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Packers hoping players develop despite injuries

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by Heatherthepackgirl, Jan 6, 2007.

  1. Heatherthepackgirl

    Heatherthepackgirl Cheesehead

    Nov 22, 2005
    Posted: Jan. 5, 2007

    Green Bay - Over the next six months, the Green Bay Packers will be
    Some of that talent might come from within.

    The Packers finished the season with 12 players on injured reserve, some of them young and unproven who team officials think have a promising future, even though their seasons never got off the ground.

    Of that group, perhaps none is more intriguing than wide receiver Shaun Bodiford, who was claimed off waivers on Oct. 23 from the Detroit Lions. Bodiford had played in six games with the Lions, mostly on special teams, and when released was told by offensive coordinator Mike Martz that it was not a move he was in favor of making.

    Sources said Martz was extremely high on Bodiford and was reminded of Isaac Bruce when he watched Bodiford with the ball.

    Within just a couple of weeks after joining the Packers, the 5-foot-11, 186-pound Bodiford learned all three receiver positions, and the coaches were impressed enough that in his second game he was elevated to No. 1 kickoff and punt returner. He had limited success against Buffalo's excellent special teams unit (15.5 kickoff return average, 1.8 punt return) and then broke his leg on the opening kickoff against Minnesota the next week.

    Bodiford stuck around town during the season, learning the offense and rehabilitating his injury. He is expected to be ready for the start of the off-season program March 20 and needs to get stronger so he can avoid injury.

    "He's a young, aggressive receiver, a special teams guy that I felt really had a chance to improve our special teams," coach Mike McCarthy said. "Unfortunately, he got hurt. But he does have skill and showed the mental ability to learn all three positions in the short time he was here, so I really like him. I think he can definitely be a difference-maker on special teams."

    Bodiford got only a limited amount of work at receiver, but McCarthy said he saw potential. Bodiford caught 51 passes for 545 yards and five touchdowns at Portland State last year and was on the Packers' radar during the draft.

    However, he was not selected and signed with the Lions as an undrafted free agent.

    "I don't know enough about him yet (as a receiver), but he definitely has the ability to separate and change directions," McCarthy said. "He's outstanding with the ball in his hands and with yards after the catch. He definitely has some ability there. I think he'll be here for our off-season program and that will help him mentally."

    Here's a look at some of the other injured reserve players and how the Packers view them:

    Will Blackmon, cornerback: Blackmon's first season was an injury nightmare.

    After being picked in the fourth round out of Boston College, he broke his foot in mini-camp, suffered a shin injury trying to rehabilitate the foot and then injured a rib at the top of his ribcage that knocked him out for the season.

    Still, the Packers were impressed with his ability in mini-camp workouts before the broken foot and were considering him for increased work at cornerback when he suffered the rib injury at Minnesota. The injury has been slow to heal and because of its proximity to the lungs has made it difficult for him to do any heavy conditioning.

    A returner and part-time receiver at BC, the 6-0, 198-pound Blackmon has plenty of athletic ability, but he has to prove he's not injury prone.

    "Unfortunately, sometimes you have players who get hit with that medical bad-luck stick," McCarthy said. "He's a guy from a talent standpoint he's everything we thought he was when we drafted him. I think he's extremely talented. He's a big corner, has all the skills, the redirection, the foot speed you're looking for, so just what we saw of him we really liked."

    Marviel Underwood, safety: The second-year pro was having a solid training camp when he tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his right knee in the second exhibition game.

    It's doubtful Underwood would have beaten out veteran Marquand Manuel for a starting position, but he probably would have been part of the nickel defense. He made big strides after a disappointing rookie season, but now is a question mark because of the knee injury.

    "I thought he was productive and making a push with the limited amount of reps he had," McCarthy said. "He's a smart guy, (with) attention to detail. And his rehab is going pretty good, so he just has to come back from that knee injury."

    Underwood is expected to be ready for the start of training camp.

    Arliss Beach, running back: Beach had a shot of making the team ahead of Noah Herron or Samkon Gado, but he suffered a concussion early in camp and then sprained his right ankle near the end, convincing the Packers they should shut him down for the year.

    The 5-10, 219-pound Beach, who was only a part-time starter at Kentucky his senior year, showed good burst and leg drive, which the coaches thought made him a good fit for their running game. He led all rushers with 50 yards in nine carries in the third exhibition game and was a candidate to return kickoffs but hurt his ankle against Cincinnati.

    "He's been here going to all the meetings, the weight room; you can say it's almost been a redshirt year," McCarthy said. "He's a tough guy, has some running instinct. We talk about the one-cut and running behind your pads; we definitely felt he was a young guy coming along."

    Josh Bourke, tackle: The 6-7, 314-pound Bourke was a pleasant surprise at left tackle in the little amount of work he got before injuring his right leg and back at the end of training camp. Signed as a rookie free agent from Grand Valley State, he still has a lot to learn about the game.

    "He's got good feet and he has a little bit of a nasty streak," general manager Ted Thompson said.

    His lower back is the issue he's dealing with now.

    "We liked him from what we saw until the point he got hurt," McCarthy said. "He's a tall guy, he's a small-college guy. He's done a good job in the weight room. He needs to get fully healthy; he's not 100% healthy. Definitely we're going to give him a chance."

    Tory Humphrey, tight end: Played in seven games before wearing down, probably because he played in NFL Europe in the spring. Suffered a hamstring injury against Minnesota Nov. 15 and was shut down for the year.

    "I like Tory," McCarthy said. "I thought Tory did a good job with the opportunities he had. Very athletic guy, can run, plays physical on special teams. He's another Europe guy who's had to play a year straight of football. I think he'll definitely benefit from an off-season and will be part of our plans next year."

    Dave Tollefson, end: The seventh-round pick was on the practice squad when he injured his back. The club hasn't signed him to a futures contract because the back is still an issue. If he gets healthy, he might be re-signed.
  2. packedhouse01

    packedhouse01 Cheesehead

    Jun 4, 2005
    I thought that was a really good article. I also think that what they're hoping for from these guys is that they can develop as fill in, back up type players who can play a certain role. I doubt there is anyone of this group that is going to be an impact player. There are some guys on that list however that are intriguing. Bodifod is a legit prospect who might serve a purpose. Blackman apparently has a great deal of talent, but in my mind, he's like a ton of other players loaded with talent who can't make it because they can't refine their skills. Great teams are filled with these types of players that can step up and play in times of need. What we need is however is a few impact players in key spots, safety, defensive line, tight end, running back, wide receiver. There isn't an answer for those issure from this list. Although I think Underwood can be that type of player.
  3. yooperfan

    yooperfan Cheesehead

    Dec 4, 2004
    I'm wondering if this Blackmon is just a figment of somebodies imagination or wishful thinking or what.
    How can anybody be so high on a player nobody has ever seen.
  4. Zero2Cool

    Zero2Cool I own a website

    Dec 11, 2004
    Will Blackmon takes forever to heal. he's a very slow healer. I'm a little cautious about being optimisitic about him.
  5. millertime

    millertime Cheesehead

    Sep 18, 2006
    i remember thinking josh bourke was a pleasant surprise. maybe cliftons replacement???? i'm psyched about underwood next year!

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