Thursday, August 7, 2014

Observations of a Railbird, August 6, 2014

By Coach Ted Verges

 It was with a specific purpose that I attended Packer practice today.  With Barclay hurt and out for the season, I wanted to check on the possible replacements for him.  Specifically, I wanted to watch Derek Sherrod and Lane Taylor.

               Until today, Sherrod had been getting most of his work at left tackle. Today he worked at both the left and right tackle positions.  He did so in the drills and the scrimmage work.   Even though I was impressed with Sherrod’s work earlier in the OTA’s and padded practice, he looked even better today.  He has very good technique. For a big man he does bend his knees and, dare I say it, plays with good pad level.  I also like his aggressiveness. There was a fight in the half line drill and Sherrod was one of the first ones there to join in. He had three reps in the one-on-one pass rush/pass blocking drill.  If he didn’t win all three, the worst score would be two wins and a tie.  He had reps on both the left and right sides.  He stoned his man on the right side and rode him wide on the left side showing good foot quickness in the process.  I watched him closely in the half line run blocking session.  He’s good off the ball, keeps a wide base, and sustains his block.  He just sort of engulfs his man.  Based on what I saw today, we’re more than adequate at reserve offensive tackle.

               In previous practices, I have not paid much attention to Lane Taylor, a reserve guard. He is a big man being 15 to 20 pounds heavier than the other linemen.  He is very stocky and carries a lot of weight around his middle. He worked at both left and right guard.  His form is very good and he is a tough, physical man. He will not be bull rushed. I am concerned, however, about his lack of foot quickness.  He tends to lift his feet too high on run blocking plays and, consequently, occasionally loses his balance.  Somebody should have had him jumping rope in the off-season.  Right now, I just do not want to see him replace either Sitton or Lang in a regular season game. I think he will get lots of action Saturday night and he bears watching.

               There were a couple of very interesting drills close by where I was sitting. One was the half line drill that is mostly running plays.  It is full go blocking with “thump” tackling where they do not take the ball carrier to the ground. It is the offensive line and backs against the defensive line and linebackers. This year, this drill almost always results in a fight and it was so again today.  Datone Jones was part of it, but I’m not sure who the other guy was. I did see Adrian Hubbard running over to be a part of it.  Throughout the dill there was much noise from both groups. Both DuJuan Harris and James Stark scored a couple of touchdowns.  Harris made a couple of quick moves to set up blocks.

               Following the half line drill, they went to the one-on-one pass blocking/pass rush drill. This is full go.  Sherrod looked as good as anybody, but the starters got few, if any, opportunities.  Tretter was much improved over what I saw a week ago.  He handled Daniels on one repetition.  Bulaga got only one snap and was beaten badly because he was too aggressive and got his weight too far forward.  Once again, Garth Gerhart was very good. He plays low and wide and reminds me somewhat of Mark Tauscher’s technique.  The best pass rusher in this drill today was Adrian Hubbard, an outside linebacker from Alabama.  He twice scored wins with a head and shoulder fake pass rush.  He’s a big, tall guy who looks like he can play.  But, we have lots of outside linebackers, so I’m thinking he might be taxi squad material.

               Scott Tolzien had a good practice. He was effective in the “move the ball” drill where they go down the field with various different down and distance situations.  He has strong arms and seems to be playing with more confidence and command.  He did hit Myles White for a touchdown on a nice post-corner route against Sam Shields.  It will be interesting to see how he performs Saturday night.  Jeff Janis, in his first practice since his illness, made a great one-handed catch for a touchdown.

               Ron Wolf was at practice today. He chatted with both Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy at various times.  Even though he is about to have season ending surgery, Jared Abbredaris was also at practice.   Finally, Aaron Rodgers, and most of the other starters, didn’t see much action. It was obvious that the upcoming game is for the reserves.  I’m looking forward to it to see if some of the guys make a strong effort to make the team.  Keep your eye on #65, Lane Taylor, and #78, Derek Sherrod.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks as always, Coach! I'll certainly be looking out for Sherrod and Taylor, as well as our young WRs and new look secondary.

    My concern with cutting a guy like Hubbard is, he's from a big program and has great size. If he looks like he can play at all, another team will pick him up - he won't make it to the practice squad.