For the first time since they trudge off chilly Lambeau Field last January 15 in the uneremonious playoff exit at the hands of the New York Giants, the Green Bay Packers put on the pads. The first full pad workout of training camp lasted 2:40 under brilliant sunshine and in front of the biggest crowd so far at Ray Nitschke Field.
Four new injuries were reported by Mike McCarthy afteward. Greg Jennings sat out with an elbow bruise, Shaky Smithson had a chest bruise, Brandon Bostick had a finger injury and during practice, free agent rookie tackle Mike McCabe of Holy Cross had to be carted off with what was described as a hip injury. He was overrun by rookie Mike Daniels of Iowa during the 1 on 1 pass protection drill and never got up. Jermichael Finley missed a second straight day with his mild concussion suffered in the first practice of camp and Anthony Hargrove, excused for a personal matter on Friday, was still not back on Saturday, McCarthy said he had some travel issues.
As for the practice itself, rookie draft pick Casey Hayward of Vanderbilt made a terrific interception during one of the early team drills. Hayward also got a look as the starter in the dime defense. The six defensive backs in that package were Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, Jarrett Bush, Morgan Brunett, M.D. Jennings and Hayward. There was a spririted blitz drill for the defense and in the 12 plays run during the period, the defense came up a winner 9 times. During a special teams sessions, the quarterbacks moved to the far end of the field and took turns lofting passes downfield, to an elevated net. One is about 25 yards away on the sideline and the other is a good 40 yards downfield. Aaron Rodgers had fun with the fans that cheered every ball that came close. Rodgers was the only one to sink a basket, on the shorter net. He came close twice on the long one, much to the groans from the crowd. He took off his helmet in mock disgust and pulled up a couple of blades of grass to jokingly test the wind. The team will have Sunday off and return to Nitschke field in pads on Monday morning at 8:15. On the link below, you'll hear post practice comments from McCarthy and several players, including the first comments of camp from three time Pro Bowler Clay Matthews.