The Green Bay Packers were back at it for week two of their Organized Team Activities Tuesday on Ray Nitschke Field. Three players were not in attendance at the voluntary workout open to the public, B.J. Raji, Jerel Worth and Cold Lyerla although Head Coach Mike McCarthy indicated Lyerla, the free agent tight end from Oregon, would return on Wednesday. A handful of players were held out of the practice because of injury including Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, Johnathan Franklin and tight ends Andrew Quarless and Brandon Bostick.
McCarthy was more encouraged to see a couple of guys who missed most or all of last season with injury back on the field. Among them, Bryan Bulaga.
Bulaga, sporting a brace on his left knee that required surgery in training camp, was working as the number one right tackle on the offensive line. J.C. Tretter, the second year pro from Cornell, is going to get a very long look for the starting center job now that Evan Dietrich-Smith left in free agency for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After practice, I talked with both the backup quarterbacks and a couple of receivers. There's a much greater peace of mind heading into the 2014 season with the players behind Aaron Rodgers. A year ago, Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman were riding the number two and three spots but neither player made the regular season roster. When Rodgers went down with the cracked collarbone, the Packers were scrambling. Former Wisconsin Badger Scott Tolzien was thrown into the fire for three starts and ex-Packer Matt Flynn was re-signed to start four games and helped salvage the team's playoff hopes before Rodgers returned in the regular season finale. Throw in rookie free agent Chase Rettig from Boston College and all four quarterbacks were getting their work in Tuesday.
Flynn said coming back for a full off-season of work will be extremely beneficial. He said diving headlong into game action a year ago was tough. The team had to game plan based on what Flynn knew of the offense prior to leaving before the 2013 season. Each week he was able to get more up to speed on the system changes and he's already at the point of feeling comfortable with the entire playbook again. As for Tolzien, McCarthy said he's making progress. The team has been working with him on footwork fundamentals and he has a much greater understanding of the entire offense. Wide Receiver Jordy Nelson said everyone feels more comfortable with and confident in the backups if, heaven forbid, something happens to Rodgers again this fall.
Most of the work on the practice field is basic, system implementation, spiced with individual and group drills. One of daily rituals is ball security drills. In this drill, balls were rolled and players had to scoop them up and go. They might want to work on this drill a bit more.
Second year linebacker Sam Barrington tumbled right over the loose ball. Hey, it's only June.