Nine Random Training Camp Observations
The good news is, we get something resembling actual, real football tomorrow. In the team time, here are nine random thoughts about training camp so far.
1. Suddenly it doesn't matter if Eddie Lacy is fat.
Do you remember the ancient world of July 29th? That's when we first learned that depending on the angle, noted large running back Eddie Lacy can sometimes look larger than other times. But a week and a half (and a successful Family Night) later, we're talking about Lacy like he's a legitimate starting running back.
Was he ever fat? Not really. Would it have mattered if he was? No, because we knew going in that he's a larger than average running back. But the point is, his performance in practice has rendered it a totally irrelevant question.
2. Silent Jermichael is Good Jermichael.
Quick, think of something Jermichael Finley has done in training camp. Can't think of anything? Me neither, and until he started throwing punches in practice on Wednesday, there was really nothing to say about the mercurial tight end. And that's probably a good thing, because the more Jermichael talks, the more trouble he seems to get into. He hasn't even tweeted a single word since Aaron Rodgers signed his big contract extension back in April:
But make no mistake, Finley knows he's in a contract year, and he knows that he's going to get opportunities to perform in a big way this year. There's no more Greg Jennings to take his touches away, and with Jordy Nelson potentially taking some time early in the season to recover from a knee injury, Jermichael could see more passes than usual coming his way. Also, Bob McGinn thinks his run blocking has improved, and that's important because Bob McGinn knows things.
3. Vince Young is the most important irrelevant player on the roster.
The annual hand wringing over the Packers' back up quarterback spot reached new heights when Vince Young arrived this week. Don't get me wrong, the second string quarterback is important...if your first string guy gets injured. Ours currently isn't (knock on wood), so sorting out the understudy job is a procedural matter at this point. I say that because I maintain there's no way the Packers would remain relevant if Aaron Rodgers went down for a significant amount of time. But say it was just three weeks. Could Young or Graham Harrell win two games out of three and keep the ship upright? I guess we're attempting to find out, and having Young around should either solve the Packers' back up quarterback question outright or push Harrell to raise his game to the level that the Packers feel comfortable keeping him around.
4. Chris Banjo has a cool name.
Because he does. And every time I hear it, I think of the first few notes of this song:
5. David Bakhtiari shows how quickly the NFL takes you from virtually irrelevant to vitally important.
Admit it, when you saw the words "David Bakhtiari - LT - Colorado" scroll across your screen on draft day, you said one of three things:
- Who is David Bakhtiari?
- Oh, Colorado's left tackle got drafted by the Packers. I know this because I follow Pac-12 football closely.
- Neat. Offensive line depth.
But now, you definitely know who he is, and he figures to play a big role for the rest of the season as the Packers' (presumed) starting left tackle. Turnover happens quick in the NFL, and Bakhtiari has been a big benefactor thereof.
6. Brandon Smith is a name you should know.
Yeah, he's 26. Yeah, he's just now switching from wide receiver to cornerback. But if you're big and you can run, you're automatically interesting, and 6'1" guys with 4.4 speed and 40-inch verticals are even more difficult to ignore. Smith is showing enough in training camp to merit a longer look. Read this piece about him right now.
7. It may be time for a curtain call on the Johnny Jolly show.
It was fun while it lasted, but it doesn't seem like he's showing up enough to merit a roster spot. And then there's this, from yesterday's skirmish during practice (emphasis mine):
Finley threw a haymaker that appeared to hit Jarvis Reed in the helmet. It might have been the dumbest move a player had made on the practice field were it not for end Johnny Jolly coming over and throwing a shoulder block into Finley as he tried to get to Reed. It was dumb for Finley to throw a punch like that (same goes for Greg Van Roten and Robert Francois); he could have broken his hand. But for Jolly to come over and hit an unsuspecting Finley? He should be fined for that. Taking out one of your best players is never a good idea. To the Packers' relief, Finley escaped injury.
8. Lane Taylor is having a kid.
More specifically, his wife is having a kid, but presumably Mr. Taylor was involved at some point, because, you know, biology. But everyone should congratulate the rookie lineman! (I'm sure his wife appreciates him Instagramming the moment.)
9. Sam Barrington wins the Best Quote Award.
"Anybody who knows anything about the Greek mythology, gladiators don't go out there to be nice to anybody. So that's kind of how I see myself. You go to war every day. You have to take it like you're out there to take a guy's head off. You have to have that mentality. Because if you don't, the next guy will. You'll be defeated."