The Packers had their OTA today on Clarke Hinkle Field, and here is a running diary of some of what went on. Conditions: Sunny, but breezy and chilly.
11:15 am- WR Donald Driver is here! He’s decided to make an appearance after last week getting thrown about the media with possible contract renegotiation demands. Seemed to be healthy, and made some nice catches.
11:20- C Scott Wells is in a t-shirt and isn’t practicing. He is going to have a tough time keeping his starting job this year, I think. Jason Spitz has looked sharp at center, and with the talent they are bringing back on the offensive line, Wells could be the odd man out when all is said and done. Needs to get healthy first, however.
11:30- K Mason Crosby gives a wave as I walk by. Kickers are interesting people. They are very serious about their craft, but not as serious about their job. They (kickers) are the butt of a lot of camp jokes, but the get that, and are ok with it. I don’t know if the other players consider them “football” players as they stretch and kneel on the other side of the field, but Mason is as good as they come.
11:35- A fan drives down Holmgren and honks his horn the ENTIRE length of the field, all the way to the end. Players don’t even look up. Impressive honking dedication, however.
11:37- A bus of school kids comes by, with kids hanging out the window screaming for the Packers. I mean, no where else in the country would have a scene like this, right?
11:40- If you haven’t had a chance to get down to the open OTA, you have missed a very impressive afro by Nick Barnett. I don’t think he has cut his hair since his knee injury. He isn’t practicing, but I wonder if his helmet size has increased, he has so much hair…
11:45- Just tweeted from camp. Ain’t technology grand? If you haven’t signed up to follow us on Twitter, do it! Search “fox11sports” to find us.
11:48- OL Josh Sitton just stopped past to get a drink, and I can see what he has been working on in the off-season: A ‘fro of his own! I think with Mark Tauscher out of the picture, Sitton and Alan Barbre are competing for “most unruly head and face of hair” in camp.
11:50- Ball security drills. Cool new one for the offensive line: a bunch of blocking pads are piled up with a ball beneath them. It’s a fumble recovery drill, and at the whistle the big O-lineman dives into the pads to find the football. I find myself thinking this would be a fun game for my 5-year-old’s birthday party next week.
11:55- Have a nice conversation with former NFL, AFL QB and Sturgeon Bay grad Chris Greisen about his career. Our daughters were in pre-school together. He is going to try out for the new UFL, which has their draft later this month. Just four teams, with a six week schedule, then a championship game, playing between September and November. He’s hoping to be able to hook on. He says they pay pretty well: $30-200 thousand for just six games= not bad. Best of luck to him!
12:00- The noon whistle blows, and RB Deshawn Wynn fumbles a kick off return. I don’t think the two were related.
12:05- Special teams session going on, and ST coach Shawn Slocum isn’t happy with the preparation of the players. Justin Harrell is urged to please take a gander at the playbook a little more often, though not in those exact words. This is a family friendly blog, after all.
12:12- Individual drills are starting, and I’m watching the RB’s. New FB Quinn Johnson (5th round pick) seems to be the guy they pick on, since he’s the only rookie. First, Edgar Bennett gets him to jump off-sides, which gives everyone a chuckle, then hitting the sled, he gets in trouble for pin-wheeling his arms before laying into it, provoking chants of “He’s winding up!” from the rest of the players. Johnson has to do the drill again!
I also have to remark that Ryan Grant looks considerably thinner as opposed to the end of the season. Don’t know if that is on purpose, or just an off-season weight.
12:20- Checking out the Offensive Line drills. Sitton is a very technically sound lineman, in the drills, at least. He gets praise from the coaches, and I think will start at the right guard spot this year, if Spitz plays center. New lineman TJ Lang (3rd rounder) gets some good encouragement from coach James Campen.
12:26- New defensive line coach Mike Trgovac is very hands on, literally. He just grabbed new tackle BJ Raji (1st rounder) by the shirt, moving him around to show him what he wanted. And BJ is not little.
12:47- WR Jordy Nelson has made some very nice catches this session- will he become a bigger part of the team this year? This is his time if he wants to step it up. I don’t know if James Jones is as secure as some think, especially if Jordy can string together some good practices.
12:55- OLB (!) Aaron Kampman just looks a little weird playing in an up stance. But he just knocked away a pass, and OLB coach Kevin Greene went nuts! I think it is going to be fun to see Kevin Greene on the sidelines this year. He has said he doesn’t remember much of his NFL career (“I’ve had a lot of concussions,” he told me a couple of months ago.), but he has the passion, that’s for sure.
12:58- C Jason Spitz just threw a cut block on BJ Raji, who jumped up to complain, but realized no one was going to listen to him. Welcome to the league, rook!
1:10- Last play of the OTA, S Aaron Rouse gets the pick of QB Brian Brohm. Back-up QB’s didn’t have a great day. But hey- that’s what practice is for!