Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Black and Blue all over: Fight night in GB
By Kevin Seifert
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
By the looks of it, I missed a pretty entertaining practice in Green Bay by one day. I'm scheduled to arrive there Wednesday and attend Thursday's practice. But Tuesday evening's affair was highlighted by a series of fights and intensity that left experienced observers rolling through their mental files.
Longtime Green Bay Press-Gazette reporter Rob Demovsky called it "perhaps the most spirited Packers training camp practice in more than a decade." Fights included multiple matchups between linebacker Desmond Bishop and center Jason Spitz. Coach Mike McCarthy stopped practice to chastise players for hitting after the whistle, but another brawl soon erupted after linebacker Brady Poppinga hit running back Kregg Lumpkin.
McCarthy: "I'll say this, and I probably shouldn't say it, but we were 6-10 last year, and we didn't have a ... fight all of training camp. So, I guess we're off to a hell of a start."
I can attest to the relatively tame camp the Packers had last year. Fights on their own don't help build a team, but the intensity and aggressiveness that leads up to them can be habit-forming.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- The Packers are concerned about defensive tackle B.J. Raji's conditioning while he remains unsigned, Demovsky writes.
- The Packers gave Spitz permission to gain weight in the offseason so he would be better equipped to handle Minnesota defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams, writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Chicago tailback Kevin Jones on his training camp: "I feel real good, most of all because I am healthy." Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times explores Jones' possible role this season.
- Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher: "I'm back." Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune examines what that means. Among the issues: Urlacher is back to his pre-2008 weight of 258 pounds.
- Detroit defensive tackle Grady Jackson on missing the offseason and the early part of training camp for health reasons: "It's just being smart. You just can't overwork yourself." Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press explains.
- Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said quarterback Matthew Stafford doesn't look like a rookie to him, writes John Niyo of the Detroit News.
- The NFL has asked Minnesota to make some adjustments to the contract of receiver Percy Harvin, according to Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. The issue is not expected to keep Harvin off the practice field.
- Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson is displaying more leadership and personality in training camp, writes Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.