Packers’ Sherrod optimistic on return; I’m not so sure
By Lori Nickel, Journal-Sentinel
~Green Bay – As the Green Bay Packers return to the field for Day 9 of training camp on Sunday, tackle Derek Sherrod remains sidelined from the lower broken leg he suffered Dec. 18.
He does not have a timetable for his return.
Or even a best guess.
The first-round draft pick from 2011 either really doesn’t know at all what his prospective future holds or he isn’t willing to commit even loosely to a day on the calendar for his return.
“My goal is just to get back as quick as possible,” the 2011 first-round draft pick he said Friday night after the Family Night scrimmage.
It has been 7 1/2 months since the injury that required emergency surgery and Sherrod is still recovering. While Green Bay’s offensive line resettles without veterans Chad Clifton and Scott Wells, Sherrod cannot participate in the competition at tackle because he has yet to practice.
“Well, any injury can get frustrating,” said Sherrod. “That’s why you have to have the positive attitude about the whole thing. If you get down about it, that’s going to hurt your progress.”
Sherrod didn’t seem to want to get into specifics about what he is capable of doing in rehabilitation. He also didn’t seem alarmed at the uncertain future. At the draft in April, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he expected Sherrod back for training camp but has since said Sherrod had a setback in the spring. Sherrod failed his physical before camp.
Sherrod did say that many members of the team check in to keep him feel attached to the group.
“Just thinking about not being able to walk at one point and now I’m up and running and working on position skills and doing everything that I need to do to get back on the field (was encouraging),” said Sherrod.
“It was very painful. But I tried to keep my head about me. That’s one thing about being a lineman — you can be tough on the field and you can be tough off the field.”
Work pays off: In 2009, Tim Masthay was working as a tutor for $10 an hour at his alma mater, Kentucky, and waiting for a call from an NFL team that needed a punter. His wife, Amanda, supported the couple with her job as a bank teller.
He worked, and sometimes overworked, his leg six and even seven days a week – running, lifting and stretching for flexibility and then punting at least three times a week.
The Packers brought him in as a street free agent before the 2010 season, and he won the job.
“I knew that was going to be a slugfest,” said Masthay.
The work, determination and discipline of Masthay paid off when he signed a four-year contract extension netting him $5.465 million.
He immediately opened a fund for his young daughter to secure her college “pretty much wherever she wants to go.”
Masthay is his own financial investor, and the contract has already bought him something else — peace of mind. Packers general manager Ted Thompson once again rewarded in-house talent.
“I know Ted ( Thompson) makes decisions that he thinks are best for the organization,” said Masthay, “and that he takes emotion out of it for the most part – at least that’s the way it seems from the player perspective.
“I think it’s a tremendous organization from the top down. I love being here, I really do. I was happy that it got done; I wasn’t expecting it to get done that early, quite frankly. I just want to be a Green Bay Packer. That does give me a little peace of mind.”
Wind tunnel: Masthay also said that he was glad there was some wind Friday night in Lambeau Field. It gave him and kicker Mason Crosby a chance to see how the newer, higher reconstructed walls of Lambeau’s south side would affect the wind on the field.
“We’ll have to get in there a few times to figure out what that impact really is,” said Masthay. “Because it’s different. When you see the big giant American flag above the stadium blowing? That’s not how the wind is blowing down there on the field.”
Crossing the threshold: You can’t walk around Lambeau these days without bumping into a fan tour of the place. The tour guides pump music and recorded cheering into the tunnel to give fans an idea of what it is like to cross the hallowed ground before entering Lambeau Field.
But until Friday, rookie defensive lineman Jerel Worthy avoided all that. He avoided peeking into his new home in OTAs, in minicamp and the start of training camp. He first set foot in Lambeau on Friday when the place was jumping with fans, families and two huge Jumbotrons.
“I saved it for this moment,” he said. “Going out there is magical. I kind of got a little emotional being out there, like, man, my dream has come true.”
Protecting No. 12: With Jeff Saturday as the new center, the Packers offensive line continues to work together and will get a first test Thursday in the preseason game against San Diego.
Guard T.J. Lang says as the group searches for its new identity, the old mission remains: protect quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“First and foremost, we have to take care of the quarterback,” said Lang. “He’s the best player on this team. We’ve got to take care of him. Without him, we might be in some trouble.”
The Packers have done that really well in the last decade. In 2004, the Packers gave up just 14 sacks, an all-time low. They only allowed 19 sacks in 2003 and ’07 as well, among the best in team history. All of those were with Brett Favre.
Rodgers, sacked 36 times last year, hasn’t had a season as a starter with anything fewer than 30.
“We’re a group where we really strive on, we like to be physical. We like to be an uptempo pace,” said Lang. “We like to push guys, we like to wear guys out on the defensive side of the ball. Once we get through the next couple of weeks of training camp, into the preseason games, I think our identity might build itself.
“So I think 16 sacks is a good goal. For the year. One a game,” Lang said. “You’re going to have plays where just stuff happens, but I think if you can get to around that average of one a game, that’s a very good season. It’s tough to do but if you have a group of guys like we have that take pride in their job, if we can stay healthy, I don’t think that’s an unreachable goal.”
Etc: Brad Jones had his injured knee wrapped in ice after Family Night but said it was no big deal. “It’s not like I’m battling anything, its just a little campo thing. Nothing deep.” . . . .
Nick Perry acknowledged that he’s still getting used to the transition from a college defensive end to a professional rushing outside linebacker. “It’s hard. You’re playing something totally different than what you’re used to doing. It was a bit uncomfortable for me but doing something consistently day after day you start to get comfortable with what you’re doing, comfortable with your techniques.” . . . .
Running back James Starks doesn’t think the Packers ….. Full story here