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News & notes: Johnny Jolly took nothing for granted

Posted by Mike Spofford on September 2, 2013 – 4:30 pm

For the latest on new backup QB Seneca Wallace and some thoughts from the undrafted rookies who made the 53-man roster, check out today’s feature story. Here are some other news & notes.

–Jolly took nothing for granted: From the outside looking in, it appeared Johnny Jolly was a sure bet to make the team after such a strong preseason, but Jolly confessed he wasn’t sure of anything on cutdown Saturday.

DE Johnny Jolly

DE Johnny Jolly

“I had my phone in my hand all day,” he said. “I was checking it. I was on my toes all day.

“I didn’t know. I was scared all the way up until the last minute. It’s a blessing that I’m here. I don’t have to worry about that now.”

Making the team after a three-year absence is impressive in itself, and now Jolly wants to contribute to the defense and add to this remarkable story. He hasn’t played in a real NFL game since 2009, when he was a key cog in the Packers’ top-rated run defense, and while he said the long wait was the hardest part, he doesn’t spend any energy looking back anymore at the opportunity he wasted.

“I might drive myself crazy thinking about how good I could have been, coming from 2009, which was a good season, up until this point,” he said. “If I worry about that, I won’t be able to focus on what I have going right now.

“It’s amazing that I’m even back in this situation. I have to take advantage of every chance I get.”

–Barclay starts at RT: It took a while for him to find a home in training camp, as the coaches were trying Don Barclay at backup center and guard, as well as the right tackle spot he played last year.

RT Don Barclay

RT Don Barclay

But once Barclay got to right tackle for good, he did his thing. By all appearances, he has won the starting job and will open the season at RT in San Francisco on Sunday, with rookie David Bakhtiari starting at LT and veteran Marshall Newhouse backing up both spots.

“As far as our tackles, I like all three tackles,” Mike McCarthy said. “Don started today at the right tackle. I wouldn’t be surprised if Marshall plays in the game. Don is very consistent. He’s physical, and he’s a young ascending player. We’re going to need all those guys.”

Barclay said he continues to get more and more comfortable working alongside RG T.J. Lang, after having played next to Josh Sitton last year as a rookie. He said it made a difference to be in his second year because he knew more about what to expect and how to watch film.

“It was a battle all camp, and it’s still being a battle,” Barclay said. “Every day you have to go out there and prove yourself, and solidify your spot every day.”

–Up in the air: McCarthy was non-committal about whom the Packers would use as their primary return man for Week 1, mentioning WR Jeremy Ross, CB Micah Hyde and RB Johnathan Franklin all as candidates. Ross has returned both punts and kicks, while Hyde has worked as a punt returner and Franklin as a kickoff returner.

“We’ve got some work to do in the return game,” McCarthy said. “We have some decisions to make.”

–Injury update: The first official injury report of the regular season will be released Wednesday, but it’s worth noting that two defensive starters who missed the final preseason game with hamstring injuries — LB Brad Jones and S Morgan Burnett — were back on the practice field on Monday.

CB Casey Hayward, who also has been out with a hamstring injury, did not practice, however.

–Fond memory: New practice-squad QB Scott Tolzien recalled a moment from his pro day workout in Madison, Wis., prior to the 2011 draft when McCarthy, unsolicited, came up to chat with him. Tolzien had just led the University of Wisconsin to its first Rose Bowl appearance in a little over a decade.

“Him coming over saying he appreciated what I did in my career there, basically what our team did, what our program did — for a guy like that to come over, he didn’t have to say that,” Tolzien said. “He went out of his way to. You’ll always remember that and appreciate those comments.”


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