When Nick Luchey signed with the Packers before the 2003 season, the team was hoping to get somebody that could play alongside William Henderson or possibly replace him if needed. That plan never really took off last season.
It's not that Luchey didn't see action with the Packers. It's just that he was limited to 11 regular season games because of three separate injuries. He did, however, give indications of what type of player he could be. GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman wasn't surprised and said that Luchey should have more success this season.
"My expectations have never changed for him," Sherman said. "We brought him in to be a banger and work with William Henderson to be dominant fullbacks. I think part of William's successful season last year was because we didn't beat him up too badly. I think Luchey contributed to that.
"I think at times he has been a dominant force. We are looking forward to more consistency this year from Luchey. So far in camp I have been pleased with him. He came into camp in shape and has done what we asked him to do."
Part of what the Packers want Luchey to do is excel on special teams. Sherman said if that happens, both he and the Packers will be in business.
"I do think Luchey can be more effective this year, not just on our offense but also on special teams," Sherman said. "He has to find a role there and I'm not sure we've found that yet. William Henderson has found it and Luchey needs to find it as well. He has made some nice blocks and has finished better. I think he is a little more determined this year than last year."
If that is true, the Packers' extremely talented backfield will be even better.
Sherman Pleased With Wide Receivers
Javon Walker has gotten a great deal of attention so far in training camp. The 6-3, 215 pound wide receiver originally started to turn heads last season, hooking up with Brett Favre on their share of exciting touchdowns.
Sherman said there is reason to believe Walker could be better this season.
"He's coming into this season probably in the best shape of his life," Sherman said. "He's had an outstanding offseason regimen in Arizona. I've talked to people down there and they said that no one worked harder than he did. I think Javon is capable of doing a lot of great things."
Walker isn't the only receiver that's grabbed Sherman's attention, however.
"I think Fergie and Driver have also had great camps as well," Sherman said. "I'm pleased with our receivers as a unit. I think Antonio Chatman has really stepped up. He makes plays out here every day.
"He's learned the position. I told him going into the offseason 'You can't make it as a specialist. You'll have to help us as a receiver if you're going to be on the team. I really need a guy who will be able to do both.' We'll see. He's certainly helped himself with the plays he's made out here. He seems to be more explosive than he was last year."
Quarterbacks A Popular Topic As First Preseason Game Nears
The Packers really haven't had a day where all five quarterbacks have participated in practice. Wednesday was no different.
Just when Craig Nall returned to practice, Tim Couch was held back. Sherman said there was no need to worry though.
"Couch had expressed his arm was a little tight, a little sore," Sherman said. "He's thrown a bunch of balls, probably more than all of our quarterbacks. We decided to hold him back as a preventative measure. I don't think it will be an issue."
With the first preseason game versus Seattle next Monday night just around the corner, Sherman has to start thinking about how he plans on dividing up playing time. He still isn't sure about Nall or Favre.
"If Nall gets in, it will be well into the fourth quarter," Sherman said. "He's had limited reps this preseason, so I wouldn't put him out there without having had some work. If he gets an adequate amount of work this week, maybe I would put him out there, but I'm going to wait until the end of the week to make that decision.
"For Favre, it's more of a feel thing. When I fill out the participation form, it's usually close to a quarter in the first game, but it may be less or it may be more. It depends on how many series we get. I usually play that by ear, but probably no more than a quarter, maybe less."
Anderson And Roman Battle For Starting Spot
Last season Marques Anderson and Antuan Edwards battled for the starting safety spot opposite Darren Sharper. Edwards has since left for Miami, but it doesn't mean that there isn't a challenge ahead of Anderson. The team brought in Mark Roman from Cincinnati and has opened the job up in training camp.
Anderson said that competing for the job is no big deal to him.
"You always are going to have to compete because it's the NFL," Anderson said. "Any other job you have to compete year in and year out. You have to prove until they are satisfied, that you are that guy. I think with this being my third year, I can prove that I am indeed that guy.
"I think last year with the competition between me and Antuan, I thought about it too much. This year, I have just focused on Marques, and getting Marques better. I have taken that approach and I have been concentrating not on someone else, but on what I am doing. I'm a lot more comfortable out there and I feel good."