TRAINING CAMP REPORT TUESDAY NIGHT PRACTICE AUGUST 15,2006by Jerry Gilbert
On a beautiful Green Bay summer evening, practice opened right at 6:30 and continued till nearly 9:00. Two more camp bodies were added at defensive back. A new #20 is Antonio Malone 6-0 188 Toledo, and the new #42 is Jeremy Modkins 6-0 197 Texas Christian. Both looked lost throughout the practice.
A focus of the practice was clearly the correction of problems revealed in the opening game disaster in San Diego. From the blast of the horn that opened practice, the offense was working on basic pass protection and running plays. As the drills progressed, quarterbacks and wideouts were practicing quick passes from a three step drop. Adding the line and backs, the team ran through draw plays, screen passes and quick dumps to the backs.
As is being widely reported, the offensive line is in a state of flux. Darren College, the highly touted second round draft pick, is running with the second unit. Fifth round selection Tony Moll, who played tight end most of his college career and has never played guard, is now starting. Third round pick Jason Spitz is the other guard. Because of Chad Clifton's injuries, Free Agent rookie Jason Bourke spent most of the time at left tackle.
The rules of engagement were so limited, such as no tackling of Ahman Green below the waist, that it is very hard to judge how the offensive line is doing. I do know that the street free agent veterans recently signed, Mookie Moore and Tupi Peko, are clearly behind the rookies on the depth chart. The strategy for now seems to be to shuffle rookies in and out and hope they develop some consistency.
Quarterbacks and receivers spent an entire segment on a drill designed to get receivers ready to catch passes. A quarterback was under center with 4 receivers in the pattern. The QB hit the designated target. At the same time 2 other passers threw to 2 other receivers running routes. The drill was quick and efficient. Mark Boerigter continues to drop passes.
Another passing drill involved quick stop patterns. Long shot Ruvell Martin 6-4 217 is a great target for this play. By the way, Robert Ferguson was out, again, with some sort of injury. Rod Gardner had one nice play in 11 on 11 action. Greg Jennings stood out most of the time. However, he dropped a quick pattern that appeared to be the same pass he dropped on 4th down against San Diego. If he has problems with the quick patterns in traffic, he is not yet the answer to play opposite Driver.
About half way through practice, special teamers worked on a wedge busting drill. A group of 3 players stood close together holding large pads. Wedge busters would run through the middle. Mark Boerigter and tight end Tory Humphrey were the most enthusiastic attackers in this drill. The coaches also put special team players through other technique drills in protecting and covering kicks.
In actual field goal drills, the 2 kickers, Cundiff and Raymer, were both perfect, but they did not go beyond about 45 yards. The punters Ryan and Sander alternated as holders. Sander made a nice recovery of a bad snap to get the ball down.
I did not have a very good view of most of the defensive drills. There seemed to be a lot of emphasis on basic hand and foot placement. Highlight films feature the melee that developed when linebackers went against running backs in the nutcracker drill. I heard the roar of the crowd, but could not see the actual event. News reports say that the coaches loved it when the players on both offense and defense stepped in to defend their mates. This was in sharp contrast to the lack of combativeness against San Diego. Much more happened at practice and I hope to follow up later. In summary, this was a practice designed to work on the deficiencies demonstrated in the first preseason game. The drills seemed appropriate and the players mostly worked hard. Brett Favre was particularly animated, as he moved people around and asserted himself in the drills. On the other hand, he threw an interception to Charles Woodson and Marquand Manuel should have had another.
The schedule for Wednesday is a full pads practice at 2:00. Thursday is another day and night practice. I will see as much of those practices as possible.