Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Minicamp Wrap-Up

Now that the first mandatory minicamp has come and gone, a few bits of this and that. (How's that for being specific!)

RB Vernand Morency seems to be penciled in right now as the replacement for Ahman Green. But that's not something anyone should take to the bank quite yet. Coaches, according to reports, seem high on him. They like his quick feet and elusiveness. Last season, without benefit of any camp or experience with the new zone blocking scheme offense -- which, of course, none of the lineman really had either -- Morency performed respectably. But he is a different body type than Green. And despite the fact that he refers to himself as a "beast," it remains to be seen whether he can take the pounding that Green took as the featured running back. If not, it may be running back by committee. While it could well be argued that the receiver position is the most competitive in camp (that would be the position of this writer), it can't be denied that running back gives it a run for the money. There are six backs currently in camp, competing for probably three positions. Unfortunately, rookie running back Brandon Jackson missed the entire minicamp. He and other top rookies were ordered by the NFL to attend promotional events in Los Angeles. Great timing. Seventh-round pick DeShawn Wynn was limited in his practice time due to an injury. So the running back situation will likely take a good chunk of camp to figure out.

As for the aforementioned receiver situation, third-round pick James Jones apparently caught everything in sight and was very impressive. Some of the veteran defensive backs mentioned that he went up for everything and likewise usually came down with everything. If he continues to perform like he began the Packers may yet have themselves a solid receiving corps going into the season.

Whether that unit will include veteran and oft-injured receiver Robert Ferguson...? First of all, what are the odds he actually completes the season? Track record there, admittedly through no fault of his own, isn't in his favor. Still, according to an article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Ferguson has worked very hard in the off-season to take advantage of what he knows is probably his last chance. He also has changed his number from 89 to 87 in the hopes of getting some good luck. He's due. It will take more than that, though. With all the receivers -- young and old -- in camp, he has his work cut out for him. Ever since Mike Sherman selected Ferguson in the draft rather than UW -- and now pro! -- standout receiver Chris Chambers six years ago, he has carried some baggage that was not his fault. Combine that with only playing in 60 games in his entire career and Ferguson has never been a fan favorite, despite showing some flashes of receiving brilliance. Still, at this point, he's almost an underdog story.

Last, but certainly not least, was the presence of Mr. Favre at camp. Actually, not merely the presence but also practice. Brett threw the ball for the first time since the end of the season. He wasn't expected to actually practice as he is still recovering from his ankle surgery earlier this year. But...you know Brett. Video of some of the practices also showed a smiling Brett. Looked like he was having some fun. Despite confessing to being bored with these minicamps, the leadership he provides merely by attending was huge. Vernand Morency described just one instance of this according to a report in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: "I was in the locker room messing around, and he came up to me. We went over a single play and I understood what he wanted and we got that fixed. If he wouldn't (have come) we wouldn't have ever got that fixed." When Brett speaks, people listen. Coach McCarthy -- not surprisingly -- said players and coaches alike benefit from just having Brett on hand. Yes, Coach has a flare for understatement.