After going through four padded practices in the first three days of camp, the players got a bit of a break in the morning with a session that included a lengthy review portion at a jog-through pace before a spirited session closed out the day.
“It almost looks like it is on the schedule because I think it happened about this time last year,” McCarthy said following the night practice. “I don’t mind it, but when it takes over the structure of what we are trying to get done, then it’s an issue.
“It happens. They are tired of hitting each other. You are at that point in training camp, and I get that. You always want to be on the edge of being physical, so that’s what we are all about.”
The hit of the night came when tight end Jermichael Finley put a huge block on linebacker Cyril Obiozor near the sideline on a Charles Dillon reception. What followed that a few plays later was some extracurricular activity after the whistle, including a post-play scrum between rookie tackle Bryan Bulaga and defensive end Jarius Wynn. That prompted McCarthy to call the team together to get the focus back on finishing the practice strong, and there were no issues after that.
McCarthy said the first four practices this year featured more reps than prior camps, and that while a practice like Tuesday morning might be not as entertaining to watch as the evening one, it is an essential part of the process.
“The reps are up (compared) to prior years by design, so with that the first install is we went through the normal down-and-distance in the first two practices, third-down emphasis in the third practice, and then red zone in the fourth practice,” McCarthy said after the morning workout. “This gives us an opportunity to go back and review all of the things that we felt we needed to hit again in those four practices.
“I think we do a very good job in these teaching type practices. We have a jog-through type pace, a lot of teaching, a lot of correcting, so we’ll be able to move onto an installation this afternoon to get back into the installation phase for (Tuesday night’s) practice.”
The Packers will take a break from the practice field on Wednesday with weightlifting and meetings in the morning and an afternoon off before returning for two padded practices on Thursday.
“Training camp is used to get better and to be consistent, so you want to work on things you want to work on,” running back Ryan Grant said. “Coach McCarthy is real big on stacking success, so when you have a good practice you want to come back and have another good practice and make sure you are stacking all of those positives.
“These last couple of days have been a grind for us, but that is training camp. That is how it goes. You expect it to be hard. It’s not going to be easy, but that is football. All this does is just prepare for us those types of positions, whether it is fourth quarter, late in the game, late in the season, whatever it is where we are going to be tired and it is kind of that time where we’re going to buckle down and get it done.”
Wait and see
With reports coming out of Minnesota’s training camp on Tuesday morning that former Packers quarterback Brett Favre has decided to retire once again, the prevailing sentiment among Green Bay’s players was some skepticism.
“That’s what he said, huh?” Grant said. “Week 1 into training camp? How many of you guys believe that? Yeah, exactly. Come see me when they decide who they’re going to make part of the team. I don’t know. Brett’s done it before, he’s done this situation before, and rightfully so. I think he’s a little different situation than other guys.
“I still feel like when it comes closer to the regular season and the games that quote-unquote count, for him, he’ll probably come back. He’s too much of a competitor. I don’t know the situation with the ankle, maybe that might be legit, but that’s hard for me to see, especially right now, four or five days into training camp.”
If Favre does indeed retire, the Vikings would be losing a quarterback that went to the Pro Bowl in 2009 and led them to the NFC Championship game, but defensive end Cullen Jenkins still sees the NFC North as a highly competitive division.
“We’ve got a tough road ahead of us, regardless if (Favre) is with Minnesota or not,” Jenkins said. “They are a great team. Chicago has a great team, Detroit is getting a lot better and they are really going to try and compete this year. We are going to have a tough road regardless.
“I don’t know if it makes things better for us, but Brett had some pretty good games against us last year. There is no denying that. Minnesota is a good team. They have good players across the board. I don’t think it is something just because Brett is not there…if you think that, then you can get beat a whole bunch of other places. You can’t think of it that way.”
Rookie guard/tackle Marshall Newhouse was sidelined for both practices after sustaining a concussion in Monday’s practice. Wide receiver Jeff Moturi sat out both sessions due to a sprained knee, and McCarthy said he is expected to miss a couple of weeks.
Guard Daryn Colledge sat out the night session due to a hyperextended elbow. Jason Spitz took his spot at left guard with the No. 1 line.
Wide receiver Greg Jennings missed the night session because he was attending to a personal matter.
Defensive end Justin Harrell was held out of the night practice by the team doctor due to the heat-related issues that forced him to drop out early from Monday’s practice. McCarthy said Harrell wanted to practice, and is expected to be back on the field on Thursday when practices resume.
Safety Atari Bigby traveled to North Carolina on Tuesday for further testing on his injured ankle. McCarthy did not have any updates on the results of those tests, but said he expected to have more information on Wednesday morning.
The other two players on the physically unable to perform list in addition to Bigby, cornerback Al Harris and running back James Starks, continued to sit out.
Two players coming returning from injuries, safety Derrick Martin and defensive end Ronald Talley, sat out the morning session but were back on the field for the night practice. Safety Will Blackmon and linebacker Nick Barnett, also on the one-a-day schedule, sat out the evening session after working in the morning.