(Did the attrition at linebacker force the move with
I’ll say this, it helped. But this was our plan going into training camp. If you recall last training camp, we went with a very similar format for Spencer. He has the ability to play both linebacker and tight end. Really was not needed on defense last year and played exclusively tight end and had a nice year for us. But we’re really going through the same format that we did last year.
(So his days at tight end aren’t over?)
Oh, no. No, no.
(He has the potential of playing both ways in a game?)
Just like he did last year, correct. Yes.
(How much do you want Rodgers to play Saturday?)
I tell you, probably close to 20 plays. Somewhere in there with the first group. That’s my thought today. But we have a practice tonight. Tonight’s practice will answer most of our questions on how long we’ll play the first group Saturday night.
(Today the second and third teams got a lot of reps. How will that help those young players?)
We’re trying to get everybody ready to play a game now. I think it was very noticeable. Our practice structure this morning is different than it’s been throughout the camp. We’ve been in installation type practices, which are a lot longer, a lot more teaching periods and so forth. Now we’re trying to transition into more of an in-season, game-plan type practice, and this was the first time we used cards. The offense was going against Cleveland’s defense and so forth, and that’s always never as smooth as you would like. We had to repeat a couple of plays and just get it right. This was our first carded practice, and we’re just trying to make that transition from a practice-structure standpoint.
(Has Finley lived up to your expectations so far?)
I’d say so. I think Jermichael has been very productive. But he’s like everybody. Training camp is a process. He needs the fundamental work, just like all of our players. They need the post-practice drills that are going on right now just to make sure their fine-motor skills are in tune and intact and ready for in-season type play.
(What’s the plan with the punters in the game?)
Well, I’ll say this. As far as their holding responsibilities, we’ll probably flip a coin, to be honest with you. I just want one holder per game. Now, whether we go every other punt or every two punts, we’ll determine that in the next day or so. I want to make it as 50-50 as I possibly can.
(Can you talk about Breno’s progression from last year?)
Number one, Breno is healthy. Breno has been able to string together a full-year of injury-free work, and this is his time. He’s a big, powerful man, and he’s a player that’s transitioned over from his tight-end days there at Louisville, and I like what I see. Really, the last hurdle for Breno is to go do it in games. He’s a tough guy. He plays the way we want our offensive linemen to play. He has a complete understanding of what’s asked of him at that right tackle position. He’s been here three years now. The biggest thing I want to see of Breno is to play in that live action, because he’s done everything up to that point.
(Who definitely won’t play Saturday?)
Definitely won’t play?
(Guys like Woodson and Driver, will you think about giving them time off?)
Driver, we’re going to evaluate Donald tomorrow. Donald will not practice tonight, and we will evaluate his calf tomorrow. That’s the only people I’m considering right now.
(How about Woodson?)
I anticipate him playing.
(What would you like to accomplish in the first preseason game?)
Number one, you want to get into that game mode. You want all the management, the sideline procedure, all those things to be flawless. You want to make sure that everything leading up to putting the players in the proper plays and make sure they’re in the right situations to succeed, and then frankly the bottom line is I want to see these guys compete. I want to see them perform at a high level. There’s more things that go on in a preseason game. It’s not as much about winning and losing. It’s trying to get certain segments of your football team intact, whether it’s something you’re emphasizing on special teams or what you’re trying to get done on offense and defense, the different combinations of players you’re playing together. Trying to get players the proper reps. Preseason games are always a different challenge, because you’re trying to gain as much information about your football team as possible.
(Looked like the guys handled the heat very well today. Any problems?)
It was hot out here today. I thought they handled it well. We started a little slow, but I thought they practiced very well today. We had a few little issues just with the carded practice, just getting everybody on the same page reading cards, but I thought that was a good, solid practice, especially for our numbers being down. This was a vets’ select practice, so our veterans were not here this morning. It is their morning off, so being thin between not having the veterans and having a number of players out because of their medical situation, I thought they practiced hard and it was crisp the way I wanted it. We finished 12 minutes early, so that is always a positive. That tells you what kind of tempo we had today.
(Do you expect Blackmon to practice tonight?)
No, I don’t think Will will go tonight. He’ll be evaluated in the morning.
(He’s missed a full week of camp. Are you worried about him?)
The doctors have been telling me the same thing that I have been repeating right here every day. They think his knee, it’s not ready for training camp-type schedule. We try to keep him on one-a-days. I know he wants to go. I know Will is frustrated. He wants to get out here and go, but Dr. McKenzie thinks he is going to be fine once he gets through this period.
(Is it tough for Bulaga to move back and forth between guard and tackle, or can he handle that?)
He can handle it.
(In the game will he play one position or both?)