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Recent posts by Dan Arkush
Here's a look at how the Packers' first-year players are faring through 10 games:
OT Bryan Bulaga (first round): Firmly entrenched as the starting right tackle now that veteran Mark Tauscher has been placed on injured reserve, Bulaga allowed a sack by Vikings DE Ray Edwards in the rematch with the Vikings in Week 11 but played better overall than he did in the first Vikings game this season.
DE Mike Neal (second round): Neal was placed on injured reserve before the Jets game in Week Eight with a season-ending shoulder injury. He showed good potential in the two games in which he was able to play, but he had problems staying healthy.
SS Morgan Burnett (third round): Burnett was placed on injured reserve after suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week Four. He entered the season as the starting strong safety after an excellent offseason and training camp.
TE Andrew Quarless (fifth round): Still feeling the effects of a shoulder injury that led to him being inactive the previous week against Dallas, Quarless returned to action against Minnesota in Week 11 but was a relative nonfactor with one catch for 14 yards. For the season, Quarless has eight catches for 104 yards (13.0 ypc) and one TD.
OG Marshall Newhouse (fifth round): Newhouse has yet to be activated this season and remains an emergency insurance policy for the offensive line.
RB James Starks (sixth round): After missing all of training camp with a hamstring injury, Starks is slowly but surely rounding into shape after coming off the physically-unable-to-perform list last month. Daily team observers expect him to be very gradually worked into the mix after a prolonged layoff from football. Starks missed his entire senior season at Buffalo after needing shoulder surgery in August 2009 and has not played in a game since the International Bowl on Jan. 3, 2009 in his junior season.
DE C.J. Wilson (seventh round): After registering two tackles and the first sack of his pro career on the final play of the game against Dallas in Week 10, Wilson provided a negligible impact against the Vikings with veteran starter Ryan Pickett's tender ankle feeling better. But he was an unsung hero when Pickett was out with the injury.
OLB Frank Zombo — The energetic Zombo is getting more and more comfortable settling in as the starting right outside linebacker in place of Brad Jones, who was placed on injured reserve. In the Week 11 game against Minnesota, Zombo continued to do a solid job setting the edge, contributing four tackles.
CB Sam Shields — The fastest player on the team has increased his value in a dual role as the No. 3 cornerback and the team's primary kickoff returner. Shields had only one kickoff of 22 yards against the Vikings and had an up-and-down day as the third corner, getting beaten on a 29-yard pass to WR Greg Lewis but also breaking up a slant pass to Sidney Rice. Shields' tendency to peek into the backfield could trigger more play-action plays in his direction moving forward, but overall, he has provided a lot more pluses than minuses.
TE Tom Crabtree — Crabtree did not catch any passes against the Vikings but did well as a run-blocker when he was on the field.
RB Dimtri Nance — Picked up off the Falcons' practice squad after Ryan Grant was lost in Week One, Nance saw limited action in six games before replacing John Kuhn as the team's short-yardage specialist against the Vikings. Nance led the team in rushing with 37 yards on 12 carries in Week 11 and showed impressive power and determination on his first carry, continuing to move his legs for a first down in a 3rd-and-1 situation.