Training Camp Report: Depth Getting Stronger On Offensive Line

The Packers’ starting offensive line has been pretty much set in stone since the beginning of camp. Meanwhile the No. 2 line has been far from settled, but one positive development has been the production and consistent play of the backups. - More Training Camp Photos | Audio | Video www.PackersTrainingCamp.com

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The Packers' starting offensive line has been pretty much set in stone since the beginning of training camp.

Meanwhile the No. 2 line has been far from settled, but one positive development over the past couple of weeks has been the production and consistent play of the backups on the offensive line.

With Tony Moll (neck/stinger) out last Saturday in Pittsburgh, the group of center Tyson Walter, guards Tony Palmer and Allen Barbre, and tackles Orrin Thompson and Junius Coston helped lead the three straight scoring drives that produced a 13-9 victory.

The group paved the way for Brandon Jackson's two biggest runs in the game, of 16 and 14 yards in the third quarter, and they allowed quarterback Aaron Rodgers to be sacked only once, and that came on a scramble when Rodgers stepped out of bounds for a 1-yard loss.

"The second offensive line had a very good game against the Steelers," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "That group as a whole has made a lot of progress, particularly in the last seven to 10 days."

Even this week, with injuries to Palmer (hamstring) and Thompson (knee), the No. 2 line has still performed well in practice. Coston has slid over to Thompson's left tackle spot, and Adam Stenavich and Travis Leffew have filled in at right guard and tackle, respectively.

Coston's versatility has been valuable as injuries have cropped up, and as the lone rookie of the bunch, Barbre has held his own throughout. Stenavich and Leffew were both on the practice squad last season and continue to progress.

The competition for roster spots has elevated the backups' level of play, a development that's good news for a unit whose depth, beyond Moll (who started 10 games in 2006) was not as experienced and reliable a year ago.

Making some plays

Rookie wide receiver David Clowney has been quiet much of training camp, but the fifth-round draft choice made a pair of nice catches from Aaron Rodgers during a no-huddle team period Tuesday morning.

His first catch was on a deep out pattern, and Clowney reached out to snag the pass while successfully dragging his back foot in bounds. A few snaps later, he caught a short pass over the middle to move the offense to the 6-yard line. Unfortunately, the drive ended when Shaun Bodiford was unable to hang onto what would have been a nifty diving catch for a touchdown on the final play.

Clowney made another nice grab in the evening, diving to catch a quick out from Rodgers near the sideline.

{sportsad300}Bigger boys get their turn

On Monday the defensive secondary was a ball-hawking group, with several interceptions and near-picks. On Tuesday morning, two of the No. 1 defense's bigger bodies -defensive tackle Corey Williams and linebacker A.J. Hawk - both had interceptions against quarterback Brett Favre.

During no-huddle work, Williams pulled off his blocker slightly to get his hands on a short dump-off pass intended for Brandon Jackson. Then on the final play of the morning practice, Hawk reached up to bat a pass down with both hands and then snagged it before it hit the ground.

A little heated

On one of the cooler summer evenings for practice, some tempers flared during one team period. Defensive end Jason Hunter got into a brief shoving match with a couple of offensive players, and later Johnny Jolly and Barbre stayed locked up after the whistle.

Both incidents were doused fairly quickly.

All good

Kickers Dave Rayner and Mason Crosby both had a perfect night, going 7-for-7 on a series of kicks ranging from 25 to 45 yards.

Injury, participation update

Linebacker Nick Barnett missed the morning practice with tightness in his back, but he returned to practice in the evening. Barnett said he was held out just as a precaution, but he didn't expect to have any further problems.

With Barnett out and Abdul Hodge taking the morning practice off, as has been his schedule, rookie Desmond Bishop worked at middle linebacker with the No. 1 defense.

Tight end Donald Lee (back) missed the evening practice, while Moll and fullback Brandon Miree, both with stingers, have dressed but are not participating in the contact drills yet.

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