Training campin' with former Cards

Teaching us how to alter every noun into a verb is woman's greatest accomplishment over the past five years.

Man's greatest accomplishment over the same time span: the song "Bust it Baby Part 2" by Plies.

Brian Brohm

The only player in the NFL to ever lose to me in a head-to-head quarterback battle is just three days into his first professional training camp, and already he's finding out just how all-encompassing the microscope is that he'll be playing under in Green Bay.

A solid practice one night followed by a less-than-stellar performance the next morning is both a common and insignificant occurrence in all sports. In Packer land, however, it's justification for an entire article about inconsistency.

On Tuesday, with players in pads, Brohm was an efficient 8-for-12 passing in team (11-on-11) drills and 6-for-7 in 7-on-7 passing drills. Quarterbacks coach Tom Clements called it Brohm’s best practice this offseason.

On Wednesday, in shells, Brohm looked uncomfortable and made a series of poor decisions during a 12-play scripted team period. At one point, three consecutive passes were, respectively:

-- A pressured, late throw into the flat for fullback John Kuhn that linebacker Desmond Bishop intercepted.

-- A poor inside throw on an out-breaking route for James Jones that went through cornerback Will Blackmon’s hands.

-- A throw for Chris Francies that undrafted rookie cornerback Condrew Allen broke up.

It’s not out of the question that, if the former Louisville star struggles in training camp and the preseason, the Packers could renew their pursuit of a veteran backup to new starter Aaron Rodgers (assuming Brett Favre doesn’t buck the odds and return in that role).

But Packers coach Mike McCarthy said recently he’s never had a rookie quarterback pick up the mental aspect of the game as quickly as Brohm, and coaches aren’t discussing a timetable for determining whether their second-round draft pick is ready to be No. 2.

If there's any rookie in the league capable of coolly handling this level of scrutiny and attention, it's Brian, whose owner-esque media savvy was on full display after his first training camp practice on Monday.

Michael Bush

It's hard to believe that it's been nearly two years since we've seen Michael Bush put on the pads and the fear of god into opposing linebackers. He's healthy for the first time since that bittersweet late summer night in 2006, and is already drawing a few rave reviews in Oakland.

Player Of The Week:   RB Michael Bush. Nobody will know for sure until he takes a hit in a preseason or regular season game, but Bush looked like a nimble power back in his first training camp. He missed all of last season with a broken leg sustained in the first game of his college season in 2006.

Bush also drew some praise from head coach Lane Kiffin for his early performance.

"Yeah, it was good to see Michael [Bush] today.  That is the most we have done as far as allowing him to lower his pads.  We don’t want to bring guys to the ground, but he looked really good in short yardage and goal line.  Hopefully he carries that over to the games."

Even with this week's news that the Raiders were releasing veteran LaMont Jordan, Bush will still find himself battling for carries with projected starter Justin Fargas, and rookie Darren McFadden, who was the fourth overall selection in this year's draft. The best case scenario for MB likely involves him getting the call on short-yardage and goalline situations this season, and then performing well enough to force Oakland to either ship him or give him a broader brush to paint with in future years.

Kolby Smith

The man who spent so many years backing up Bush at U of L has already made a bit of a name for himself in Kansas City, and is doing his best this summer to improve upon that reputation.

Give Kolby Smith an opportunity, and he’ll make you look like a fool. It wasn’t a good day for Morgan as he got victimized by a second running back later on in practice. Smith met Morgan in a hole just past the line of scrimmage, and pulled a back-and-forth move that practically disintegrated the rookie safety. The running back continued to weave his way downfield to the sound of the loudest cheer of training camp so far.

While Larry Johnson is still the undisputed man in KC, the Chiefs coaching staff said earlier this week that they're more than confident in Smith's ability to get the job done if the former Penn State star goes down. Kolby's performance at the end of last season should be enough to land him the #2 job heading into the season, so long as rookie Jamaal Charles doesn't come on especially strong.

Harry Douglas

Douglas has been all over the news in the ATL this week, first for punching four-time Pro Bowler Lawyer Millioy on the first day of contact, and then later for his solid play and potential to earn the team's third starting wide receiver position.

I know that 95% of fans of every college football team think each above-average player who wore their school colors is going to win 11 MVP's and 14 Super Bowls ("he'll make all of 'em pay, mark it down, chalk it up, take it to the bank, 'nuff said"), but of all the guys who have come out of U of L in the last three or four years, this is the one whose ability to be a productive player in the league for many years I'm most certain of.

Harry Douglas will be a name in the NFL ten years from now.

Mario Urrutia

Douglas' partner-in-crime (hew hew hew, like, literally y'all...go cats) for the past three seasons is still catching passes in Kentucky from the most heralded member of a well-known football family. Only now it's Georgetown, Ky., and the one doing the passing is former Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer.

Cincinnati Bengals rookie wide receiver Mario Urrutia thought he spent his collegiate career at Louisville catching passes from an elite quarterback in Brian Brohm. But it only took two days of training camp with Carson Palmer in Georgetown for Urrutia to see the upgrade in signal callers.

"Carson is used to playing on the next level so he throws a lot more accurate, a lot more powerful and he’s a lot smarter," Urrutia said. "You can’t compare them right now really."

Urrutia’s next goal is to make Palmer take the same notice of himself. The 6-foot-5, 232-pound, seventh-round draft pick plans to use his considerable size advantage to become one of Palmer’s favorite targets -- especially in the redzone.

"I’m a lot bigger than the rest of the receivers and I use that to the best of my ability. My coaches expect me to do that," Urrutia said. "It’s something that I have that a lot of other guys at my position don’t."

The Courier-Journal's Michael Hayman recently made it out to Bengals camp, and snapped some solid shots of Super Mo in action.

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Eighteen, eh? Guess someone wasn't quite man enough to pull that off in his college days, and now he's trying to send a message. I hear you loud and clear, my friend.

The NFL just got an early pack leader in the race for Rookie of the Year.

Elvis Dumervil

Fresh off a second consecutive stellar season with Denver, the Cardinal sack king was recently the focus of a USA Today piece by Jeff Zillgitt.

"I'm a guy who loves the game," Dumervil said. "I don't take anybody lightly. A lot of guys underestimate people. Not me. Any guy from a sixth, seventh rounder, a free agent, first rounder, I approach them the same way — that he's a Pro Bowler. But I think I can outwork the guy in front of me.

"I actually have a natural knack of wanting to kill quarterbacks. That's what I love to do."

If that wasn't apparent at Miami Jackson High when he compiled 60 sacks during his junior and senior seasons and if that wasn't apparent at Louisville after he had 20 sacks and an NCAA-record 10 forced fumbles in his senior season, it is apparent now after two seasons in the NFL.

Last season, Dumervil led the Broncos with 12½ sacks, tied for sixth best in the NFL. It was the highest sack total for a Bronco since 1999. In the past two seasons, just five players have accumulated more sacks than Dumervil's 21.

"I take pass rushing personally," Dumervil said. "You want to beat that guy in front of you. It's an all-out conscious effort. Sacks don't come easy. When you do get them, you really appreciate them."

When reached for comment, former Kentucky offensive lineman Fatu Turituri said, "he really isn't a great candidate for a feature piece, he's very blockable, he's really not that good at all, the writer was just missing his assignments."

Lamar Myles

Louisville's leading tackler in 2007 has been camping it up with Carolina Jacksonville, and judging from the picture below, I'd say he's still making it out to the gym at least once a month.

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Brandon Johnson

With first round draft pick Keith Rivers still yet to be signed, one of my all-time favorite Cards suddenly finds himself as the Bengals' starting Will linebacker.

"It wouldn't be like he wouldn't get reps when Keith's here, but he gets to run with the first bunch. That's a hell of an opportunity," Bengals linebacker coach Jeff FitzGerald said. "I have to tell you right now, he's making the most of the opportunity he has. He's a smart man and he understands and recognizes what's in front of him, with the opportunity he has to show what he can do and make this football team."

...

"Thus far, he's shown me quite a bit," FitzGerald said. "He's playing physical and with the right kind of mindset I want these guys to play with. He's come out here playing with an attitude, a chip on his shoulder, and that's what I want out of the whole group. We don't have that yet, but that's what we're working for. He's exhibiting that to me. He's showing me some toughness, mental and physical, and that's what I like. He understands his job for the most part right now and I'm pleased with his progression so far."

Malik Jackson

No one had a more disappointing 2007 than Jackson, but he's working to make the most of a fresh start in Oakland, and has already drawn a little bit of attention for a big hit on fullback Oren O'Neal on Tuesday.

Chris Redman

Redman enters training camp at the top of a depth chart for the first time since 2002. The bad news is that three pretty big names - Matt Ryan, Joey Harrington and D.J. Shockley - sit directly behind him.

While much of the attention in camp will undoubtedly be directed toward Ryan, the No. 1 quarterback for now is Chris Redman. He finished strongly last season after becoming the third guy to get a crack at the starting job, and he's not ready to give it up to some hotshot rookie just yet.

"I think I earned my respect around here," Redman said. "I had an opportunity last year to get in there and I took full advantage of it. I want to keep it going."

I'd expect that we'll see Chris start the season opener - which is really a minor miracle given the fact that he was selling insurance a year ago - but it's going to take a truly Tee Martinian effort to keep the reigns from being passed to Matty Ice relatively early on.

Amobi Okoye

Monthly Amobi Okoye awesomness check: still awesome.

Second-year defensive tackle Amobi Okoye is enjoying walking off the practice field with just his helmet and his pads. A year ago, his hands were filled as veterans dumped their gear on him.

"I just watch as the veterans ask the rookies to carry their helmets and I think, 'Ha ha ha. That was me last year,’" Okoye said.

He hasn't gotten up the nerve to ask anyone to carry his gear though. And he has no intention of asking fellow defensive tackle Frank Okam to do it down the road.

"I’ll just carry mine," Okoye said. "If they volunteer to carry it then I'll give it to them. But I'll keep mine for another three or four years, because those guys are all still older than me."

Okoye is 21 years old, Okam 22.

I love guys like this. The worst people in the world (hyperbole) are the ones who were absolutely scared s---less 24 hours a day of being hazed during their first year on a team or in a fraternity, and then who turned around the first moment they could and became a bigger dick to the new guys than anyone else on the team or in the frat.

Person who I, for no "fact-based" reason, believe fits the above description: Tony Romo. Pissed his pants every time Testaverde looked at him in '04, and now he's telling Felix Jones to bring him a sandwich like five times a day.

Deion Branch

Out until September while recovering from knee surgery.

Robert McCune

McCune missed Tuesday's practice with the Ravens due to an injury, but returned with a vengeance on Wednesday, making an impressive interception of a Troy Smith pass.

One of Troy Smith’s earlier passes today in full team scrimmaging was intercepted by Robert McCune.  McCune leaped up with both hands extended and caught the ball at the back end of his drop about 15 yards downfield.  He recovered to return the interception which arguably could have been a touchdown. 

Montavious Stanley

Stanley is currently penciled in as a starter at defensive tackle for the Falcons.

Ronnie Ghent

Plays for the New Orleans Saints. Enjoys dialogue-driven films, Mascagni operas, and clotheslining bitches.

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Kurt Quarterman

Quarterman was recently signed by the Giants after being cut by the Falcons, and could earn a role as a backup or a spot on the practice squad.

Kurt Quarterman - After being passed over in the 2007 draft, this massive, sturdy, though not quick-footed OG — who probably lacks the agility for tackle even on the right side — was signed as a free agent by the Atlanta Falcons, subsequently cut by them, and within the past month was claimed by Reese.

One thing the arrival of Quarterman, and of Olivea, does is deny Booth, Whimper, Adam Koets, and Grey Ruegamer the glide paths they might otherwise have had to backup OL roster spaces unhindered by veteran competition.  As a result, the backups previously on the scene could be forced to fight harder for their jobs.

Gary Barnidge

Barnidge is currently locked in a three-way battle at tight end in Carolina. While incumbent Jeff King will likely remain the primary blocker at the position, both Barnidge and Dante Rosario have a great shot at seeing some significant snaps on passing downs.

William Gay

Coming off of a successful rookie campaign, Big Play Willie Gay is looking to make even more of an impact in his second season as a Steeler.

Art Carmody

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