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Training camp report #7: Family Night

Aug 06, 2011 -- 11:28pm

Thumbs up: Every day, Randall Cobb does at least one thing to impress, and Saturday night’s Family Night Scrimmage was no exception. Working with the No. 1 offense in a three-receiver set because starter Greg Jennings sat out, Cobb reeled in a 40-yard back-shoulder pass from quarterback Aaron Rodgers on a second-and-10 play for the night’s longest gain. When linebacker Erik Walden jumped offside on the play, the receivers converted their routes to go routes, and Rodgers and Cobb were on the same wavelength. “Aaron threw me the ball and I just had to make a play on it,” Cobb said. “When they jump offsides, we all run all go’s. We had the penalty, but it’s always better to get extra yards.”


Thumbs down: Mother Nature clearly has it in for the Family Night Scrimmage. From a rain delay in 2008 to a complete washout in 2009 to Saturday night’s abbreviated proceedings, the team may have to consider scrapping the event if the weather is going to continue to cause issues. Coach Mike McCarthy looked pretty ticked off as he left the field with corporate security director Doug Collins and football administration coordinator Matt Klein, and while the coach essentially threw up his hands in his post-practice press briefing, he did point out that a normal practice could have just been moved inside the Don Hutson Center and continued as planned. At least one player, though, didn’t realize that the team was serious about calling off the event after the players headed for the locker room at 7:47 p.m. “I really didn’t think it was over. I thought everybody was joking with me,” Cobb said. “I got back in here, I’m sitting and drinking a Gatorade, and I see everybody taking their pads off. I’m like, ‘What are you doing?’ And then they told me it was over, and I didn’t believe them for like five minutes.”

Play of the day: Depending on your perspective, it was either the best play of the night or the worst play. Either way, it was the most memorable. On the first play from scrimmage, Rodgers turned and fired to wide receiver James Jones on the left side, where undrafted rookie free agent Brandian Ross lay in wait. Ross jumped the route and was off to the races on a 20-yard interception return for a touchdown. Ross also broke up a pass downfield later in the scrimmage, but also gave up Cobb’s big gainer. Ross hadn’t done much to stand out during the first week in camp, but Saturday night was an attention-grabber. “I’m picking up on the playbook well and trying to see where I fit in as far as defense and special teams and just working hard,” Ross said. “I’m doing fine with it. I consider myself a quick learner so picking up on the playbook wasn’t too hard. It’s just doing it at the speed of the NFL – that was difficult. As far as learning it, it wasn’t too bad.”

Camp confidential:  McCarthy had been looking forward to Family Night because it is his first run-through of game-day logistics, and while it was shortened, he was able to put his staff through at least some of the game-day atmosphere. “It’s your first time to take the field as a football team, so you have to warm up, (handle) the substitution (patterns), the management for the headsets for the coaches. The operation is very important,” McCarthy said. “I feel good about that. We accomplished that tonight.” As far as player assessment, though, McCarthy said he “really didn’t learn anything there today,” that he couldn’t have learned from a regular practice. Despite the setback, though, McCarthy said he wouldn’t give the players extra work to make up for the lost night. “This won’t factor in our training camp preparation as far as the reps that we lost tonight,” he said. “

Injury report: Safety Brandon Underwood was on crutches in the locker room after the event and declined to talk to reporters after suffering a leg injury in the scrimmage. McCarthy said the injury was “something above his knee – I don’t know if it’s hamstring or quad yet.” Sitting out Family Night were cornerbacks Charles Woodson (rest), Tramon Williams (hip flexor) and Davon House (hamstring); linebacker Clay Matthews (glute); wide receiver Greg Jennings (hip flexor); tight end Jermichael Finley (knee/rest); defensive end Lawrence Guy (concussion); and offensive linemen Adrian Battles (Achilles’) and Theo Sherman (ankle). Right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who left practice early Friday night with knee soreness, was back in action, as were tight end Tom Crabtree (hip flexor) and wide receiver Kerry Taylor (concussion). Linebacker Diyral Briggs (hamstring) and defensive tackle Eli Joseph (hamstring) still haven’t passed their physicals and remain on PUP. Williams said afterward that the hip is nothing to be concerned about. Also, kicker Mason Crosby kicked field goals in pre-game warm-ups but did not do anything in the actual scrimmage because he tweaked his ankle on Friday, according to McCarthy.

Practice schedule: The Packers are off Sunday. They return to Nitschke Field for practice at 7 p.m. Monday.

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