The Packers began their third and final week of OTAs on Tuesday with a two-hour workout at Ray Nitschke Field that was open to the media and public.
Here are some news & notes:
–Not practicing: RB Alex Green, CB Charles Woodson, S Charlie Peprah, FB John Kuhn, LB Frank Zombo, DL Johnny Jones, G Jaymes Brooks, DT Mike Daniels, DT Daniel Muir, T Derek Sherrod, TE Andrew Quarless, WR Greg Jennings, TE Jermichael Finley, and DE Lawrence Guy.
–With Finley out, second-year TE D.J. Williams made the play of the day. Split wide to get matched up against a safety, Williams ran a go route and then looked a bit like Finley in acrobatically outjumping S M.D. Jennings to haul in the long throw from QB Aaron Rodgers. Toward the end of practice, however, Williams dropped a pass over the middle in 7-on-7 that hit him right in the hands.
–The defensive play of the day was turned in by CB Tramon Williams. As a deep ball to Cobb hung up against the wind a little bit, Williams had inside position on Cobb and then broke off at the right time to make a diving interception.
–Without Greg Jennings on offense, WRs James Jones and Randall Cobb both got their share of throws. Jones and Rodgers appeared to be on the same page, particularly in an early no-huddle period.
–Rodgers managed to draw the defense offside with one of his patented hard counts. The ensuing “free play” didn’t amount to much, but Rodgers certainly hasn’t lost the touch with his cadence.
–Almost without fail, when K Mason Crosby attempts an onside kick he gets that nice, high bounce kickers are looking for. Crosby does it by chopping down on the ball and having it bounce up right away (rather than hope for a large bounce on the second or third hop, as some kickers do), and he was executing that flawlessly again.
–Rookie DE Jerel Worthy continued to work alongside B.J. Raji as the two inside rushers with the No. 1 nickel package, and Worthy rotated in with the first unit in base for some snaps as well.
–Newly acquired DE Phillip Merling was on the field for his third practice with the team. Merling was at practice for the final two days last week and now has this week plus next week’s minicamp to get the playbook down as best he can to prepare for training camp. Merling said in the locker room after practice that he’s learning a whole new system, but he believes he’ll pick it up fast.
“I’m just trying to get the plays down, so in training camp I can show my ability,” he said. He added that Green Bay felt like home to him when he made a free-agent visit, so he signed a contract right away.
–Fellow DE Anthony Hargrove is still in the midst of the appeal process surrounding the eight-game suspension for his alleged role in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal. Head Coach Mike McCarthy said the team is in wait-and-see mode, just like everybody else, but he’s been impressed with how quickly Hargrove is picking up the defensive system.
“We’re preparing him to play football and compete for our football team until the NFL and his team of lawyers make everything clear to us,” McCarthy said. “We’re going to wait and see what happens in the future, but we’re coaching him just like everybody else.”
–McCarthy said next week’s three-day minicamp will be an “extension” of the OTAs that are wrapping up this week. The OTAs have been focused on installing the schemes, with the players still focused on strength and conditioning, but the minicamp will have a different emphasis.
“Practices will be very situation-conscious, trying to hit almost every situation in one practice,” McCarthy said, referring to red-zone and two-minute drills, and the like. “Minicamp will reflect more of what a real Wednesday or Thursday in-season practice would look like. That’s a change for us.”
Only the first of the three minicamp practices will be open to the public, at 10:45 a.m. on Tuesday, June 12. The other two minicamp practices will be closed to the public.
Tags: anthony hargrove, d.j. wiliams, Jermichael Finley, mike mccarthy, minicamp, OTAs, phillip merling
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