NFC North: Tyrone Walker

A roundup of what's happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The first day of the Packers' offseason on Monday was spent mostly talking to and writing about players who may or may not return next season.

With 17 unrestricted free agents, there's bound to be significant roster turnover (more on that in the "In case you missed it" section below).

But every offseason there's also the possibility of turnover on the coaching staff and in the personnel department. This season, there are not only questions about the status of defensive coordinator Dom Capers, but also the possibility that coach Mike McCarthy could lose members of his offensive staff.

Multiple reports, including one from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, indicate that quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo appears to be a hot candidate for an offensive coordinator job or possibly even a head-coaching position.

One such possibility could come with the Miami Dolphins, where coach Joe Philbin parted ways with offensive coordinator Mike Sherman. Philbin, the former Packers offensive coordinator, spent six seasons on the same staff with McAdoo in Green Bay. It was Philbin's departure for Miami in 2012 that opened the door for McAdoo to move from tight ends coach to quarterbacks coach.

Before McAdoo was promoted two years ago, quarterback Aaron Rodgers expressed an interest in having a coach who had played the position -- something McAdoo did not do. McCarthy now has a member of his coaching staff who fits that profile. That's running backs coach Alex Van Pelt, who spent nine seasons as a quarterback with the Buffalo Bills.

In case you missed it on ESPN.com:
  • Perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of Monday's final open locker room session was what cornerback Tramon Williams had to say. He said he thinks the Packers need more veteran players, especially on defense.
  • We broke down the list of free-agents-to-be into two categories -- those on the offensive side of the ball and those on the defensive side.
  • There were so many defining moments to the 2013 season, but we've tried to narrow them down to the 10 that most shaped the season. We will count them down over the next two weeks. Here's number 10.
  • On a personal note, we've made it through our first season here -- although not without a bit of a medical scare -- and I appreciate everyone's interest. Things will continue to evolve here over the next few months. We'll keep the Starter Pack alive for at least a little while longer as the early stages of the offseason tend to be rather newsworthy, and then we'll see where things go from there. Your input is always welcome. At this point, the best way is to reach out to me on Twitter @RobDemovsky.
Best of the rest:
  • The NFL's official transaction wire indicated the Packers signed six of their eight practice squad players to futures contracts for next season. They were: receiver Alex Gillett, running back Orwin Smith, cornerback Antonio Denard, guard Andrew Tiller, center Garth Gerhart and tackle Aaron Adams. It was unclear why receiver Tyrone Walker and guard Lanier Coleman were not immedialy signed.
  • At ESPNWisconsin.com, Jason Wilde wrote that McAdoo would be a logical choice for Philbin in Miami and that running back DuJuan Harris (who missed the entire season with a knee injury) hopes to return next season and join with Eddie Lacy to provide a 1-2 punch.
  • In the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Pete Dougherty wrote that although there have been no signs that McCarthy is pondering a change at defensive coordinator, that possibility can't be dismissed.
  • In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tyler Dunne and Tom Silverstein came up with a list of things general manager Ted Thompson will have to address in the offseason.

Green Bay Packers cut-down analysis

August, 31, 2013
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Most significant move: After the Packers released Graham Harrell on Aug. 24, the backup quarterback job was Vince Young’s to lose. The former first-round draft pick on the Tennessee Titans lost it. After an unimpressive performance in the preseason finale at Kansas City on Thursday, when Young led only two field goal drives in 11 possessions, the Packers released him on Saturday.

Perhaps he was fighting a losing battle from the start, considering he wasn’t signed until Aug. 5. That was 11 days after the Packers opened training camp. He missed the first seven practices and a scrimmage.

It leaves an unsettled situation behind starter Aaron Rodgers. For now, the only other quarterback on the roster is B.J. Coleman, who spent all of last season on the practice squad. Coleman opened training camp as the No. 3 quarterback but slipped to fourth string after Young was signed and before Harrell was released. In the preseason, Coleman completed just 14 of 34 passes (41.2 percent) for 128 yards with one touchdown and one interception. It’s hard to imagine the Packers won’t explore other options over the weekend.

2011 revisited: With running back Alex Green and tight end D.J. Williams among the most surprising cuts on Saturday, it made a strong statement about the 2011 draft class. Packers general manager Ted Thompson drafted 10 players in April of that year. Only three of them – receiver Randall Cobb (second round), cornerback Davon House (fourth round) and tight end Ryan Taylor (seventh round) – remain on the roster. Tackle Derek Sherrod (first round) will start the season on the physically unable to perform list. He still has not returned from the broken leg he sustained on Dec. 18, 2011. Green was a third-round pick, while Williams was taken in the fifth round.

What’s next: Like all teams, the Packers will scour the waiver wire and free-agent lists. Their focus likely will be on the quarterbacks. Even if they find one they like, they might have to use Coleman as the No. 2 early in the season while the newcomer gets acclimated to the offense. The Packers haven’t carried three quarterbacks on their active roster since late in the 2011 season. They also can begin signing players to their eight-man practice squad on Sunday afternoon. Thompson is scheduled to meet with reporters on Sunday afternoon.

Players cut: QB: Vince Young. RB: Alex Green. FB: Jonathan Amosa. TE: Matthew Mulligan, Jake Stoneburner, D.J. Williams. WR: Charles Johnson, Tyrone Walker, Myles White. OL: Andrew Datko, Garth Gerhart, Kevin Hughes, Patrick Lewis. DL: Jordan Miller. LB: Terrell Manning, Dezman Moses, Donte Savage. CB: Loyce Means, Brandon Smith, James Nixon. S: David Fulton, Chaz Powell.

Midafternoon Packers cuts update

August, 31, 2013
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The biggest name among the Green Bay Packers' cuts so far clearly was quarterback Vince Young, who was released on Saturday morning.

But they also have cut a couple of players who saw significant playing time last season in running back Alex Green and tight end D.J. Williams.

Green was their leading rusher last season with 464 yards, and Williams played in 14 of 18 games last season (including playoffs).

With a few hours left before teams have to trim their rosters to 53 players, here’s the latest list of the players who have been released.

Note: This list is a compilation of our own reporting here at ESPN plus reports from the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Packer Report, ESPNMilwaukee.com and players with verified Twitter accounts. With 18 cuts already confirmed, the Packers will have to make four more roster moves to reach the 53-man limit.
GREEN BAY, Wis. – In the past 24 hours, the Green Bay Packers worked out “Kickalicious” (a.k.a Havard Rugland, the Norwegian-born placekicker made famous by a YouTube video) and made plans to bring in running back/kick returner Joe McKnight for a look-see.

If nothing else, it tells you the Packers’ 53-man roster might not be set even though final cuts are due by 6 p.m. ET.

There’s bound to be a player or three who winds up on the Packers’ roster who wasn’t with them in training camp. It could be a free-agent signing, a trade or a waiver claim.

But for the sake of this exercise, which was first attempted nine days ago, let’s assume general manager Ted Thompson keeps 53 of his own players. Here’s the final projection for how the roster will look after the final cuts are made (note the changes from the Aug. 22 version of this projection):

Quarterbacks (2): Aaron Rodgers, Vince Young

Moved in: None

Moved out: None

Analysis: No change from the Aug. 22 version, other than in the interim the Packers cut Graham Harrell. B.J. Coleman needs another year on the practice squad and likely will get it if he clears waivers.

Running backs (5): Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin, Alex Green, James Starks, John Kuhn

Moved in: Starks

Moved out: DuJuan Harris

Analysis: The loss of Harris to a season-ending knee injury will force coach Mike McCarthy to alter his plans for the running game. He was hoping Lacy and Harris would provide a one-two punch.

Receivers (5): Randall Cobb, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Jarrett Boykin, Jeremy Ross

Moved in: Ross

Moved out: Tyrone Walker

Analysis: With Cobb and Nelson finally healthy, there’s probably no need for a sixth receiver. Ross showed enough in the final week that he could be serviceable as the fifth receiver, if necessary, and he’s too valuable as a return specialist to let him go. Walker’s best shot is if they keep six at this position.

Tight ends (4): Jermichael Finley, Ryan Taylor, Matthew Mulligan, Brandon Bostick

Moved in: Mulligan

Moved out: Jake Stoneburner

Analysis: Mulligan has returned from his elbow injury and is the kind of blocker the Packers need to help their running game. Stoneburner’s fumble near the goal line against Seattle on Aug. 23 hurt his chances. He’s a strong practice-squad candidate. Veterans Andrew Quarless and D.J. Williams appear to be in trouble.

Offensive line (7): David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, Evan Dietrich-Smith, T.J. Lang, Don Barclay, Marshall Newhouse, Greg Van Roten

Moved in: None

Moved out: Lane Taylor

Analysis: The Packers got by with seven offensive linemen to start last season, and Taylor now looks like someone they can sneak through to the practice squad.

Defensive line (7): Ryan Pickett, B.J. Raji, C.J. Wilson, Datone Jones, Mike Daniels, Johnny Jolly, Josh Boyd

Moved in: Boyd

Moved out: None

Analysis: Thompson doesn’t easily part with draft picks, and Boyd (a fifth-rounder) has shown steady improvement in the preseason.

[+] EnlargeNate Palmer
AP Photo/Reed HoffmannSolid showings in the final two preseason games might have secured Nate Palmer a spot on the Packers' roster.
Linebackers (10): A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones, Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Robert Francois, Jamari Lattimore, Sam Barrington, Terrell Manning, Mike Neal, Nate Palmer

Moved in: Palmer

Moved out: Andy Mulumba

Analysis: Palmer has had a sack in each of the last two preseason games and, like Boyd, he’s a draft pick. Again, I’m counting Neal as an outside linebacker rather than a defensive end.

Defensive backs (10): Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde, Davon House, Jarrett Bush, Morgan Burnett, M.D. Jennings, Jerron McMillian, Chris Banjo

Moved in: None

Moved out: None

Analysis: Banjo solidified the final safety spot with another strong performance in the preseason finale.

Specialists (3): Mason Crosby (kicker), Tim Masthay (punter), Brett Goode (long snapper)

Moved in: None

Moved out: None

Analysis: Crosby’s restructured contract gives the Packers flexibility if they need to make a mid-season change, but if Crosby continues to kick like he has of late, that won’t be necessary.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Perhaps the best thing that could happen now for Mason Crosby is that there are no field goals to even attempt in Thursday’s preseason finale at Kansas City.

Things can’t get any better for the seventh-year kicker, who is trying to win back his job.

When he woke up on Monday morning, he was one of three kickers on the Green Bay Packers’ roster. By the end of Tuesday, he was the only one.

In successive days, the Packers cut kickers Giorgio Tavecchio and Zach Ramirez.

[+] EnlargeMason Crosby (2) and Giorgio Tavecchio
AP Photo/Mike RoemerMason Crosby (2) beat out Giorgio Tavecchio (7) and Zach Ramirez, not pictured, for the Packers kicking job, but may still have work to do.
On Tuesday, Crosby drilled all 14 of his field goals, half of which were into a strong wind.

Meanwhile, Ramirez, who was signed on Sunday, failed to back up his 10-for-11 performance from practice two days earlier.

Ramirez made only 6-of-16 field goals. He got two more attempts thanks Crosby in the second of the two kicking periods because special teams coach Shawn Slocum wanted him to finish on a make. But he couldn’t do it, missing three straight to finish the period.

While coach Mike McCarthy refused to declare the kicking competition over shortly after practice, less than three hours later Ramirez was released.

It’s always possible the Packers will watch the waiver wire and add another kicker before the regular-season opener at San Francisco on Sept. 8. But as long as Crosby doesn’t stumble against the Chiefs, he may have won his job back.

Since Ramirez’s arrival, Crosby has missed just one of 25 field goals.

On Tuesday, Crosby made kicks of 33, 37, 40, 42, 45, 48 and 58 yards into the wind and 35, 40, 44, 47, 51, 54 and 64 yards going downwind. He improved his camp-long mark to 67-of-81, not including 4-of-4 in preseason game action.

“I thought Mason hit the ball very well this week,” McCarthy said. “As you look forward, that’s what he’s done in the early part of his career. I’ve been very impressed with Mason in his last two kicking opportunities, lining up with a three-way competition on Sunday and then today. So, he’s had a very good week."

In one practice, Ramirez missed more kicks than Tavecchio did the entire training camp before he was released on Monday. Tavecchio was 56-of-64 in practice/scrimmage situations and 1-of-2 in preseason games, and the Packers left open the possibility of bringing him back.

Kicking from the same distances as Crosby but with two extra attempts from 58 yards at the end of practice, Ramirez only put the ball through the uprights from 33, 37, 40 and 45 yards into the wind and from 40 and 51 yards downwind.

“He’s only been here three days,” McCarthy said. “He really didn’t have the rhythm and cadence and the snap down. I think it affected him on the first set of kicks, and it carried over the to the second.”

In other developments on Tuesday:

  • Quarterback Aaron Rodgers took all of his snaps with the scout team for the third straight game, which is an indication he may not play in the preseason finale. “There’s a couple of conversations we need to have before we determine the play time for all those guys,” McCarthy said.
  • Rookie receiver Tyrone Walker closed out training camp by making another impressive catch. On second-and-10 from the defense’s 25-yard line, Walker ran a fade route against cornerback Loyce Means and made an over-the-shoulder catch against tight coverage before he went out of bounds at the 3-yard line.
  • Not only did quarterback B.J. Coleman put the ball right on the money to Walker but on the next play, he completed the drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Brandon Bostick.
  • Despite practicing in pads, there were no one-on-one pass rushing/passing blocking drills for the seventh straight practice. The last time they conducted the highly-competitive drill was on Aug. 14, meaning there was no change to the one-on-one statistics since the last time they were updated. Said defensive coordinator Dom Capers: “This has been a short week, so we’ve tried to eliminate a few of those things this week.”
  • Following practice, most players walked along the fence in front of the stands on the East side of Ray Nitschke Field and thanked the fans by giving them high fives.
Medical report: Linebacker Dezman Moses returned to practice after dropping out a day earlier because of a toe injury.

That was the only change.

Those who did not practice were WR Kevin Dorsey (toe), CB Jarrett Bush (ankle), CB James Nixon (ankle, knee), S Sean Richardson (neck), CB Casey Hayward (hamstring), S Morgan Burnett (hamstring), LB Jarvis Reed (ankle), LB Brad Jones (hamstring), OL J.C. Tretter (ankle), T Bryan Bulaga (knee), T Derek Sherrod (leg) and DE Jerel Worthy (knee).

What’s next: Wednesday is a travel day in advance of Thursday’s preseason finale at Kansas City.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers needed some good news in their secondary, and it came on Monday in the form of cornerback Tramon Williams’ return to practice after missing nearly a month because of a knee injury.

For the first time since July 30, the fourth practice of training camp, Williams was back in action, clearing the way for him to be ready for the Sept. 8 regular-season opener at San Francisco.

It was not a full-pads practice, so Williams couldn’t put his knee through a complete test. But he took part in most of the practice drills and even took a few reps as a punt returner. Williams described his injury as a bone bruise, and he wore a protective wrap on his knee.

“Coaches limited my reps, obviously, but it felt good for the most part, moving around against different guys,” Williams said. “I wondered how that would feel. It held up.”

With only one more practice remaining before Thursday’s preseason finale at Kansas City, it looks like Williams won’t get any exhibition snaps before the opener.

“I still don’t want to go out and say that I will be there Week 1,” Williams said. “But for me to be out there now, I think it’s definitely a possibility.”

Even with Williams back, the Packers were still missing two key players in the secondary -- safety Morgan Burnett and cornerback Casey Hayward. Both sustained hamstring injuries on Friday against Seattle and have been ruled out against the Chiefs.

In other developments on Monday:
  • Tight end Brandon Bostick saw his role increase on special teams. He was on the No. 1 punt return, the No. 1 kickoff return and No. 1 punt coverage units. If a player is on several of the top special teams units, it can be a sign he’s in good shape to make the roster. However, on the final play of practice, Bostick dropped a touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers. It came on the same day in which ESPN’s Ed Werder reported the Packers are fielding trade calls about their tight ends, including Bostick.
  • Rookie linebacker Nate Palmer made one of his best plays of training camp, when he broke up a deep pass to tight end Jermichael Finley. Palmer, a sixth-round pick from Illinois State who is on the bubble to make the roster, had good coverage on Finley’s seam route and knocked the ball away.
  • Vince Young threw a pair of interceptions, one by safety M.D. Jennings and one by cornerback Micah Hyde.
  • Receiver Tyrone Walker had perhaps the catch of the day on a back-shoulder fade from Rodgers.
  • Heavy rain forced the Packers indoors for the first time during training camp.
Medical report: Rookie receiver Kevin Dorsey was back on the sidelines because of a toe injury. Dorsey missed 10 practices and two preseason games earlier this summer because of a leg injury.

Linebacker Dezman Moses dropped out of practice halfway through because of a toe injury.

The Packers were still waiting for the results of more tests on running back DuJuan Harris’ knee injury.

Linebacker Brad Jones (hamstring) was added to the list of players who would not play against the Chiefs.

A total of 12 players did not suit up for practice. They were CB Jarrett Bush (ankle), CB James Nixon (ankle, knee), S Sean Richardson (neck), LB Jarvis Reed (ankle), OL J.C. Tretter (ankle), T Bryan Bulaga (knee), T Derek Sherrod (leg), DE Jerel Worthy (knee) Hayward, Harris, Burnett and Jones.

What’s next: The final practice of training camp is Tuesday at 11 a.m. local time.

Packers' 53-man roster projection

August, 22, 2013
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers have two preseason games and three training camp practices left to evaluate their roster before final cuts are due on Aug. 31.

Here’s a position-by-position projection of how the 53-man roster would look if the final cuts were made today. It is based on camp-long conversations with coaches and NFL scouts and could easily change in the next nine days.

[+] EnlargeVince Young
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesVince Young could be tabbed to be Aaron Rodgers' backup.
Quarterbacks (2): Aaron Rodgers, Vince Young

Analysis: Keeping three quarterbacks is unlikely, so the Packers have to decide between Young and Graham Harrell. There’s a growing sense within the organization that they need a better backup than Harrell. Young might not have a firm grasp of the offense for several more weeks or even months, but it’s a risk they may be willing to take.

Running backs (5): DuJuan Harris, Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin, Alex Green, John Kuhn

Analysis: James Starks looks like the odd man out. He plummeted down the depth chart after his fumble on Saturday at St. Louis. The Packers could see if there’s any possibility of trading Starks or Green, but they haven’t received any offers yet. Kuhn still has value as the lone fullback because of his blocking, leadership and special teams contributions.

Receivers (5): Randall Cobb, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Jarrett Boykin, Tyrone Walker

Analysis: Given the injuries to Cobb (biceps) and Nelson (knee), they may have to consider keeping a sixth receiver. That could bring Jeremy Ross, Kevin Dorsey or Charles Johnson back into play. But for now, the undrafted rookie Walker has the edge for the final spot. The Packers had hoped Ross would show more as a receiver so that they could also make him their kick returner. Rookies Dorsey and Johnson, both seventh-round picks, missed so much time because of injuries that there’s not enough information to go on. At this point, they look like practice-squad candidates if they clear waivers.

Tight ends (4): Jermichael Finley, Ryan Taylor, Brandon Bostick, Jake Stoneburner

Analysis: This is perhaps the most muddled position after the starter, Finley. There’s no clear-cut No. 2. Taylor is on most of the top special teams units but so is D.J. Williams. The problem with Williams is his inconsistency. He practices well but doesn’t carry it over to the games. Bostick may have the most upside because at 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, he’s built like Finley. Stoneburner, an undrafted rookie, has made a strong impression of late. Veteran Andrew Quarless can’t stay healthy and hasn’t played in nearly two years. Meanwhile, veteran free agent Matthew Mulligan, another blocking tight end with special teams ability, has an elbow injury that may have derailed his chances.

Offensive line (8): David Bakhtiari, Josh Sitton, Evan Dietrich-Smith, T.J. Lang, Don Barclay, Marshall Newhouse, Greg Van Roten, Lane Taylor

Analysis: Last year, the Packers kept only seven but would prefer to keep eight. If Barclay holds on to the starting right tackle job, Newhouse would be the swing tackle. Van Roten can back up all three interior positions and has even played a little tackle. Taylor, an undrafted rookie, has impressed at guard. Derek Sherrod (leg) and JC Tretter (ankle) will likely start the season on PUP, while Bryan Bulaga (knee) will go on IR.

Defensive line (6): Ryan Pickett, B.J. Raji, C.J. Wilson, Datone Jones, Mike Daniels, Johnny Jolly

Analysis: Despite coach Mike McCarthy’s insistence that Mike Neal is a defensive end, he’s going to count as an outside linebacker, where he has seen more practice time. Jolly has been impressive in short stints and has overcome long odds after missing the last three seasons because of a suspension. If the Packers keep a seventh defensive lineman, it will be rookie fifth-rounder Josh Boyd, who is big and athletic but might not be ready to play right away. Jerel Worthy (knee) will likely start the season on PUP.

Linebackers (10): A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones, Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Robert Francois, Jamari Lattimore, Sam Barrington, Terrell Manning, Mike Neal, Andy Mulumba

Analysis: The inside spots are fairly clear cut behind the starters, Hawk and Jones. Francois, Lattimore, Barrington and Manning will play on special teams. Behind Matthews and Perry on the outside, Neal might be the next-best option. Mulumba, an undrafted rookie, has shown more than sixth-round pick Nate Palmer or second-year pro Dezman Moses. However, Mulumba’s knee injury this week could slow him down.

Defensive backs (10): Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde, Davon House, Jarrett Bush, Morgan Burnett, M.D. Jennings, Jerron McMillian, Chris Banjo

Analysis: There’s concern that Williams’ knee injury may prevent him from being ready for the opener, so that could force the Packers to keep another cornerback, likely Loyce Means or James Nixon. Banjo, who was signed off the street on July 29, has a hold on the No. 4 safety position but that could be a spot that’s addressed via the waiver wire. Hyde also could be the punt returner.

Specialists (3): Brett Goode (long snapper), Tim Masthay (punter), Mason Crosby (kicker).

Analysis: Crosby's spot is most tenuous. He could ease some of the concerns about him if he makes a few long field goals on Friday against Seattle. Those concerns were heightened on Wednesday, when he missed three straight kicks from 42, 42 and 44 yards in practice. His competitor, Giorgio Tavecchio, didn’t do himself any favors by missing a 49-yarder at St. Louis on Saturday. Whereas Crosby is a power kicker, Tavecchio is a form kicker. If the Packers went with Tavecchio, they would be sacrificing distance. The Packers reached out to former Miami Dolphins kicker Dan Carpenter, who decided he had a better chance to win the job in Arizona, so it’s possible their opening-day kicker isn’t currently on the roster.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Before practice on Tuesday morning, kicker Ryan Longwell will retire from the NFL as a member of the Green Bay Packers.

Before he does, the Packers might want to put their all-time leading scorer through one last workout. Even at age 38, he might be a better option than what they have.

Longwell, who asked for permission to retire as a Packer, played in Green Bay from 1997-2005 before signing with the Minnesota Vikings. He spent six years in Minnesota but was out of football in 2012 until the Seattle Seahawks signed him for their divisional playoff game after kicker Steven Hauschka strained a calf muscle. Longwell still holds the Packers’ records for points (1,054), field goals (226) and field goal percentage (81.6).

[+] EnlargeMason Crosby (2) and Giorgio Tavecchio
AP Photo/Mike RoemerThe Packers are ramping up the kicking competition between Mason Crosby, No. 2, and Giorgio Tavecchio.
Now, the Packers are staging a full-fledged kicking competition between veteran Mason Crosby, who last season converted an NFL-worst 63.6 percent of his field goals, and first-year kicker Giorgio Tavecchio.

Coach Mike McCarthy ramped up that competition on Monday in large part because the Packers were so inept on offense in Friday’s 17-0 loss to the Arizona Cardinals that they didn’t attempt any field goals. And once again, there were signs of problems by Crosby on Monday. On a perfect day with little wind, Crosby had the only miss of a 16-kick period, when he was wide left from 46 yards. Both kickers attempted two kicks each from 36, 42, 46 and 53 yards. Crosby went 7-for-8, while Tavecchio made all eight. For the entire camp, Crosby is 22-of-31, while Tavecchio is 27-of-31.

“I thought they hit the ball better than the last time we lined them up,” McCarthy said. “We increased the volume; we need to continue to do that. We’re kicking every other day, and we just can’t do enough of it.”

While Tavecchio’s numbers look better, there are reasons for the Packers to be concerned about him, too. He uses a three-step approach, unlike Crosby’s two-step method, which means it could take him more time to get to the ball after it is snapped. Packers special-teams coach Shawn Slocum wants the ball to be kicked 1.3 seconds after it is snapped to avoid getting blocked.

“I know Coach Slocum has brought up a couple of good points about being quick on the get off,” Tavecchio said.

Tavecchio’s leg strength also is a question. On Monday, he showed more distance than in some recent sessions, but it remains to be seen whether he’s strong enough to handle cold-weather kicking conditions.

“I haven’t experienced that kind of weather yet,” said Tavecchio, a native of Italy who played college football at the University of California. “When I get there, hopefully I get there because that means I’m still around, I’ll deal with it.”

Here were some other developments from Monday’s practice:

  • It was the first session this summer that was closed to the public. It was a non-padded practice that McCarthy said focused on “potential concepts” that he did not want seen or written about.
  • Rookie receiver Tyrone Walker, the undrafted free agent from Illinois State, who had a team-high five receptions in the loss to the Cardinals, received increased playing time with the starting offense and may be challenging Jarrett Boykin and Jeremy Ross for the No. 4 or 5 receiver spot.
  • Rookie cornerback Micah Hyde, a fifth-round pick from Iowa, replaced Davon House as the starting right cornerback. House struggled against the Cardinals, allowing a 38-yard touchdown pass and completions of 18 and 36 yards. When the Packers went to their nickel package on Monday, House replaced Hyde on the outside, and Hyde played in the slot. Hyde and House have received increased reps while Casey Hayward (hamstring) and Tramon Williams (knee) remain sidelined.
  • McCarthy defended his decision to practice last Thursday, the day before the preseason opener. It was originally scheduled as a full-pads practice but was held without pads. He said that workout had nothing to do with the team’s poor performance against Arizona. “I don’t think there was a player who played above 35 plays,” McCarthy said. “If we can’t play with energy for 60 minutes after practicing Thursday, then those individuals aren’t going to be here. We’ve been very conscientious how we’re repping our football team, and I can’t be any more conscientious, frankly.”
Medical report: With right guard T.J. Lang resting his sore back, it was impossible to tell what the Packers have planned at right tackle. Don Barclay, who outperformed starting right tackle Marshall Newhouse against the Cardinals, played almost exclusively at Lang’s spot on Monday while Newhouse remained at right tackle.

First-round draft pick Datone Jones missed practice because of the sprained left ankle he sustained against the Cardinals but isn’t expected to be out for more than a few days.

Receiver Randall Cobb, who missed the Arizona game because of a biceps injury, practiced with a wrap on his upper right arm.

Others who missed practice were WR Kevin Dorsey (leg), WR Charles Johnson (knee), RB Eddie Lacy (hamstring), S Sean Richardson (neck), OL JC Tretter (ankle), T Bryan Bulaga (knee), T Andrew Datko (concussion), T Derek Sherrod (leg), TE Andrew Quarless (quad), TE Ryan Taylor (knee), WR Jordy Nelson (knee) and DE Jerel Worthy (knee)

What’s next: The Packers have a full-pads practice that is open to the public on Tuesday at 11:15 a.m. CT.

Lookback: Preseason Week 1

August, 12, 2013
8/12/13
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Three takeaways from Week 1 of the preseason:

Offensive lines are in major flux:

Chicago Bears right tackle J'Marcus Webb played so poorly Friday night at the Carolina Panthers that he was working with the second team when practice resumed Sunday. For the moment, the Bears have rookies at both right-side positions: Kyle Long (right guard) and Jordan Mills (right tackle). Each played 84 percent of the Bears' snaps Friday night.

Coach Marc Trestman told reporters he had always planned to give Webb work as a backup left tackle, necessitating Mills' ascension. But I think we all know that if Webb had performed better Friday night and throughout camp, there would be no reason to remove him from two days of first-team work in practice. With three weeks remaining until the start of the season, we can only assume Mills has a chance to win the job.

Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers actually appear in better shape at left tackle -- where rookie David Bakhtiari has replaced injured starter Bryan Bulaga -- than at right tackle. Marshall Newhouse received the first chance at winning that position, but as colleague Rob Demovsky wrote, Don Barclay outperformed him Friday night against the Arizona Cardinals and might be the front-runner for the job.

Finally, the Detroit Lions are continuing their wide-open competition at right guard and right tackle. Rookie Larry Warford did not start but got a team-high 53 snaps at right guard Friday night against the New York Jets, part of a process to get him up to speed as quickly as possible. At right tackle, Corey Hilliard started and got 26 snaps while Jason Fox got the second turn and played 25 snaps.

The Minnesota Vikings are the only NFC North team to return its line intact. As a result, their starters played only two snaps Friday night against the Houston Texans. The clock is ticking for the other three teams.

Some interesting new playmakers emerged

Sure, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez should have grounded a screen pass that he ultimately threw into the hands of Lions defensive end Ziggy Ansah, who intercepted it and dashed 14 yards for a touchdown. But let's not minimize the athleticism Ansah displayed, nor the early indication that he will be in the right place at the right time. That's half the battle of being a playmaker.

Bears rookie middle linebacker Jon Bostic made an athletic interception, stepping in front of a ball intended for a receiver he wasn't covering, before reversing field and dashing 51 yards for a score. I know we're used to seeing speedy middle linebacker play from the Bears, but hopefully it still stood out to you. It's also worth noting that the Bears thought enough of receiver Marquess Wilson's debut -- four catches for 82 yards, including a 58-yard play -- to elevate him to second-team work in practice Monday.

And let's not overlook Packers receiver Tyrone Walker, whose five-catch performance Friday night suggests he has a genuine chance to make the roster. As Demovsky noted, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has mentioned Walker often in camp interviews.

"Kickalicious" is a national story

Just when his viral video story was nearing the saturation point, Lions place-kicker Havard Rugland advanced his cause with a genuinely impressive football debut. Converting 49-and 50-yard field goals in a preseason game would have drawn attention for any kicker, let alone someone with Rugland's story.

Peter King led his "Monday Morning Quarterback" column with some thoughts on Rugland, and there is a undeniable positive for this development. The Lions, and the rest of the NFL, will get a chance to see how he reacts to increased scrutiny, higher expectations and perhaps even pressure -- as all NFL kickers deal with.

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