GREEN BAY—The coaching staff may not have liked all the “extracurricular activity” after some of the snaps in Sunday’s practice, but one group that didn’t mind it – and was often in the middle of it – was the defensive line.
“The guys are really bringing a different attitude out there, and it’s welcome,” second-year lineman
It will take more than attitude, of course, to fix a run defense that allowed 4.5 yards per carry last season (26th in the league), but it’s a start.
It was on running plays that the intensity of Sunday’s first full-pads practice was most evident. There’s a right way and a wrong way to bring intensity to training camp, and at times the line was crossed on Sunday, mostly by younger players. It’s a good bet the issue will be discussed in meetings prior to the next practice on Tuesday.
After the workout, however, the defensive linemen were not apologizing for their involvement. The names Adrian Peterson and Colin Kaepernick weren’t mentioned in the locker room to reporters, but perhaps they were in the back of some players’ minds.
“It’s football,” said first-round draft pick
Jones put an impressive bull rush against
“Just showing my coach what I could do, that I can be very aggressive,” he said. “I’m not just a finesse guy.”
Jones sounds like a player determined to prove himself. Fellow lineman
Jolly is trying to resurrect his career after a three-year absence due to off-field problems that included drug abuse, a league suspension and prison time. He hasn’t had any standout moments through the first three days, but the coaching staff has him on a rep count as he works his way back.
Jolly said he spent the month prior to training camp working out in his native Houston with NFL big men Shaun Rogers and Casey Hampton. His conditioning is better than it was in the spring during OTAs, and it will remain an ongoing challenge after so much time away.
When he last played, in 2009, the Packers led the league and set a franchise record for run defense (83.3 yards per game), and Jolly led all NFL defensive linemen with 11 deflected passes. That was Dom Capers’ first season as Green Bay’s defensive coordinator, so Jolly is coming back to a familiar scheme.
“That’s where he always thrived, as an inside player and his ability to get off blocks, his instincts,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. “(But) we have to be realistic about where he is.”
Jolly is taking nothing for granted. His roster spot is as tenuous as they come, but he has teammates in the locker room pulling for him.
“I’m glad he’s back,” said receiver
That goes for the entire defensive line. They’re just saying it with a little more attitude.
“We’re not there yet,” Datone Jones said. “We have to get better every day. We’ve got something to prove every day.”Additional coverage - July 28