Camp diary: Hearing from Packers assistant coaches
Center Corey Linsley. Image by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The last 8:20 am practice of the camp. Actually I’ll miss that starting time, and we had hazy sunshine and humidity.
The team appears to be getting to that point in camp where they need a change and that’s what they will get as we head to the “Family Night” practice tomorrow in Lambeau Field at 6:30 pm.
First thing I noticed at practice was rookie wide receiver Jared Abbrederis was not practicing. Later there were reports that he may have suffered a torn ACL. We should know more tomorrow but that would be a bad break for him and the team. Abbrederis flashed in the offense but was also in the running to win the punt return job as well.
Today we in the media got our first interview exposure to the assistant coaches in this camp. This is always helpful because we standing on the sidelines see one thing; they see the practice in a different light. Plus they get to watch the video of practice again so while we see someone flash with a big play like an interception or pass reception, they see so much more!
Along the offensive line coach James Campen likes the progress of all three of his young centers and is especially high on J.C. Tretter who has been the starter through the off-season and in this camp. Tretter is a smart kid, diligent in preparation, and a good athlete.
Corey Linsley the fifth round draft pick out of Ohio State played center and played it well for the Buckeyes the last two seasons so that gives him an advantage but as a rookie there is a lot to learn on this level. Garth Gerhart is getting more reps as well and has had some good moments.
ON THE CORNER
Cornerbacks coach Joe Witt told me no starting jobs are set in his secondary. Tramon Williams and Sam Shields are starting now but Casey Hayward, who is better than he has ever been and that includes his rookie season where he made six interceptions, and Davon House who has had another strong start to camp will be given a chance to win the starting job.
Witt on House: “He has learned how to use his body.” House is the Packers longest corner at six feet with long arms and very strong hands, “He reminds me of Al Harris.” Me too especially the way he looks in Al’s old #31 jersey.
The Packers have to be the envy of a lot of teams in the league with Williams, Shields, Hayward, House and Jarrett Bush they can put quality on the field at that position four or five deep. Bush played well last year in the dime defense especially down the stretch against Atlanta and in the playoff game against San Francisco.
I don’t know how he can make this team but Witt is also high on second year corner Jumal Rolle “He’s done some nice things, he’s a lot like Brent Grimes (former All Pro) and Casey Hayward.” So if you are looking for a “dark horse” candidate to make this team keep an eye on #20 Jumal Rolle.
Safeties coach Darren Perry talked about the talk of camp safety Sean Richardson. It seems like every day Richardson makes a play or two. “He’s doing some good things, playing with confidence and playing with more technique.” Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is coming along and is right where they expected him to be at this point “He’s got a lot of defenses going through his mind.”
It was good to see Morgan Burnett back at practice off a minor ankle tweak the other day. He is the coach on the field, the brains of this secondary and with all of the young talent around him in the “safety” room he is more important than ever.
No one is harping on takeaways by the safeties (or lack there of last year), instead Perry says; “We’ve been working hard on eliminating explosive plays in practice and hope it carries over to the games. We had too many explosive plays against us last year.” In fact the Packers defense was hit for 85 plays of 20 yards or longer in 17 games and safety is the last line of defense.