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Tavecchio, Harris and Young stake claims to job openings; Where was aggressive ‘D’?
By CHRIS HAVEL
The Packers have some excellent ongoing battles between the kickers, the running backs and the backup quarterbacks.
Before I get to those, I have to ask one question after Green Bay’s 17-0 loss to Arizona in Friday night’s preseason opener at Lambeau Field: Where was the tough, hardnosed, aggressive style we’ve been seeing?
All the talk was how the Packers were sick of beating on each other, which is why there were so many skirmishes during practice. Interestingly, when the Cardinals took the field the Packers didn’t seem nearly so fierce. There was no shoving, scraping of the pile or in-your-face action. It was more like a class reunion than a football game.
If the Packers are going to encourage physical play and allow emotions to rule practice time, if only occasionally, they also need to be able to carry it onto the field for games. That didn’t happen against Arizona.
If Friday night was the Packers’ idea of hardnosed football they might be better off sticking with finesse.
Now, on to the training camp battles:
Placekicker is becoming quite interesting.
Giorgio Tavecchio hit 8 of 8 field goal attempts in Monday’s practice, while Mason Crosby managed 7 of 8 with his only miss wide left from 46 yards out. After Crosby kicked off to start Friday night’s game, the kickers didn’t get off the bench. That puts extra pressure on them to perform during practice, and on Monday, Tavecchio was perfect.
“It was a warm day today, so the balls were flying,” Tavecchio said. “I felt like myself, Tim (Masthay) and Brett (Goode) were in a good rhythm with the snap, hold and kick. I have to watch the film to really see and dissect everything, because right now I feel good. But I always take a good look at the film and (try to) be unbiased. Take the lessons, the good, bad and if there’s any ugly, take that, too, and keep moving forward.”
The competition appears to be a stalemate at this point, although the longer Tavecchio sticks around, the more likely it is he’ll win the job.
DuJuan Harris returned to practice Monday…
… and the running back was excited to be back. After undergoing offseason lung surgery, and then being slowed by a sore knee, he aims to recapture the starting job.
Harris has a chance, too, what with rookie Eddie Lacy still sidelined by a hamstring injury. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said Lacy underwent tests Monday, but that he didn’t have the results yet.
Meantime, Harris has a chance to claim the job for himself.
James Starks ran hard Friday night, but I couldn’t help wondering how much more either Lacy or Harris would have been able to pick up. Starks got what was blocked but little else. Harris, who is quicker, might’ve been able to get to the second level a couple of times.
Whether it’s Harris, Lacy, Starks or Alex Green who emerges, the simple truth is this: The Packers’ running back situation is light years ahead of where it was a year ago.
Can Vince Young Backup Rodgers?
Now that the introductions, auditions and debut are over, Vince Young can set about the task of becoming the Packers’ backup to Aaron Rodgers. If the coaching staff was settled on Graham Harrell there would’ve been no need to bring in Young.
It appears Harrell has progressed to the point where the Packers trust him enough to play him, but do they really expect him to win games should Rodgers go down?
My best guess is that Young captures the backup job and GM Ted Thompson goes with two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster. Third-string QB B.J. Coleman would be a practice squad candidate.