For the latest injury news and a recap of Wednesday’s practice skirmishes, check out today’s feature story. Here are some other news and notes:
–Young more involved: New QB Vince Young took far more snaps in the team (11-on-11) drills than he did his first day, and the uneven results were to be expected. It appeared on one play that Young’s cadence caused someone to false start, and later he overthrew TE D.J. Williams, leading to an interception by S Chaz Powell.
He came back from that to make a good throw to WR Jeremy Ross, only to have it knocked away at the last moment by CB Loyce Means.
“Vince Young is on Day 2 in a new offense,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. “One of the reasons why we signed Vince Young is he knows how to play quarterback. He knows how to win. He’s played in games. He has experience. The hard part is what he’s going through right now. It’s a whole different verbiage.”
–Kickers even: In a brief kicking session, both Mason Crosby and Giorgio Tavecchio went 3-for-4 on field goals. Crosby was good from 36, 46 and 48 but missed wide right from 50. Tavecchio was good from 36, 48 and 51 but missed wide left from 46.
Not to get lost in the competition is the burden placed on holder Tim Masthay, who has to switch back and forth holding for both a right-footed (Crosby) and left-footed (Tavecchio) kicker from snap to snap.
“I feel like it’s come along pretty well,” Masthay said. “Ever since we signed Giorgio, I’ve taken a ton of snaps here. I’ve got a Jugs machine at my house and I’ve been catching left-handed field goal snaps for quite a while now and I’m starting to feel pretty comfortable with it. I feel good going into the game.”
Masthay also has been taking regular reps kicking off, and he did well in last Saturday’s scrimmage, but he was audibly upset at himself when he flubbed a low line-drive kickoff in practice on Wednesday. Masthay kicked off in college at Kentucky and enjoys getting his swings in.
“I was so mad at myself. It’s been quite a while since I mis-hit a kickoff like I did on that one today,” he said. “I don’t know if I just got a little too juiced up trying to crush it or something.”
–Different perspectives: Whether or not the post-whistle skirmishes witnessed Wednesday are good for the team depends on the point of view. DL Mike Daniels, who has been one of the more outspoken and feisty players throughout camp, loves it.
“The monotony of training camp, you see the same people every day, you eat the same grilled chicken every day, you should lose your mind,” Daniels said. “You should be angry when you hit the field. You should want to beat the crap out of each other. We’ve been doing that, and like I said, I can only imagine what we do when we see somebody we don’t like.”
QB Aaron Rodgers chalked up the extracurricular activity to fatigue and didn’t particularly care for it, but he agreed that it’s simply time to play against an opponent.
“Guys are grumpy and just don’t really take any of that extra stuff,” he said. “That’s part of camp. Some people like it more than others. I’d rather not have our guys punching each other in the helmet, hurting their hands, so hopefully that nonsense is done with. We’re excited about moving on to face somebody else.”
–Next man up: Rodgers called his new left tackle, rookie David Bakhtiari, “raw” and said he’ll be learning “in the fire” if he’s indeed the Week 1 starter.
Bakhtiari will be charged with handling the opponent’s best pass rusher on a regular basis, and Rodgers will need to have confidence that his blind side isn’t constantly under siege.
“There’s usually a tough guy at that position rushing at my back side against every team, and against their best pass rusher you need a lineman who can hold up,” Rodgers said. “Obviously we believe in David.”
Another injury on the offensive line could be problematic, though, Rodgers suggested.
“I’ve said before in this camp it’s impressive the kind of depth that we have, and now our depth is going to get tested,” he said. “We need those guys to step up and play well and be healthy. There’s fluke injuries in this thing and they’re frustrating, but from this point forward it’s going to be important that we keep all those guys healthy.”
Tags: aaron rodgers, david bakhtiari, giorgio tavecchio, mason crosby, mike mccarthy, tim masthay, vince young
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp
For an update on the kicking competition and some sloppy moments during Thursday’s practice, check out today’s feature story. As for other news & notes:
–Bigger presence: Head Coach Mike McCarthy couldn’t be happier with the start to camp of veteran S Morgan Burnett. It’s a big year for Burnett, who signed a contract extension just before camp began as he became the elder statesmen at the safety position with the departure of Charles Woodson.
Burnett had an interception in Wednesday’s practice, and then on Thursday, he chased down a deep ball intended for Jarrett Boykin and knocked it out of Boykin’s hands just as it appeared the receiver was going to have a TD catch.
“It’s not just the upgrade in his play, it’s the upgrade in his exertion of leadership and command in the back end, which is critical in our defense,” McCarthy said. “This is the Morgan Burnett that we know, and I think it’s now just being expressed a little more openly to everybody else. He’s doing exactly what he needs to do.”
Woodson’s departure in some senses forced Burnett into a bigger leadership role, and he also said he feels more comfortable being vocal and forceful with his calls now that he’s in his fourth season.
“As a safety, I have to be loud and decisive with my checks and calls, be the quarterback of the back end, and make sure we get lined up and ready to play,” he said.
“There’s no pressure (with the new contract). It’s really an honor and a blessing to know your organization is standing behind you. It motivates you not to let them down.”
–Officials on campus: A crew of NFL officials was working Thursday’s practice, and they will be at practice both Friday night and for Saturday night’s scrimmage inside Lambeau Field.
The officials will also take part in some of the players’ meetings to go over rules, rule changes and answer questions. The players will also be given a full presentation of rule changes and points of emphasis on Friday (a presentation also will be made to the media on Friday, and packers.com will put the highlights of that here in the blog).
McCarthy welcomes the interaction the players and coaches have with the officials at this time of year, because it only adds to a regular daily meeting the players have during camp that focuses on a specific rule or rule change.
“At the end of the day, everybody wants the same thing,” McCarthy said. “They want to make the right calls, and we want to make sure we’re coaching our guys the right way, because you don’t want to be talking about this on Sundays.”
–Spirited play: CB Loyce Means, formerly of the CFL, got a chance on Thursday to work with the No. 1 nickel defense and appeared pretty fired up about it. Early in practice, he took WR Myles White to the ground in a mini-scuffle on a screen pass and then hopped up and got in on the tackle. Later, in a one-on-one drill, he knocked away a pass on a post route to White.
Means was then beaten for a TD on an inside-out move in the end zone by WR James Jones, but Means looked agitated after the play, suggesting he thought Jones got separation with an illegal shove.
–Tough customer: Evan Dietrich-Smith is a starter in training camp for the first time in his career, and he’s showing no interest in letting anyone challenge him. After one play on Thursday, Dietrich-Smith was moving very slowly and trying to stretch out his arm and/or shoulder as he walked back to the huddle, but as Don Barclay jogged in to replace him and give him a breather, Dietrich-Smith waved him off and took the next snap anyway.
–Great matchup: Two of the early stars of camp, DL Mike Daniels and OT David Bakhtiari — both fourth-round draft picks the last two years — squared off in the one-on-one pass rush/pass blocking drill, and by subjective measure it was probably a draw.
Daniels used his brute strength to push Bakhtiari well into the backfield, but Bakhtiari managed to keep himself between Daniels and the QB the whole time. Daniels then showed off his strength again in blasting undrafted rookie lineman Lane Taylor off the line before Daniels finally met his strength match in veteran G Josh Sitton, who successfully held his own.
The best block of the day may have been turned in by LT Bryan Bulaga. In the set-the-edge drill against the outside linebackers, Bulaga locked up rookie Andy Mulumba, who has made a good early impression, and then lifted and planted the undrafted free agent on his backside, almost like a wrestler.
–Not his best day: WR Randall Cobb was not at the top of his game with two glaring drops during the workout. On the first, in a one-on-one drill against CB Micah Hyde, Cobb cleanly beat Hyde with an inside-out move but then had the pass bounce right off his hands. Later, in team work, he was open on a go route but had the ball glance off his hands as S Jerron McMillian was closing fast.
“We need to catch the football better,” McCarthy said. “I’ve never been part of a perimeter group that accepts anything less than 100 percent. That’s what we’re striving for.”
–Injury update: S David Fulton (foot) returned to practice after sitting out on Wednesday, and DL Johnny Jolly (ankle) also returned after dropping out early the previous day.
“Johnny has always been a tough guy, always practiced hurt,” McCarthy said. “That was no surprise to anybody. That’s a part of what makes him a unique football player, and obviously with the opportunity he has, I’m sure he’s going to take full advantage of it.”
S Sean Richardson, who had neck surgery last year, still doesn’t have a determination on his future, but it could be coming soon. Richardson has remained as optimistic as possible, all things considered, but there is a chance he won’t get medical clearance to return to the field.
“All the opinions from the doctors now have to weigh in and a final decision needs to be made,” McCarthy said.
Tags: bryan bulaga, david bakhtiari, evan dietrich-smith, johnny jolly, loyce means, mike daniels, mike mccarthy, morgan burnett, randall cobb
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp
There was a lot of discussion on Wednesday of the goings on at backup QB and in the return game. For an update on both, check out today’s feature story.
Here are some other news & notes from the day:
–The ’88’ of old: TE Jermichael Finley didn’t have a whole lot to say to reporters in his first media session of training camp. Asked about playing in a contract year and maximizing on his potential, Finley simply kept repeating that “everything will take care of itself” if he works hard and does his job.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy has been impressed with Finley’s start to camp, which Finley agreed is a carryover of sorts from his strong finish to last season. He’s the only tight end regularly making plays in the team periods, which shows how valuable he can be in this offense.
“He’s back to the Finley of 2009 or ’10,” McCarthy said. “He’s where he needs to be. He’s in a very good place.”
Finley’s offensive teammates like what they see thus far as well.
“I feel we’re getting that ’88’ of old back, which is good, because he’s going to help us win games,” receiver James Jones said. “He’s just having fun out there, and we should expect big things out of him.”
–Making a move up front?: McCarthy didn’t get into specifics, but he suggested that rookie offensive tackle David Bakhtiari (featured on packers.com earlier this week right here) is going to be given a legitimate opportunity to win a starting job. He’s been working as the No. 2 left tackle behind Bryan Bulaga and the No. 3 right tackle behind Marshall Newhouse and Don Barclay, but the fourth-round draft pick has been impossible not to notice.
“I think he’s someone that is worthy of more reps and furthering the competition along the offensive line,” McCarthy said. “He’s clearly one of the guys that has made a step in the padded work. I’m pleased with what he’s done so far.”
Assuming Bulaga is entrenched at left tackle, look for Bakhtiari to perhaps start getting some snaps with the first unit at right tackle. Newhouse and Barclay have been rotating to this point, with Barclay getting all the snaps in the final no-huddle period on Wednesday.
“Right now, I thought I was taking a lot of reps. The more, the merrier, I guess,” Bakhtiari said. “I want to keep a level head. It’s been, what, three days in pads? Yeah, I’ve had some bright, shining moments, but I wouldn’t say I’m perfect. I’ve definitely had some, in my opinion, God-awful plays that I wish I could take back. It’s a good foundation to build upon. I’ve been doing good, but I still have a ways to go.”
–Injury update: OLBs Dezman Moses (foot) and Nate Palmer (shoulder), along with S David Fulton (knee), were added to the injury list and sat out practice on Wednesday, while DL Johnny Jolly (ankle) dropped out during the workout.
OL Kevin Hughes (headaches) returned after missing Tuesday’s practice. CB James Nixon (knee) also returned after dropping out on Tuesday, but then he dropped out again and had ice on his knee.
–More kicking coming: Kickers Mason Crosby and Giorgio Tavecchio haven’t had a head-to-head field goal showdown since the first practice last Friday, but McCarthy said one would be coming on Thursday. They are scheduled to kick every other day, but they only did kickoffs on Tuesday.
Continuing with the every-other-day schedule and the opportunity afforded in Lambeau Field, It’s likely they’ll have a field-goal duel during the Family Night Scrimmage on Saturday as well.
Tags: david bakhtiari, Jermichael Finley
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp
Running backs join emphasis on defenseRead More
DRAFT RECAP VIDEOS
Packers.com’s Vic Ketchman and Mike Spofford give their recap of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson recaps the team’s selections at the close of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy recaps the team’s selections at the close of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Meet the players
1. Datone Jones, DE, UCLA
2. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
4a. David Bakhtiari, T, Colorado
4b. J.C. Tretter, T, Cornell
4c. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
5a. Micah Hyde, CB, Iowa
5b. Josh Boyd, DE, Mississippi State
6. Nate Palmer, LB, Illinois State
7a. Charles Johnson, WR, Grand Valley State
7b. Kevin Dorsey, WR, Maryland
7c. Sam Barrington, LB, South Florida
Tags: charles johnson, datone jones, david bakhtiari, eddie lacy, green bay packers, j.c. tretter, johnathan franklin, kevin dorsey, meet the draft class, micah hyde, nate palmer, nfl, nfl draft, packers, sam barrington
Posted in Packers.com Blog
GREEN BAY–The Packers made Colorado tackle David Bakhtiari Green Bay’s first pick of the final day of the draft on Saturday. Bakhtiari, 6-4, 299, is described as a “well-built athlete with a tireless work ethic.” He was picked with the 12th pick of the fourth round, the 109th overall pick.
Bakhtiari started 33 games in the past three years and follows in the footsteps of former Colorado tackle Nate Solder.
The Packers began the day with two fourth-round picks. Their next pick is scheduled for the 122nd overall selection.
Tags: david bakhtiari, nfl draft
Posted in Packers.com Blog