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Backs itching for reps

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Heatherthepackgirl, Jun 8, 2008.

  1. Heatherthepackgirl

    Heatherthepackgirl Cheesehead

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    By LORI NICKEL
    lnickel@journalsentinel.com
    Posted: June 4, 2008

    Green Bay - Snaps are at a premium, which is strange, given Ryan Grant's absence. While he awaits a new contract and sits out these off-season practices, it would seem there would be plenty of opportunities for the other running backs to get in.

    Well, not exactly. The Green Bay Packers predetermine the number of repetitions designated for the quarterbacks and receivers before each practice as well as the running backs. With two rookie quarterbacks to back up a brand new leader, Aaron Rodgers, of course the passing game garners great attention.

    With the carries left over for the backs, there's a logjam of guys all trying to get on the field to prove one thing or another.

    Noah Herron wants to avenge a ruined 2007 season. Brandon Jackson hopes to back up his burst with experience. Ryan Powdrell needs to put two years on the bench in the rear view mirror. DeShawn Wynn seeks consistency. Kregg Lumpkin aims to be the next undrafted free agent to splash.

    With nine other backs on the team - five running backs and four fullbacks, there's sometimes a handful of carries for each during a two-hour practice to make a move.

    "From a rep standpoint, it can be a little difficult with a large group," said running backs coach Edgar Bennett recently. "Certainly trying to get your top guys ready and prepared to run, it can be a little bit of a strain from that standpoint but at the same time, you also have great depth. "

    Here's an update of some of the candidates in the latest practice Wednesday at the Don Hutson Center in Green Bay:

    • Second-year running Jackson puts on the afterburners, especially down the sidelines, in some runs in practice. He looks more like the guy who put up 113 yards against Detroit than the green rookie in September who struggled when the Packers were desperate for a starter to carry the running game.

    "Brandon Jackson is an explosive runner," said Bennett. "This kid has all the tools necessary for being a successful running back at this level and I think at the end of last year, you started to see what this kid was capable of doing. Explosive. Breaks tackles.

    "Everything we thought he was. I see the kid getting stronger every day in the weight room, doing a phenomenal job in the classroom. He's an attention-to-detail kind of guy, he's maturing, he's growing up, and I think you'll be able to see that on the field this year."

    Rodgers added that no running back has improved more in catching the ball than Jackson. Rodgers and coach Mike McCarthy also credited Jackson for improvement in picking blitzes in practice.

    • Fourth-year running back Herron returns after cartilage damage in his knee landed him on injured reserve. Rather than work out at home in Louisiana, he elected to stay near the team every day during his rehabilitation.

    "I feel like everything is back. I feel like my burst isn't where I want it to be. But that's going to come with time," Herron said. "And I haven't really trained for that yet. I've just trained mobility and knee structure."

    • Fullback Wynn could be battling for his NFL future after injuries and an inability to adapt to the demands of the job finally landed him on IR last year. This summer Wynn is one of the strongest backs in the weight room.

    "With him, it's more being dependable. Availability is a big thing in our business," Bennett said. "And he has to take care of his body to stay on the football field. But as far as an instinctive football player, a talented football player, he just has to stay on the field. His commitment in the weight room has been phenomenal."

    When asked if Wynn had matured with a year of experience, Bennett saw room for improvement.

    "Some, but he has to be consistent," Bennett said. "It has to be to the point where it is time in and time out, we see it day in and day out. It can't be, we're going to do it one time now and then we're not going to do it this time. That's part of being a pro."

    • Second-year fullback Powdrell, the 254-pound bruiser, thought he would miss three to six weeks after a sprained knee in the third week of training camp. Instead, he landed on the injured reserve list. He also missed all but two games of his senior season at USC.

    "Big guy, very powerful guy," said Bennett. "He just has to get back out on the field and stay on the field. You have to stay on the field with this competition, every time you do miss, you're giving another guy an opportunity to show what he can do."

    • Finally, Bennett said fullback Corey White has flashed early and he liked Lumpkin, who has fought for his share of snaps in the first three weeks of practice.

    "Very talented young man, has very good size, quick feet, good vision, soft hands to catch the football, so I am kind of anxious to see the kid put pads on," said Bennett.
     
  2. TOPHAT

    TOPHAT Cheesehead

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    Hi Heathie:

    Good to see ya! On tour, but I am
    always glad to read your stuff.
     
  3. Heatherthepackgirl

    Heatherthepackgirl Cheesehead

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    You are on tour? Where?

    And your welcome, I just hope that noone else posts what I write before I do. :) Have a great tour!!!
     
  4. Zombieslayer

    Zombieslayer Cheesehead

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    This is very important. Keep in mind, MM wants to screen and I think he was regretting not doing it more in '07 (it just wasn't that effective).

    Also, Edgar Bennett really loves RBs who can pick up the blitz.

    Don't be surprised if Jackson takes some of Grant's workload in '08.
     

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