Thumbs up: Judging from what Packers coach Mike McCarthy said on Wednesday, the starting left guard job is officially T.J. Lang’s job to lose. Although he and rookie first-round draft pick Derek Sherrod are rotating at the position – and at left tackle, for that matter, whenever Chad Clifton gets a breather – McCarthy certainly sounded like he’s leaning toward Lang to start the Sept. 8 opener against the New Orleans Saints. "I really like how T.J.'s come to camp," McCarthy said. "We have a history with T.J. He's made a jump from last year. That's clearly evident. Derek's really just trying to get familiar. He's going through a little bit of what Bryan (Bulaga) went through last year. He's not playing as fast as he'd like to. He's not reacting to things as quickly as he'd like to. It's a little more thinking than the finishing and urgency you're looking for.
Thumbs down: Jarrett Bush was having a terrific camp, but struggled in the preseason opener at Cleveland. While he remains the No. 4 cornerback in the dime defense, there should be time for a young corner to make a run at the job. That youngster could be Davon House, the fourth-round pick who looked good early in camp. But House remains sidelined with a hamstring injury, and given how much of a premium McCarthy puts on “availability and accountability,” House isn’t helping his chances.
Play of the day: Cornerback Pat Lee delivered one of the greatest interceptions in a practice in recent memory. Working in an 11-on-11 red-zone period against the No. 1 offense, Lee snared an errant Aaron Rodgers pass over his head with his outstretched right hand, bobbled it, then corralled it at the goal line.
Camp confidential: McCarthy said after practice that he had yet to set the playing-time plan for Friday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals at Lambeau Field, and Thursday’s practice probably won’t have much impact on the decision-making. “Really our plan all week was we knew we were going to have three hot padded practices in a row. Tomorrow’s examination won’t give us a lot of information based on who’s in or out,” McCarthy said. “We’ll have a 48-minute practice just to clean up some things schematically to get our guys ready for Friday night.”
In addition, McCarthy said he’ll likely follow a similar schedule in terms of playing time – working the starters the most in the third preseason games – as in past years.
“We’re looking at some of the same ratios that we’ve had in the past, but … we’re really trying to get as much information on new players, combinations of players, to make personnel decisions,” McCarthy said. “That’s different than prior years.”
Injury report: Safety Anthony Levine (concussion), defensive end Mike Neal (knee) and defensive end Lawrence Guy (post-concussion symptoms) did not practice. Cornerback Brandian Ross (hamstring) returned to practice. Wide receiver Brett Swain (hamstring), safety Brandon Underwood (knee), guard Adrian Battles (Achilles’), cornerback Davon House (hamstring), running back James Starks (ankle) and wide receiver/returner Shaky Smithson (shoulder) all remained sidelined.
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