July 28, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Curenski Gilleylen (7) rides a children's bicycle from Lambeau Field to training camp practice at Ray Nitschke Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE
One of the great joys of going to a game at Lambeau Field is the random conversations you get in while sitting in the stands. I credit it to the metal benches, less barriers between you and the people around you. I'm happy to say that this is true for training camp as well. There may even be more of these conversations since there is a little less focus to what you are watching and more general talking, opinions, and BS'ing on the part of those attending. One of those little joys you get while sitting in the stands and taking notes.
Today I'm adding in a new spot called "PA pay attention!" It's an area where I'm going to try and focus on one of the things you bring up in the comments and take extra notes on that area. So feel free in the comments to bring up an area you'd like to see more of. Also if you do want to "stalk the wild PA" feel free to look for me at camp. I'm the guy with the legal pad taking notes and wearing a ball cap that looks like a Packers' helmet. Shout out either "Hey PA" or "Hey Devin!"
Today's camp featured the CB battle continuing to heat up, some interesting developments on special teams, and PA wondering what the heck is going on with some of the offensive line drills.
Biggest surprise of the day - The offensive line working on the jugs machine. At the first half of practice is unit drills. Honestly there's not as much to see for this as other parts of practice. I'm normally seated towards the offense practicing so I take this time to set up some notes, meet people around me, and then count the number of dropped balls with the WR group and how many inaccurate throws coming from B.J. Coleman (since he's the QB working with the WR's....Graham Harrell and Aaron Rodgers work elsewhere). At some point the WR's, TE's, and RB's head over to the jugs machine and working on catching the ball. Today though the entire offensive line got work on the jugs machine. I have no idea why, but there they were. By the way, Bryan Bulaga and Marshall Newhouse have pretty good hands.
Pleasant surprise of the day - Nick Perry looking good in coverage. Today I tried to spend more time focusing on Perry in coverage in some of the 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 drills. It wasn't too bad. He was able to turn his hips pretty well and didn't look too stiff out there. Most of the time I saw him he was covering Tom Crabtree. Typically he was able to keep close enough and then pass off to the safety if it went too deep. His coverage was good enough where Rodgers threw the ball elsewhere. It has kept me hopeful on the Perry front.
Disappointment of the day - Graham Harrell struggling a bit. Harrell did have some nice throws today, but he also had two interceptions. Both intercepts were ones where the defenders, Davon House and Charles Woodson, jumped the routes and then were able to make nice run backs. Not a good day for him.
Defensive performance of the day - Davon House starts showing something good. House has had a pretty good camp so far. Typically he's in good coverage, but nothing too special, break up here fumble recovery there...that sort of thing. Today though he easily had the best day defensively. He was able to get a pick of Harrell and B.J. Coleman. He also had a great break up in red zone coverage against Tori Gurley. It was a pass were the QB threw it high in order for Gurley to go get it and House was able to get a hand in there and break up the coverage. Hayward has turned some heads the last few days with some good performances, but today should get House's name back in the mix for either the #2 or #3 CB spot.
Offensive performance of the day - Randall Cobb continues to steal the show. Cobb might become my default answer for offensive performance of the day. He has a few drops here and there, but also seems to get a majority of targets and always had one or two great catches. Today's circus catch came while falling backwards on a back shoulder throw. The corner had good coverage, but it was just a great throw and catch in order to make the play. There always seems to be a handful of those types plays with Cobb on the field.
PA pay attention! - WR spot outside the top 4. Let's assume the "top 4" for the sake of this discussion are Jennings, Neslon, Jones, and Cobb. I wouldn't say that's the depth chart right now, but that's a fair start for wondering who is on the bubble and who is not. After there is a bunch of guys fighting for a roster spot and a PS spot. DD is just as solid as ever. He's not the big playmaker anymore, but he has more than enough to contribute. He runs great routes, has enough speed, can get open and make the catch. By the way, the fans love him like no body's business. Gurley and Borel are getting a similar amount of reps. Gurley does lots of work outside and over the middle. Borel is used in many of the same ways as Cobb. Gurley definitely gets more work with the special teams unit...take that for what you will. Dale Moss shows some good flashes of talent, he might be a name you start hearing for in the next year or two.
PA's controversial call - Robert Francois may have better chance at a roster spot than I first thought. When I made the prediction for the ILB group Francois didn't make the cut. I figured that there were other guys with more potential around him and that made him expendable. As I watched the LB group and how was lining up where I noticed Francois getting some reps with the #1 defense (when they were putting in back up ILBs with them) and he was also consistently on the #1 punt and kick teams. Basically he had enough of a presence where I started to rethink my earlier dismissal of him.