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It's not looking good for Green Bay Packers special teams player Jarrett Bush

11:22 PM, Aug. 23, 2010  |  Comments
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Thumbs up

For the segment of Packers' fans who have been vexed by the team's decision to retain Jarrett Bush and use him as a core special teams player, Monday's decision to take him off a couple of key special teams units will be welcomed news.

Bush lost his spots on the kickoff coverage team and the kickoff return team. Bush, who had three of the Packers' 30 accepted special teams penalties last season, had two penalties playing cornerback on defense in Saturday's preseason game at Seattle.

Rookie Sam Shields replaced Bush on the kickoff coverage team, while Derrick Martin took Bush's spot on kickoff return.

The move may be sign that Shields, the undrafted rookie, could be taking away Bush's roster spot. Shields also was on the No. 1 punt return team, lining up as an outside blocker. Previously, Shields had also been a gunner on the No. 1 punt team, although that unit didn't get any reps on Monday. The speedy Shields failed as a returner - dropping kick after kick - but he's quickly showing that his speed is an asset in other areas of special teams. He also has enough skills at cornerback that he's worth developing there, too.

"Sam's earned it," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "He's definitely getting some time with the 1s, and we do want to get closer to what we feel are going to be the guys you're playing with. There is some projection, and you want to get more information on the newer guys."

In another sign that the Packers are unwilling to accept the status quo on special teams, first-year tight end Tom Crabtree continued to get work with some No. 1 units - the kickoff return team and the punt return team. Crabtree appears to be making a legitimate run at a roster spot, but at whose expense is unclear. The Packers have a surplus at tight end, although former starting tight end Donald Lee was replaced on the kickoff team by cornerback Brandon Underwood.

Thumbs down

The Packers appear to be in a world of hurt as far as their backup running back situation is concerned.

Adding Quinn Porter to the list of walking wounded meant that on Monday, three potential candidates for a roster spot were sidelined. Just when it appeared Porter was making his bid for a roster spot, the undrafted rookie joined running backs James Starks and Kregg Lumpkin on the sideline.

Porter's injury appears far less serious than Starks and Lumpkin, who both have hamstring injuries. McCarthy said Porter was day to day and wasn't ready to rule him out of Thursday's game against Indianapolis. But any practice time a guy like Porter misses hurts his chances of making the team.

More importantly, with just two preseason games to go, the Packers probably don't have a good idea who their third halfback will be behind Ryan Grant and third-down specialist Brandon Jackson. Fullback John Kuhn took some halfback reps on Monday.

Did you notice?

For the first time since Brandon Chillar moved to outside linebacker on the third day of training camp, he took reps at his old inside spot. Chillar worked inside in both the base and nickel defenses. It doesn't necessarily mean that Chillar is done at outside linebacker. He played his old position in part because inside linebacker A.J. Hawk was limited by his ankle injury and in part because the coaches wanted to give rookie outside linebacker Frank Zombo more work. With Brad Jones and Clay Matthews also out, the top four linebackers on Monday were Brady Poppinga and Zombo outside with Chillar and Nick Barnett inside.

♦ Dropped passes by tight end Jermichael Finley have been rare in camp. He had one on Monday, when he let a low throw from Aaron Rodgers slip through his hands. Sure enough, he came back on the very next play and stretched out to make a tough catch on a deep-corner route.

♦ After spending time last week practicing with the defense, linebacker/tight end Spencer Havner was back with the offense.

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

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