Jersey Al’s Film Study: Running with the 2’s at the Family Night Scrimmage All Green Bay Packers All the Time

While the Green Bay Packers are still in the early stages of training camp, I usually like to pay more attention to the second units. This seems especially true this year, as there aren’t many starting spots up for grabs (left guard and fullback, maybe).

So my interest then turns to who will be called upon to save the day in case of injury to a Packers starter. To that end, I fired up the Family Night scrimmage on the DVR and put the old slow motion remote to use. Time for a little dissection by DVR.

Some observations…

Bryan Bulaga: I can see why Mike McCarthy is giving Bulaga a chance at a starting job. Bulaga was almost perfect in his Packers debut. He wasn’t beaten once. Whether out on the edge with a linebacker or further inside battling the likes of Cullen Jenkins, Bulaga stood his ground and neutralized the pass rush. He showed quick feet, a good punch, excellent balance and proper body position. I can’t say enough about how solid he looked. the Packers didn’t run enough with the twos to make an evaluation on his run blocking.

Marshall Newhouse
is going to have a hard time making this team. He displayed a lack of strength and was easily thrown off balance, but in his defense, he was given reps at left tackle, which is not a position he’ll play in the NFL. Newhouse needs to build a lot more strength and then be used at guard, where his football smarts will help him more. As I have written previously, I believe Newhouse is destined for the practice squad, at best.

Breno Giacomini was not very far behind Bulaga in performance. His feet look infinitely faster than during his brief pre-season trial last year. He showed excellent positioning, always keeping that big body between the rusher and the QB. He even handled rushing linebackers, which was his undoing last year. maybe I’m starting to see why the Packers have carried him for 2 years. When Bulaga and Giacomini were the tackles, they looked like a very good pair and the thought crossed my mind that in a year or two, they could be the Clifton / Tauscher of their day.

Quinn Johnson still looks a bit lost out there. The pancake man is playing like his nickname – flat. Instead of the improvement in awareness I expected to see this year, Johnson struggles when asked to do anything other than lead-block into the interior of the line. He had an awful dropped pass and other than one good coverage play on a kickoff, was fairly invisible on special teams. Johnson needs to make some noise quickly, or he could be the odd man out at fullback.

Brad Jones had an excellent all-around game. He seemed to exhibit a lot more speed, all while having put on ten pounds and improved his strength. On several occasions during the scrimmage, he even employed a bull-rush and moved the tackle backwards towards the quarterback. He was also solid against the run, holding the edge on a few occasions and shooting gaps on others. Add his all-purpose special teams contributions and Jones had himself a very good night.

Sam Shields caught everything he got his hands on, addressing the biggest concern about him. While it’s easy to be wowed by his fabulous interception return for a touchdown, to me, his play on the ball was more impressive. Despite being behind the receiver, he knew where the ball was at all times and unlike the receiver, made a correct judgement on where to run to get to the ball first. He showed every bit of awareness that Jarret Bush does not. If it were Jarret Bush, you would have seen him, back to the ball, flailing his arms and turning his said side to side trying to find the ball. Enough said.

Brandon Underwood
technically doesn’t belong here, as he was playing with the first team. But considering this was only because Charles Woodson had the night off, we’ll treat him as the Two he is. With the possible exception of Bulaga, I don’t think anyone impressed me as much as Underwood. Quite simply, the guy did almost everything right. While Jarret Bush, Pat Lee and DJ Clark did little of note (besides get beat), Underwood was everywhere. Showing solid coverage skills, breaking up passes, making tackles, beating punted balls to the punt returner and of course, taking an interception to the house. Until Al Harris makes it back to the field, I believe Underwood has a firm hold on the nickel cornerback spot.


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


27 thoughts on “Jersey Al’s Film Study: Running with the 2’s at the Family Night Scrimmage

  1. Remember when Johnson was drafted? A punishing blocker who reminded people of William Henderson the way he could run over people. And he may now be the odd man out at fullback.

    I dont think anyone envisioned that as a possibility with all of the potential that surrounded him. Granted it’s only from Family Night Scrimmage, but the fact he looked poor on offense and average on ST isn’t going to help him any.

    Thanks Al.

  2. A very promising review of these positions! Good analysis, and nice write-up.

    This gave me the most warm fuzzies, though:

    “When Bulaga and Giacomini were the tackles, they looked like a very good pair and the thought crossed my mind that in a year or two, they could be the Clifton / Tauscher of their day.”

    1. Yep, they really looked solid. Now, I want to see them both against opposition from another team before I annoint them as bookends, but it was a good first glimpse.

  3. i completely agree ont he shields take. i watched that particular play in slomo a few times and the ground that he made up right before he caught the ball was incredible! not everyone was trying to tackle him so the 98 yard TD was bitter sweet, but boy did he make a break on that ball.

    underwood looked VERY good attacking the line on a few short passes, but struggled against james jones on a few others. pretty solid showing though. i can’t wait to he he and pat lee gaurd the likes of braylon edwar…umm, mohamed massaqoui!

  4. Also, not to go off on a different topic, but I just saw your tweet about the NY Giants TE issue. What’s your take on the TE depth chart? I assume, as you posted previously, that the Pack will keep 4 with Finley and Lee as locks and Havner with a strong inside track. Do Crabtree or Quarless have any trade value?

    1. Lee certainly has the most trade value, with Havner next. Quarless needs a good preseason showing to build some trade value and Crabtree is too much of an unknown. Lee has been a solid starter in the league – he could bring back a good player.

  5. I was at the Scrimmage and have watched the replay in the NFL channel twice. I agree with your review. I do ask that you look at Obiozor. I think he had a very good game also.

  6. Hey, Al. How did Barbre look like last year? I don’t remember too many people being concerned with the RT spot, after the preseason games. Hell, I remember Aaron not even being touched during preseason games, and, in the first week…

    1. And your point is? Are you referring to my observations of Giacomini? I’m only comparing him to where he was last camp. A world of difference.

      1. First of all, I was actually asking. How did Barbre look like? Did we get excited because he actually looked solid and played well, or just because Rodgers wasn’t being touched?

        My point is, there’s so much you can take from preseason production, even in-game. Just like Ron said.

        I’m not criticizing your observations, as much as reminding myself to not get excited by what I see.

  7. Breno “The Statue” Giacomini impresses. Hmmmmm! I’ll fall back on my history is the best predictor of future behavior thing. 3rd year has shown nothing vs. “Family Night Scrimage.” I have no faith in his ability to move laterally.

    Disapointed to hear Newsome was that weak. I think that will pretty much curse the Packers with last year’s Oline plus Buluga. Not an impressive bunch, they.

    I’m planning to attend extra masses dedicatd to Tauscher and Clifton all season long.

  8. Yes, it was just a scrimmage, but he did look solid. Let’s see what he does this Saturday against Cleveland…

    Yes, pray for our tackles…

    1. Lets talk about Breno the statue, I too watched him in drills and playing, MUCH better. But lets look at why we do and should see a difference in the Statue this year.
      Lets begin with he was drafted as a developmental player.
      He had one year of RT experience before being drafted.
      Now a RT with one year of experience makes the 53 man roster, that is a feat in it’s self.
      Is injured that first season, goes on I.R.
      Has surgery, misses the entire off season rehabbing from that surgery.
      When do you usually see the biggest improvement in players? After that first full off season of training and coaching.
      Go forward to this off season, full participation.
      Should we see this year what would we normally see last year, yes.
      There is not one person or writer that has not commented about how good the Statue looks.
      That is a good thing, that creates competition, that makes the team better.

  9. A couple things. First of all, it just thrills me to death to hear that you were impressed with Bulaga, Breno, and Brandon. We need O linemen to step up in a big way, and I just like Underwood for some reason.

    I’m sick of hearing about Shields poor hands, too. Fine…he’s not a punt returner. Hundreds of WRs throughout history could judge and catch a spiral pass with ease, but couldn’t catch punts with 11 animals sprinting towards them with malicious intent. Everybody knows that many a CB was originally a WR with inadequate hands, and this guy DID have good enough hands to actually play WR at a major college program for 3 years before the staff gave up on it. And frankly, I don’t think we need a new PR if Blackmon comes back healthy. Blackmon converting to safety and (hopefully) Shields performing on special teams will (hopefully) spell unemployment for #24.

    Did Justin Harrell get many snaps? If so, any thoughts on him?

    Great as always, Al.

    1. I really liked Underwood when he was drafted. Spent 2 years at Ohio State, had some issues there, transferred out. A guy with a lot of potential if he straightens his head out.

      I didn’t notice a lot of Harrell, so not much to say there.

  10. I’m disappointed in Newhouse; I thought he sounded like a great draft pick. I’m still thinking he’ll be on the practice squad, and they will emphasize getting him stronger for next year. The O line still looks deeper than ever, with both OTs having solid backups, and flexible guys like Spitz and Lang as the second team guards/center and third string tackles.

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