The Green Bay Packers had a costly opening week of the NFL season, losing to the Seattle Seahawks and then losing right tackle Bryan Bulaga in the process.
The team turned to Derek Sherrod in relief of the injured Bulaga, and the results were disastrous. Sherrod allowed two sacks, one of which ended a drive on 4th-and-5 and the other resulting in a fumble and safety. The performance was so bad that Pro Football Focus graded him out overall at -6.9.
Now, with the prospect that Bryan Bulaga could be out again in Week 2, Sherrod is feeling the pressure to up his game. Bulaga sprained his MCL and could still play, but Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Derek Sherrod will get his first NFL start if Bulaga can't go.
"I never focus on any bad play," Sherrod said. "Everybody's going to have good plays. Everybody's going to have bad plays. But if you focus on the negative, it's obviously going to affect you in the long run, and you won't be as productive as you have to be."
The game could also represent a breakout opportunity for Sherrod. The team's first round pick in 2011, he broke his leg on December 18 of that year and missed the rest of that season and all of 2012.
But teammates were confident that Sherrod could pick up his play.
"I think Derek probably had his best training camp to date, and we just need him to play like that," left guard Josh Sitton said. "He was playing well in training camp, and honestly I think he played well with the exception of a couple of plays. They just happened to be plays that everybody's talking about it. He's just got to continue to get better and build that confidence. If he can build that confidence, he'll be fine."
Many see Derek Sherrod as something of a fourth-year rookie, with few opportunities to prove himself in the NFL. But with the Green Bay Packers already falling behind in the NFC North, he may need to have a short learning curve this season.