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Training Camp Report #21: Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013

Aug 27, 2013 -- 5:34pm
After the final practice of training camp, the players greeted fans at Ray Nitschke Field.

Thumbs up:  The best news the Green Bay Packers got all day came when cornerback Tramon Williams and wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb showed up for practice in pads and ready to go. Williams and Nelson had taken part in their first practices in ages – Williams since July 27, Nelson since Aug. 1 – on Monday, and the fact that they were all able to suit up on Tuesday meant they hadn’t suffered any setbacks. Williams had been nursing a bone bruise in his knee; Nelson had undergone a nerve-release procedure on his knee on Aug. 6 and Cobb had been in and out of the lineup with a biceps injury. Now, all three appear on track to play in the Sept. 8 regular-season opener at San Francisco. Williams is not expected to play in the preseason finale Thursday night at Kansas City but Nelson and Cobb could see their first exhibition action against the Chiefs.

Thumbs down:  Giorgio Tavecchio is as nice a guy as you’re ever going to meet in this business. But had it been anyone else, they’d have been sitting out there in California asking, “Wait, you cut me to keep this guy?” One day after releasing Tavecchio, the Packers allowed Zach Ramirez to go head-to-head with incumbent kicker Mason Crosby, and it wasn’t pretty. While Crosby was a perfect 14-for-14, Ramirez made just 6 of 16 kicks during the practice. He went 4 for 7 kicking into the wind (missing from 42, 48 and 58 yards) and was 2 for 9 (missing from 35, 44, 47, 54, 64 and twice from 58) with the wind. Practice ended at 12:15, and by the 3 o’clock deadline to trim rosters to 75 players, Ramirez was unemployed.

Play of the day: Undrafted rookie free agent wide receiver Tyrone Walker had tailed off a bit recently after a sizzling start to training camp, but he had the catch of the day Tuesday, reeling in a B.J. Coleman pass on a corner route with Loyce Means in tight coverage.

Camp confidential: While general manager Ted Thompson has the final say on roster decisions, Thompson said the process is a collaborative effort among coach Mike McCarthy, his assistants and the scouting staff – until it comes down to making the call.

“It’s a cumulative effort on the part of Mike and his guys and then the personnel side of it,” Thompson explained. “It’s an interesting time. We work it through. Sometimes, there are disagreements but it winds up working itself out. Again, as long as we stay centered and focused on trying to do the right thing by the Packers, we usually make the right decision.

“You don’t always know what the thing to do is. I would like to stand up here and say, ‘I’m all-knowing and I know exactly what to do all the time,’ and it’s just not (true). It’s gut-wrenching and you’re anxious to do the right thing and you have responsibility for the rest of those players in that locker room to make the right decisions. We don’t do any of this lightly.”

Thompson, who hired McCarthy in 2006 after spending one year with Mike Sherman, whom he kept as coach after Sherman lost the GM duties, said his relationship with McCarthy has evolved but has never been contentious when it comes to roster calls.
“I wouldn’t classify it’s ever been a tug of war,” Thompson said. “I think as you work with people over time, I think obviously the more you get to know them and see their work, I think the more you accept them. But we’ve always worked pretty well together. Never had any real big beefs. It doesn’t mean we’ve always agreed. Sometimes, he’s right; sometimes, I’m right. Sometimes we don’t know.”

Odds and ends:

• While McCarthy was doing his post-practice press briefing, 2011 first-round pick Derek Sherrod was going through a workout for, among others, Thompson. While Sherrod continues his recovery from the broken leg he suffered Dec. 18, 2011, apparently he didn’t show enough on Tuesday to give him a spot on the 53-man roster to enter the season. Instead, he was put on the physically unable to perform list, meaning he cannot practice with the team until after the sixth week of the regular season.

“He’s getting better. He’s getting close. He looks good,” McCarthy said. “We knew from the start it was a serious injury and I’m impressed with the progress he’s made particularly in training camp.”

• McCarthy still wouldn’t say if quarterback Aaron Rodgers will play against the Chiefs. But given that Rodgers didn’t take anything but scout-team snaps, there’s a good chance he won’t play at all.

“As far as play time, we’ll do that (Wednesday) at 8 a.m.,” McCarthy said. “I really kind of want to go through Tom (Clements) on how everything went with the quarterbacks. There were a couple things we were looking at today in practice.”

• Practice was scheduled to go until 12:42 p.m. but ended almost a half hour early because Tuesday was the hottest day of camp.

“I cut practice short one period just because of the heat index. Out there today it was 98,” McCarthy explained. “It’s above 100 degrees in Kansas City. So a lot of our younger players are going to play more reps than they’ve played all year, so I thought it was smart to cut back. So there’s a couple of conversations we need to have before we determine the play time for all those guys.

Injury report:  Outside linebacker Dezman Moses, who dropped out of practice Monday with a toe injury, was back in action. Continuing to sit out were wide receiver Kevin Dorsey (toe), cornerback Jarrett Bush (ankle), cornerback James Nixon (knee/ankle), running back DuJuan Harris (knee), safety Sean Richardson (neck), cornerback Casey Hayward (knee), safety Morgan Burnett (hamstring), outside linebacker Jarvis Reed (ankle), inside linebacker Brad Jones (hamstring), offensive lineman JC Tretter (ankle), tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee), tackle Derek Sherrod (leg) and defensive end Jerel Worthy (knee). When the first round of roster moves were made, Harris, Bulaga, Reed and Dorsey were placed on injured reserve and Richardson, Tretter, Sherrod and Worthy were placed on the in-season physically unable to perform list.

Practice schedule: The Packers’ practices are closed to the public for the rest of the season.

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