Category Archives: 2012 OTAs / Mini-camp



Ted Thompson Back to Collecting Wide Receivers

Ted Thompson looking for wide receivers

Wait, is that a wide receiver over there?

Shhhhhh… be vewy, vewy qwiet… It’s wabbit wide receiver season…

Trapper Ted is up to his old tricks., i.e.,  his normal off-season compulsive collecting of no-name wide receivers. On Wednesday, the Packers signed Alex Gillett, a 6’1″, 214lb former QB turned receiver from Eastern Michigan.

That brings the number of wide receivers currently on the Packers roster to eleven. That may seem like a lot at first glance, but it’s actually fairly normal for the Packers. I know this because I remember calling a few years in a row for the Packers to carry one less wide receiver on the camp roster so that they could bring in a second placekicker to make Mason Crosby actually, you know, earn his spot.

But no, we can’t waste a precious roster spot on a second kicker, I kept hearing. Well lo and behold, look what the Packers have done this season. Hey, they even went out and got an Italian kicker – Mama mia!

But before this veers off into another epic Crosby rant (I’m kind of due, aren’t I), let’s get back to the subject at hand.

The argument in favor of bringing so many receivers to camp has always been that they need camp bodies to run routes during practices so the main receivers don’t get worn out. I totally bought into that theory, but still felt it was a waste with the Packers only keeping five wide receivers – until last year.

Last season, the Packers actually brought 12 receivers into camp. (Borel, Boykin, Brewer, Cobb, Driver, Curenski, Gurley, Jennings, Jones, Moss, Nelson, Smithson). Many speculated they could keep seven. I expected them to keep six, what with Donald Driver being given a mercy roster spot after his fan popularity shot through the roof thanks to his Dancing with the Stars win. But seven?

The two players most assumed had the best chances of being #6 and #7  (Diondre Borel and Tori Gurley) were sent packing, while relative unknown Jarret Boykin (a rookie camp tryout invitee) was the surprise choice as the #6 receiver. In October, the Packers signed Jeremy Ross to the practice squad and signed him to the active roster on Dec 1. So the Packers did end up with seven wide receivers after all.

---- Get AddToAny


Packers vs. Chiefs: 3 Not-So-Obvious Things to Watch

Packers Cornerback Sam Shields

Packers Cornerback Sam Shields

Seems like every writer, blogger and fan forum has a “5 things to watch” or “3 things to look for” post to preview an upcoming game. Usually, the items are fairly general and rather obvious; things like, “the offensive line needs to pass protect better  and the defense needs to create turnovers.” For many football fans, that’s good enough.

But you’re not just any NFL fan are you? No, you’re a Packers fan. And if you’re a repeat visitor to this web site, there’s a good chance you’re a rather rabid Packers fan that knows a thing or two about the game of football. From what you readers tell me, you like to read about Xs and Os, break down plays on film and discuss the more subtle aspects of the game of football.

I’m a firm believer in “give the people what they want,” so our “3 things” post will strive to be a little different. We’re going to delve into the not-so-obvious aspects of the upcoming games and give you some very specific things to look for.

Here are three players to watch in this game:

1) Sam Shields #37 - Shields regressed last season, partially because of increased responsibilities in coverage and run defense, according to CB coach Joe Whitt. Shields started slow in camp, then missed two games with an injury. Many Packers fans quickly soured on Shields, still irked from his disappointing play at the ending of last season.

Lately, however, his play is on the rise and the Packers are hopeful it continues. Shields has the one thing you can’t teach, the speed to make up for mistakes in coverage. With Davon House to be affected all season by a shoulder injury, Casey Hayward just too inexperienced and Jarret bush too valuable as a versatile fill-in, the Packers would much prefer to see Shields as the starter this season. What the Packers will be looking for this game is how Shields tackles a running back in the open field. You should watch for it too.

2) Jerron McMillian #22 – McMillian is in a two-man battle with MD Jennings to win the nickle safety position (when Charles Woodson will be moving to slot CB). But that’s not all – according to Dom Capers, the Packers have used him a bit at the dime cornerback spot (something I hadn’t noticed) and like what they’ve seen. I’ll be watching for #22 this game and how the Packers use him. This could open up a lot of possibilities in the Packers’ secondary.



Morgan Burnett Emerging as Key Figure in Packers’ Secondary

Green Bay Packers Safety Morgan Burnett

Safety Morgan Burnett Taking Charge

After the Green Bay Packers cut ties with Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins, the importance of Morgan Burnett undoubtedly grew larger.On top of being the Packers’ key communicator on the back end of the defense, he was a turnover machine, constantly hovering deep in the middle of the defense waiting for his opportunity to jump routes or lay the lumber to an unsuspecting wide receiver.

And if the first week of training camp is any indication–Burnett appears capable of picking up right where Collins left off.

Playing alongside Collins, Burnett’s role often required him to play closer to the line of scrimmage–something that the 6’1″ 209-pound safety is certainly capable of doing but didn’t seem like a natural fit for his long build and rangy skill set.

Burnett missed the final 12 games games of his rookie season, and Collins missed the final 14 last year–as a result, the highly athletic and similarly skilled duo only started six games together. Now with Collins having been released by the team, Burnett will step in as the Packers’ “center fielder.”

On three consecutive plays at Tuesday morning’s practice at Ray Nitschke field, Burnett was the center of attention. First, he sprinted from the deep middle of the field to the sideline and broke up a beautiful Aaron Rodgers bomb to Jordy Nelson, then on the next play, jarred the ball loose from Jermichael Finley across the middle, and followed that up by intercepting Rodgers after Donald Driver lost his footing while running a route.

Tuesday’s practice was certainly both encouraging and impressive for everyone in Packer Country, but it was nothing new for Burnett, who arrived to camp in great shape and appears headed for a breakout season.


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Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.




3 Players Raising Eyebrows at Packers Training Camp

Packers Tight End DJ Williams

Packers Tight End DJ Williams

The Packers have been practicing since Thursday of last week, and while it’s far too early to start shaping the final roster, a handful of players have people raising their eyebrows.

Can these three guys keep it going? Or will they wash out like so many other players who were superstars in late July, but duds in September?

D.J. Williams, TE

Instead of just lifting weights and doing cardio, Clay Matthews stepped outside of the box to get bigger and better after his rookie season. Matthews took up mixed martial arts training and went on to have a breakout second season. Apparently, Williams stepped outside the box this offseason, too…and into the cow pasture. The second-year TE says he’s gotten stronger thanks to an offseason cow-wrestling regimen back in his home state of Arkansas. Williams seems serious about it too, describing his technique in detail and talking about how he just tries to “not get hurt or die” when showing these cows who is the superior grappler. Well, Williams has always been known more as a receiver than a blocker. If suplexing ‘Ol Bessie rounds out his game a little, cool. Just keep him away from Aaron Rodgers. I don’t want No. 12 getting any goofy ideas about how he should spend his next offseason.

Casey Hayward, CB
Hayward has played so well, Bob McGinn already dedicated an entire column to the second-round pick from Vanderbilt. It sounds like Hayward uses his brains as much as his brawn, deciphering routes and showing no hesitation to swoop in and make plays. The Packers have a logjam at corner behind Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson (who might be spending a lot of his time at safety). If Hayward can rise above the rest, it can only mean good things for a Packers defense coming off a historically awful season.

Dezman Moses, LB
The hype started for Moses back at OTAs and by all accounts, he’s played well in camp. Before you get too excited, though, the Packers have had at least one LB catch fire in the offseason ever since they switched to a 3-4. None of these training camp phenoms have ever amounted to much besides role players once actual games start, but hey, it’s better to have unknown guys playing well in camp instead of unknown guys playing like, well, unknown guys. If Moses keeps it going and sticks with the team, he should get plenty of chances to make an impact on special teams. Anything else would be a nice bonus.



Packers Casey Hayward: We Know, We know, But Just Calm Down

Packers Cornerback Casey Hayward

Packers Cornerback Casey Hayward

If you’re suddenly enamored with Packers rookie Casey Hayward, be prepared to join a very large club. Three days of training camp, and it’s obvious the kid is a player, right? At the same time, know that around here you’re very late to that party. Indulge me for a  bit:

Very early on during “draft season”, I was told told by a little birdie that Casey Hayward could be the second or third best CB in the draft and that the Packers were in love. I was also told the Packers would be willing to trade up for him, which is why I included him in my one and only mock  draft  and whispered just before the draft that the Packers loved Casey Hayward.

I’m not mentioning these things to brag (although it does sound like that), but rather to point out that if you are a regular reader of, you’ve known about Casey Hayward for awhile. So you weren’t one of those fans who said “who?” when the Packers traded up to snatch him up. And months later, you aren’t surprised that Hayward has made an instant impression in training camp, picking off passes, blanketing receivers and gaining the enthusiastic praise of his teammates.

Hayward has had a fantastic first three days of camp, and has opened up some eyes. Here are some quotes about Hayward that Bob McGinn of recently garnered:

James Jones: “Probably the best thing about him right now as a rookie is he understands the schemes and what people are trying to do to him,” wide receiver James Jones said. “As a rookie, he’s smart. He’s going to be good.”

Tramon Williams: “He’s picking up the defense well and making plays,” Williams said. “If he keeps making those plays he’s definitely going to push.”

This is reminiscent of two camps ago when Packers players were raving about a rookie corner that went on to be a first-year starter at nickel: Sam Shields. Of course, we all know that Shields has lost his way a bit in the last year.

There was never a doubt in my mind that Hayward was going to push Sam Shields, Jarret Bush and Davon House for playing time. And I have no doubt he will one day be a starting cornerback in the NFL.



Green Bay Packers Video: First Days of 2012 Training Camp

Here are an assortment of videos I found that were taken at Packers Training Camp.


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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He is a PFWA member who can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for




Packers Training Camp 2012: Day 2 Summary

Aaron Rodgers in Packers Training Camp

Aaron Rodgers in Packers Training Camp

The Packers held another early morning (8:15AM)  practice this morning, this time in the Don Hutson Center. Thanks to some heavy train during the night, the Packers moved the practice indoors, much to the dismay of fans who had come hoping to watch the activities.

Desmond Bishop was confirmed to have a calf strain suffered last weekend, but exactly how is still a mystery. First reports were that it happened in a training session, but there is new speculation he may have hurt it while participating in a golf tournament last weekend. Wherever it happened, it’s an injury that can be hard to completely shake and could cause him problems during the season, as it did last year.

Jermichael Finley did not participate in drills today, having suffered a mild concussion in yesterday’s practice. It had been reported that he suffered it on a hit by Tramon Williams as he was catching a low pass. My question is, what kind of hitting are DFBs/WRs doing while they’re just in shells? Seems strange to me.

Jarrett Bush was still at starting cornerback ahead of Sam Shields, eliciting a flood of debate on twitter, with some blasting this move and others coming to Bush’s defense.  The topic was covered very nicely today from all angles over at AcmePackingCompany.

Tight end DJ Williams has been impressive so far in camp, making some nice catches, including a diving catch that most observers agreed was the catch of the day. Well that’s really nice, but if  Williams doesn’t learn to handle his pass protection assignments, he’ll be trying to catch passes somewhere else. There were a few instances last season where he almost got Aaron Rodgers killed. That is not going to work.

A lot of attention seemed to be being paid to the backup quarterbacks today. Packers writers  in attendance were tweeting away reports of nice passes, poor passes, velocity, location, “TDs”, “INTs”, etc. from Graham Harrell and BJ Coleman. Way too many details and attention being paid to them. There is only one QB that matters. I like both Harrell and Coleman; in fact, I think they could both turn out to be better than Matt Flynn, who I’m just not a big fan of. However, if either of these guys need to come in and play this season, the Packers are in big trouble.