Sherrod Bounces Back

banner.phpThe Packers improved their preseason record to 2-1 with a 31-21 win over Oakland. I focused my attention on five players, and here’s what I saw:

CARL BRADFORD: I’ll say this, he’s not the least impressive of all the draft choices. Unlike Khyrie Thornton, Bradford was active against the Raiders and was even in on a few plays. But as I suspected back in May, the former Arizona State standout is simply too small to play outside linebacker in a 3-4. He gets engulfed as a pass rusher and pushed around in the run game. There’s simply no way the Packers can justify keeping him on the 53. And unless the decision makers are finally willing to move him inside, there’s probably no point in keeping him around on the practice squad either.

DEMETRI GOODSON: Here’s another draft choice who almost certainly won’t be on the 53-man roster. The former Baylor point guard played last night the way he’s practiced all summer – he competed like crazy but he was overmatched by skilled veteran receivers. I thought the most impressive thing Goodson did against the Raiders was not hanging his head after a nightmarish series early in the third quarter. That confidence, along with an above-average skill set, probably makes him worth developing for a year or two on the practice squad.

ANDY MULUMBA: The coaches gave Bradford and Jayrone Elliott most of the backup snaps at outside linebacker, so the former Eastern Michigan star didn’t really have a chance to improve on what has been a so-so summer. I can’t imagine Elliott not making the 53, so Mulumba can only stick if the Packers keep six players at his position (or unless Nick Perry is traded, which isn’t totally out of the question). And even then, there’s no guarantee he would get the nod over Nate Palmer, a former draft pick who’s probably a little more dynamic.

DEREK SHERROD: Playing against big defensive linemen on grass was just what the former No. 1 pick needed after struggling against small defensive linemen on turf a week ago. Sherrod was very good against Oakland. I know the competition was suspect, but that can’t be held against him. Would I feel comfortable if he had to block Bruce Irvin on opening night in Seattle? Not at all. That said, I think Sherrod is going to be OK as the No. 3 tackle. His run blocking is better than it was three years ago, and while he might not move quite like he did before the broken leg, his feet are still pretty good and his length allows him to push rushers wide.

JAKE STONEBURNER: He was the best blocker of all the tight ends last night, but that’s akin to saying Kourtney is the smartest of all the Kardashians. The former Ohio State standout will probably have to beat out Ryan Taylor if he’s going to make the 53, and that won’t be easy because Taylor is so good on special teams. Stoneburner reminds me of a slightly more talented version of Tom Crabtree. Whether you see that as a compliment or not depends on what you thought of Crabtree. For what it’s worth, I always thought of Crabtree as just another run-of-the-mill tight end. GMs apparently feel the same way because he’s currently out of the league.

NOTES: Scott Tolzien has outplayed Matt Flynn through 3 pretend games, but would the decision makers feel comfortable going into the season with him as the No. 2 quarterback? Perhaps, but I still think Flynn will keep that job. Coaches value taking care of the ball – something Flynn has always done well and something Tolzien struggled with a year ago… DuJuan Harris looks even quicker and stronger than he did two years ago. Very few teams will have a better No. 3 back. He just needs to hold onto the ball and stop committing penalties… Third-round pick Richard Rodgers and veteran Andrew Quarless both made big plays in the passing game, but both tight ends really struggled as blockers. Watching the 270-pound rookie get run over in protection was especially disconcerting… My guys at training camp have been touting Alex Gillett all summer, and you could see why on that beautiful touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. The former college quarterback doesn’t have ideal speed or quickness, but he’s big, runs precise routes and catches the ball in traffic. I’m hoping he gets a second season on the practice squad… JC Tretter made some terrific blocks down the field, but the young center needs to do a better job of recognizing when and where to give help in protection. That’s something his predecessor at the position did very well, and it’s something that will only come with experience… Jumal Rolle has probably forced the Packers to keep 6 corners. A team with both Tramon Williams and Davon House entering the final year of their contracts can’t afford to let a good young player get away.

About the author

Packer Update is the creation of a longtime fan. My name is Michael Rodney and I was a sportswriter in the early 1990s. I worked full-time for a newspaper in South Jersey, but I still managed to get quite a few articles about the Packers published during that time. I hope you enjoy reading this blog as much as I enjoy writing about the most storied franchise in all of pro sports.