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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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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For the second straight year, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was named Best NFL Player at the 20th annual ESPY awards on Wednesday night. Rodgers won the award last year coming off of Green Bay’s Super Bowl triumph and his Super Bowl MVP award. This year he won the NFL MVP award after breaking the single-season league record for passer rating with a 122.5 mark.
So, over the last couple of weeks, Rodgers has been named the top player in NFL Network’s “Top 100,” Ron Jaworski’s top quarterback in his QB countdown on ESPN, and now Best NFL Player at the ESPYs.
Tags: espy, mvp, rodgers
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 74 Comments »
FULLBACK JOHN KUHN
(how it feels to be recognized like this)
“It’s just really an honor, because it means that the fans out there really appreciate you, it means your peers, your players, appreciate you, and it means that your coaches, the people that are directly involved in game plans, appreciate you. That’s very special to me. Some awards out there are voted on in all different kinds of ways, but the fact that I can say my peers, my coaches and the fans all really appreciate me, that means more than anything.”
(why he feels he received the honor and what his biggest contributions to the team are)
“I think it’s the fact that I’m versatile at fullback. I can play the traditional fullback role and lead-block, and the coaches also entrust the ball-carrying opportunities that I have. I think the combination of the two of those really gets my name out there.”
(whether the chanting of his name at Lambeau Field will get louder now)
“I can imagine. The fans, they are truly football fans here in Wisconsin. They won’t let this one slide by.”
NOSE TACKLE B.J. RAJI
(his reaction to being named to the team)
“I was pretty excited. It’s one of those things with the position that I play, a lot of times you kind of feel like your contributions go unnoticed, but this is just confirmation that somebody out there is noticing the work I’ve put in and some of the plays I make, and I’m appreciative for that.”
(on getting voted in despite playing a less glamorous position in the 3-4 defense)
“Like I said, it just shows me that the real football minds and the people that understand the game are able to make decisions based off of the film and not necessarily just off of popularity and things like that. It’s good to know that it’s a balanced process.”
(whether it’s even more rewarding after the disappointment of having not gotten in last season)
“I think it’s fitting in a way. Things have kind of aligned with the goals I set for myself when my career started. My No. 1 goal was to win the Super Bowl, and we were able to achieve that first and foremost, and that was the priority and how I had prioritized it. And then the second was obviously making the Pro Bowl, and now that I’ve done those two things, hopefully I can get many more of both.”
(on being the first Packers defensive tackle selected in almost 40 years)
“It’s definitely a big deal to me. It’s really very fulfilling, because the Packers drafted me with high expectations, and in my second year starting, I am now able to build on having won a championship and also the all-star accolades. Ultimately, it’s an honor that can be shared by our whole defensive line. I sent a mass text message to all my (defensive line) guys telling them how much I appreciated them and loved them, because without them, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities to achieve this.”
QUARTERBACK AARON RODGERS
(what the recognition means to him)
“I think it’s the culmination of a solid, successful season. I think it’s an award that is personified by consistent play, but also by a supporting group that has done their job as well. I’m very honored by the recognition, and very thankful for my teammates, the way they’ve conducted themselves and prepared and played, and for my coaching staff, particularly my individual position coach, Tom Clements, and I’m also very thankful to the fans for them voting me in as well.”
(whether being named the starter adds to the honor)
“It does have special significance, because when I was voted in in 2009, I was the third guy and I was very thankful to be voted in, and got the opportunity to start because of some injuries and guys not going. But it’s great to be voted in as a starter, that means a lot to me and it’s a special honor.”
CENTER SCOTT WELLS
(what the honor means to him)
“It means a lot, being that it is my eighth year in the league. I was an alternate years ago, I think about my fourth or fifth year I was an alternate. For it to take this long and to finally make it, it definitely is big for me. It’s always been a dream of mine, so I am excited.”
(whether he takes it as recognition for the offense)
“I take it as an honor as being a part of a special team. I think some of it comes off of the success that we had last year, and then rolling into this year and the success we have continued to have this year definitely pays dividends. As a team is successful, the individual accolades come, so I know it is a direct correlation to what the team has been able to do.”
(whether this has been one of his best seasons)
“I think so. I am not real big on talking about myself, but I think this has probably been my best year so far.”
(if the recognition is more significant because he entered the league as a seventh-round pick, spent time on the practice squad, etc.)
“Absolutely. I was talking to my wife about it and the fact that I was not an All-American in college. I was only All-SEC by the coaches’ vote. Then being a late-round draft pick and having to work my way up from the practice squad, going through what I went through in ’09 when I was on the bench for a couple of games and fighting my way back, it definitely means a lot to finally get recognized and to be named a member of the Pro Bowl team.”
Tags: aaron rodgers, b.j. raji, john kuhn, kuhn, pro bowl, quotes, raji, rodgers, scott wells, wells
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