Thumbs up: Mason Crosby just doesn’t miss at Ray Nitschke Field. He nailed two more field goals in practice on Tuesday, from 43 and 45 yards out, keeping him perfect in camp at practice. The Packers kicker spent a good portion of the Family Night Scrimmage testing out wind currents inside the renovated Lambeau Field, but he’s clearly on point when he’s not experimenting. He’s also been kicking the ball well on kickoffs, although he’s limited himself to kicking every other day in the interest of saving his leg as the only kicker in camp. “I’ve really worked on my steps, just taking out any false steps, anything that might not be as clean as possible,” Crosby said. “Once we start the regular season, hopefully that continues. It’s efficient, I feel confident with our coverage team, and I think that combination of things, I’m just free to go after the ball and I’m hitting it really well.”
Thumbs down: Vic So’oto was terrific in the Packers’ final two preseason games last year. He earned himself a roster spot as an undrafted free agent outside linebacker with outstanding showings against Indianapolis and Kansas City. But he also looked good in practices last season, and so far, that hasn’t happened in Year 2. However, he had a sack in Tuesday’s non-padded practice, and he’s hoping he’ll click in when the games start on Thursday at San Diego. “I think there’s some bit of pressure to perform,” So’oto admitted. “But I think that’s normal for anybody in my position or in any position. You’ve got to perform, and you’ve got to try and make the 53-(man roster) and try and make the 46-(man active list on game day). It kind of feels like the same as last year, fighting for a spot.”
Play of the day: When Mike McCarthy pulled the plug on what was scheduled to be a practice in pads, it essentially eliminated the possibility of any real competitive periods, given that the practice was already going to be devoted to preparing for the Chargers. But give the coach this: He’s not stubbornly old-school; he does what he thinks his team needs. So even though the team only had 16 scheduled practices in pads for camp, he dumped one because of the spate of injuries on his team. It may have made practice a bit less compelling to watch as a fan, but it was the right thing to do.
Camp confidential: If it seems like the Packers have had more diagnosed concussions than ever before in the first two weeks of camp, it’s because they have. Four players – tight end Jermichael Finley, wide receiver Greg Jennings, tight end Ryan Taylor and left tackle Marshall Newhouse – have all suffered them. Finley is the only one to have returned to action afterward. With the NFL’s league-wide emphasis on concussion treatment – amid lawsuits by former players that might threaten the league’s very existence – McCarthy made it clear that while the doctors haven’t changed how they diagnose concussions, they are approaching treatment differently. I wouldn’t say there’s different guidelines. I would say the improvement as far as safety comes in rehab,” McCarthy said. “The process of a player coming in and communicating to the doctor, all that’s very similar (to the past). They operate at the very high end of caution if they feel a player is in danger of a concussion or close to a concussion or diagnosed with a concussion. That is clearly my opinion of what I’ve seen change from prior years to now. The rehab and timely fashion in which you bring an individual back is different than prior years.”
Injury report: McCarthy has now ruled 11 players out for Thursday night: Newhouse (concussion), CB Sam Shields (elbow), RB Brandon Saine (hamstring), Jennings (concussion), RB Du’ane Bennett (knee), G Ray Dominguez (ankle), WR Tori Gurley (groin); FB Jon Hoese (hamstring), TE Eric Lair (knee), OL Mike McCabe (hip) and TE Ryan Taylor (concussion). TE D.J. Williams (back) returned to practice. RB Alex Green (knee/rest) had a scheduled day off but is expected to play in San Diego. DE Mike Daniels (knee/groin). The five players who still haven’t passed their physicals remained sidelined: G Jaymes Brooks (hamstring), DE Johnny Jones (knee), TE Andrew Quarless (knee), OT Derek Sherrod (leg) and OLB Frank Zombo (hamstring).
Practice schedule: On Wednesday, the Packers will have what they call a “Friday practice” during the regular season before leaving for San Diego. That workout is closed to the public and media. Their next practice is Saturday, after the Friday off day that follows Thursday night’s preseason opener at San Diego.
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