June 12, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers defensive end Anthony Hargrove (95) during the team's mandatory minicamp at Ray Nitschke Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE
The Green Bay Packers have won a Super Bowl, then gone 15-1 with a relatively young roster in successive seasons. They don't have a whole lot of new non-rookie members of the roster because of that, but four of them played in the first preseason game against the San Diego Chargers and I think it's worth taking a specific look at exactly how each one of those four players performed.
LT Herb Taylor: I don't like being mean to professional athletes, since even the least successful ones do things I could never dream of doing. I especially don't like being mean to professional athletes who are, by all accounts, great guys. I admit that my first instinct was to berate Herb Taylor in this post, but I won't do that because I understand that playing left tackle in the NFL is really, really hard, and everyone says he's a hard-working player.
Having said that, he struggled against the Chargers. He did not look like he was up to the NFL standard, and I'm hoping that both Marshall Newhouse and Derek Sherrod come back from injury very quickly. Taylor was poor and I will be concerned if he has to start any games for the Packers in this upcoming season.
DE Phillip Merling: Invisible for the most part, but did have one impressive tackle for a loss. He hasn't been a standout in practice and he wasn't a standout on Thursday. He appears to have a serious uphill climb to grab a roster spot, even if he is currently listed as a second string player on the Packers' depth chart. He's not one of the best six defensive linemen on the team, nor does he possess an exceptionally unique skill.
NT Daniel Muir: I was very impressed by Muir, even if he didn't do anything truly spectacular. He held up his man well from the nose tackle position and allowed linebackers to make plays, while also making one good tackle of his own. He also may not be one of the best six players among the defensive linemen on the roster, but he's a good backup NT and a competent 4-3 DT or goal line 3-4 DE. His versatility and unique ability to play the nose will keep him on this team if he continues to perform adequately.
DE Anthony Hargrove: When Hargrove finally came in late in the game, I kept an eye on him specifically and he looked really ready and willing to go at it. He's been kept on the sidelines for much of camp and hasn't complained once. When he finally got the chance to play, he had a nice knockdown of a pass. Obviously, he can't play until the Packers' ninth game of the season, but he's going to have a role to play in the second half of the year if anyone on the line gets injured.
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