By Jason Wilde Special to Published Aug 09, 2006 at 7:12 PM
GREEN BAY -- I don't want to say it's back by popular demand -- that'd be an overstatement -- but since the Larry King style went over as well as it did, it's back. So, with the Packers opening preseason play Saturday night at San Diego and the Sept. 10 regular-season opener against Chicago a month away, here we go ...

  • I don't know what to make of Packers cornerback Charles Woodson. Part of it is the nature of the position, but the guy seems very up-and-down. One day after he was beaten for a 43-yard gain on a Brett Favre-to-Robert Ferguson bomb and looked horrible a couple plays later when he half-heartedly covered Donald Driver, Woodson made a great play to pick off Favre in 7-on-7 on Wednesday.
  • With all the talk about whether rookie Abdul Hodge will work his way into the starting lineup or if middle linebacker Nick Barnett will move to the outside, starting strong-side linebacker Ben Taylor gets lost in the shuffle. But the free-agent pickup had a nice play in practice to break up a pass to Bubba Franks, and after talking with him in the locker room following practice, he might be just what this defense needs -- a steady, solid, unselfish player. Even if he does get bumped to the bench, I bet he'll contribute nicely on special teams.
  • What in the name of Joey Jamison is wrong with Cory Rodgers? The rookie fourth-round pick has been Mr. Butterfingers fielding punts, drawing comparisons to Jamison, a 2000 fifth-round pick from Texas Southern who was fundamentally overmatched at the NFL level -- and cut after one preseason game. Not only couldn't he catch the ball, but the Packers passed on -- get this -- return man extraordinare Dante Hall, who went two picks later (153rd overall) to the Kansas City Chiefs that year. As then-general manager Ron Wolf puts it now, ``What a mess that was.''
  • I do like special teams coordinator Mike Stock's quote on how he's trying to help Rodgers, in addition to having him catch balls off the Jugs machine before every practice. ``I told him, `Every dropped ball, 10 push-ups. Drop one, it's 10. Drop two, it's 20. Drop three, it's 30. We'll see if that helps you catch the ball more cleanly and consistently,''' Stock said. ``He'll be a strong son of a gun if he doesn't catch it. He may be the new push-up champion of the world.''
  • Wow, was offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski mad on Wednesday. I was the first reporter to approach him after practice, and I thought he might go Bobby Knight on me. I could tell he was unhappy with the offense's dropped passes and pre-snap penalties, but when I asked, "How'd it go today?" this is what I got back: "Damn sloppy. That's how it went today. Pre-snap penalties and lining up the right way takes absolutely zero talent. You don't need talent for that, all you need is focus. We need to be more focused out here. Today we weren't. ... I don't like the way we practiced today. Bottom line. It needs to be better than that." Jagodzinski's players admitted his assessment was right on, too. "Jags doesn't pull many punches. He'll tell you how it is," right tackle Mark Tauscher said. "I don't think it was one of our better days -- we had a lot of dropped passes, penalties. There's a heavy emphasis on eliminating those things. Obviously Jags was not overly pleased with the performance this morning."
  • Right guard Jason Spitz may not be the second coming of Marco Rivera yet, but he did show some Rivera-like toughness by practicing one day after getting kicked in the lower right leg and having to leave practice. The only nice thing Jagodzinski had to say Wednesday was about the rookie third-round pick, but Spitz didn't understand what big deal was. "I could've sat out a practice, but I've got a long way to go here. I can't miss a day," he said. "It hurts, you deal with it, you ice it down afterwards and you get over it."
  • Apparently Barnett's comments to me about not wanting to move outside created something of a stir, but I was glad he didn't try to blame the messenger by claiming he was misquoted or taken out of context in my story in Wednesday morning's paper. In fact, while he said he's going to do "whatever's best for the team," he had a great quote about staying put: "As far as I know, my home is at middle linebacker, and I haven't been evicted yet. I'm paying rent on time."
  • Meanwhile, what do you make of coach Mike McCarthy's reaction? Here's what da coach said: "As far as general philosophy, you're always going to do what’s in the best interests of your football team. I understand how Nick feels, and frankly when the decision is to be made about anything we do with the football team, obviously we’ll talk to the players first. I think a lot of that’s kind of necessary, his reaction to it. Once again, he’ll be the first to know if there ever is a consideration of a position change."
Jason Wilde covers the Packers for the Wisconsin State Journal. You can read his stories at the newspaper Web site -- Wilde also talks about the Packers each morning on "The D-List" and each afternoon on "The World's Greatest Sports Talk Show," on Milwaukee's ESPN Radio 1510 Days / 1290 Nights and Madison's Fox Sports Radio (100.5 FM).
Jason Wilde Special to

Jason Wilde, a Milwaukee native who graduated from Greendale Martin Luther High School and the University of Wisconsin, is a two-time Associated Press Sports Editors award winner and a Wisconsin Newspaper Association award winner.

His daily coverage can be found on the State Journal's Web site and through his Packers blog on