era of situational football, it's certainly not perfect.
QB: Rodgers, Harrell, Coleman.
RB: Starks, Saine, Green.
FB: Kuhn, Hoese, Cooper.
WR: Jennings, Nelson, Cobb, Driver, Jones, Borel, Gurley, Smithson, Boykin, Moss, Gilleylen. (Top three in slot: Cobb, Driver, Borel.)
TE: Finley, Crabtree, Williams, Taylor, Bostick, Cosby (Quarless and Lair are injured).
LT: Newhouse, Taylor, Datko, Allard (Sherrod, if healthy, would be No. 2).
LG: Lang, Dietrich-Smith, Dominguez (injured), Barclay.
C: Saturday, Dietrich-Smith, Draheim, Genus.
RG: Sitton, Dietrich-Smith, Van Roten, Brooks (injured).
RT: Bulaga, Taylor, Datko, McCabe (injured). (Sherrod, if healthy, would be No. 2).
LDE: Pickett, Merling, Guy.
NT: Raji, Muir.
RDE: Wilson, Worthy, Wynn, Neal.
Nickel DT: Raji, Worthy, Neal, Hargrove, Wynn, Daniels.
ILB: Bishop, Hawk, Smith, Francois, Lattimore, Jones, Manning.
OLB: Matthews, Perry, Moses, Walden, Jones, So'oto (Zombo injured).
CB: Williams, Bush, House, Shields, Hayward, Ross, Merrill, Turner. (Slot corner: Woodson, Bush, Hayward, Ross.)
S: Burnett, Woodson, Jennings, McMillian, Levine, Richardson, Pellerin.
KR: Cobb, Borel, Smithson, Shields, Nelson.
PR: Cobb, Borel, Smithson, Williams, Nelson.
Two: Rookie of the Day
It's not often than an undrafted rookie free agent has practically clinched his spot on the roster before the first preseason game. At this rate, however, Moses not only is going to make the team but be a key member of the defense.
"I really don't think too much about it," Moses said last week. "It's so early. You really don't want to get ahead of yourself or anything like that, and I certainly don't. it's a work in progress for me. I'm just trying to get better each day. I don't try to compare to anybody else or try to be like anybody else, because it'll take you off your focus. I'm extremely happy and blessed to be in the position to be running with the 2s and getting those reps because those reps are where you really learn."
Moses makes his presence felt every day. On the last play of Monday night's practice, he beat Shea Allard to sack B.J. Coleman on fourth down of a two-minute drill. In a two-minute drill on Sunday night, his pressure against Herb Taylor helped the defense keep the offense out of the end zone.
Three: Position of the Day
Each day, we take a look at the competition at one position.
The real intrigue lies in the sub packages. When Bishop was sidelined (calf), D.J. Smith was outstanding. Before Bishop's return, Hawk and Smith were on the field in nickel, with Smith the lone inside linebacker in dime. Bishop will be the linebacker in dime, but what about nickel? The steady and heady Hawk is a quality blitzer, though he's used mostly in a setup role, but Smith appears to be more of a playmaker.
Who rounds out the position group? Robert Francois had three turnover plays in limited action last season. Brad Jones and Jamari Lattimore have value on special teams and can play inside and outside. So far, fifth-round pick Terrell Manning has been a major disappointment. He'll need to rise to the occasion soon or he'll be out of the picture.
Anthony Hargrove, on assisting position coach Mike Trgovac with the plays and personnel groups at practice: "Sometimes watching is the best way to learn. I'm listening to the calls, listening to where the blitzes are coming from, but at the same time, I'm taking notice of my teammates. I'm learning how Clay Matthews rushes, how Bishop sets the fronts, how B.J. likes to rush. I'm learning how guys play, so when I get out there, I can just play with them. It's very important to be out there and be as involved as I can. And I thank Trgo for giving me the opportunity and trusting me that I can substitute guys in there without messing up for him."
Coach Mike McCarthy, on Donald Driver: "I think Donald's having a very consistent camp. He's had a couple of big nights where he was very productive. Just the way he goes about his business is really kind of the way he's gone about it his whole career. He's the same guy every day. He practices the same way every day. He's just a very tough individual. He brings a toughness to our team that I don't think people realize behind that smile. He looks good. He looks real good."
Mason Crosby, on Shannon Eastin, who will become the first female to officiate an NFL game when she helps call Thursday's game at San Diego: "I just actually read that we're having one out in San Diego. That's cool. It's not going to change anything that we do. She's obviously qualified and she'll do a great job."
Graham Harrell, on his improved arm strength: "I did some good training this offseason and I worked with a guy back home that did a lot of good things for me. I think the more comfortable you get in the offense, the better you're going to look. When you're throwing with more confidence, when you're throwing with less hesitation, it looks like it's coming out faster. Has my arm improved? Hopefully. That's why I trained in the offseason. But I think a lot of it has to do with being more comfortable in the offense and being more experienced in the offseason."
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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 email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.