Monday brought day three of training camp for the Green Bay Packers and they seemed to pack a lot into a two-and-a-half hour period. One of the first tweets by the media came from Wed Hodkiewicz of the Green Bay Press-Gazette that simply stated “the collisions have started”.
Among those who have already made news in the three days of camp practices are Mike Daniels, Datone Jones, Julius Peppers, Casey Hayward and Colt Lyerla. Some have made good impressions while others, not so much.
Head coach Mike McCarthy has made some adjustments to this year’s schedule and some changes for the first time in his nine seasons in Green Bay. These include the timing of practice, specifically as they prepare for their preseason games.
McCarthy will not hold practice two days prior to the game and will instead hold the usual team walkthrough the day prior. In previous years, the team held their walkthrough two days before the game with no practice the day prior. He plans to implement this schedule during the regular season as well in the hopes that it reduces the lull before the game and his players will remain more focused.
Monday’s practice lasted about an hour longer than most OTA and mini camp practices so the team is spending a bit more time on the field and preparing for the upcoming season.
There have not been any new nor significant injuries to report. This may not seem like a big deal this early into the preseason, but over the past few years, the Packers have seen some early injuries that impacted their roster. At this same point last year, they had already lost offensive lineman J.C. Tretter to an ankle injury that forced him to miss most of the 2013 regular season.
The Packers are using some advanced technology to monitor their players and try to avoid too much stress on their bodies in the hopes that it will also reduce injuries.
Jay Sorgi of 620WTMJ and the Green Bay Packers Radio Network and Dan Koob of the NBC affiliate, WGBA in Green Bay, offered nice recaps of Monday’s work and below is a recap with some commentary.
– Mike Daniels has been chatty during the weekend and promised to “bring it” when the team put the pads on this week. Daniels’ line mate, Datone Jones, was gabbing during today’s hurry up drill and was pulled off the field by McCarthy. Daniels promised more intensity and a new attitude during this past offseason and that attitude appears to be surfacing already. McCarthy undoubtedly wants his players focused while also bringing their intensity on the field. His yanking of Jones likely means the jabbering went a bit too far and he wanted to instill some discipline.
– During one-on-one pass rush drills, Julius Peppers convincingly beat offensive tackle David Bakhtiari with a hump move and is said to be in great shape. When rushing from the left side, Peppers was held off by right tackle Bryan Bulaga on two occasions. This is at least a sign that Bulaga is back in action and ready for full contact.
– Defensive tackle B.J. Raji was said to have the best day of anyone during one-on-one rush drills. Hopefully the move back to nose tackle and his increased freedom to rush the passer will lead to more productive things up front for the Packers defensive line.
– Koob tweeted that Tretter has struggled, but did not elaborate. It likely means he did not fare well during one-on-one drills. It’s only day three, but Tretter has many eyes on him and the Packers are riding a lot on his ability to pick up the center position and claim the starting role.
– Linebacker A.J. Hawk made the first tackle for a loss during practice with a takedown of running back James Starks. Hawk also lost his helmet during the period and there doesn’t appear to be any chance that we won’t see that several more times this season.
– Linebackers Nick Perry, Mike Neal and Jamari Lattimore did not practice. Perry and Neal are nursing injuries while Lattimore has been dealing with illness over the past few days. Defensive lineman Jerel Worthy was also held out while Letroy Guion did have his pads on, but did not appear to get any work in early in today’s practice.
– Koob observed that backup quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien have not looked very good so far this camp. Accuracy and mechanics seem a bit off.
– Safety Sean Richardson ended the day with a nice, physical play on receiver Jordy Nelson and also came away with an interception on the same play. Hopefully the Packers can get an interception from their safety group this early in the regular season as well.
– Earlier this weekend, cornerback Casey Hayward was very active and showed well. This is a great sign after Hayward missed most of last season due to a hamstring injury after a stellar rookie season in 2012.
– Undrafted tight end Colt Lyerla has had a few drops and has not been consistent at all in the early goings. At this rate, he’s a long shot for a roster spot, let alone a practice squad role.
– Koob noted that cornerback Tramon Williams covered Nelson for much of today’s practice and appeared to win the matchup more often than not. Hopefully the coaches would say the same. The Packers are counting on Williams to give them at least one more solid season in hopes that one of the young corners can make a jump and possibly take over next year.
– Receiver Jared Abbrederis has had a few diving grabs over the three days. He may still have a long way to go to lock up his roster spot, but there doesn’t appear to be any lack of effort on Abby’s part.
– Another rookie receiver, Davante Adams, had a strong showing in one-on-one drills. The DB/WR drill was said to be one of the most physical of any today.
Mike McCarthy’s Comments
– First day in pads, had good energy. Still a lot of work to do and more scheme to install. Not ready to play a regular season game yet.
– Tight end group has a lot to learn and there will be a lot of evaluation of that particular group throughout camp
– Don’t have any major concerns about the team overall. Hit many of the targets set during the offseason and need to get into a more physical mindset. Looking to see who steps up.
– One reporter asked McCarthy if any work would be done tomorrow during the players’ mandated day off, in terms of any film study or adjustments, etc. McCarthy responded in mid-season form by acting confused at the question and simply said “it’s their day off, they’re like, gone, it’s their time”. No freebies from McCarthy this year as far as the media is concerned.
– When asked about the confidence that Davante Adams displayed, McCarthy responded by saying that he wants all of his players to have confidence coming in. Said Adams looked good and hopes to see improvement as camp moves along.
– With regards to the defensive line, McCarthy remarked that Peppers brings a lot of experience and has been an asset to both the defensive and offensive line development.
– When asked about the incident with Datone Jones, McCarthy simply said “it’s football”. One of the things that many supporters of the Packers tend to like is how the team keeps any sensitive and disciplinary situations quiet and in-house. McCarthy has likely addressed it with Jones and set the expectation in moving forward.
– On Perry and Neal, McCarthy had no update on their health statuses. Would not confirm that either were close to a return yet.
– On Mike Daniels’ more intense attitude, McCarthy supported Daniels as a player and person. Said he doesn’t read what the media writes and all he knows about Daniels is what he sees every Sunday.
– On Peppers and any pass coverage responsibilities he might have, McCarthy said he has the athleticism and the linebacker position carries with it a variety of responsibilities. Likes Peppers’ arm length and hopes he can be disruptive in passing lanes.
– On the changes in the team’s nutrition program, McCarthy said it’s all part of the team’s progress and growth towards improved performance and health. Team is looking at all avenues to get their players ready and to be as healthy as they can.
We will surely have more coverage of training camp as the days move along and be on the lookout for the return of No Huddle Radio this week as we discuss the start of training camp and look ahead to this season!
Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.comFollow Jason Perone: