Monday, August 22, 2011
Packers: T.J. Lang, Erik Walden gain edge
By Kevin Seifert
The Green Bay Packers entered training camp with only a pair of true positional battles, and as of Monday both appeared to be nearing conclusion.
Coach Mike McCarthy told reporters that linebacker Frank Zombo suffered a broken scapula (shoulder blade) during warm-ups prior to last Saturday's preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals. Zombo played with the injury, a pretty unbelievable accomplishment, but McCarthy said he will need "a significant amount of time" to recover.
Zombo has been competing with Erik Walden and Brad Jones for the starting spot opposite Clay Matthews. I suppose it is possible Jones could beat out Walden, but halfway through the preseason, Walden would have to be considered a heavy favorite.
Meanwhile, McCarthy said veteran T.J. Lang will get his second consecutive start at left guard this weekend against the Indianapolis Colts and clearly has pulled ahead of rookie Derek Sherrod for that spot. Sherrod sprained his knee against the Cardinals, but as a rookie he is predictably struggling to catch up after the lockout-shortened offseason.
When the lockout ended, Lang seemed the most likely candidate to win the job. I understand why the Packers would want to give their first-round draft choice a chance to get on the field, but in the end there was no way they would put quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the field behind anyone but their top five offensive linemen. Lang clearly falls in that category, and to this point Sherrod does not.