Green Bay Packers practice report

July, 30, 2013
7/30/13
7:15
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- If you’re going to play running back for Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy, there’s one thing you better learn in a hurry: pass protection ranks high on the job description list.

As impressive as fourth-round draft pick Johnathan Franklin of UCLA has looked carrying the ball -- his speed and shiftiness have been on display daily -- he appeared overmatched on Tuesday morning during a one-on-one drill that called for the running back to block a blitzing linebacker.

[+] EnlargeJohnathan Franklin
AP Photo/Morry GashIf Tuesday's workout was any indication, blocking drills will likely be in the future for Packers rookie RB Johnathan Franklin.
Franklin had all kinds of trouble with outside linebacker Nick Perry. To be sure, Perry has a 60-pound advantage over the 205-pound Franklin, but the Packers expect the running back to at least slow down the blitzer’s path to the quarterback. Instead, Franklin allowed Perry to overpower him. Later in the same drill, Franklin fared no better against rookie outside linebacker Donte Savage.

“I felt like the outside linebackers clearly got the best of the running backs today,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after practice. “We were too high. We weren’t sitting down. We didn’t have our head up. So it’ll be good tape to watch. So that’s a drill I’m sure we’ll do again.”

During a team (11-on-11) blitz period later in practice, Franklin proved adept in picking up a blitz by cornerback Jarrett Bush, giving quarterback Aaron Rodgers time to stay in the pocket.

New special-teams ace?: It’s rare for the Packers to line up a first-round draft pick on special teams. It’s even rarer when that first-round pick is a defensive end, and he’s on the kickoff coverage team.

But there was Datone Jones, the 26th overall pick in the draft, lined up at one of the middle positions and running down to cover a kickoff on Tuesday.

“He can run,” McCarthy said. “He’s a major matchup problem. But we’ll work him as a backup. I don’t see that as a primary role for Datone, but he has a unique skill set, and it’s important for our young guys to come in and make sure they’re ready to go on special teams.”

Bits and pieces: Jones also showed his athletic ability by dropping into coverage and breaking up a pass intended for running back James Starks during a team period. … First-year cornerback Loyce Means flashed his impressive speed by returning an interception of quarterback B.J. Coleman for a touchdown in a 7-on-7 drill. … Second-year pro Mike Daniels has been one of the top defensive performers in the 1-on-1 pass-rushing/pass-blocking drill. He won a pair of reps on Tuesday after scoring two wins in the previous practice on Sunday.

Medical report: Though the Packers have avoided any major injuries to starters through the first four practices of training camp, they will be without starting cornerback Tramon Williams indefinitely. Williams dropped out of Sunday’s practice with a knee injury.

McCarthy said Williams may miss a couple of weeks. The cornerback position is especially thin because Casey Hayward (hamstring) remains out. Davon House practiced for the first time on Tuesday after missing the first three practices because of an illness. It was his first time on the field following offseason shoulder surgery. Rookie Micah Hyde lined up with the starters in place of Williams and Hayward and continued to impress.

Others who did not practice were: receivers Sederrick Cunningham (wrist), Kevin Dorsey (leg), Charles Johnson (knee), RB DuJuan Harris (knee), S Sean Richardson (neck), T Kevin Hughes (headaches), OL JC Tretter (ankle), DE Mike Neal (abdominal), T Derek Sherrod (leg) and DE Jerel Worthy (knee).
CB James Nixon (knee) and OLB Dezman Moses (foot) appeared to drop out of practice.
It was the first practice for WR Omarius Hines and S Chris Banjo, a pair of rookies signed on Monday.

What’s next: The Packers return to the practice field at 9:20 a.m. Wednesday for another full-pads practice.

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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