GREEN BAY, Wis. — Three missed practices were enough for Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings. As Green Bay began Day 6 of training camp on Wednesday morning, Jennings was back on the field after suffering an elbow bruise five days earlier.
There was other good news on the Packers’ injury front, as linebacker Desmond Bishop (calf) and fullback John Kuhn (knee) both passed physicals and were able to begin going through some light work early in practice without pads. NFL guidelines require that Bishop and Kuhn work in shells — no pads — for two consecutive days after being taken off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list.
If both Bishop and Kuhn progress well, they will be fully cleared Friday.
Tight end Jermichael Finley was also in full pads for the first time in training camp after being diagnosed with a mild concussion six days earlier. Finley had done some light work in sweatpants Tuesday as he was going through the NFL’s concussion protocol, but he has now been cleared to begin full contact.
Defensive linemen Ryan Pickett (right knee bruise) and rookie Mike Daniels (knee/groin) and running back Marc Tyler (left shoulder), were all held out of practice.
“The trainers have told me day-to-day on those guys,” McCarthy said. “We’ll see how the report comes (Thursday) after Dr. (Pat) McKenzie looks at them.”
Offensive lineman Derek Sherrod, who broke his right leg in Week 15 last season, also remains out. But there is some relatively optimistic news for Sherrod’s future availability.
“I don’t see it this week, for sure,” McCarthy said. “He’s doing everything he possibly can. The training staff feels very good about him. At what point in training camp, they haven’t really given me that answer yet.”
Second-year wide receiver Tori Gurley had to leave Wednesday’s practice after injuring his groin while covering a punt on special teams. Undrafted rookie wide receiver Curenski Gilleylen was unable to practice due to a quad injury.
Starks struggling? : With Ryan Grant not re-signed by the Packers this offseason, third-year running back James Starks entered training camp as the starter. Starks has had plenty of good moments through six practices and has stayed injury-free, but Wednesday was a struggle for him.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers twice pulled Starks aside during practice after mistakes in blitz pickup. Rodgers is the unquestioned leader of the offense and rarely is seen barking at players, but Starks was on the receiving end of it Wednesday.
“I think he’s definitely getting better,” McCarthy said of Starks. “Physically, he has all the tools to be an excellent pass protector, but he’s a bigger man and when he plays the leverage, he wins. The identification is something that’s always going to be a challenge, particularly for the running backs.
“We put a lot on our backs. Our adjustments happen late, particularly this time in camp. If you watch closely, you’ll see those adjustments are being made very deep into the 40-second clock. That’s something that takes experience and patience to get used to, especially at the running back position because he is the last line of defense and there’s things sometimes that need to get sorted out in front of you because football is not played on a board where this guy blocks that guy.
“Sometimes, when people pressure you, the timing of the blitz, you might switch responsibilities right at mid-stride. That was a great example of it. There was a lot of different pressure, and this will be good tape for all of our guys to learn from.”
Starks also dropped a Rodgers pass while wide open across the middle late in practice.
Behind Starks on the depth chart, second-year running backs Alex Green and Brandon Saine will both likely make the Packers’ active roster this season. Undrafted rookies Du’ane Bennett and Tyler may also have an opportunity to make it if there are any injuries at running back to begin the season.