It was one of the longest practices of the summer, a second straight day in pads. The dog days of training camp are here, the competition is heating up. After tomorrow's helmets only warmup prior to the team's departure to St. Louis, there are only seven camp practices left. Mike McCarthy put the boys through a two and a half hour workout today, featuring another lively short side run game drill and a spicey running backs versus outside linebackers blitz drill. During the daily offensive line, defensive line pass protection period, it got out of hand. Actually, it was a facemask in the hand of linebacker Jarvis Reed. He got a hold of tackle Kevin Hughes grill during his rush. Hughes took exception. After the whistle, there was a brief stare-down, the two tried clutching the other's mask and then a couple of haymaking punches were thrown. Just as the teammates rushed to break it up, Hughes got a good hold of Jarvis' mask and yanked him violently to the ground. The wrestling continued for a couple of moments before they were finally peeled apart. It was the best donnybrook of the month so far.
The actual football highlights were many. Mike Neal had a powerful practice, McCarthy called it his best of the summer. He continues to play primarily defensive end where he dominated in team drills. Neal also gets individual drill work at outside linebacker and in that blitz pick period with running backs, went head to head with rookie Johnathan Franklin. Picture that, a scat back versus a giant, power lifting lineman. Neal instinctively bull rushed the little back and simply overwhelmed him. OLB assistant coach Kevin Greene made him take another rep because it was too much of a mismatch. John Kuhn stepped in, a savvy blitz blocker, and he braced for another charging bull, but Neal put on a spin move and in a blink, won another round. Coordinator Dom Capers could have a very interesting weapon at his disposal if he keeps this up.
Big plays in team work came from young Micah Hyde, a juggling interception he finally corralled on his back in the end zone. In the final no huddle period, Aaron Rodgers was sharp again, hitting Jermichael Finley on the first two plays covering 18 and 12 yards. On the final two plays, he connected with James Jones for 8 yards inside and then the final 30 yards up the right sideline behind Davon House for a practice ending touchdown.
Medical updates had James Starks sit out practice after coming down ill. Randall Cobb took the day off with that painful biceps injury he tried to practice with Tuesday. McCarthy said Cobb may be a stretch for the Rams game. Eddie Lacy and DuJuan Harris were on a limited snap count, especially in full squad periods. Ryan Taylor returned after injuring his knee on Family Night.
Vince Young continues to get premium reps as the second quarterback and with Cobb and Jordy Nelson sidelined, Tyrone Walker actually worked with the number one offense at receiver. He caught five balls against Arizona for 41 yards, earning him quality snaps all week in practice. Beyond the big three receivers of James Jones, Cobb and Nelson, the field is wide open. Thought it might be a good time to talk with wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett about his group.