As the Packers take Sunday off after three straight days of morning practices, we look back at the first few days' drills to identify a few players who are improving their status on the team, as well as a few who are moving backward or who are, at best, stagnating. Keep an eye on these names through the next week as we'll be following their progress with great interest.
When Clay Matthews shifts outside, Palmer has taken the lion's share of first-team reps at inside linebacker in his place, which is a sign in and of itself that he is higher on the depth chart than any of us expected. His size (6'2", 250) and speed (4.72 40 at the 2013 Combine) make him an intriguing option next to Sam Barrington, and he has made some nice plays there over the last few days. Even Mike Daniels, who is not necessarily eager to heap praise on young teammates, has said that he "really liked (Palmer) inside" and that "he's going to come and fill those gaps."
When the pads came on Saturday, Mulumba showed up with at least one "sack" and multiple appearances in the backfield. Coming off a torn ACL, Mulumba needs a good camp to maintain his status as one of the preferred backups at outside linebacker. He also has the ability and experience on special teams to make him an asset there as well as on defense, which helps his chances of making the roster for a third straight year.
When the team began practicing kickoff returns on Saturday, the third-round rookie was the first player back to take the ball, a sign that Mike McCarthy and company expect to use him there with some regularity this season. Montgomery also made an impressive catch downfield on Saturday, and with the absence of one particular wideout this week, he has taken advantage of his reps.
The rookie corner has impressed with his excellent technique this summer, and even got a few snaps with the number one defense on Saturday. At one point, he locked down Jordy Nelson in coverage and nearly picked off a pass from Aaron Rodgers - a great sign for an undrafted rookie. If he keeps up this impressive string of performances and if he can make a bit of an impact on special teams, he will be an excellent candidate for a roster spot.
That missing wideout is Abbrederis, whose 2015 has gotten off to a slow start due to a concussion suffered in the opening practice. He's on the bubble at best, with three veterans, Montgomery, and probably Jeff Janis ahead of him on the depth chart. In July, APC projected him to be left off the roster this September anyway, but if he can't get on the field soon, it will make the decision for Ted Thompson easy (though painful).
Though Jones is suspended for a single game and Letroy Guion is banned for three, it has been Guion playing the left end position with the starting defense while Jones is working with the scout team to start practice. The third-year pro has struggled to get off to a good start in his first two training camps, and this year looks no different.
Hundley is here not necessarily because he has failed to meet expectations. Rather, he has met our expectations for him - he has not yet looked sharp in practice, which is just what we anticipated for a rookie quarterback adjusting to the NFL and to the Packers' offense in particular. Don't be too concerned about him yet, though. After all, he likely has not hit the point yet where the game has slowed down for him.