Aaron Nagler discusses the latest news out of Packers training camp, including an ankle injury for Bryan Bulaga. (Aug. 23, 2017) USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
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We’ll start with the news of the day, which was Bryan Bulaga dropping out of practice with an ankle injury and Kyle Murphy getting the first crack with the first team in his place.
Prior to training camp, conventional wisdom presupposed second-year tackle Jason Spriggs as the obvious backup for either Bulaga or Bakhtiari. The Packers traded up to select Spriggs in the second round of last year’s draft and parted with a fourth-round pick to do so.
But Wednesday the coaches opted instead for Kyle Murphy, a sixth-round pick in 2016 who had nearly twice as many appearances on the inactive list (15) as he did snaps from scrimmage (8) during his rookie year. No matter. Murphy has been the player showing signs of a legitimate second-year jump while Spriggs, whom the Packers are grooming as a swing tackle, has floundered to spark questions about his reliability.
So Murphy trotted onto the field with the starting offensive linemen during the first Bulaga-less team periods of Wednesday’s practice. And as he took his spot alongside right guard Jahri Evans, who arrived earlier this year in free agency, a unit that had become a model of consistency for the Packers suddenly brandished a new right side, with Murphy and Spriggs alternating for the remainder of practice.
Michael discusses Bulaga’s injury and the offensive line with Tom Silverstein on the latest daily podcast:
Ryan Wood writes on Reggie Gilbert’s push to make the 53 man roster:
Tom and Michael have a bunch of notes, leading with the rookie running backs:
Pete Dougherty’s Camp Insider looks at the disappointing play of Kofi Amichia:
Rich Ryman has the latest on regular season ticket prices:
My latest podcast is up, where I answer a bunch of reader questions:
One Eagles defender was fined for his at hit in their preseason game in Green Bay while another wasn’t:
Elsewhere, Mike Sando’s annual QB Tiers piece is up for ESPN, with quotes from coaches and personnel people around the league. As one would expect, Aaron Rodgers fares well, coming in tied with Tom Brady in the first tier.
The Packers ran dangerously low on running backs and defensive backs last season, putting pressure on Rodgers to carry them. Carry them, he did. Rodgers tossed 15 touchdown passes without an interception during a six-game winning streak to end the season. He then led Green Bay to the NFC Championship Game. No quarterback in the game possesses his combination of pure passing ability and athleticism.
"His ability to improvise or make plays when the defense is perfectly executed is unique," a personnel director said. "I'm not a big fan of the 'arm talent' term, but some of the throws Rodgers makes, even when you are playing against him, you are just like, 'Holy s---, what do you do?' He is very frustrating for a defense because you play everything exactly right and he still just makes a 'holy s--- play' and it's demoralizing."
While Rodgers dazzles with his uncommon athleticism, a veteran defensive coach said the quarterback's pre-snap recognition is exceptional.
"If he can figure [the play] out, you can forget about it," this coach said. "And then, unless it is third-and-a-mile, there is not a third down he doesn't think he can convert. If you three-man rush him, he is going to extend plays and let guys uncover and he can put the ball in tight windows."
An offensive coordinator said he thought Rodgers had the quickest release in the game, calling Rodgers "scary" for his ability to throw with accuracy and velocity from awkward angles.
"A lot of quarterbacks are pretty good sitting back in the pocket, but the first or second read disappears and they break down," a personnel director said. "With him, he can extend the play and do pretty miraculous things. Last year, the talent around him struggled, but he was still able to play some pretty elite games even after he lost his receivers and didn't have a running game."
NFL Total Access previews Saturday night’s game in Denver:
Von Miller will be playing. Good luck to Kyle Murphy.
Sporting News asks if Randall Cobb is worth what he’s being paid:
Tom Oates writes on Brett Hundley becoming a valuable commodity:
The Power Sweep’s latest podcast tries to project some projects:
ACME Packing Company highlights what they call “The Packers Process”
Deangelo Yancey seems to be enjoying camp:
Aaron Rodgers checked out the Stevie Nicks concert in Green Bay last night:
The Packers Wire looks at expected returns from a few injured players:
Fun exercise from Chris Burke over at the MMQB: