Mike McCarthy spoke to the media following the final rookie orientation practice of the weekend. His most significant comments dealt with the status of three players coming off major injuries. According to the coach, tight end Andrew Quarless will be “challenged” to be ready for training camp. The former Penn State star suffered torn ligaments in his right knee against the Giants last December. On a more positive note, running back Alex Green (knee) and offensive lineman Derek Sherrod (leg) should be good to go when the doors to St. Norbert’s College open in late July.
Even though McCarthy said Quarless is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation, it’s still likely that the 24-year-old will begin the regular season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. He suffered a gruesome injury only five months ago and it makes no sense to rush him back. Plus, the Packers are fairly deep at tight end. Ryan Taylor and D.J. Williams should be much improved in their second seasons and Tom Crabtree is a reliable veteran.
That Green will be ready for camp comes as no surprise. Reports on his progress have been consistently positive throughout the offseason. The former Hawaii star will probably begin the regular season behind James Starks on the depth chart, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him take over as the starter at some point. And even if he doesn’t, Green should still see plenty of action. McCarthy prefers not to have one back carry the ball 20 times in a game – a philosophy that makes even more sense when the back in question is as injury-prone as Starks. Green could also see the field on third downs if he shows the ability to pass protect. His elusiveness in the open field will make him a threat on screens.
McCarthy said Sherrod is really progressing, but I have my doubts about his availability for the start of camp. The former Mississippi State standout, who broke the fibula and tibia in his right leg last December, will be 7 months removed from surgery in late July. The average recovery time for this type of injury is 6 to 8 months. If – and it’s a big if – Sherrod is good to go in late July, he’ll almost certainly be given a chance to compete for the starting job at left tackle. Marshall Newhouse figures to be atop the depth chart going into the summer, but he struggled at times last season and is vulnerable to competition – especially if the competition is a very talented former first-round pick.