Today I had to make a deal with myself as I was watching practice. No matter how much I wanted to name the big name players as highlighted performance of the day I wasn't going to do it. You already know that Jordy Nelson is good. You know that Tramon Williams is good. You really know that Aaron Rodgers is good. I don't need to waste your time with notes about some of the fantastic plays that they make.
That said, all three did have a good camp today...or at least each had an eye popping play or two. No need to recap all of them, but I will share my personal favorite. The Packers were working on some red zone drills. The play call was a play action pass to a naked bootleg. Rodgers made a beautiful fake to Alex Green. The entire defense bit, and bit hard. I just watched everybody move with Green and his blockers and Rodgers just waltzed into the endzone. Not a bright shining moment for the defense, but it was fun to watch.
After the jump you'll find a Packer cornerback stepping up...but probably not the one you think, interceptions galore, and a moment that really should of been captured for America's Funniest Home Videos.
Biggest surprise of the day - Dion Turner shaking things up. Raise your hand if you have been paying close attention to this guy during the great CB battle. I know I haven't. It's easy to lose track of guys like Turner andBrandian Ross while Davon House, Casey Hayward, and Jarrett Bush all fight for a starting spot. While Sam Shields fights for that spot as well, and possibly a roster spot too. Today Turner made me stand up and take notice of him. He was in good coverage through out the day, often drawing Tori Gurley. He was able to break up some passes as well as make a good interception near the end of practice. I know I didn't highlight Turner in a favorable light yesterday, but he had a great performance today.
Pleasant surprise of the day - The pass rush is coming along. As always it's difficult to tell in practice if this is a sign of good things for the defense or bad things for the offense, but the pockets were closing very quickly for the back up QB's quickly throughout practice. One of the plays was called off due to a "sack" and I counted another few plays where I would reasonably expect a sack in game situations. It wasn't just one particular player getting in consistently, but it happened on a consistent enough basis where I felt good about the depth of pass rush coming along for the team.
Disappointment of the day - Graham Harrell continues his ups and downs. Lots of interceptions highlighted practice and even more balls nearly intercepted. Many of these picks came from #6, but not all in his defense. Harrell was also the QB "sacked" as the pocket just closed around him. Normally this would be where I would curse the second string linemen, but the sack occurred well after the 2.5 second clock ran out and Harrell was still holding the ball looking for a pass. It was almost as if he couldn't get through his progression fast enough. I wouldn't go so far as to advocating for a new answer at backup, but it was a bit of a down day for Harrell.
Offensive player of the day - Tori Gurley. The gap between those who are close to making the team and those who are falling behind is getting clearer. In one position where this is noticeable is wide receiver. Curenski Gilleylen andJarrett Boykin are dropping more passes. Dale Moss isn't getting as many targets. Through this transition Gurley has remained a steady figure among the WR's. He is catching most everything thrown to him and getting plenty of targets. Today was another solid day for him and the more of those he can put together the better the chance he can get on the final 53.
Defensive player of the day - Brad Jones makes plays from the ILB spot. Today was the first day where I noticed Jones playing the ILB spot. He may of been there before and I missed it, but most of the reps I saw him at were at his old OLB spot. Today he was clearly getting work on the inside and he made the most of it. Jones was able to be around the ball on a fair share of plays and was able to get an interception in a red zone drill. That's his second pick in two days.
PA pay attention! Sam Shields update. I gave a quick answer to a question about Shields yesterday in the comment section, mostly because there wasn't much to report....he's injured. That said, Shields did get some work in today with the individual drills. He was back peddling and catching balls with the rest of the DB's today, which is a good sign for all those still on the Shields bandwagon.
Fan Interaction of the day - B.J. Coleman tattoos a guy. The event staff crew does a great job of keeping the crowd moving, finding seats, and just entertaining the fans during some of the more boring parts of practice. One of the things they are vigilant about is keeping kids away from the railing during practice in case of a stray ball hitting them and hurting the kid. I just chalked it up to high caution in an overly litigious society, but then today's story came around. Near the end of practice the team was going through 2 minute drills. Coleman was the QB and he was flushed out of the pocket by Erik Walden. Coleman did exactly what you have seen QB's do in this situation a thousand times, he scrambled out, looked down field and then threw it away. Away happened to be towards the fans and he threw the ball high enough where no one on the sideline could stop it....and so Coleman's pass hit a guy walking back to his seat in the shoulder. The guy seemed fine and a good laugh was had by fans and players alike.
PA's controversial call - Curenski Gilleylen may stick around longer than you think. For those who are not familiar with Gilleylen's story, he's an UDFA out of Nebraska. At Nebraska he started as a RB and then eventually made the move to WR because there was no opportunity for him at RB. Right now the Packers are so short of bodies at the RB position that they need to be creative with how they line up guys just to keep the few RB's able to suit up fresh. Randall Cobb got more work out of the backfield, mostly out of the shotgun. Gilleylen also got work out of the backfield, but much more extensively. He was running the ball out of most formations and just filling in at the position. Gilleylen has shown some potential in practice and so it may not be a surprise if he holds on till the end of camp just to have another guy capable of practicing at the RB position. This may even help him land a spot on the PS and get another shot at making the Packers next year.
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