The 11th annual Green Bay Packers Family Night Scrimmage was called off about 30 minutes into the practice Saturday night, as storms rolled into the area and coaches feared for the players’ safety.
Before fans and players filtered out of Lambeau Field, however, the Packers did get some practice reps in.
Here are some of the highlights from Saturday’s Family Night Scrimmage:
Plenty on the sidelines
As is the case most years, some of the notable Packers watched from the sidelines. Among them were Clay Matthews, Charles Woodson and Greg Jennings. Matthews tweaked his glute, but should be ready for Monday’s practice. Jennings is still nursing a hip injury and was held out for cautionary reasons.
Rodgers’ early turnover
On the No. 1 offense’s first play, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was intercepted by cornerback Brandian Ross for a touchdown. Rodgers was trying to connect with James Jones on an out pattern, but Ross stepped in front of the route and returned it the length of the field. Rusty first throw for Rodgers, but Ross told Tyler Dunne that he saw a brief exchange from Rodgers and Jones before that play that gave away the route. I wouldn’t expect that kind of give-away once the games matter.
Sherrod starts at LG
Despite going through some of the ups-and-downs in camp that you’d expect from a first-year player, Derek Sherrod started at left guard. That doesn’t mean T.J. Lang is out of the mix. The starting left guard is still far from decided.
Grant slow out the gate
Without live tackling, any running play that went down on Saturday night had to be taken with a grain of salt. Still, running back Ryan Grant’s handful of carries were far from impressive. He likely would have lost yards on several carries.
Starks continues to show burst
While Grant was stuck in reverse for most of the night, second-year back James Starks continued to impress. Tackling wasn’t allowed, but you’d have to think that Starks would have like there to be. He was running with a purpose; running with violence.
Underwood goes down
His roster spot was tenuous as it was, but cornerback-turned-safety Brandon Underwood left the practice with an undisclosed knee injury. He said “he’ll be alright,”but you’d have to believe he’ll miss some practice time in the coming days and possibly weeks. After an offseason filled with legal troubles, an unhealthy knee could be the final straw for his roster chances.
Cobb makes nice play
In addition to returning punts, Packers rookie receiver Randall Cobb made a nice adjustment on a backshoulder throw from Rodgers that was good for 40 yards. You don’t want to get too excited before his first ever preseason game, but it’s hard not to like what Cobb has shown on the field in the early goings.
Swain fighting for a roster spot
Receiver Brett Swain might be on the outside looking in for a roster spot, but he got a few looks Saturday night. Rodgers heaved a rainbow that bounced off his hands as he sprawled out, then Swain caught a comeback from Rodgers as he scrambled out of the pocket on third down. He has to know that he’s a likely roster cut with all the talent the Packers have at receiver. It’s a tough spot for a guy who worked his way onto the roster last year.
Jones gets a cheer
The crowd of 43,048 at Lambeau Field gave newly re-signed receiver James Jones a nice cheer after catching a ball from Rodgers on a post pattern. Jones beat Ross on the play and looked sure-handed on the catch. He received a $9.6 million deal from the Packers last weekend.
Highlights from McCarthy’s presser
McCarthy said he “felt for the fans” but “in hindsight, it might be a good break for them. They’re mentally wore down, more so than physically.” It’s been a crash-course training camp, so it’s understandable that the team might be mentally exhausted. He also said he “wasn’t opposed to a tandem backfield,” which bears well for fans of Starks. Whoever is playing the best at the time will start, in my opinion. It’ll be a week-to-week battle to win carries in practice.
Lastly, McCarthy had high praise for Cobb, saying his ball skills “remind him of Charles Woodson.” Unless he self-destructs in the preseason, I’d say he’s a lock to return punts to start the season.