NFC North: Carlos Gray

Packers Camp Report: Day 12

August, 11, 2014
Aug 11
8:00
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Green Bay Packers training camp:
  • As training camp practices go in Green Bay, Monday was a bit unusual. It was one of only a handful of summer sessions that was closed to the public. Reporters were allowed to watch, but it was made perfectly clear that any scheme or personnel-related activities were off limits. Clearly working on things coach Mike McCarthy did not want anyone to see, likely in preparation for the season opener against the Seattle Seahawks on Sept. 4, the Packers went for one-hour and 55 minutes with tarps pinned to the fence that surrounds Ray Nitschke Field. "It was exactly what we wanted," McCarthy said. "That's an in-season Wednesday practice for us, and I thought it was a very good practice."
  • Quarterback Aaron Rodgers used every bit of the 57 seconds the coaches gave him to run the 2-minute drill, but he capped a nine-play drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb. Rodgers completed 5 of 8 passes for 60 yards. He hit tight end Brandon Bostick for gains of 7, 8 and 5 yards on three of the first five snaps. He kept the drive going by converting a fourth-and-5 on a scramble in which he avoided a sack by Mike Neal.
  • Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn alternated taking the No. 2 quarterback reps until the 2-minute period, when Flynn got a turn but Tolzien did not. He took the offense into the red zone but ran out of time. On his final play, on first down from the 15-yard line, Flynn missed tight end Jake Stoneburner in the end zone.
  • Starting left guard Josh Sitton had taken only one rep in the one-on-one pass blocking drill in camp before Monday. It came on July 31, a loss to Mike Daniels. Sitton, who said it was to give his sore back a chance to rest, was back in the drill on Monday and blocked rookie defensive tackle Carlos Gray in his only turn. Julius Peppers, who had split four reps during the first two weeks, won his only turn on Monday. He beat starting left tackle David Bakhtiari to the inside.
  • Apparently, Saturday's preseason opener at Tennessee wasn't enough to satisfy the players' desire to hit someone because there were at least three separate scuffles during Monday's practice.
  • Safety Morgan Burnett returned to practice after missing Saturday's games against the Titans because of an oblique strain, but the Packers still had their largest injury list to date. Those who did not practice were: receiver Davante Adams (wrist), running back Rajion Neal (knee), safety Tanner Miller (ankle), tight end Colt Lyerla (knee), linebacker Joe Thomas (knee), guard/tackle Don Barclay (knee), receiver Jared Abbrederis (knee), receiver Jordy Nelson (hamstring), defensive tackle Josh Boyd (ribs), defensive tackle Letroy Guion (hamstring) and defensive end Jerel Worthy (back).
  • The first of two open practices this week is Tuesday at noon local time.

W2W4: Green Bay Packers

August, 9, 2014
Aug 9
12:00
PM ET
The Green Bay Packers (0-0) and Tennessee Titans (0-0) open the preseason Saturday night at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee. Here are three things to watch:

1. Quarterback play: Aaron Rodgers won't play much on Saturday -- he did not last preseason, either -- in part because coach Mike McCarthy wants to take a long look at his backup quarterbacks. If Scott Tolzien is going to supplant Matt Flynn for the No. 2 job -- or convince McCarthy and GM Ted Thompson to keep three quarterbacks -- then he needs to perform better in the preseason games than he has in the first two weeks of practice. Tolzien has improved as camp has gone on, but to date he probably has not done enough to make the Packers think he's a better option than Flynn, who has proven he can win games as a backup in Green Bay. Whichever quarterback wins the job, the Packers feel like they are in a much better position behind Rodgers than they were a year ago, when they brought in Vince Young to compete with Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman. A year later, all three of those quarterbacks are out of the league.

2. Rookie reactions: There will be first-game jitters and mistakes, McCarthy and his staff know that about their rookies, so they're not going to complete their report on any player based on the preseason opener. But the coaches would like to see how some key players take what they have been doing on the practice field into the games. Can first-round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix make the big plays that were lacking from the safeties last season? Can second-round receiver Davante Adams get over the drops and continue his push for the No. 3 spot? Will third-round tight end Richard Rodgers take another step toward winning the starting job? All will get chances, especially Clinton-Dix, who may start given the absence of Morgan Burnett (oblique strain). Said McCarthy: "I'm looking for players to jump out. I want someone to jump out and do exactly what they're supposed to do with the energy and the efficiency that you say, 'Hey, I gotta get ready [because] I'm going to have more opportunities.'"

3. Undrafted gems: You might not know much about guys like Carlos Gray, Mike Pennel, Jayrone Elliott and Joe Thomas but if they continue to play like they have in practice, then you just might become more familiar with them. So far, those four have been the standouts of the undrafted rookie class. Gray and Pennel could challenge for a roster spot on the defensive line, while Elliott has made plays from the outside linebacker position and Thomas from the inside backer spot. The Packers have a history of doing well with undrafted free agents. In the past four seasons combined, they have had 13 of them on their Week 1 roster.

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