Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Training camp starts off...not so good

Let's see...in the first few days of training camp the Packers lose one of their tight ends (Tory Humphrey) for an undetermined amount of time -- perhaps the entire season -- with a fractured fibula, lose their nominal starting running back (Vernand Morency) for perhaps two to four weeks with an undisclosed knee injury, have their Pro Bowl #1 receiver (Donald Driver) fail his physical with a lingering shoulder injury, and have their QB (that would be Brett) experience yet another family loss -- his wife's stepfather died suddenly Saturday. Can you say, "Aaaaarrrrghhh!"?

Brett and his wife's stepfather, Rocky Byrd, had become very close over the past 10 years or so, according to reports. For Brett to receive the news of Byrd's sudden heart attack at age 56 had to resurface memories of his own father's death in 2003. There is an excellent and revealing article about all this at packersnews.com. You can find it here.

Over the weekend practices, with the injury to Humphrey and a few other unusual circumstances with the tight end corps, there actually were times when the offense had no tight ends to work with. Oh boy. The only silver lining to Morency's injury is it is giving the Packers extended looks at the other backs on the roster. And with Brett having to return to Mississippi to deal with Byrd's death, backup QB Aaron Rodgers is making the most of his opportunities. Media reports indicated that his throws and reads both looked sharp yesterday.

On another front, there's an interesting article in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel about "KGB" and his new role as a designated pass rusher rather than starting defensive end. Check it out here.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Driver fails physical...other first practice problems

Starting wide receiver Donald Driver failed his physical today with a shoulder injury that goes back to last season. Ryan Pickett, Johnny Jolly and DeShawn Wynn were on the non-football injury list, with Pickett and Jolly being out of condition...Coach McCarthy was not happy.

According to a report at PackerNews.com, tight end Tory Humphrey, who was hurt during practice, has an ankle injury and was taken for X-rays. WTMJ-4 TV out of Milwaukee was also reporting that running back Vernand Morency tweaked a knee...no further info about that injury is currently available.

On the positive side of things, rookie defensive lineman Justin Harrell did practice after being cleared by team doctors, although veteran Corey Williams worked with the first unit. And QB Brett Favre reportedly looked sharp in his first time back at the helm. Sure nice to be able to utter that name again, isn't it?

Harrell: Signed, Sealed, Delivered

As GM Ted Thompson predicted mid-week, all his draft picks would be signed in time for the start of training camp today. With last night's signing of first round draft pick Justin Harrell, Thompson made good on his prediction.

According to a report in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel citing NFL sources, Harrell agreed to a five-year contract worth between $14.5 million and $15 million with all incentives included. Harrell will receive around $8 million in guaranteed money.

It is still not clear, however, whether team doctors will clear Harrell for full participation in camp. They want to make sure that his surgically repaired left biceps tendon is healed sufficiently before exposing him to contact. Given that they held Harrell out of all drills except individual ones during minicamps and OTAs so he'd be ready for the first day of camp, reports speculate that there's a good chance he'll be given the go-ahead today.

So, everyone's present and accounted for. Let the games -- er, the practices -- begin!

Friday, July 27, 2007

...And the starters are...

We're just on the eve of training camp and already the starting lineup is in place. At least it is in the form of an "unofficial" depth chart approved by Coach Mike McCarthy and release to the media today. Two items of note: first round draft pick Justin Harrell is listed as the starter on the defensive line ahead of Corey Williams, who had a bit of a break out year last season; secondly, Donald Lee is listed as the starting tight end ahead of Bubba Franks who had an admittedly dismal 2006 season.

Here is the depth chart as it was released today:
WR Greg Jennings, LT Chad Clifton, LG Daryn Colledge, C Scott Wells, RG Jason Spitz, RT Mark Tauscher, TE Donald Lee, WR Donald Driver, QB Brett Favre, RB Vernand Morency, FB Brandon Miree.

LE Aaron Kampman, LDT Ryan Pickett, RDT Justin Harrell, RE Cullen Jenkins, SLB Brady Poppinga, MLB Nick Barnett, WLB A.J. Hawk, LCB Charles Woodson, RCB Al Harris, SS Marquand Manuel, FS Nick Collins.

K Dave Rayner, P Jon Ryan, PR Charles Woodson, KR Vernand Morency, LS Rob Davis.

WR Ruvell Martin, LT Orrin Thompson, LG Allen Barbre, C Tyson Walter, RG Junius Coston, RT Tony Moll, TE Bubba Franks, WR Robert Ferguson, QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Brandon Jackson, FB Ryan Powdrell.

LE Michael Montgomery, LDT Corey Williams, RDT Colin Cole, RE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, SLB Spencer Havner, MLB Abdul Hodge, WLB Tracy White, LCB Patrick Dendy, RCB Jarrett Bush, SS Atari Bigby, FS Aaron Rouse.

While Vernand Morency is listed as the starting running back, reports have McCarthy indicating he really doesn't have a preference as to whether there is a featured back or running back by committee; what he wants is production. Hard to argue with that logic. Although one hopes that eventually a dominant back does emerge from the young group on the roster.

One is the loneliest number...

As noted in yesterday's post, the signing of third round pick James Jones had to happen in short fashion as the second round pick, Brandon Jackson, had already signed. And so...Jones is now signed. According to reports, Jones agreed to a four-year deal loaded with incentives in the last year of the contract.

That leaves first round pick, #16 overall in the draft, Justin Harrell, as the only unsigned draft pick. News reports indicate that signings of first rounders across the league have been slow, with only 11 of 32 picks under contract at the time of this post. Still, it is expected that the Packers will get the deal done with Harrell soon. GM Ted Thompson was quoted as saying he thought all picks would be in camp for the first practice tomorrow afternoon. So, watch for further developments today and tomorrow.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

And Now There Are Two...

All 2007 draft picks by the Packers are signed except for first rounder Justin Harrell and third rounder James Jones. Given that second round pick Brandon Jackson signed yesterday, one would think that Jones would soon sign a deal. According to an article in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, GM Ted Thompson expects both Jones and Harrell to be signed before the start of camp at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The article also contains lots of tidbits about the annual shareholder's meeting and other news surrounding the Pack. One important piece of info was delivered by the team Treasurer, Larry Weyers: Packers' net operating income was up 22 percent this past fiscal year ending March 31. A large portion of this increase is due to the refurbished Lambeau Field and the 365-day-a-year income it is now able to generate. It is and will be one of the keys to keeping the Packers viable in the NFL.

Search for Harlan's Successor
Another article in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reveals a great deal about the approach the search committee is using in finding the successor to Packers' President Bob Harlan following the parting of ways with the one-time heir apparent John Jones. It could well be argued that this position is the most important one in the Packers' organization. After all, the President hires the GM who makes the draft picks and other key personnel decisions, including the hiring/firing of the head coach. For the first time ever, the team is using a search firm to assist in the process. They have a number of candidates under consideration, including a few currently in-house. But team officials stress they want to find the best person available to ensure the ongoing success of the Packers. If you want to learn a bit more about the process and some of the possible candidates, go here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bits & Pieces

Nothing of major importance to report today. Just bits and pieces...this and that...miscellaneous stuff...you get the idea.

Brooks & Butler in PHoF
Packer greats Robert Brooks and LeRoy Butler took their place alongside other Packer luminaries when they were formally inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame on Saturday evening. Both earned their spots with years of dedication to the team, on and off the field, and exceptional play. (Despite rumors to the contrary, Butler did not earn his place in the Hall for inventing "The Lambeau Leap.") You can read a nice article about Butler here.

Training Camp at "City Stadium"
For the first time in nearly 50 years, the Packers will practice at "City Stadium," the team's former home from 1925 through 1956, when they take to the field on Tuesday, July 31. The last time the team practiced there was Aug. 5, 1961, when the team held an intra-squad scrimmage. City Stadium is now the home football field for Green Bay East High School. But once upon a time, it saw the likes of such legendary Packer players as Don Hutson, Curly Lambeau, Arnie Herber, Tony Canadeo and Clarke Hinkle, among others. One hopes the young Packer players of today will appreciate and sense the history that surrounds them on that old field. It is anticipated that there will be a large crowd on hand for this historic one-of-a-kind practice session. You can read more here.

New Charity Cap Campaign
For the last few years, the Packers have teamed up with American Family Insurance in the creation of a special cap design from which a portion of the proceeds goes toward a designated charity. Over the last two years, the cap campaigns have raised nearly $1.5 million for charities fighting breast cancer and heart disease. This year, the goal is to raise money to support service men and women, veterans and their families. Cost of the cap -- a very nice black washed cotton design -- is $15, with $5 from each sale going towards the charity effort. You can learn more about the cap campaign here. Or if you just want to cut to the chase and order your cap now, go here.

That's all for now. Over and out...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

We're Ba-a-a-a-a-ck!

For all those Packer fans anxiously awaiting our return from a brief time away, let the rejoicing begin! For everyone else who (a) either didn't know or (b) didn't care...can't say I blame you. It is summer, after all. But now...

There are only a few days before the annual Packers' shareholders meeting, and less than a week to go to the start of Packers' summer training camp. Woo-hoo! For those counting, there remain a mere 49 days to the season opener against the Eagles. Oh baby!

So, the postings here at PackerFansUnited.com will once again become more frequent with all the action at camp. But in the meantime, you can check out the Packers' own dedicated camp site (you can also find this site as part of the permanent "Links" area in the righthand column).

Hope you have enjoyed your summer. Now, Packer fans, it's time to start thinking football...our favorite time of the year!

As always, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Packer Fans, just wanted to let you know that this blog -- and blogger -- will be on hiatus until about July 20. Then we'll all be set to gear up for the doings at summer training camp, the shareholders' meeting, pre-season games...oh baby, here it comes...and then the regular season! It's just around the corner, folks.

I hope you still keep checking back here during this break regardless of the lack of new posts from yours truly. The link and blog resources are always at your disposal, as are the updated and ongoing Packer headlines, and of course you may also wish to check out some of the organizations whose banners can be found toward the bottom of the righthand column. So, there are still things to keep you coming back...until I'm back. Until then...Go Pack Go!!!