OTA Surprises

Green Bay Packers OTAs begin - and so do the surprises.

packerotas-200x120

packerotas-200x120

Green Bay Packers OTAs begin - and so do the surprises.

To start with, Justin Harrell made it onto the field. While we don't know to what extent he participated, his presence indicates he has at least passed his physical. Harrell said he has been "pain- free for about four weeks." My first reaction was "what the hell took so long", but now I'm going with "well, that's a start."

Cullen Jenkins, Chad Clifton, Atari Bigby, Scott Wells and Nick Barnett were all kept out of activities as they continue to rehab injuries.

2009 draft picks Clay Matthews III (hamstring) and Brad Jones (groin) both missed the second day. Neither injury was serious and both are listed as day-to-day.

The first team defense had several early surprises. BJ Raji was at left end, Ryan Pickett at NT and Harrell at right end. Jeremy Thompson was the first team right outside linebacker, ahead of Brady Poppinga and the injured Clay matthews III. Kevin Greene seemed very enthusiastic with Thompson's play during the practice.  Could Poppinga be in trouble?

The Packers announced that they had signed exclusive rights free agent Tramon Williams to a one-year contract. This came not long after Packer Coach Mike McCarthy lauded Williams for his work ethic, "how he goes about his business", and participating in OTAs without a contract. McCarthy thinks Williams has a "big future in front of him".  Al Harris, get your seat cushion ready...

It appears Matt Flynn has held onto his #2 QB spot on the depth chart, practicing with the second string offense  while Brian Brohm saw a bit of action with the third stringers. That certainly doesn't help the possibilty of getting any value for Brohm in a trade. I still feel the Packers need a more experienced backup.

Ryan Pickett said the coaches have not talked to him at all about possibly playing some defensive end. Sounds like Pickett is the primary NT and BJ Raji will be used at several positions on the defensive line.

Aaron Kampman isn't talking. Since Dom Capers was hired, he has turned down several opportunities to talk to the media, specifically about the 3-4 defense and how his conversion to OLB is going. Speculation is running rampant that he's not happy and trade rumors are even beginning to surface.

On a sad note, Willie James Collins Sr., the father of Packers safety Nick Collins, passed away on May 16 at age 56 after a long battle with cancer. This was the serious family issue Collins has been dealing with.

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You can find more of Jersey Al Bracco's articles on several sports websites: NFL Touchdown, Packers Lounge, Packer Chatters , Jersey Al's Blog and, of course, Bleacher Report.

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"Jersey Al" Bracco is the Editor-In-Chief, part owner and wearer of many hats for CheeseheadTV.com and PackersTalk.com. He is also a recovering Mason Crosby truther.  Follow Al on twitter at @JerseyalGBP

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Comments (16)

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Greg C.'s picture

May 28, 2009 at 07:28 pm

A hamstring injury already? Matthews really knows how to fit in with his new teammates.

I'm not surprised that Pickett played NT and Raji was at DE. That always made more sense to me, as Raji is much quicker.

Harrell at DE and Thompson ahead of Poppinga at DE are both surprises, but I bet the coaches are just experimenting.

The Kampman thing worries me just a little.

Thanks for the report.

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Jersey Al's picture

May 28, 2009 at 09:07 pm

He tweaked it chasing down a quarterback, so at least he was doing what we hope to see from him.

Harrell was in there because Jenkins was out, but just having him participate was news.

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Alex Tallitsch's picture

May 28, 2009 at 07:34 pm

Now Driver is sitting out. Unreal. http://www.madison.com/wsj/mad/sports/452893

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Jersey Al's picture

May 28, 2009 at 09:09 pm

I have a feeling he just doesn't see the need to be there (ala Brett Favre). Either that or he feels TT's big hands nudging him out the door and wants to get all he can while still around.

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Andyman's picture

May 28, 2009 at 08:19 pm

Hmm, that Driver piece is interesting.

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Asshalo's picture

May 28, 2009 at 09:24 pm

Just don't trade kampmann in the division. He's only got one year left anyway. It would be a win-win if we traded him for peppers (Kampman wants the 4-3 and peppers wants the 3-4). Both teams get their franchise pass rusher. They would probably want something else. We have an extra compensation pick from colin cole leaving in the '10 draft.

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Jersey Al's picture

May 29, 2009 at 06:22 am

The problem is $$$

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Asshalo's picture

May 29, 2009 at 06:56 am

That's such a blanket response. With the additional $1 million and then $30 in salary cap you're going to argue money (not to mention an uncapped 2010)? I thought we were saving it for major resigning (aka Kampman, jennings, Collins, Bigby). With Kampmann out of the way we could spend that on Peppers.

And if you want to argue small market that's seriously a load of crap. The NFL's ratings are highest when two teams are winning: Green Bay and Dallas. No we're not NY or DC, but we have one of the biggest brands in all of sports.

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Jersey Al's picture

May 29, 2009 at 07:00 am

We all know there is money in the till. My only point was that Ted Thompson is a cheap SOB and would be very unlikely to give Peppers what he wants.

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Asshalo's picture

May 29, 2009 at 07:10 am

haha, now you speak my language.

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Jersey Al's picture

May 29, 2009 at 07:26 am

Now THAT worries me...

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Asshalo's picture

May 29, 2009 at 08:39 am

It worries you ted can be a bit cheap sometimes? Yeah, me too.

A question asnwered by MM
(How did Aaron Kampman look to you?)
I don't want to be redundant; I think this defense is going to help Aaron Kampman. I think there is always a hesitancy when you are asked to do something different. Aaron was very comfortable in the old scheme, but I think this is going to create more opportunities for him. There is diversity in the scheme. First and second down is clearly different for him. The sub packages, there is some multiplicity there that I think will also help him. I think he moves well in space. He has spent a lot of individual time with Kevin Greene. I know Dom Capers and Kevin Greene both feel very good about where Aaron is today, so he's only going to get better.

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Jersey Al's picture

May 29, 2009 at 08:44 am

I've read his comments over and over. He certainly knows better than any of us, but he may be going for the "perception is reality" effect. Call me a skeptic, but I'm not ready to drink that Kool-Aid yet.

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Asshalo's picture

May 29, 2009 at 04:29 pm

Yeah, he definitely has reason to be shady on Kampmann. RBC is offically calling the peppers-kampman trade a rumor. You heard it from this Halo first.

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longtimefan's picture

May 30, 2009 at 06:54 am

Quote: <blockquote cite="comment-3842">

<strong><a href="#comment-3842" rel="nofollow">Jersey Al</a></strong>: I have a feeling he just doesn’t see the need to be there (ala Brett Favre). Either that or he feels TT’s big hands nudging him out the door and wants to get all he can while still around.

</blockquote>
You need to join this

fan4ever.com/forum

This is some of the stuff they spew over there

TT likes the players he brought to Green Bay, he lets the Sherman and Wolf players go,

He let's the Brett players go, he is doing all he can to bury the Favre era!!! His ego will destroy him in the end!!!

I look four three vets to get screwed over and probably cut or traded by TT's version of the Packers: DD, Al Harris and Chad Clifton

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Jersey Al's picture

May 30, 2009 at 01:49 pm

Harris &amp; Clifton I wouldn't want back after this year, anyway, so that won't bother me. I have too much respect fro DD and still feel he has 3-4 good years left. Hopefully he's not on TT's "out the door" list...

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