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News & notes: M.D. Jennings constantly reminded of Seattle

Posted by Mike Spofford on August 20, 2013 – 5:33 pm

For a recap of Tuesday’s practice, which featured the backup QBs as Aaron Rodgers sat out with an illness, check out today’s feature story. Here are some other news & notes:

–Constant reminder: S M.D. Jennings isn’t thrilled with his current fate, which is being forever connected to last year’s “Fail Mary” on the final play in Seattle. He can’t escape reminders of it wherever he goes, though he’s always a good sport about it and has signed autographs of the famous end zone picture when asked. Of course, the reminders are back again this week with the Seahawks coming to Lambeau Field for a preseason game.

“All the time,” Jennings said of how often he’s reminded of last year’s Week 3 contest. “It’s something that’s stuck with me unfortunately. It’s something I’m trying to get over. I don’t want to be remembered by that play. I just try to go out there and play football.

“It’s not about Golden Tate or the Seahawks. It’s just about getting better as a team and getting ready for the regular season.”

More important to Jennings, he’s trying to lock down the starting safety spot opposite Morgan Burnett. He’s been competing with Jerron McMillian throughout the preseason, and based on the way the reps with the first unit are being distributed in practice, Jennings is in the lead for the starting job.

He’s taking nothing for granted, though. Any talk of what he’s working to improve on always comes back to the basic fundamentals.

“I’ve been trying to focus on playing with better pad leverage and pursuit angles to the ball, just things of that nature,” he said. “I really know which way the coaches are going to go with it. All I can do is go out there and do my job.”

No matter who wins the starting job, both Jennings and McMillian are expected to play from scrimmage in the various defensive packages. Neither has made any standout plays in the preseason yet, but two games still remain.

“It’s always a learning curve,” McMillian said. “You need to be accountable, make plays and play as fast as you can. Not have any mental errors. That’s your quickest way on the field is to make sure you know what’s going on.”

–True contender: Mike McCarthy said earlier this week that rookie CB Micah Hyde would get an opportunity to return punts, and he was the returner taking the first rep on Tuesday. Hyde had a 13-yard punt return last week in St. Louis and could make a strong bid for the job with a good showing against Seattle.

–Injury update: The only changes to the injury list were that CB James Nixon (ankle, knee) returned to practice, while CB Loyce Means (ankle) was sidelined.

–Finley fans: TE Jermichael Finley makes a big play or two in practice every day, and Tuesday was no exception. Finley continues to beat defenders down the middle of the field and on crossing routes, providing a steady target for whichever Packers QB is throwing the ball.

“This is the Jermichael Finley I work with every day,” McCarthy said. “This man approaches football the same way every day. He’s a joy to coach. Physically he’s in a place he wants to be and he’s clearly having his finest training camp. It’s clear-cut.”

QB Vince Young, a teammate of Finley’s for one season at the University of Texas, said more than once that he’s proud of the former Longhorn, who came into the NFL two years after Young did.

“He’s got a lot of swag,” Young said. “You can tell he’s feeling it right now.”


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Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp

News & notes from Day 2

Posted by Mike Spofford on July 27, 2013 – 3:38 pm

For the main news of Saturday, check out the full story on Clay Matthews on the main packers.com site. For some additional tidbits, here are a few news items and notes from the second practice of training camp:

Three WRs already down: Just two days into camp, and the Packers have lost three receivers to injuries. On Friday, undrafted rookie Sederrik Cunningham injured his wrist when he battled cornerback Micah Hyde for a deep ball that was knocked away incomplete. Cunningham was in the locker room on Saturday wearing a sling.

WR Charles Johnson

WR Charles Johnson

Then on Saturday, seventh-round picks Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey both dropped out of practice. Johnson fell awkwardly as his left leg got caught underneath him while he tried to stop a slant route and catch a pass that was slightly behind him. He walked off under his own power and later said he was scheduled to have an MRI taken.

“My foot got stuck in the ground as I stopped to catch the ball,” Johnson said. “I felt a little bit of pain, but I could still walk when I rolled over. Personally, I don’t feel like it’s something major.”

Not long after Johnson’s injury, Dorsey came up limping after a running a relatively innocent-looking route.

After practice, Head Coach Mike McCarthy did not have an update on either Johnson’s or Dorsey’s status.

Glance at the depth chart: Jerron McMillian took the majority of the snaps at safety with the No. 1 defense, after M.D. Jennings had done so on Day 1. It appears those two will continue rotating in with the first unit probably throughout much of camp until the competition is decided. McMillian did have what would have been a sack on a blitz late in practice when he got around the attempted block of RB Alex Green.

Also, first-round pick Datone Jones isn’t with the No. 1 defense in base (B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and C.J. Wilson are the down linemen), but he’s being paired with Raji in the No. 1 nickel package, which features only two down linemen.

With CBs Casey Hayward (hamstring) and Davon House (illness) out, veteran Jarrett Bush is working as the nickel CB, and he had a nice pass break-up on Saturday on a deep pass down the seam intended for WR Jeremy Ross.

WR Randall Cobb took the first rep as the kickoff returner, followed by Ross and rookie RB Johnathan Franklin. All three worked on the punt return as well. McCarthy noted that he likes what he sees early on from Franklin.

Play of the day: The defensive play of the day was probably turned in by CB Tramon Williams, who leaped in the end zone to bat away a deep pass from QB Aaron Rodgers intended for WR Jordy Nelson. Rodgers scrambled to his right on the play, which Williams said forced the defenders to come out of zone coverage and find a receiver. He found Nelson in time to break up the play.

Harris still on the mend: RB DuJuan Harris, who had a cyst removed from his lung in the spring, hasn’t practiced in camp yet due to a knee injury, but he claims it’s nothing serious and he won’t be out much longer.

“It’s a little frustrating, but just taking it slow,” Harris said. “I should be out there real soon. Just being patient and not trying to rush back too soon.”

With the Packers drafting Eddie Lacy and Franklin, and with veterans James Starks and Green off to solid starts in camp, Harris acknowledged he needs to be on the field soon, but he remains confident he’ll be able to pick up where he left off late last season, when he was the team’s primary ballcarrier.

The procedure to remove the cyst should only help, too.

“I should be better than ever, as good as new,” he said. “My lung capacity should be where it’s supposed to be now, and my breathing should be better. It should be a little faster. I should last longer, be able to take more carries. I’m just excited to get back out there and see what I can do.”


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Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp

Nelson, Kuhn, McMillian not practicing Friday

Posted by Mike Spofford on November 2, 2012 – 11:52 am

WR Jordy Nelson and FB John Kuhn were not on the practice field on Friday during the portion of the workout open to the media. Mike McCarthy said earlier in the week that Nelson and Kuhn, who are both nursing hamstring injuries, might practice on Friday, but their absence puts their status for Sunday’s game in serious doubt.

Also, S Jerron McMillian was only observing practice on Friday but was not doing any drills. McMillian has not been on the injury report all week, so he’ll have to be added today. If McMillian is unable to play on Sunday, and with Charles Woodson already out, the Packers would have to turn to CB Jarrett Bush as the dime defensive back when the defense goes to six DBs.

McCarthy will have the final injury update after practice.


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Posted in Packers.com Blog

Worthy took no plays off

Posted by Vic Ketchman, packers.com editor on July 27, 2012 – 10:35 am

Jerel Worthy

Packers second-round draft pick Jerel Worthy attracted attention and criticism for a comment he made at Michigan State about needing to take plays off once in a while. Worthy took no plays off in Friday morning’s practice. The defensive lineman was the high-energy player of practice, which was forced indoors by rain.

Worthy chased after receivers following completions. His voice could be heard celebrating defensive stops and his motor never stopped. Worthy was all over the field and finished a couple of plays on the turf in a tangle of players he created.

Most notably, it appears Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers might have had his two-down lineman nickel defense in mind when Worthy was selected with the 51st overall pick of the 2012 draft. Worthy and B.J. Raji are the two down linemen in the Packers’ nickel defense, and it’s a role Worthy appears to relish. He was a chase tackle at Michigan State and he appears to be reveling in the space he has to operate in Capers’ nickel, which is clearly in Capers’ plans for this season.

Also in Friday’s practice:

…It’s becoming obvious the Packers have a creative role in mind for second-year wide receiver Randall Cobb.

…Backup quarterback Graham Harrell threw arguably the most impressive completion of the morning, a deep out to Cobb, who caught the ball and turned up field to pull away from rookie safety Jerron McMillian, whose coverage on the play was tight.

…Safety M.D. Jennings made an interception off a deflection.

…Quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ signature pass might be the back-shoulder throw, and he tossed a beauty of one to Jordy Nelson along the right sideline. Unfortunately, Nelson dropped the pass.

…Undrafted free agent linebacker Dezman Moses appears to be competing for more than a roster spot. He appears to be competing for playing time.

…First-year safety Anthony Levine broke impressively on a pass along the sideline and nearly made an interception.


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Posted in Packers.com Blog

Meet the Packers’ 2012 draft class

Posted by Duke Bobber on April 28, 2012 – 8:31 pm

Nick Perry

#53 NICK PERRY • LINEBACKER • SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Drafted: 1st Round (#28 overall)
Ht: 6-3   Wt: 265

 

#99 JEREL WORTHY • DEFENSIVE END • MICHIGAN STATE
Drafted: 2nd Round (#51 overall)
Ht: 6-2   Wt: 308

 

#29 CASEY HAYWARD • CORNERBACK • VANDERBILT
Drafted: 2nd Round (#62 overall)
Ht: 5-11  Wt: 192

 

#76 MIKE DANIELS • DEFENSIVE TACKLE • IOWA
Drafted: 4th Round (#132 overall)
Ht: 6-0   Wt: 291

 

#22 JERRON McMILLIAN • SAFETY • MAINE
Drafted: 4th Round (#133 overall)
Ht: 5-11   Wt: 203

 

#56 TERRELL MANNING • LINEBACKER • NORTH CAROLINA STATE
Drafted: 5th Round (#163 overall)
Ht: 6-2   Wt: 237

 

#77 ANDREW DATKO • TACKLE • FLORIDA STATE
Drafted: 7th Round (#241 overall)
Ht: 6-6   Wt: 315

 

#9 B.J. COLEMAN • QUARTERBACK • TENNESSEE-CHATTANOOGA
Drafted: 7th Round (#243 overall)
Ht: 6-3   Wt: 231

 


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Posted in Packers.com Blog

Maine safety is fifth straight on defense

Posted by Vic Ketchman, packers.com editor on April 28, 2012 – 12:58 pm

Defense, defense.

Yeah, for a fifth consecutive pick, the Packers stayed on the defensive side of the ball, selecting Maine safety Jerron McMillian, 5-11, 203. McMillian was picked with the 133rd overall selection, the second of back to back picks by the Packers in the fourth round.

McMillian is a second team All-America. He started each of the last three years and recorded three interceptions over the last two seasons. In those last two years, he also made 16 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.


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Posted in Packers.com Blog