GREEN BAY – Taking a closer look at the Green Bay Packers’ 18th practice of training camp from Monday: (Sunday’s practice was closed to the public.)
Thumbs up: After missing the first month of training camp with a hamstring injury he suffered before camp began, veteran defensive tackle Letroy Guion was activated from the non-football injury list and took part in his first practice. And it was not a moment too soon.
Having lost veteran nose tackle B.J. Raji to a torn biceps, the ranks are thin on the inside of the defensive line, so Guion’s return was vital. There was a school of thought that he might not be cleared in time for the season and start the year on the physically unable to perform list, meaning he would miss at least the first six games. Now, he’ll join Josh Boyd and Mike Pennell as options at nose tackle with Raji sidelined.
The coaches didn’t exactly ease Guion back into it, either. He was in pads and very active both in drills and 11-on-11 work.
“It’s always an urgency when a man goes down. It makes me have to step up, having to be that guy,” Guion said. “So I’m going to take all my steps forward to do what I’ve got to do to get prepared.”
Thumbs down: Normally sure-handed Myles White had a pair of drops Monday, the second time he’s had that kind of day in a little over a week. While White has history in the Packers’ offense and doesn’t have a long history of dropping passes, it was exactly the kind of day he can’t be having with cuts looming. One wide receiver who was on the roster last season, Chris Harper, is already gone, and with rookie seventh-round pick Jeff Janis squarely in the mix and 2013 seventh-round pick Kevin Dorsey playing extensively on special teams (a sign that he might be kept as the sixth receiver), White needs to be making big plays, not dropping balls. On a third play, he had a very difficult pass across the middle that he tried to make a diving catch on but had bounce off his hands. A grab there might have made up for the earlier drops.
Play of the day: Serving as the scout team quarterback for most of practice given that he’s almost certainly not going to play on Thursday night, Aaron Rodgers makes for a challenging look-team QB. On his best play of the afternoon, Rodgers rolled to his left, near the sideline, then – while still on the move – threw back across his body toward the back right corner of the end zone, where he connected with Jarrett Boykin for a touchdown. The ball traveled roughly 50 yards in the air and the throw, nearly impossible for most mortal QBs, looked easy for him.
Camp confidential: The Packers certainly sound committed to Corey Linsley as their starting center now that JC Tretter has been lost for up to six weeks with an impaction fracture in his left knee, but just to be on the safe side, they had All-Pro guard Josh Sitton working at center in 11-on-11 drills as well as the half-line drill and individual quarterback-center exchange work.
Last year, when starting center Evan Dietrich-Smith left two games with a knee injury, it was right guard T.J. Lang who slid over to center, not Sitton. Now, it appears Sitton is the backup plan if Linsley were to be injured or ineffective.
"Josh Sitton has the ability, experience to play center," McCarthy said. "He has played center for us in the past."
Nevertheless, despite pretty extensive work in practice Monday, it appears Sitton’s work at center would only be in the case of emergency.
“Typically every year, I take a few [center snaps] here and there. I’ll probably end up doing a little bit more this year, just based on the situation as of right now,” Sitton said. “We’ll see. Don’t know how the roster is going to shake down and all of that but, as of right now, I’ll take some.”
Packers Playlist: "Buffalo Soldier" by Bob Marley & The Wailers, "Glory Days" by Bruce Springsteen, "Say I Won't" by Lecrae and "Dream Police" by Cheap Trick were the four songs played during regeneration periods. "The Kill (Bury Me)" by 30 Seconds To Mars and "Rockstar" by Nickelback were among the songs played during 11-on-11.
Injury report: While Guion made his debut, still sidelined were CB Demetri Goodson (concussion), ILB Brad Jones (quadriceps), G Andrew Tiller (shoulder), C JC Tretter (knee), NT B.J. Raji (biceps), TE Brandon Bostick (leg), RB Rajion Neal (knee), LB Joe Thomas (knee), T Don Barclay (knee) and WR Jared Abbrederis (knee). Some of those players could be placed on injured reserve as part of the roster reduction to 75 players on Tuesday.
They said it: “Frankly, if I had to do it over again, I probably wouldn’t have gone about it the way I did. We had a little bit too much going on. We had Kansas City Chiefs preparation going on there, we had some competitive segments with the 1s vs. the 1s.” – McCarthy, admitting that he wasn’t pleased with the quality of Monday’s practice, much of which was spent with starters on scout teams in anticipation of Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Chiefs.
Practice schedule: The Packers do not practice Tuesday. Their final open-to-the-public practice of training camp is set for Wednesday at 10:15.
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