Trailing 16-10 at his own 40-yard line with 1:11 remaining and one timeout left, quarterback Aaron Rodgers hooked up with wide receiver James Jones three times on the eight-play scoring drive. To this point in camp, the offense has had more success working out of the no-huddle, which Head Coach Mike McCarthy views as very close to the two-minute work the team does.
“Two-minute and no-huddle, they are very similar jobs,” McCarthy said. “I think Aaron does a very good job of that, but they definitely keep score. They must read the paper too I guess, so it’s probably good for the offense to get off the schneid. It’s a good day for the offense.”
After an incomplete pass to Jackson on first down, Rodgers found Jones for a 20-yard gain to the 40, and then again two plays later for an 18-yard gain that put the offense at the 16-yard line. Following a 9-yard completion to wide receiver Greg Jennings on second down, Rodgers’ pass to tight end Donald Lee in the end zone on third-and-1 was nearly picked off by linebacker A.J. Hawk. On fourth-and-1, Rodgers threw into tight coverage to find Jones for the touchdown.
Working out of the same situation, backup quarterback Matt Flynn led the No. 2 offense down the field into scoring position behind a 17-yard completion to wide receiver Charles Dillon, a 17-yarder to tight end Andrew Quarless, and a 15-yard gain to wide receiver Chastin West. With a first-and-goal at the 10-yard line, left tackle Allen Barbre was flagged for a false start to push the offense back to the 15.
Wide receiver Brett Swain made a nifty left-handed catch on the next play for 6 yards with cornerback Sam Shields covering. After Flynn completed a pass to running back Quinn Porter for no gain on second down, rookie outside linebacker Frank Zombo came through with back-to-back sacks on third and fourth down as the defense evened the score on two-minute work for the afternoon.
Grant clears first hurdle
McCarthy said Ryan Grant, who sustained a concussion on his third carry of the game Saturday night against the Browns, could return to practice as soon as Tuesday night.
Grant passed the initial concussion test that he was given on Monday, which clears him to work out. He then will meet with a neurologist on Tuesday to get final clearance before he can get back on the field.
“I’m not used to having to do the whole process that the league has made mandatory, but I’m just doing what they tell me to do, one day at a time, and for the most part I feel pretty good,” Grant said.
“It is one of those things where I am going to do everything I can with them, working with them to get back because I don’t want to be out. At the same time, it is severe and you’ve got to be smart about it.”
Grant said he was hopeful that he would be able to play Saturday night at Seattle in the second preseason game, but if he can’t go, the running-back group could be thin with Kregg Lumpkin now battling a hamstring injury he sustained in Saturday night’s game against Cleveland and rookie James Starks still sidelined with a hamstring injury of his own. If those backs can’t go this week, the workload would fall to fourth-year back Brandon Jackson and rookie Quinn Porter.
“Brandon Jackson to me is an every-down back,” McCarthy said. “I have no problem with that. Really the last hurdle he needed to overcome was on third down. He accomplished that last year, in my opinion.
“You’re seeing him not only third downs but in special teams. Brandon Jackson is a good special teams player, too. He’s a complete football player, and if we had to play all three downs with him, I wouldn’t even blink.”
Looking to get back
Tight end Tom Crabtree, who aggravated a wrist injury he has been battling throughout training camp late in the first half on Saturday night, sat out Monday’s practice.
McCarthy said the first-year tight end had another appointment with the doctor on Monday to further evaluate the injury, and that the team is exploring putting a cast on the wrist and some other options that would help him return soon.
Crabtree said after the game on Saturday that he has been trying to balance protecting the injury with tape or a cast but also not restricting the hand so much that it makes catching passes a real challenge. After spending the latter portion of the ’09 season with the team on the practice squad, Crabtree has stood out in camp with his blocking ability and versatility on special teams.
“Tom’s a tough, hard-nosed football player,” McCarthy said. “He’s probably our best run blocker. I think he’s done a great job making the transition that a lot of our players do from Year 1 to Year 2. I thought he did a great job in the offseason, and I think it’s definitely paying dividends here.
“Tough special teams player. We’ve moved him throughout the special teams core units, working both sides on the punt. He could play on all four units if we had to play a game today. He has that kind of ability. I think he’s a very versatile football player.”
Also sitting out Monday’s practice were safety Will Blackmon (knee), linebackers Alex Joseph (quad), Clay Matthews (hamstring), and Cyril Obiozor (calf), center/guard Evan Dietrich-Smith (neck) and center/guard Jason Spitz (calf).
The three players on the PUP list – Starks, safety Atari Bigby (ankle), and cornerback Al Harris (knee) – remained out.
With Dietrich-Smith and Spitz out, rookie Nick McDonald worked at center with the No. 2 offensive line.
Blackmon had more testing done on Monday, and McCarthy said there was a chance he could practice on Tuesday. Aug. 16 - Additional coverage