It was an exciting Saturday night at Lambeau for the Packers annual Family Night Scrimmage. Of course it was probably one of the few, if the only, NFL scrimmage that was a sellout, so that is exciting too. Although there were some big hits, since it was still not full speed it was hard to tell what were screw ups and what was a player holding up.
A few players really stood out on Saturday. LB Abdul Hodge had the biggest hit of the night. Moving to his left, he ran right by C Scott Wells and nailed the running back for a short gain. Still, Hodge showed his usual tendency to get hurt and cut his night short with a dislocated finger. CBs Will Blackmon and Tramon Williams both looked good, although both did it against the 2nd and 3rd team offenses. The biggest star of the night was rookie RB Brandon Jackson, who had two big receptions and showed great hands. Still, Jackson was not given an opportunity to show that he had improved his pass blocking which had been an ongoing problem all last week in practice.
WRs David Clowney and Shaun Bodiford each looked really good returning the ball and Clowney had a long TD run, but that was due to good blocking and poor kick coverage. That would have to be considered a push for the special teams overall. Ks Dave Rayner and Mason Crosby each showed a strong leg and accuracy. They should keep up this battle all preseason.
QB Brett Favre looked really sharp on his first drive and then threw an awful, blown route interception to FS Nick Collins on his last pass. WR James Jones looked good on one crossing route during the City Stadium practice and again on a two passes during the scrimmage. So far he has shown the ability to break away from the initial defender, which is a rare ability among the current group of receivers. WR Carlyle Holliday and Bodiford showed good hands, while WRs Ruvell Martin and Robert Ferguson didn't do anything to impress. Overall all the backs and receivers did a good job hanging onto the ball. LT Orrin Thompson is a converted college defensive lineman and is being given a long look at left tackle, and he looks awful. DE Cullen Jenkins ran at the quarterback like he wasn't even there, completely leaving him back on his heels on an inside move. In the 2nd half, Thompson let DEs Larry Birdine and Mike Montgomery apply a lot of pressure to the backup QBs. Starting NT Ryan Pickett is really in Mike McCarthy's dog house after showing up to camp out of shape. He played little, if at all, with the 1st team defense and finished up the night on the 3rd team. All of the backup quarterbacks looked bad. Right now it is hard to tell that QB Aaron Rodgers is the former 1st round pick and QB Paul Thompson is the undrafted free agent.