Micah Hyde produces on punt returns

Posted by Mike Spofford on October 14, 2013 – 6:17 pm

Special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said rookie CB Micah Hyde was a little hesitant on his first two punt returns on Sunday in Baltimore, but after that he began exploding up the field.

CB Micah Hyde

CB Micah Hyde

With the multiple-week injury to WR Randall Cobb, Hyde was likely to become the Packers’ full-time punt returner anyway. But even without Cobb’s injury, Hyde may have locked down the job with three consecutive returns of 23, 20 and 16 yards in the late second and early third quarters.

“I thought we blocked them well on the three explosive gains, and I thought Micah was real decisive after he caught the ball,” Slocum said. “He got off the spot well and got vertical.”

Another rookie defensive back, S Chris Banjo, showed up once again on the coverage units with a couple of tackles of Baltimore’s dangerous kick returner, WR Jacoby Jones.

P Tim Masthay also had a key play, booming a punt from the back of the end zone when the Packers were snapping from their own 1-yard line. The punt traveled 52 yards and had to be fair caught.

The Ravens had one long punt return, for 38 yards by WR Tandon Doss, and the only other significant blemish for the special teams was the mistake by FB John Kuhn to try to pick up the blocked punt. After it had crossed the line of scrimmage, Kuhn’s failure to pick it up became a muff and the Ravens recovered, keeping possession.

Slocum said the Packers had seen the Ravens get a punt blocked against Denver back in Week 1, so the punt-return team stayed aggressive. LB Andy Mulumba nearly got a second block later in the game. The first one was by TE Ryan Taylor, and the ball caromed forward and over toward the Packers’ bench.

“Don’t grab it,” was Slocum’s thought as he saw Kuhn going after the ball practically right in front of him. “The ball crossed the line of scrimmage, and after a blocked kick crosses the line of scrimmage, it’s going to be our ball if we stay away from it, and that was a mistake.

“It’s something we covered and cover quite often. He knew it. He was trying to make a play and made a poor decision.

“If there were no one around, it was clear and there’s no traffic and a guy makes a play, you pat him on the back and remind him of the rule. But in that situation, it’s close enough to the line of scrimmage, it’s close enough to the scrum of the bodies, and we should have stayed away from it.”


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Casey Hayward out, Micah Hyde ready if needed

Posted by Mike Spofford on September 4, 2013 – 4:49 pm

Packers CB Casey Hayward has been declared out for this week’s game against the 49ers with a hamstring injury, which he re-aggravated in his lone preseason appearance against Seattle on Aug. 23. Mike McCarthy said he has no timeline for Hayward’s injury.

CB Micah Hyde

CB Micah Hyde

That leaves the Packers essentially two options when they go to their nickel defense (three CBs) in San Francisco. Either Davon House comes in to play on the outside, with starter Tramon Williams moving over to play the slot, or rookie Micah Hyde takes the slot position, with Williams and Sam Shields remaining outside.

Hyde, a fifth-round draft pick out of Iowa, was a training camp sensation who will almost surely be tested by the 49ers if he takes the field. It’s common for offenses to attack rookie defensive backs from the get-go.

“I’m going to play the defense as well as I can, and if that’s the case, that’s the case,” Hyde said. “I’ve got to go out there and make some plays. If not, I’ve got to prepare like they’re going to do so.”

Hyde added that he’s never really gotten nervous before, other than the normal early jitters that come with any first game. He certainly never appeared nervous during the preseason, making aggressive plays all over the field. Time will tell if the regular season is any different.

“Micah will do whatever is asked,” McCarthy said. “I have a lot of confidence with him.”

So do his teammates.

“He’s a guy that’s very poised and it seems like no stage is too big for him,” S Morgan Burnett said. “When you see him out there, you forget at times he’s still a rookie, because he picked up and he understands the defense very well.”

Additional features – Sept. 4
Packers offense in no mood to be patient
Kaepernick stands by confusion comments


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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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News & notes: Jordy Nelson still hoping for opener

Posted by Mike Spofford on August 19, 2013 – 5:49 pm

For a rundown on Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s post-game press conference, during which he discussed the team’s health and the need for more high-impact plays, check out today’s feature story. Here are some additional news & notes from Monday:

–Nelson aims for San Francisco: WR Jordy Nelson, who is out for the preseason after having surgery on his knee, wouldn’t go so far as to guarantee he’d be ready for Week 1, but he said that remains the goal and thus far “we’re progressing right on schedule.”

The knee issue is something that first cropped up for Nelson during his college days at Kansas State, and he has dealt with it in his pro career, but he said it’s never been a constant thing. That’s why he never had the surgery until now, when it cropped up after one week of training camp but five weeks before the first game.

“You want to avoid surgery as much as possible,” Nelson said. “That’s what we tried to do. We thought we had it taken care of, and then we realized we didn’t.

“Something happened in practice and it flared back up. Right away I knew it. There was enough time left before opening week that we were felt hopefully we could get in and get out and get ready to go. That was our plan, and that’s what we’re still hoping for.”

Nelson added that had the flare-up occurred during the regular season, he would have been able to play through it, but with the timing it made sense to go this route.

“Our main goal was San Fran, and that’s a goal,” he said. “You never know what will happen. We’ll continue to take it day by day.”

–Extra attention: No one has distinguished himself as the clear No. 2 QB, but Mike McCarthy feels no matter who wins the job, the Packers will be better off for having brought in Vince Young.

“I look at the quarterback room, it’s a better room since the day Vince Young came in here,” McCarthy said. “The minute he walked through the door, Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman have picked it up. That has been very evident from my viewpoint.”

Coleman has been the fourth QB in the rotation in the first two preseason games, but McCarthy complimented him for making “a hell of a play” on his TD pass in St. Louis, the Packers’ only TD of the preseason thus far.

On the play, Coleman scrambled to his right to buy time and then fired a strike at the front pylon of the end zone to undrafted rookie TE Jake Stoneburner, who was coming back hard for the ball. The score capped a 13-play, 75-yard drive.

“We’ve been working more scout stuff than our own stuff,” Coleman said of the third-string offensive unit he directs. “To be able to go out there, sustain a drive … those guys deserve it. They worked hard.”

–No interest in spectating: Rookie DE Datone Jones said he “hates” watching practice, even if it was just for one week with a bum ankle, in part because it reminds him of when he missed an entire college season due to a broken foot.

DE Datone Jones

DE Datone Jones

“It ate at me,” he said of then, and now, after Jones returned to practice on Monday.

He said he knew right away this injury wasn’t as bad as the college one, though, so he wasn’t overly anxious about it. It came on his very first snap in the first preseason game, when he was tripped by an opposing Arizona offensive lineman on his way to the QB.

“All I can remember is I made a great inside move, great pass rush move,” he said. “All of a sudden, Carson Palmer is in front of me, my eyes got bright and after that I was on the ground. That’s all I can really remember. I feel like I made a great play, it just turns out I hurt my ankle.”

–New duties: Rookie CB Micah Hyde returned his first punt of the preseason on Saturday in St. Louis, darting and dodging his way for 13 yards up the middle of the field. McCarthy said he’s going to give Hyde more punt-return opportunities this week, and Hyde says he’s ready.

“I feel comfortable,” Hyde said. “I did it in the past, and the coaches trust me enough to put me back there. I’m going to try to make the best of it.”

Hyde returned punts his final two seasons in college at Iowa. He recorded 13 returns for 68 yards, with a long of 27, in 2012, and he had 13 returns for 108 yards, with a long of 30, in 2011.


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News & notes: Dome will be new to LT David Bakhtiari

Posted by Mike Spofford on August 15, 2013 – 4:35 pm

For the rundown on Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s press conference after the final practice of the week prior to the preseason game in St. Louis, check out today’s feature story. Here are some other news & notes from Thursday:

LT David Bakhtiari

LT David Bakhtiari

–Bakhtiari new to domes: It’s just the preseason, but rookie LT David Bakhtiari will get his first taste of playing football in a dome on Saturday night in St. Louis, and that could be important.

“I’ve been in a lot of loud stadiums, but I don’t think I’ve played in a dome before,” Bakhtiari said. “It will be my first time for that.”

As usual, the Packers piped in crowd noise during the week of practice for many of the team (11-on-11) periods to work on their silent count. The experience, even if it’s only loud for the first series or so and won’t be as loud as it would be in a regular-season game, could be valuable for Bakhtiari because the Packers have three regular-season dome games this season — at Minnesota, Detroit and Dallas.

–Youth in secondary still shining: Rookie CB Micah Hyde made yet another big play in practice on Thursday, leaping at the goal line to intercept a pass that was intended for a receiver running a crossing route in the back of the end zone.

It wasn’t as spectacular as the interception Hyde made on Wednesday (click here and scroll down to the “Plays of the Day”), but it was a pretty nifty play nonetheless. With CBs Tramon Williams (knee) and Casey Hayward (hamstring) still sidelined, Hyde likely will start on Saturday night.

Mike McCarthy noted how strong an impression Hyde made when he first arrived in Green Bay for rookie orientation. The coaches were firing punts and kickoffs out of a Jugs machine to numerous players and various places on the field, testing the rookies’ abilities to track down the ball and catch it in difficult spots. Hyde, a fifth-round draft pick, stood out during the drill.

“To see his ability to catch the ball on the run and do different things, I was tempted to put him on offense,” McCarthy said. “I think he has that type of ball-skill ability. He’s doing some really good things as a young player.”

Another young defensive back who made a big play on Thursday was rookie S Chris Banjo, who intercepted a pass in the end zone intended for TE Brandon Bostick. Banjo wasn’t signed until three days into training camp but is making a bid to stick around in some capacity.

“I love the way he’s played,” McCarthy said of the SMU product. “He’s one of the guys we recognized in our team meeting. The safeties are a lot like our whole defense. We have very good depth over there.”

–WR response: In response to retired WR Donald Driver’s comments about QB Aaron Rodgers’ leadership, which lined up in some ways with the criticisms put forth earlier by former Packers WR Greg Jennings, current WR James Jones had this to say about players taking responsibility for their mistakes:

“It’s everybody’s responsibility,” Jones said. “Everybody in here is a man. You’re not in college no mre, you’re not in high school no more. When you make a mistake, you have to own up to your own mistake.

“Just because we have a good quarterback, it ain’t his responsibility to take everybody else’s wrongdoing. If we make a mistake, we own up to our mistakes. When he makes a mistake, he owns up to his. He lets us know when (we’re) wrong, and we let him know when he’s wrong.”

–Injury update: In addition to the injury updates provided in today’s main story, OL Andrew Datko returned to practice from a concussion. He had been out since late last week.


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News & notes: Mike Neal has ‘best practice’ of camp

Posted by Mike Spofford on August 14, 2013 – 5:11 pm

For the rundown on QB Aaron Rodgers’ chat with reporters at his locker, in which he talked about his lighter workload and the “vibe” of the team, check out today’s feature story. Here are some more news & notes from Wednesday:

–Neal flashes in new role: He missed time early in camp due to an abdominal injury and sat out the first preseason game, but DE Mike Neal is starting to look more comfortable in his new hybrid lineman-outside linebacker role.

DE Mike Neal

DE Mike Neal

On Wednesday, Neal was showing up in a number of drills, including the OLB-RB blitz pick-up and the one-on-one pass rush, where he worked from both inside and outside. He also stuffed one running play in team (11-on-11) work and was a factor at the line of scrimmage on a number of other snaps.

“Today was probably the first time we felt what we hope he’s about — his ability to be a difference-maker, the ability to put him in one-on-one situations and for him to win and to win consistently,” Mike McCarthy said. “I think Mike had his best practice today of training camp.”

Neal is taking a liking to the hybrid role now that he’s had more time to absorb the responsibilities of the OLB position, a process that began in OTAs. The next step will be to carry the kind of impact he had on the practice field on Wednesday into the preseason game in St. Louis on Saturday, which he said he’s definitely looking forward to.

“I think it best suits me. Just using my athleticism is probably the biggest thing,” Neal said. “The learning part of it is what they wanted me to (accomplish) so I can put myself in those positions.”

–Young to get more plays: McCarthy said he’s seen a lot of progress in QB Vince Young now that he’s been in camp for a week, and he plans to get Young more snaps with a larger play selection in Saturday’s game.

Young took a number of snaps in the team drills on Wednesday and appeared to be getting the ball out of his hand faster on pass plays, an indication he’s understanding the scheme more and more.

“It’s important for Vince to be able to call it, see it in his mind and be able to execute,” Rodgers said. “Seven days after he’s been here he’s definitely improved with the verbiage and he’s making some plays.”

–Injury update: WR Randall Cobb (bicep) and RB James Starks (illness) sat out practice, while G T.J. Lang (back) returned and TE Ryan Taylor (knee) was back on the field for the first time since the Family Night scrimmage. DE Ryan Pickett also returned after missing a day for personal reasons.

RBs Eddie Lacy and DuJuan Harris were cleared for more contact, with Lacy doing more in the team drills than Harris did. Lacy didn’t appear to have any issues with his hamstring, but he stopped short of saying he would for sure have clearance to play on Saturday in St. Louis. Both Lacy and Harris missed the first preseason game last week.

“Most likely they’re going to make the decision, but you have to look at the bigger picture,” Lacy said. “Preseason is a time for you to go out there and showcase what you can do and get a taste of how it is, how it’s going to be when the season gets here. But if you’re not 100 percent or don’t feel you can go, then don’t risk it.”

–Plays of the day: Two of the rookie stars thus far in camp have been undrafted WR Tyrone Walker and fifth-round CB Micah Hyde, and the pair made two of the highlight plays in practice again on Wednesday.

Walker made a nifty tip-toe catch right at the front pylon of the end zone on a throw from QB Graham Harrell after Harrell scrambled to his left to buy extra time.

Then, moments later, Hyde was in coverage on a fade to the corner of the end zone to WR Myles White. With his back to the ball, Hyde turned his head at just the right time to see it and deflect it. As he fell to the turf, the ball then hung on Hyde’s hip and he was able to tip it back to himself, make the interception and get up to run.

The grab looked similar to Antonio Freeman’s “Monday Night Miracle” against the Vikings in 2000, only it was a great defensive play rather than an offensive one.

“I knew it didn’t hit the ground,” Hyde said. “Luckily I was able to tip it back into my hands.”


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Packers NFL Draft 2013: Meet the draft class

Posted by Duke Bobber on April 27, 2013 – 11:15 pm

This draft class gives the Packers a tough look

This draft class gives Packers a tough look

Running backs join emphasis on defenseRead More

DRAFT RECAP VIDEOS

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

Datone Jones

#95 DATONE JONESDE – UCLA – HT: 6-4 – WT: 285 – Drafted 1st Round, #26 Overall

AUDIO/VIDEO

additional coverage

Green Bay Packers RB Eddie Lacy

#27 EDDIE LACYRB – ALABAMA – HT: 5-11 – WT: 230 – Drafted 2nd Round, #61 Overall

AUDIO/VIDEO

additional coverage

T David Bakhtiari

#69 DAVID BAKHTIARIT – COLORADO – HT: 6-4 – WT: 300 – Drafted 4th Round, #109 Overall

AUDIO/VIDEO

ADDITIONAL COVERAGE

T J.C. Tretter

J.C. TRETTERT – CORNELL – HT: 6-4 – WT: 307 – Drafted 4th Round, #122 Overall

AUDIO/VIDEO

additional coverage

RB Johnathan Franklin

JOHNATHAN FRANKLINRB – UCLA – HT: 5-10 – WT: 205 – Drafted 4th Round, #125 Overall

AUDIO/VIDEO

additional coverage

CB Micah Hyde

MICAH HYDECB – IOWA – HT: 6-0 – WT: 197 – Drafted 5th Round, #159 Overall

AUDIO/VIDEO

additional coverage

DE Josh Boyd

JOSH BOYDDE – MISSISSIPPI STATE – HT: 6-3 – WT: 310 – Drafted 5th Round, #167 Overall

AUDIO/VIDEO

additional coverage

LB Nate Palmer

NATE PALMERLB – ILLINOIS STATE – HT: 6-2 – WT: 248 – Drafted 6th Round, #193 Overall

AUDIO

WR Charles Johnson

CHARLES JOHNSONWR – GRAND VALLEY STATE – HT: 6-2 – WT: 215 – Drafted 7th Round, #216 Overall

AUDIO

WR Kevin Dorsey

KEVIN DORSEYWR – MARYLAND – HT: 6-1 – WT: 207 – Drafted 7th Round, #224 Overall

AUDIO

LB Sam Barrington

SAM BARRINGTONLB – SOUTH FLORIDA – HT: 6-1 – WT: 235 – Drafted 7th Round, #232 Overall

AUDIO


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Packers add Iowa CB Micah Hyde in fifth round

Posted by Mike Spofford on April 27, 2013 – 2:13 pm

With the first of two fifth-round picks, the Packers selected Iowa CB Micah Hyde on Saturday. Hyde, listed at 6-1, 197, was the 159th overall selection in the draft.

A first-team All-Big Ten pick last season by both the league’s coaches and media, Hyde started 38 games over his final three seasons and recorded eight interceptions. He also forced four fumbles and recovered three in his career. The three recoveries were all last season, and he returned one for a touchdown. He returned two INTs for TDs as a sophomore in 2010, with returns of 72 and 66 yards.

Hyde was named the winner of the Big Ten’s Tatum-Woodson defensive back of the year last season and was named co-MVP on his team. He participated in the East-West Shrine Game following his final season at Iowa. He broke up 14 passes last year. He also played some safety as a junior in 2011.

The Packers have now selected a cornerback in each of the last three drafts, having taken Davon House in the fourth round in 2011 and Casey Hayward in the second round last year.


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