The Packer Report: Following the Trends

Who is trending upward and who is trending downward? We have the answers you need to know after Sunday night's third practice of training camp.

Packer Report follows the training camp trends in this daily feature.

Trending upward

— The offensive line dominated the one-on-one pass-rushing drills, with rookie offensive lineman T.J. Lang easily handling Justin Harrell once and Brady Poppinga twice. Lang was beaten once by Aaron Kampman but recovered quickly enough to get Kampman to the turf. Later, offensive line coach James Campen loudly shouted praise at Lang for the blocks that he and Breno Giacomini made to spring a long run by rookie Tyrell Sutton.

— Cornerback Charles Woodson is off to a superb start. He didn't intercept any passes on Sunday night, but he was all over a slant to Donald Driver during a receiver-vs.-defensive back drill and he dropped two interceptions during 11-on-11 periods. Woodson is just so smart. When he's taking a breather, he spends time talking to cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr.

— Tight end Jermichael Finley showed good hustle while on the punt team. On offense, he caught a downfield pass from Matt Flynn. Safety Aaron Rouse popped Finley but it was Rouse who wound up on the ground.

— Along with the play of the day (below) and a nifty run on an end-around, Jennings easily beat Aaron Kampman, of all people, on a deep pass down the middle by Aaron Rodgers. Kampman was stuck on Jennings because Woodson blitzed off the corner but was picked up easily by left tackle Chad Clifton.

Trending sideways

— Late Sunday night, wide receiver Brett Swain made a superb leaping catch in front of fast-closing Nick Collins. It's the type of catch Swain needs to make to beat out Ruvell Martin. Unfortunately, Swain had a couple of drops, including on a perfectly thrown deep ball by Brian Brohm and later when he heard the footsteps of safety Anthony Smith.

— Not that receiver Jordy Nelson is in danger of losing his job, but he also dropped a perfect bomb by Rodgers. Later, in a seven-on-seven drill, he made a superb catch with his fingertips on a high pass by Rodgers.

— Running back Brandon Jackson was on the receiving end of the collision of the night, with linebacker Brandon Chillar smashing into him during a blitz-pickup drill. Fellow linebacker Nick Barnett hollered in appreciation. Moments later, Jackson got into a scuffle with linebacker Danny Lansanah. Jackson, however, had a couple of nifty runs, including when he got past Kampman one-on-one on a running play. He also made a nifty catch on a poorly thrown screen.

— First-round pick Clay Matthews got into the backfield to cause a pileup to thwart a run by DeShawn Wynn. Earlier, he demonstrated his excellence on special teams. But in one-on-one pass-blocking drills, he was handled with ease by tackles Clifton and Tony Moll.

Trending downward

— Don't make too much out of one practice, but kicker Mason Crosby missed not one, not two but three consecutive 40-yard field goals during a drill in which the kicking unit had to run on the field for a last-second field goal. The unit wasn't in a huge rush, though, and the breeze wasn't a big factor, either. Crosby missed all three to the right before making the fourth, getting a rather sarcastic cheer from the fans.

"It's training camp," coach Mike McCarthy said. "That's why we continue to work the mechanics of the run-on field goal. We're going to keep practicing until we get it right."

True, but with career accuracy of only 79.5 percent, it's performances like this that will have Crosby facing a challenger at some point during training camp.

Kregg Lumpkin and Sutton are at the end of the pecking order at halfback, and they didn't do much to help themselves on Sunday night. Lumpkin was beaten horribly by Brandon Chillar and Desmond Bishop on back-to-back plays during the blitz-pickup drill. The 5-foot-8 Sutton was overpowered by A.J. Hawk during the drill, struggled during one-on-one matchups between blockers and cover men during a punt period and needed to grab a mitt full of jersey to stop a blitzing Bishop. His playmaking ability as a receiver is evident but he needs to be more than just someone who can catch.

Play of the day

The offense didn't have many highlights on Sunday night, but this was a beauty. With defensive end Cullen Jenkins jumping offsides, Rodgers had a free play. He uncorked a beautiful deep ball to Jennings, who was tightly covered by Tramon Williams. Jennings won the battle, though, with a fabulous catch.


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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 and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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