Every week, Packers radio play-by-play man Wayne Larrivee, who also co-hosts the “Pro Football Weekly” syndicated radio show with PFW editor-publisher Hub Arkush, answers three pertinent questions about the Packers.
PFW: Another game, another unlikely Packer hero in rookie Sam Shields in the NFC title game. Some people I have talked to tell me that Shields is progressing similarly to the way Tramon Williams progressed, and that he has a potentially promising future as a starter. What’s your take on Shields now and in the future?
Larrivee: Shields is progressing much faster than Tramon Williams did. He has the speed and natural instincts for the CB position and is fast approaching starter-ability level.
PFW: The Packers have a lot of interesting free-agents-to-be, but none more than DL Cullen Jenkins, who looks like he’s got his act back together from the calf injury that kept him out late in the season. When he’s right, he’s pretty darn good. Would you consider Jenkins a re-signing priority?
Larrivee: What they do with Jenkins will be interesting; how much and how long do you go on a deal for Cullen if you are Ted Thompson? The Packers figure to get Johnny Jolly back next year, and rookie DE Mike Neal will be returning from the injured list, and he showed a lot of promise earlier this season. Cullen is great when healthy, but he has battled through a lot of injuries in his seven-year career. He hasn't missed a lot of time, but it always seems like he is banged up. Hopefully, they come to agreement on a deal because Cullen is a rare 3-4 lineman that can make plays along the offensive line, as opposed to just tying up blockers. If it was up to me, I would sign him, but thankfully it is not up to me!
PFW: The Packers’ success has brought Dom Capers’ amazing staff of assistants to the forefront. Can you comment on how good the defensive assistants have been? PFW’s sources on the scene have particularly sung the praises of Mike Trgovac, Darren Perry, Joe Whitt Jr. and Kevin Greene.
Larrivee: The defensive assistants have been very good in terms of player development, especially along the front seven, where injuries have hit hard this season. These guys get people off the street ready to play. Trgovac is an outstanding defensive-line technician — watching him work with the linemen in practice is like watching a clinic in line play. Kevin Green has done a great job developing the five different linebackers they have had to use on the outside opposite of Clay Matthews. Darren Perry is very good with the safeties and was doing a nice job with rookie Morgan Burnett until he went down. Whitt is another young coach who relates well to the players and has been a key to the development of Pro Bowl CB Tramon Williams. Capers is a great tactician, the staff is a great group of teachers — they have been a marvelous combination.