(Any update on
Clay Matthews has a hamstring. I would estimate probably at least two weeks.
(Is it the same hamstring as last year?)
(How do you take into account the heat and do you shorten up practice because of that?)
Today’s practice was shortened because of our numbers. Actually I think it is good to get out here with a couple of heat days because you open up in Philadelphia. You can catch a warm day there; I know it is a 4 p.m. start. But I don’t mind the heat. I think our players do a good job of hydrating. I think we were working with 66 players max today, so that was more a reflection of being a short in a couple of areas, particularly at linebacker.
(How concerned are you with your numbers at linebacker?)
It seems like every training camp you go through a position that gets stressed. Some years are different than others and this year it is the linebacker position. It is just very important for us to complete the installations, and our focus today as far as what we practiced was what we installed today. I cut out a combination period, I cut a move-the-ball period, and really stayed focused on the third down and the last eight plays of the game, which are highlight situations of today’s practice.
(By the same token, do you feel fortunate to have depth there?)
Yeah, I like our depth on paper, but everything to this point is on paper. You have people that are fighting for jobs, you’ve got people that are getting better, and you had a chance to correct the scrimmage. I thought the special teams work, as far as correcting things that went on in the scrimmage, I thought the work was good today. I am anxious to see the film of those two periods. But we’re getting better. It’s part of that process. This was our eighth install. We’ll have a chance to review it again tomorrow, and we will work on Install No. 9 tomorrow night, and then we’ll move on to the preseason games.
(Are you optimistic with Clay since he obviously responded well last year?)
He played well in the season. It took 20-plus days last year. We don’t have all of the information as far as comparing it to last year, but I would definitely estimate it being at least two weeks.
(Did he have problems with it before Saturday night?)
No, no problems at all.
(Is he in a better place now than he was a year ago?)
I agree with you as far as he is in a better place. He has had a whole offseason to study the defense. He is more comfortable. With being a rookie last year, there were a lot of new things for him, the anxiety and so forth. So I definitely am confident that he’ll come off this injury strong and go into this season with another strong season.
Brad missed some time there earlier in camp. Brad was one of the standout players in the scrimmage Saturday night. I like what he is doing, both on defense and in the special teams. Jermichael Finley has been very consistent as far as production, but he needs to continue to work on the little things. His work ethic has definitely improved since his time here and we’re excited about what is in front of Jermichael.
(Bulaga got some work at left guard. Can you talk about the decision there?)
(Any update on Bigby?)
The doctor’s report was positive. As far as his rehab, they are estimating approximately four weeks.
(Are you happy with how the installs have gone to this point?)
Absolutely. I thought the end of last week was probably as good of work as we have had in training camp, and I am talking about coming off a Wednesday to Thursday and Friday going into the scrimmage. Just the quality of work that we were able to have on film and teach off with the players. I am hoping today’s film reflects that and I’m looking for the same thing tomorrow. This is the path that we have taken here in training camp. It works. That has been proven. It gives us an opportunity to throw a lot at our players. They are prepared for it because of their time here in the spring, and we’ll complete that tomorrow. But I feel good about where we are as a football team. Just probably like most teams in camp right now, you just wish you were healthier.
(You initially said Bulaga would only work at left tackle, so what changed?)
As I have stated already, Bryan Bulaga has earned the opportunity to compete for a starting position. Our intent was to keep him at one position, which we did throughout the spring and to this point. I am really impressed with his body of work so far, and he has earned the right to compete for a starting position on our offensive line.
(When did you start to feel that way?)
Probably the middle of last week was when I started thinking about it. I discussed it with the line coaches on Friday and then we had a long conversation about it last night and then we made a decision this morning.
(Is it a testament to Bryan or the other guys’ play?)
It’s the coaching. It’s clearly the coaching. (laughs). It’s a testament to Bryan. Bryan has come in here, I mean, he’s talented, he’s tough, he’s doing things the right way. He’s got a lot of football in front of him. He’s got a lot to learn. We feel from an offensive line depth standpoint, this is the deepest group that we’ve had in our time here, and we’re continuing to try to train the younger players at one position, which is tough, not really realistic, because you start looking at that depth chart and you’re trying to get some clarity to it, and we feel by making this move it may add some clarity to it. Once again, not to be redundant, he has earned this right. He’s been impressive. I like what I’ve seen from the individual drills through the group drills all the way through the team drills, and I saw it again Saturday night. So we’re going to give him a shot.
(What happened to Quarless?)
Quarless, what’s he have … he has a hamstring.
Bell has a foot sprain.
(Is there an update on Blackmon?)
(How close is Starks at this point?)
I have no idea. Not sure.
Swain’s fine. I think it was something if you’ve ever had a knee injury, it looked ugly, it was ugly on film. Like I told him, he worked too hard for him to reinjure that knee. It scared him. His leg was in a bad position, but he’s going to be fine.
Donald has something on his calf that they’re looking at. We don’t know if it’s part of the post-surgery process of coming back. So we’re just being smart with him. Who was the other one?
Barnett, his knee. Same thing. Just being smart with Nick.
(Is there a big difference between left tackle and left guard?)
There’s more of a difference between left guard and left tackle than there is between left tackle and right tackle, in my position, purely from an assignment standpoint. Things happen faster inside. There’s more to do as far as from an assignment standpoint. Your recognition and anticipation is something that is definitely heightened. Tackle is a cleaner position, especially the way we’re built and the way we’re designed from an offensive structure standpoint in our run-blocking assignments and our pass-protection assignments. Our stress really starts on the center and the guards and works its way out, and we involve our backs and our tight ends a lot too so we can be aggressive and be multiple in our scheme. Guard is more of a challenge for a younger player in my opinion.
(Ted said he was not too keen on the scrimmage because you are going against your own guys. Any thought to bringing in another team to scrimmage?)
No. Ted and I, we disagree once in a while, that’s good. I like the way we scrimmage. I think it’s controlled. It’s important to get some live action. The emphasis on special teams to me is the priority when we go out there for the Family Night scrimmage, because that’s where the biggest questions for us as a football team lie right now. We have gone three series in the past with our offense vs. our defense. We only went two. I felt good about the information that we were able to get out two series and the two 2-minute drills. My number one priority is to come off the field and make sure things are structurally in place as far as the urgency and the communicating on and off the field. I thought the substitutions went very well. The tempo on the offense wasn’t what it needed to be, but I thought the defensive tempo was very good, and the discipline is the part of the game of football you’re always chasing to be better at. I thought it was good quality work, and it really gives us an opportunity that really no other team has to have a scrimmage in front of a live crowd that is as close to a preseason game as possible. I think it’s very unique to Green Bay. Our fans provide that with us, and I really like our scrimmage format.
(You couldn’t do any less live tackling than you do, could you?)
Any less? I don’t know what your point is.
(But you are as cautious as you can be, right?)
I think we’re smart with our players. I think our players would echo that. I think we’re smart with the way we practice them. We practice them hard. Our practices are long, longer than normal, if you would go around the NFL. We definitely listen to our trainers, we listen to our strength staff. No different putting them in live action. I’m not comfortable going into a football game with no live action. I would not want to go line up against Cleveland in preseason game number one and have not had live tackling, live blocking or a live atmosphere to catch the football. Because at the end of the game it’s all about blocking, tackling and handling the football.
(Is Bulaga still the primary backup at left tackle?)