The Packer Report: Following the Trends

Who is trending upward and who is trending downward? We have the answers you need to know after a relatively quiet Friday in the Don Hutson Center.

Packer Report follows the training camp trends in this daily feature. (Note: This is an abbreviated version because Friday's only practice was conducted without pads).

Trending upward

— Who else but Jake Allen? Allen, the 6-foot-4 former Division III All-American from Mississippi College, spent his undrafted rookie season on the practice squad. He had mostly been a forgotten player during training camp, with the stalwart Big Five in place and undrafted Kole Heckendorf turning heads, but Allen was the clear-cut star on Friday.

On the fourth play of a red-zone blitz drill, he used his height to make a leaping catch over Tramon Williams. Later, with Aaron Rodgers looking to unload the ball with Charles Woodson and Cyril Obiozor blitzing off the edge, Allen worked free in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.

In a red-zone seven-on-seven drill, Allen beat outside linebacker Brady Poppinga to the corner of the end zone, dragging his toes before stepping out of bounds, for another touchdown from Rodgers. Later, in 11-on-11, Matt Flynn threw deep to Allen but it appeared Flynn's arm was hit. Allen made the adjustment while Woodson stumbled to the turf, for another completion. And on the last play of practice, Flynn threw a high pass to Allen in the back of the end zone against Jarrett Bush.

— Maybe there's a punter here, after all. Both Jeremy Kapinos and Durant Brooks had strong performances. Kapinos' first punt came with the ball snapped at the 1-yard line. It was an area where both he and Brooks struggled earlier in the week, but Kapinos uncorked a high 53-yarder that almost hit the roof of the Don Hutson Center. Punting with the ball snapped at the 4, Brooks hit a 46-yarder.

In all, Kapinos got three punts, including 52- and 45-yarders. Brooks' other punt traveled 45 yards. Kapinos had superior hang time.

The caveat: There was no rush. But you take improvement where you can find it.

Trending sideways

— Give credit to tight end Evan Moore for fighting through a broken finger. With Tory Humphrey out, Moore's chance of making the roster has improved greatly. Running a route against Aaron Kampman during the seven-on-seven red-zone drill, Moore got open but dropped the pass from Rodgers.

— An injured hamstring in OTAs was unfortunate but not really a big deal. That first-round pick Clay Matthews III aggravated that injury on Thursday, didn't practice on Friday and might miss Saturday's scrimmage has to be cause for concern.

Trending downward

— High expectations came with fifth-round pick Quinn Johnson, but the fullback has struggled thus far. His latest came on a goal-line run when he fumbled the hand-off from Brian Brohm. Safety Charlie Peprah recovered. At least he caught the one pass thrown his way.

Play of the day

Tight end Jermichael Finley could be challenging Chicago's Greg Olsen for best tight end in the NFC North if he keeps this up. During the red-zone blitz period, Finley ran up the seam and caught Brian Brohm's bullet before linebacker Danny Lansanah knew the ball had whistled past his helmet. That Finley put his hands up at the last possible second to catch the pass is just another sign of his maturing as a receiver.


Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.


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.


Packer Report Top Stories