The big news of the day was a change in the defensive lineup at linebacker. With OLB Brad Jones (bruised back) still out, Brandon Chillar began working with the No. 1 unit on the right side, with Clay Matthews flipping over to the left side. With Chillar also at OLB in nickel, Desmond Bishop took the inside LB spot alongside Nick Barnett in that package.
Chillar made his presence known right away, intercepted a pass during the screens period when the pass bounced off the running back’s pads and up into the air.
Other than Jones, the only other players who didn’t suit up for practice were the three on the PUP list — S Atari Bigby (ankle), CB Al Harris (knee) and RB James Starks (hamstring). OL Marshall Newhouse and DE Justin Harrell both dropped out of practice. For Newhouse, it was heat-related. After practice, Head Coach Mike McCarthy wasn’t asked about Harrell.
During warm-ups, K Mason Crosby made a field goal of nearly 60 yards, which drew a hearty applause from the crowd. Later in two “thunder” situations (run-on FGs with the clock winding down), Crosby was 1-for-2 from around 40 yards.
The QBs hoop was moved to the middle of the field for the hoop drill. From around 25-30 yards, the QBs had to try to fire a hard, on-the-line throw into the hoop with QB coach Tom Clements standing a few yards in front of it with his hands up. No. 3 QB Graham Harrell managed to get one in, drawing a long cheer from the crowd.
Team (11-on-11) periods were mostly focused on red-zone work. Barnett was an early force, batting down one pass and making a tackle for loss on a running play. Chillar added some pressure on a blitz, but QB Aaron Rodgers beat the blitz once with a quick-hitter over the middle to WR James Jones for a TD. TE Donald Lee also caught a TD pass from QB Matt Flynn.
The offensive guards were doing a lot of rotating, with Daryn Colledge, Jason Spitz and Allen Barbre all taking snaps at LG with the No. 1 line.
Rookie LB Alex Joseph had a tackle for loss on a running play. Joseph has flashed with the backup defensive units from time to time.
In 7-on-7, WR Jordy Nelson hauled in a nice deep ball from Rodgers between two defenders down the right sideline.
Practice ended with the 2-minute drill. Starting on its own 40, down by four points with 1:11 left and one timeout, the No. 1 offense didn’t get far. Consecutive completions from Rodgers to TE Jermichael Finley and Jones gained 23 yards, but a false start, a drop by Finley and an incomplete pass on fourth down gave the defense the win.
The No. 2 offense got closer but still didn’t score. Flynn hit back-to-back throws to WR Charles Dillon, the second an impressive diving catch over the middle, for a total of 20 yards. After a defensive holding penalty gave the offense another first down, Flynn completed passes to WR Brett Swain (5 yards) and WR Chastin West (14 yards) to make it first down on the 11-yard line, and the lone timeout was called with 21 seconds left. Then RB Quinn Porter caught a short pass to get the ball inside the 10, but with time winding down on the final snap, Flynn’s pass toward the end zone was batted down at the goal line.
Click here for Coach McCarthy’s press conference transcript.
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