Grady Jackson only practiced for a week during training camp and played in only one preseason game, but the 345-pounder feels very prepared to take on the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
"I'm ready to go," he said. "No doubt about it."
Jackson made three solo tackles in just more than a quarter of action against the Tennessee Titans. That is an impressive sum especially in the Packers' new defense, which asks their interior linemen to occupy offensive linemen and free up the linebackers to make plays.
Jackson said that role will be right up his alley.
"That's all I do is take up two blocks," he said. "They call me a block eater."
The Packers plan to keep Jackson and the other defensive linemen fresh by rotating them more frequently this year. He estimates he will play 30 to 35 snaps a game.
"It's not going to be like last year, taking 60 reps," he said.
Those rotating linemen will be a young bunch. Aside from Jackson, Kenny Peterson and his three years experience becomes the most defensive tackle.
"They'll step up," Jackson said. "They had a great offseason and a great preseason."
Jackson must step up as well.
He plays a crucial role in the Packers' run defense. In his 18 regular season games with Green Bay, the team has a record of 14-4 with him in the lineup and 2-2 when he is inactive.
Master Of Many Positions
When the Green Bay Packers released offensive tackle Brad Bedell and traded offensive tackle Steve Morley to the New York Jets, some questioned who on the roster could spell tackles Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton if they went down with an injury.
Guard Adrian Klemm has the versatility to fill that void. In the New England Patriots' 2002 regular season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he played four positions -- right guard, left guard, right tackle and left tackle -- in a 30-14 New England victory. He played tackle most of his time with the Patriots and throughout his four years at the University of Hawaii.
"I'm actually more comfortable at tackle because that's where I have the most experience," he said. "I came here to be a left guard, but if [playing tackle] is asked, I'm more than willing to do it."
Considering fill-ins for the tackles is jumping the gun. Neither Clifton nor Tauscher has missed a snap in the last three years. The Packers, however, will be prepared.
"If something should happen, we'll be well taken care of," Clifton said. "[Mike] Flanagan has been able to step over and do extremely well and also Klemm can play."
The Packers have not announced their starting guards yet, but Klemm continues to take repetitions with the first team during practice. And with each passing practice, he becomes more comfortable with the offense.
"I'm a lot further ahead than I was a few weeks ago," Klemm said.
Three-year veteran Kenny Peterson has become extremely versatile. During the beginning of training camp, the coaching staff used him at defensive end, but in the last two preseason games he impressed at defensive tackle.
Peterson feels comfortable at either position.
"I'll scratch wherever it itches," he said. "Wherever we feel I'll be more effective, that's where I'll play."
He played effectively on the interior against the Titans. His pass rush forced quarterback Billy Volek to throw his first interception. Peterson also stuffed running back Larry Croom for a three-yard loss in the fourth quarter.
Peterson expected to play defensive end this season. Because the Packers' new defense calls for fast, edge-rushing defensive ends, he dropped from his from his 2004 listed weight of 295 to 285.
One might think that size makes him better suited for the defensive end position, but Peterson added quickness and helped his overall play by shedding pounds.
"I feel more comfortable playing at that weight rather than at 300 or 305," he said. "I feel leaner and a lot better than I did last season."
After Titans defensive tackle Rien Long leg whipped him, Brett Favre injured his ankle and underwent treatment twice-a-day. He has recovered so quickly that he will practice on Wednesday.
"He'll be fine," Sherman said.