GREEN BAY — The preseason games will likely decide the punting competition, but the duel between incumbent Tim Masthay and challenger Cody Mandell took center stage for a while on Thursday at Nitschke Field.
The punters took turns on “backed-up” punts, with the offense inside its own 5-yard line and the punters lined up in the back of the end zone. Masthay and Mandell each hit a high, booming punt that drew some oohs and aahs from the fans in attendance.
“They’re both consistent, that’s what I like about it,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said of the competition. “They’re both striking the ball with consistency. Our approach is a little different this year with how we’re going about it. Both guys have bought into that and are doing a good job.”
McCarthy called Thursday the start of the “toughest stretch” of camp, with three full-pads practices in a row, concluding with Family Night on Saturday. Family Night will be the last of the scheme installations. The head coach said he’ll be looking for more consistency from players in practice once in the installation phase wraps up. He wasn’t thrilled with the tempo of Thursday’s practice after two good workouts on Monday and Tuesday.
LB Nick Perry (groin) sat out and was new to the injury list. LB Clay Matthews (knee soreness) missed his third straight workout, though McCarthy reiterated he’s not concerned. RB Eddie Lacy, who left practice late on Tuesday with a sore foot was back to full go. CB Sam Shields showed up about 90 minutes into practice due to a dental appointment, McCarthy said. LB Mike Neal, who hasn’t practiced yet in camp, is “getting close.”
In Perry’s absence, LB Andy Mulumba got several snaps with the No. 1 defense. Before Shields arrived, rookie CB Damarious Randall was working with the ones.
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