A few notes from Wednesday’s minicamp practice, which for the second straight day was held inside the Don Hutson Center due to wet weather.
–LB Brad Jones did not practice, which moved LB Jamari Lattimore up to the No. 1 defense, paired alongside A.J. Hawk.
–WR Charles Johnson did not practice after practicing on Tuesday.
–Players sitting out both days of practices this week included WR Jarrett Boykin, WR Kevin Dorsey, RB DuJuan Harris, S Sean Richardson, CB Davon House, LB Dezman Moses, LB Desmond Bishop, T JC Tretter, T Derek Sherrod, DT Ryan Pickett, DE Josh Boyd and DE Jerel Worthy.
–QB Aaron Rodgers was really on his game during an extended red-zone period. In one series of plays, he hit TE Jermichael Finley over the middle near the goal line as Finley slightly collided with S David Fulton, connected on a lob pass to TE D.J. Williams near the end-zone sideline, and then scrambled a little to his left before firing a 25-yard strike off his back foot to WR Randall Cobb at the front pylon.
–The defense nearly stopped Rodgers’ hot streak moments later when Hawk deflected a pass into the end zone intended for WR Jeremy Ross on a crossing route. CB Sam Shields dove to try for the interception off the deflection, but the ball barely grazed the ground as Shields’ corraled it and the pass was ruled incomplete, much to the chagrin of the defensive players.
Tags: cobb, finley, minicamp, rodgers
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TE D.J. Williams was not at practice on Thursday in the portion open to reporters. Williams is not listed on the injury report, so an update from Mike McCarthy will be coming after practice.
If Williams’ availability for Sunday’s game is in question at all, that could leave the Packers rather thin at TE because it isn’t certain Jermichael Finley will play, though he has vowed to. McCarthy’s post-practice update will indicate whether anything is going on with Williams other than perhaps an excused absence.
Otherwise, practice participation was essentially the same as Wednesday. Finley, WR Greg Jennings and DL B.J. Raji all missed practice again.
Tags: d.j. williams, finley
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TE Jermichael Finley was confident when he left the locker room in Indianapolis on Sunday that his shoulder injury would not prevent him from playing this week, and he was not backing off that stance on Wednesday.
“I’m not going to let an AC joint in the shoulder hold me back,” Finley said. “God willing, if this recovery goes well, I’m for sure playing.”
Finley, who has not yet returned to practice, said the only issue for him is how the shoulder will respond to contact. He said he has his range of motion back. He indicated he’s not planning on doing any contact drills in practice this week, so he’d be taking a bit of a risk by testing the shoulder for the first time in a game, but that’s not going to deter him.
“I think they want me to play, and my mindset is to play,” Finley said.
DL B.J. Raji, meanwhile, wasn’t as definitive but said he’s going to do everything he can to get his injured ankle well enough to play.
“I have an optimistic personality. I try to be positive,” Raji said. “At the end of this week, if I can’t go, I can’t go, but knowing I’ve put in all I can to give it a chance, that’s what I rely on.”
In non-injury news, OLB Nick Perry said he was fined for the helmet-first hit he laid on Colts QB Andrew Luck that drew a flag and wiped out a fumble recovery by the Packers in the red zone. Perry didn’t disclose how much the fine was, but he wasn’t surprised by the fine after getting the unnecessary roughness penalty in the game. Perry’s helmet didn’t contact Luck’s head, but the crown of Perry’s helmet hit Luck square in the chest.
“I just have to be smart with the way I wrap up,” Perry said. “I feel like I did the right thing by getting him down, but it wasn’t good enough. There’s a better way to approach it.
“I led with the crown of my head, and for that, I get fined. I just have to be more focused on making the play without my head.”
Tags: finley, perry, raji
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In what amounts to no surprise at all, TE Jermichael Finley (shoulder) and DL B.J. Raji (ankle) were not practicing in the portion of Wednesday’s workout open to the media. On Monday, Mike McCarthy gave both “a chance” to play this Sunday.
Also not practicing were RB Cedric Benson (foot), who is out for at least several weeks, WR Greg Jennings (groin) and S Sean Richardson (hamstring).
McCarthy will address the media following practice, and the first official injury report of the week will be released.
Tags: benson, finley, injury report, jennings, raji
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Rookie defensive lineman Mike Daniels had waited a long time to finally suit up for the Packers. The fourth-round draft pick out of Iowa missed all of the OTAs and minicamp workouts in the spring due to a shoulder injury. He had undergone shoulder surgery in January following the completion of his college career.
Daniels got to practice for the first time on Thursday as training camp opened, albeit with a harness for his shoulder (rookie LT Andrew Datko, who has a history of shoulder trouble, wore one as well). It won’t be known if he’s medically cleared to practice with pads on until the first padded practice on Saturday — the same goes for RB Alex Green, who also practiced on Thursday for the first time in 2012 following reconstructive knee surgery — but Daniels was grateful to finally get on the field.
“I won’t lie to you, I was a bit nervous at first, but just getting back in the swing of things, it really did feel good,” Daniels said.
Other news & notes from the opening practice:
–With LB Desmond Bishop (calf) out, second-year pro D.J. Smith took Bishop’s reps with the No. 1 defense. He showed up, too, snagging and interception in a 7-on-7 drill and then on the first play of a team (11-on-11) period immediately after, deflected an Aaron Rodgers pass that CB Charles Woodson intercepted.
“D.J. is a guy who might fool you by his size, but he makes a ton of plays out there,” Rodgers said. “He’s really smart.”
–With Woodson playing safety in the base defense, M.D. Jennings became the fifth defensive back in the nickel package, coming onto the field at safety as Woodson moved to the slot.
–The standout player on defense on opening day was probably CB Jarrett Bush, who worked with the No. 1 base defense opposite CB Tramon Williams with Woodson at safety. Bush broke up a pass to TE Jermichael Finley in a team period and then had another impressive PBU in 7-on-7. Later, in the final team period of practice, he was in great position on a jump ball to WR James Jones, but Jones made a remarkable leaping catch to take the ball away from him. Jones made the play of the day there.
–Also worth noting on defense, LBs Jamari Lattimore and Brad Jones were moved from outside to inside during the offseason, but only Lattimore remained inside on Thursday. Jones was back at his more familiar outside spot. It will bear watching as camp continues whether Lattimore and Jones settle in one spot on defense or work at multiple ones.
–It may have had something to do with the portion of the offense being installed, but it was a busy day for the tight ends in the passing game. All of the TEs, from Finley down to undrafted rookies Eric Lair and Brandon Bostick, got their share of throws. Second-year TE D.J. Williams was in on plenty of action, making one nifty leaping catch on a ball thrown slightly behind him. As for any WRs who stood out, Jordy Nelson looked smooth as always hauling in a couple of deep balls, and undrafted rookie Curenski Gilleylen made a diving catch on an out route from QB Graham Harrell. Later, in 7-on-7, Gilleylen reached up to snare one on a crossing pattern.
–Evan Dietrich-Smith is clearly the No. 2 center behind veteran Jeff Saturday, and he even took a few of Saturday’s reps with the first-team offensive line. Two other young centers, former practice-squad player Sampson Genus and undrafted rookie Tommie Draheim, were rotating between taking snaps at center and guard. Draheim is trying to make the transition from left tackle in college at San Diego State.
–P Tim Masthay is K Mason Crosby’s primary holder, but the Packers lost their backup holder to free agency when QB Matt Flynn signed with Seattle. The new backup holder? WR Randall Cobb, who held for two successful Crosby FGs.
Tags: bishop, d.j. smith, daniels, finley, green, jones, lattimore, randall cobb, rodgers, Woodson
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