Saturday, July 30, 2011
Packers using Derek Sherrod at left guard
By Kevin Seifert
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- I could bore you with details of the Green Bay Packers' first football work together since Super Bowl XLV. I could tell you how more balls sailed than normal, how interceptions were dropped and how players jumped offsides.
But in the end, expectations (at least for me) weren't that high. What we saw Saturday night was a condensed version of 14 organized team activities and three days of minicamp. Coach Mike McCarthy said it was a "better practice than I thought it would be" but made clear: "It's great to be out here. The crowd was great. We're excited. But this was a practice in helmets. That's the reality of these [early] practices. It's really about getting your practice formatted and everybody going in the right direction."
Here are the two most interesting things I saw:
1. Rookie first-round pick Derek Sherrod worked as the first-team left guard. We've discussed various options for the Packers to replace the departed Daryn Colledge, but it's clear the Packers want to give Sherrod the first opportunity. He was drafted as a left tackle, but the Packers have long followed a philosophy of getting their best five linemen on the field regardless of position.
When the second team got work, T.J. Lang was at left guard and Sherrod was at left tackle. There is something to be said about offensive linemen anchoring themselves at one position, but the Packers generally have not valued that approach.
Said McCarthy: "Really the philosophy is of having great competition and giving the offensive line, particularly all those young guys, the chance to compete to get the best five on the field." Asked if he would rotate other players into the first-team role, McCarthy said: "We have a rotation set for the offensive line and frankly, performance will always be the indicator."
That tells me that it's Sherrod's job to lose, at least in the early going -- even if his long-term position is at left tackle.
2. Place-kicker Mason Crosby can't practice until Aug. 4 because of the NFL's free agency rule, and the Packers don't have a second camp leg on their roster. So punter Tim Masthay handled the placekicking duties during special teams work. He was more impressive than you might think, drilling three of four kicks from 38 yards.
I'll be back Sunday with more fun.