Aaron Rodgers was one of nine veteran players given Sunday night off from Green Bay Packers training camp.
After Saturday’s scheduled day off, Rodgers (eighth season), Charles Woodson (15th), Jarrett Bush (seventh), A.J. Hawk (seventh), Jeff Saturday (14th), Ryan Pickett (12th), Donald Driver (14th), Greg Jennings (seventh) and Anthony Hargrove (eighth) — all players with seven-plus years in the league — took part in meetings throughout the day but did not attend practice and were excused until Monday morning.
Jennings would have sat out, anyway, after sustaining a concussion on his touchdown catch during Friday night’s scrimmage. Woodson, who was held out of Family Night, figures to return on Monday with three days of rest.
Coach Mike McCarthy was pleased, even though it meant practice was directed by young quarterbacks Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman.
“I actually thought it was a great experience,” McCarthy said. “The veteran select day is in place for a reason, because of the health of our team. We have a lot of people banged up, which is typical going into Week 3 of training camp. I was a little bit on the fence whether to do it or not. But as far as the quarterback position, it’s exactly what Graham and B.J. need — the opportunity to take all the reps, get all the situational work. I thought it was great work, and Aaron’s in his (eighth) year now, so he’s earned that day off.”
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John Kuhn would have been a 10th veteran excused, but after missing most of the first week of camp while recovering from a knee injury, he elected to participate in his first full-pads practice of camp.
“I do want to say that it’s happened one other time,” McCarthy said when asked if he’s ever had a veteran participate when given the option of skipping a training camp practice. “Oh, yeah, it was Rob Davis. As he reminded me today, he didn’t choose not to practice. He was encouraged that we needed him to practice because we only had one snapper.”
New injuries LT Marshall Newhouse (concussion); WR Greg Jennings (concussion). McCarthy didn’t rule out either player from playing in the preseason opener against San Diego.
Old injuries: FB Jon Hoese (hamstring); TE Eric Lair (knee); LB Brad Jones (knee); T Mike McCabe (hip); G Ray Dominguez (ankle); DT Mike Daniels (knee and groin); TE D.J. Williams (back).
Returned to practice: RB Marc Tyler (shoulder), Kuhn, ILB Desmond Bishop, WR Tori Gurley (groin).
Active PUP list: OLB Frank Zombo (hamstring), DL Johnny Jones (knee), G Jaymes Brooks (hamstring), T Derek Sherrod (leg) and TE Andrew Quarless (knee).
The week ahead
The Packers will hold their next-to-last night practice on Monday, starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday’s practice is at 3:30 p.m. There is no practice on Wednesday as the team flies to San Diego for the preseason opener at 7 p.m. on Thursday. After a day off on Friday, the team practices at 7 p.m. on Saturday and 11:15 a.m. on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. McCarthy changed the starting time of the practices on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, with the Sunday and Monday sessions originally scheduled for 7 p.m.
“We have an ‘A’ schedule and ‘B’ schedule for Week 3 and 4 (of camp),” McCarthy said. “From my experience, Week 3 and 4 is the stress point for your team. Just watching the numbers from where we were last year compared to this year and really prior years, we felt it was important to go to the ‘B’ schedule. The length of the practice and everything is exactly the same, it’s just that we moved the practices up and got a little more meeting time after the practice. That’s the reason why I did it. The reason why I released it so far ahead is I think it’s going to kind of go the way it’s going is what my gut tells me, but more importantly, I wanted to make sure the fans had the time change for practice.”
— Without Newhouse, Herb Taylor and Andrew Datko split the first-team reps at left tackle. Aside from some mental errors, Taylor was solid. Datko, however, had his hands full, whether it was star Clay Matthews or struggling Vic So’oto.
— Leading a no-huddle drive, Harrell converted a fourth-and-2 with a deep completion to Jordy Nelson, then threw a touchdown pass to Tom Crabtree. Harrell and Coleman operated two-minute drives but neither could punch the ball in the end zone. Needing to go 55 yards in 56 seconds with one timeout, Harrell had two big completions to Randall Cobb, including a 21-yarder to the 19, but Cobb was tackled inbounds on his third catch and time ran out before the line could get set. Coleman never had a chance in a four-and-out possession.
— Bryan Bulaga isn’t invincible. In the one-on-one pass-rushing drill, Bulaga was 11-0 until being run over by first-round pick Nick Perry. We’ll have the full records posted in the subscribers forum on Monday morning.
— McCarthy was in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday for the Hall of Fame enshrinement at the invitation of inductee Jack Butler, a former Steelers cornerback. “I had a personal relationship with four of the six (inductees). I was just so impressed with the whole operation. It was great on a personal level to see a lot of people I haven’t seen in a long time. It was a great experience.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.