Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Packers Camp Watch
By Kevin Seifert
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Three thoughts as training camps open around the NFL:
One thing I'm certain of: I'll need an updated copy of the Green Bay Packers' roster when I watch their defensive practices. There are a bunch of new faces, acquired via free agency and the draft, and many of them could play prominent roles in the 2012 season.
The camp performances of linebacker Nick Perry and defensive lineman Jerel Worthy will determine whether they are immediate starters. Rookie Jerron McMillian will be in the mix for playing time at safety, along with a little-known player named M.D. Jennings. Veterans Anthony Hargrove and Phillip Merling also will be in the mix along the defensive line.
One thing that might happen: A second option could emerge in the backfield. With veteran Ryan Grant still a free agent, we know that James Starks is the starting tailback. Will the Packers ride Starks for as long as he can carry them? Or can they develop another running back to help?
There are high hopes for 2011 draft pick Alex Green, but he has to be considered a wild card as he recovers from a torn ACL. He had three carries last season and hasn't participated in football drills since October.
One thing we won't see: The addition of a veteran backup quarterback, assuming everyone on the roster remains healthy. Presumed No. 2 Graham Harrell drew raves this offseason from the Packers' coaching staff, which as a group holds the only opinion that matters on Harrell's future. There is every reason to believe he will be Aaron Rodgers' backup to start the 2012 season.
There will be plenty of eyeballs focused on Harrell during training camp, but it will take an epic and extended choke job for the Packers to seek a replacement.