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.”
Tags: fail mary, Jermichael Finley, Jerron McMillian, m.d. jennings, micah hyde, mike mccarthy, seattle, vince young
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp
Packers safeties Morgan Burnett and M.D. Jennings addressed the pending long-term absence of veteran leader Charles Woodson on Monday, and though they’re confident the defensive backfield will be ready to play, they acknowledged there will be something missing without Woodson on the field.
“He really means a lot,” Burnett said. “He’s one of those guys you look up to. Just from what I’ve seen when I first got here, he’s a real pro. He carries himself very well on and off the field, and to see the little things he does around here as far as working out, studying, getting prepared for opponents, and just seeing his play on the field speaks for itself.
“That’s a big leader toward our team, not just our defense. You know he’s going to work hard. We just wish him a speedy recovery. We’re all going to have him in our prayers.”
Burnett said what could be missed the most are just the little things Woodson would notice during a game that he would alert his teammates to. In theory, Woodson will still be able to provide that help in the film room and from the sideline, but it won’t be the same as having him in the huddle.
The leadership is most likely going to fall on multiple players, not one individual to fill the void.
“We’re all leaders of some sort,” Jennings said. “If we see something the next guy doesn’t see, we’ll call it out or give it a heads up. Everyone out there has to just step up.
“Everybody has to pull their weight. We all have to go out there and take care of our job and not wait for the next man to do the job for us. We all have to be ready.”
Burnett praised the work of safeties coach Darren Perry and how he gets everyone ready to play. They’ll be depending on Perry, a former safety himself, even more now.
“Everyone in our safety room is prepared and ready,” Burnett said. “Everyone has had their share of snaps through training camp, preseason, this season so far. Everyone is prepared, and in this game you just have to be ready whenever your number is called.”
Tags: charles woodson, m.d. jennings, morgan burnett
Posted in Packers.com Blog
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.
Tags: aaron rodgers, anthony levine, b.j. raji, dezman moses, dom capers, graham harrell, jerel worthy, Jerron McMillian, jordy nelson, m.d. jennings, randall cobb
Posted in Packers.com Blog