The OTAs are the first chance the new rookies have to show the team what they have. As many of your know, we have a few guys that are going to be given a chance to at least challenge the incumbent player so there are some guys to watch...namely Burnett, Bulaga, Quarless, etc.
OTAs began May 16 but some players, such as Brian Bulaga, have to miss them in order to finish their schooling. More after the jump...BULAGA: As I mentioned earlier, Bulaga is back finishing up school. He got some work earlier in the month so the coaches could see what they had in him but they aren't going to get much more now until everything is wrapped up with school. Coach seems confident in his abilities though:
Oh, Bryan Bulaga will play tackle in this league. I don't have any question about that. If we had any question about that, he probably wouldn't be here in Green Bay. I don't see any limitations for Bryan to fulfill his role here, whether it is left tackle, right tackle, wherever he may end up.
BURNETT: One player that is getting a great chance to shine with the first team is 3rd round Safety Morgan Burnett. With Atari Bigby electing to not participate by not signing his RFA tender, he's allowing Burnett to come and steal away the spotlight and maybe his job. Burnett apparently made a nice goal line INT in practice yesterday too. When asked what he thought about Burnett, here is what McCarthey recently said:
Been very impressed with Morgan. He's done a very good job, particularly communicating for a young safety. That's a very big part of playing the position, the communication, as far as the alignments, the formations and the calls to be made back t here. I think he's off to a good start. I think he's a very natural football player. He's done some things on special teams in particular some new techniques that we're implementing this year. I like what I've seen just in the short time he's been here also on special teams.
STARKS: When it comes to RB James Starks (who some of us are very hopeful about), things are progressing slowly. He's out with a hamstring injury (thankfully not a shoulder issue) but will be returning to practice shortly. He's had battles with injuries so hopefully he can overcome them and we'll get to see if he can get out on the field and be a serious threat when the season comes around. The fantasy blogs are already talking about him as someone to stash in dynasty leagues. haha
QUARLESS: We haven't heard much on Quarless in a while. About a week ago, a reporter asked Finley what he thought of him. He said he could relate to his struggles:
"I’m going to help him out as much as I can because I know I came to the game a little slow, a little immature." Finley sounds like he wants to be a good teammate and help Quarless transition into the NFL – an interesting role for someone who is still very young (only 23) himself.
HARRELL: Some of the undrafted rookies are getting their chances too including Graham Harrell. The team released Pitozzi who already had a year of QB school under his belt so you know they must like what they see in him and I know some guys in here really like the kid. Here is what McCarthy has to say about him:
We really felt Graham came in and had a heck of a workout. He had the opportunity in Cleveland and had some very good college tape, and had some very good grades from our scouting department. I was impressed with his velocity. That's something that was probably a little in question coming out of college in my opinion. But I thought he had a very good workout, and we felt it was a chance to give him an opportunity. I thought Chris really improved in his time here. I think he's definitely a better quarterback today than when he arrived, and I enjoyed working with him. But I think Graham is someone who has a chance to be a quarterback in the National Football League.
OTHERS: With Pickett moving to the DE spot that Jolly would be in, its stealing opportunities from Mike Neal and CJ Wilson. Neal, the Purdue standout is a lock to make the team though so I am sure he's not too worried. An article from the Bleacher Report says CJ Wilson was looking impressive earlier in the month before the Pickett move though. Marshall Newhouse is strictly depth at this point but he has as good a chance as any on making the team with our weak Oline play last year. Its hard to evaluate lineman at this stage though without being able to hit as Joe Philbin says below:
With linemen, it's especially important not to jump to any conclusions until they're actually wearing pads and hitting people, but the coaches are watching them closely nonetheless.
"You like to see how they move around, see if they can pick up the system, see if they're in tune with a line call or blocking scheme adjustment or a blitz that happens fast and what they do in the middle of that particular play, or can they pick up a twist," offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. "So there's a lot you can gather from these practices.
"Is it everything? No. You can't make a total evaluation. That's why I think we have to take caution either way, whether a guy looks awful good at this point in time or whether he's really struggling. You just have to let them have some time, especially young players as they learn how to do things and the way we want them done."