GREEN BAY–Whatever the result is in San Francisco on opening day, nobody can accuse the Packers of not being prepared.
Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers has spent an early practice period each day in training camp on preparation for the read-option offense the Packers will face on Sept. 8. Clearly, the period has been carefully orchestrated. It includes a scout-team offense armed with 49ers-like formations and read-option schemes, especially as they pertain to the actions of the quarterback.
“It just becomes a matter of guys becoming comfortable with that style of play. We’re getting a better look. I don’t know that we can put 4.4 guys out there, but we’re getting good looks,” Capers said.
The plays are run at half speed, which means the Packers’ preparation to this point is about assignments. Preparing for the physical challenge 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick presents will be more difficult. Packers backup quarterbacks Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman are running the read-option with the scout-team offense, and neither quarterback is in the mold of Kaepernick or RG3, who will lead the Redskins into Lambeau Field in Week 2.
“Against these quarterbacks nowadays, you have to have guys with enough quickness to track them down,” Capers said.
Defensive end Datone Jones was selected in the first round of this year’s draft, largely because Jones has the kind of quickness and athletic ability to counter running quarterbacks such as Kaepernick and RG3. Second-year linebacker Nick Perry is another of those athletic-type defenders that are made for the new-age game; Perry didn’t play in the playoff loss to the 49ers, when the Packers surrendered 579 yards of offense.
Asked if the defensive line has more athletic ability than it’s had in the past, Defensive Line Coach Mike Trgovac said, “I would say that’s correct. I think we’ve got a good mixture of guys that are big and some guys that are good, fundamental football players, and we have some impact players.”
One of those athletic types is Johnny Jolly, who’s making a comeback from a three-year absence from football due to a substance-abuse problem. Can Jolly make a complete comeback?
“I think Johnny would tell you this: He has a lot of natural instincts. He’s a hungry player that really wants it. It’s not all quite coming to him right now, but it will. The difference is how fast it all comes to him and that’ll only come with repetitions,” Trgovac said.
The Packers will also show the 49ers a different look on offense: What was the right side of the offensive line is now the left side, and vice versa.
“You’ve got to go with the facts. You’ve got to protect the backside of the quarterback. They accepted it. We’re over the hump and progressing on a daily basis,” Offensive Line Coach James Campen reports on the flip-flop that has moved Bryan Bulaga and Josh Sitton from right tackle and right guard to left tackle and left guard. Marshall Newhouse and T.J. Lang are making the move from left tackle and left guard to right tackle and right guard.
Tags: dom capers, read option
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