Across the way, as Bryan Bulaga limped out of the Don Hutson Center on Monday night, Daryn Colledge was honing his technique during individual linemen drills.
Bulaga missed most of practice with what coach Mike McCarthy called a strained hip flexor. McCarthy didn’t know the severity of the injury and Bulaga did not make an appearance in the locker room after practice. So, whether the injury will sideline Bulaga long enough to knock him out of his battle with Colledge at left guard is a mystery.
“It’s kind of been bothering him here for a little bit and it just flared up on him again,” McCarthy said.
Colledge started both preseason games, alternating series with Bulaga with the first-team offense and staying at left guard when Bulaga has shifted to left tackle to replace starter Chad Clifton. Colledge is having a strong training camp but Bulaga certainly has played well enough to earn the job.
Meanwhile, standout defensive end Cullen Jenkins watched the 11-on-11 portion of practice while sitting on a water cooler after suffering a calf strain. He’s not sure if the injury will keep him out of Thursday’s preseason game against Indianapolis.
“Just trying to run, just felt a little pop and it did something,” Jenkins said. “I was trying to see if I could make it through, I did some of the jog through and stuff, but I just felt I wasn’t getting any power out of it. To push off of it was real sore.”
Pro Bowl outside linebacker Clay Matthews, who injured his hamstring on Family Night 16 days ago, said he started running on Monday and wasn’t sure if he’d be available for next week’s preseason finale at Kansas City or if he'd make his debut in Week 1 at Philadelphia on Sept. 12.
“Obviously, we’re going to be smart, but that’s really what I’m shooting for,” Matthews said of the Sept. 2 game vs. the Chiefs. “I would like to say I’m probable for it, but I don’t make these decisions. So, depending on how I’m feeling, that’s how we’ll go, but that’s ultimately what I’m shooting for.”
Running back Quinn Porter, who is challenging for a roster spot as an undrafted rookie, said he expected to practice Tuesday after spraining an ankle in the fourth quarter at Seattle. Without Porter and fellow backs Kregg Lumpkin (calf) and James Starks (hamstring), Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson and fullback John Kuhn took the snaps.
“No, I ain’t scared,” Porter said when asked if he thought at the time that the injury might ruin his chance to make the team. “Just stay in the spirit. I’m a Christian man, know what I’m saying? I believe the Lord has my back. When I went down, I got back up, I was kind of limping but I did another rep and I went back out there for punt return. With 5 minutes left in the game, they told me to just chill.”
The rest of the injured: safety Atari Bigby (ankle), running back Kregg Lumpkin (hamstring), cornerback Al Harris (knee), linebacker Brad Jones (shoulder) and tackle-guard Allen Barbre (unknown). McCarthy said Jones has a chance of playing on Thursday.
Linebacker A.J. Hawk, who missed Saturday’s game with a sprained ankle, worked with the scout team with what McCarthy termed a “trial return.”
Chillar back to familiar spot
It looked like old times when the Packers trotted out their No. 1 nickel defense, with Nick Barnett and Brandon Chillar at inside linebacker.
Chillar, who was moved to outside linebacker after Matthews went down, was back on the inside to take advantage of his “versatility,” McCarthy said.
Chillar said he feels more comfortable on the inside but felt he made a big jump on the outside between the Cleveland and Seattle games.
“Because I know it’s going to be a nickel game and they’ve got some good tight ends,” Chillar theorized in previewing Thursday’s game. “In the past, I’ve had some success against tight ends, so maybe that’s what it is, but to be honest with you, they just told me and I do what I’m told. I just work here.”
— And with that, training camp is officially over. This was the last night practice. From now on, the team will follow a regular-season schedule. “We’re getting ready to play games, and from a scheduling and a regularity standpoint, it’s important to make the switch the third week in training camp like we normally do,” McCarthy said.
— McCarthy called Derrick Martin’s ejection from Saturday night’s game “not very smart.” McCarthy confirmed that Martin took a swing at a member of the Seahawks during a first-quarter punt. Martin’s take? Not quite the same: “From what I’ve seen on film, I feel like I’ve played inside the rules of the game. If I get fined we will appeal it just to see. I feel like I did nothing wrong. I play like that every week – high intensity, high power, high aggression. And I will continue to play that way.”
— With Matthews and Jones out and Chillar back on the inside, undrafted rookie Frank Zombo worked with the starters. “Frank Zombo has earned some more reps,” McCarthy said. We’ll have an in-depth story on Zombo later.
— In a clear signal that undrafted rookie corner Sam Shields has all but won a roster spot, he worked with the No. 1 punt, punt return and kickoff teams. Shields replaced Jarrett Bush as a gunner on the punt team.
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