Packers Camp Report: Day 1
July, 26, 2014
By Rob Demovsky | ESPN.com
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Green Bay Packers' training camp:
- Finley's future: The Packers kept tight end Jermichael Finley's name on his locker throughout the offseason but when training camp opened Saturday, instead there was a non-personalized "Packers" placard in its place. There has been no indication that the Packers have medically cleared the free-agent tight end from the neck fusion surgery he underwent last November. "For him, it's a matter of getting cleared and I don't know his medical diagnosis [or] where he's at, but I can tell you we've had a number of those injuries and it's been tough for a couple guys [to come back]," Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said.
- Clinton-Dix still a backup: It was just the first of 21 practices but if the Packers plan to start first-round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, you would think they would want him on the field with the No. 1 defense from the outset of camp. But when the starters took the field for the first time on Saturday, second-year pro Micah Hyde remained at free safety alongside strong safety Morgan Burnett. Hyde, who played exclusively as a slot cornerback last season, and Burnett were the top safety duo throughout the offseason practices, too. Clinton-Dix worked mostly with the No. 2 defense. Even if Hyde wins the starting job, it's possible he could move to the slot cornerback position in certain sub packages, which would allow Clinton-Dix to get some snaps.
- Hayward shines: How much did the Packers miss cornerback Casey Hayward last season, when he was limited to just three games because of a recurring hamstring injury? Hayward broke up three passes on Saturday during team periods. "I thought Casey had a good day," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "He's back. So instinctive, his ball skills, you can see him jump off the spot a few times and make a play." In 2012, Hayward led all NFL rookies with six interceptions while playing almost exclusively as a slot cornerback in the nickel and dime packages. Last season, the Packers had only nine interceptions total from their entire cornerback group.
- Barclay's value: With right guard T.J. Lang limited to only some individual drills because of a sore shoulder, Don Barclay worked in Lang's spot with the No. 1 offensive line. It once again showed Barclay's versatility and value. After starting most of the last two seasons at right tackle, Barclay has given that spot back to Bryan Bulaga (who has returned from reconstructive knee surgery). However, Barclay has shown he can fill in anywhere on the line. "He plays any position," McCarthy said. "He's played some center. If he had to, he could go out and play some left tackle. He's a tough guy, technical."
- Medical report: Here are the specifics on the players who did not pass their physicals on Friday: Outside linebackers Nick Perry (foot, knee) and Mike Neal (core muscle injury) were placed on the physically unable to perform list, but McCarthy said both are close to returning. Defensive end Jerel Worthy is on the non-football injury list because of a lower back problem and is out indefinitely. Defensive tackle Letroy Guion is on the same list because of a hamstring injury. Rookie receiver Jeff Janis, who is on the non-football illness list, was not at practice because he was sick.
- Odds and ends: Undrafted rookie tight end Colt Lyerla got off to a rough start. He dropped a pair of passes, one of which should have been routine on a well-placed, roll-out throw from Matt Flynn. The other was on a deep ball that Flynn underthrew. Lyerla appeared to slip while trying to come back for the pass but still got his hands on it. … Mason Crosby made 7-of-8 kicks during a field goal period. His only miss was wide right from 44 yards. He converted field goals of 33, 33, 36, 36, 44, 50 and 50 yards. … Rookie fifth-round pick Corey Linsley is probably a longshot to unseat center JC Tretter for the starting job, but he has moved up the depth chart to No. 2 at the position. During the offseason, he was No. 3 behind Garth Gerhart. … Rookie fourth-round pick Carl Bradford has changed jersey numbers to 54. In offseason practices, the outside linebacker wore No. 91, which now belongs to undrafted rookie linebacker Jayrone Elliott.
- What’s next: After practicing for 2 hours and 15 minutes on helmets and shorts on Saturday, the Packers will hold another non-padded practice on Sunday at 8:20 a.m. local time. The first full-pads practice will be Monday at 8:20 a.m.