Packers Training Camp Opens

While I'll be combing through any news I can find about the Green Bay Packers training camp, because that's what I do around here, I'm not really that interested in their practices or even the family night scrimmage next Saturday night. The most important things during training camp are the games, and the first one isn't until Saturday, August 14th against the Browns. As far as I'm concerned, a good practice is when no one gets hurt. Obviously they've got a lot of work to do during their practices, but it's hard to tell how that's going until you see them play in the games.

All that said, and without pointing out what every player did (the Journal-Sentinel's or Cheesehead TV's live blogs have a lot more detail), I'll point out a couple players and a couple of injuries.

According to the Journal-Sentinel, SS Atari Bigby said his ankle was fine all offseason and he hurt it during the conditioning test he took on Friday. There's a lot of talk about these conditioning tests lately with the issues surrounding DT Albert Haynesworth and the Redskins. The Press-Gazette has a good story about how the Packers normally manage these tests. Greg Bedard says Bigby's concern is real, but "the medical staff isn't sure exactly what's wrong." This is turning into an odd story.

The only injury reported during practice itself was to LB Brad Jones. He was hit in the back with a helmet, but the Press-Gazette reported that "it isn't serious." I'm not even sure who the backup would be. With the departure of LB Aaron Kampman, and the retirement of LB Jeremy Thompson, there's been some turnover at outside LB. Unfortunately I'd guess that LB Brady Poppinga is penciled in as the top backup at both outside LB spots at the moment.

It's just practice, but rookie 2nd round DE Mike Neal had an impressive start. One of the keys to the defense this season is whether they can find some pass rusher other than LB Clay Matthews, and a strong showing by Neal is one of the main options.

CB Sam Shields is really fast, and he too had a great start with an INT returned for a TD in practice. Whether he can make the team will hinge on whether he can hold onto the football as a special teams returner, and if he can show some tight coverage as a cornerback. He should get a lot of chances on defense during the preseason games because I don't expect CB Charles Woodson and CB Tramon Williams will play much.

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