The Packer Report: Following the Trends

Who is trending upward and who is trending downward? We have the answers you need to know after the offense bounced back with a strong performance on Thursday night.

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

Trending upward

— The offense rebounded in a big way after Tuesday night's fight-filled affair. During an 11-on-11 blitz period, Aaron Rodgers completed 4-of-5 passes. On Rodgers' second completion, to Jermichael Finley, DeShawn Wynn picked up blitzing linebacker Brandon Chillar at the last minute. Later, Ryan Grant picked up a blitz that allowed Rodgers to fire a deep ball to Greg Jennings. It was a perfect pass between Al Harris and Atari Bigby. The ball traveled somewhere between 50 and 60 yards on the fly, with the fans giving a rousing ovation. It was Rodgers' sharpest period of camp, on top of his successful 2-minute drill in the morning.

— It wasn't just Rodgers. The running backs did a lot of dirty work. Little Tyrell Sutton picked up a pair of blitzers, including leveling safety Charlie Peprah on one play and shoving aside a blitzing cornerback later. If Sutton can do that, he's got a chance because he's been dynamite with the ball in his hands. He took a handoff to the left and cut back to the right twice for a long gain. Grant picked up blitzing safety Nick Collins early in practice, with Rodgers hitting James Jones for a long completion.

— The receivers were terrific after dropping too many passes earlier in camp. On back-to-back plays in seven-on-seven, Jordy Nelson made a superb diving catch and Kole Heckendorf made a terrific over-the-shoulder catch against Will Blackmon on a long pass down the left sideline. Ruvell Martin also had a long gain against Joe Porter.

Cullen Jenkins has been a one-man wrecking crew. In one-on-one pass-rushing drills, he posted overwhelming wins against Daryn Colledge (twice) and Andrew Hartline. On one of the wins against Colledge, he fought hard to the outside, then shot inside to leave Colledge grasping at air. It was very impressive. The only man to beat him was undrafted tackle Dane Randolph. During an 11-on-11 run drill, Jenkins split a double team and got down the line of scrimmage to drop Wynn for a minimal gain.

— Other than Jenkins and, occasionally, Ryan Pickett, veteran defensive end Michael Montgomery was the only defensive player to have much success in one-on-one pass-rushing drills. Montgomery won practically every rep, including drawing a hold on Allen Barbre.

Aaron Rouse had an interception in the morning practice by running through tight end Tory Humphrey to get to the ball. He's playing more physical than he had during his first two seasons. Just ask Wynn — they had a heck of a collision on a running play. On Tuesday, Rouse talked trash at Evan Dietrich-Smith after the rookie lineman ran him over. On Thursday night, Dietrich-Smith and Rouse battled again on a running play, but this time, they patted each other on the butt.

Trending sideways

— Rookie defensive end Jarius Wynn is incredibly quick off the ball and is good at getting off blocks. He flowed down the line of scrimmage to tackle Sutton near the sideline early in the night practice. He's made an eye-opening play or two during practically every practice, making him a favorite to be the sixth lineman on the roster. But he was dominated during one-on-one pass rushing, was late on the field during a punting drill and jumped offsides on Rouse's morning interception (in which tight end Tory Humphrey suffered a broken forearm).

— Too often, inside linebacker A.J. Hawk is invisible. While Brandon Chillar, Desmond Bishop and even Danny Lansanah make their presence felt several times per practice, Hawk too often seems like he's feeling his way through the action. He did, however, show good range in racing to the sideline to tackle Ryan Grant on a screen pass.

— Safety Charlie Peprah is fighting an uphill battle to make the roster, but in the span of three plays during 11-on-11, he stopped Sutton at the line of scrimmage and broke up a pass to Greg Jennings.

— Receiver James Jones made a number of big plays during the two practices, and coach Mike McCarthy praised him after the morning session. In a third-down drill to end practice, however, he got open deep but misjudged a pass by Rodgers. A few plays later, he pushed off on undrafted rookie corner Trevor Ford and was flagged for offensive pass interference.

Trending downward

— Rookie corner Brandon Underwood missed most of the offseason workouts because school was in session at Cincinnati and the first few practices of training camp with a sore back, and it shows. In the morning, he was pushed around by Ruvell Martin on a screen pass — drawing the ire of the coaches. He was beaten by Jake Allen in both practices. The sixth-round pick, a modest bet to make the roster at the start of camp, is seeing those hopes look slimmer by the day.

— The coaches like Kregg Lumpkin for a reason. He runs hard and has good hands. He's on the No. 1 kickoff return as a blocker. But he fumbled on Tuesday night and dropped a pitch on fourth-and-goal on Thursday morning.

Jeremy Kapinos probably remains the favorite to win the punting job, but hitting a pair of pooch punts a yard too far in the night practice didn't win him any points. Kapinos' strength is his consistency and his directional kicking. He can't afford to lose that edge.

Play of the day

One thing's for sure: If Nick Collins isn't happy with his contract situation, it's not showing up on the field. During 11-on-11 drills late in the night practice, Aaron Rodgers spotted Greg Jennings breaking open on a deep crossing route. It looked like a big gain until Collins shot in like a blur and made a terrific leaping interception. It was an amazing play by Collins, who intercepted seven passes last season and has three during camp. All three were terrific individual efforts.


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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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