When the Packers surprisingly cut Jon Ryan following training camp in 2008, the search for a punter was on. For the next two seasons, Derrick Frost and Jeremy Kapinos held the job, but barely. In 2010, Tim Masthay and Chris Bryan competed for the position in training camp, with Masthay emerging as the winner.
There likely won’t be another punting competition in training camp anytime soon, now that Masthay has signed a multi-year contract extension. He has been the Packers’ punter for the past two seasons and has done nothing but improve, which has obviously been noticed by GM Ted Thompson.
“What was impressive to me was his continued growth,” Thompson said in a briefing with reporters on Tuesday, discussing the decision to give Masthay a long-term deal. “He didn’t stop with just winning the job. He wants to be really good, and he works at his craft. He’s extraordinary in the strength and conditioning portion of our organization, and we’re glad to have him.
“It’s like a lot of things, if you have one, then you don’t necessarily think it’s so important, until you don’t have one, and we’re glad that we’ve got him.”
Thompson also likes what he has seen so far in the transition to veteran center Jeff Saturday, who was the most notable free-agent signing in the offseason. The Packers needed a center after Scott Wells signed with St. Louis, and Saturday was brought in after more than a decade as Peyton Manning’s QB in Indianapolis.
“He kind of fits in like a gently worn baseball glove,” Thompson said of Saturday. “He has a lot of respect from the locker room because of his tenure and because of the way he plays the game. He applies himself, the smarts and the toughs and the nuances of playing the position, he does all that.”
Tags: free agent, jeff saturday, ted thompson, tim masthay
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp | 10 Comments »
Despite a steady drizzle through the first half of practice, the Packers remained outside on Ray Nitschke Field for the entirety of Wednesday’s workout. Here are a few news & notes about what went on:
–Not practicing on Wednesday were RB Alex Green, CB Charles Woodson, S Charlie Peprah, FB John Kuhn, LB Frank Zombo, C Sampson Genus, DL Johnny Jones, G Jaymes Brooks, DE Phillip Merling, T Marshall Newhouse, DT Mike Daniels, T Derek Sherrod and TE Andrew Quarless.
–With Newhouse and Sherrod both out, Herb Taylor and rookie Andrew Datko shared snaps at left tackle with the No. 1 offensive line. On the No. 2 line, Datko played LT and Taylor was at RT, so both players got quite the workout.
–On defense, LB Clay Matthews did not take snaps in the team (11-on-11) drills, and he was replaced by LB Erik Walden on the right side. Rookie Nick Perry remained at LOLB with the first unit.
–P Tim Masthay was at his best in the pooch-punting portion of practice. Masthay dropped multiple punts perfectly inside the 5-yard line with his Aussie-style end-over-end boots.
–Like last week, the young DBs continued to make plays, as CB Davon House broke up a quick out to WR Diondre Borel and then moments later deflected a deep ball intended for WR Shaky Smithson. Later, House was outjumped by WR Curenski Gilleylen for a nice catch. Also, S Anthony Levine nearly had an INT on a sideline route for WR Tori Gurley, and CB Jarrett Bush almost had a pick-six on a quick out for WR James Jones. Bush also deflected a pass in the blitz period that was nearly picked off by CB Sam Shields.
–QB Graham Harrell did beat the blitz with a tightly threaded throw to TE Ryan Taylor down the seam, an impressive play that left S Jerron McMillian and Levine looking at one another in the defensive backfield.
–In the locker room after practice, LB A.J. Hawk spoke to reporters about his new haircut. Earlier this spring, Hawk had his long hair cut for charity, and he and his wife are partnering with Wigs for Kids in an effort called Hawk’s Locks for Kids, which will take donated hair to help make wigs for children who are cancer patients or burn victims. An event in Hawk’s home state of Ohio is planned for June.
“I think they said it takes six or eight people’s hair to make one wig for these kids, and with my ratty, terrible hair, they probably needed a bunch of extras in there,” Hawk said. “So I didn’t give them much, but I gave them what I had.”
Tags: a.j. hawk, anthony levine, clay matthews, davon house, erik walden, graham harrell, hawk's locks for kids, herb taylor, jarrett bush, marshall newhouse, nick perry, OTA, practice, ryan taylor, tim masthay
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 20 Comments »