Thursday, August 18, 2011
BBAO: Packers' competitions in focus
By Kevin Seifert
We're Black and Blue All Over:
Most of the Green Bay Packers' starting positions were set long before training camp began, and now the two positions with legitimate competition are beginning to favor at least a mid-August winner.
T.J. Lang appears to have moved ahead of rookie Derek Sherrod at left guard, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. And for at least the time being, the Packers have stopped their three-way rotation at right outside linebacker and installed Erik Walden as the player taking consistent first-team repetitions, writes Bob McGinn.
Obviously these arrangements could change at any time. Typically a first-round draft choice like Sherrod will have an advantage in a position competition, but the Packers aren't looking to make any projections when it comes to protecting quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Walden, meanwhile, probably has more playmaking ability than Frank Zombo or Brad Jones. Stay tuned.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- The Packers have pulled back the practice reps even more for left tackle Chad Clifton to protect his knees, writes Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
- Cornerback Pat Lee made a stunning interception during practice Wednesday, notes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
- Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz has gotten into the head of backup quarterback Caleb Hanie, and not in a good way, writes David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune.
- Bears right guard Lance Louis left practice Wednesday because he was ill, forcing center Roberto Garza to slide over and reserve Chris Spencer to play center during team drills. Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com has more.
- Bears receiver Roy Williams is (playfully) lobbying quarterback Jay Cutler for more passes, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz stopped practice Wednesday and forced his team to run gassers to "expel" energy they had channeled into a number of practice fights, writes Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News.
- John Niyo of the Detroit News on the NFL's $20,000 fine of Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh: "For fans in Detroit, it's all the more exhilarating. Honestly, when's the last time Detroit had a defensive star who was cheered -- and feared -- quite like this guy already is after one full season?"
- Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham on Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, via the Detroit Free Press: "You've got one guy in the league, Nnamdi, and all he does is press. You ever see him make a tackle? He presses the wide receiver, and he's great at it. But there's more to playing DB than just pressing wide receivers."
- Minnesota Vikings tight end Allen Reisner is one of a handful of rookie free agents with a chance to make the final roster, writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
- Seattle Seahawks receiver Sidney Rice told Jeremy Fowler of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that the Vikings didn't demonstrate much interest in re-signing him.
- Vikings receiver Percy Harvin might not play in Saturday's preseason game against the Seahawks because of a rib injury, notes the Star Tribune.