This one requires a bit of an explanation. Mike McCarthy has had eight seasons as the Packers coach, and in that time he has an overall record of 88-50-1 and a Super Bowl ring. That’s a high level of success. Yet, McCarthy showed his willingness to adapt by changing Green Bay’s practice schedule and training habits significantly.
Thursday’s practice was the first time that media and fans were allowed to watch one of McCarthy’s day-before-a-game practices. Whereas in his first eight years McCarthy would have had the players off their feet by this point, the Packers practiced in shorts and helmets for 58 minutes to get ready for Friday night’s third preseason game. Not much happened in comparison to a normal training camp practice, but working at about three-quarters speed, Green Bay ran around 50 plays. The session ran at such a good tempo that the horn blew to end practice with several minutes still on the clock.
This change obviously can’t eliminate injuries altogether, but a proactive approach from an experienced coach like McCarthy should be an encouraging sign for Packers fans that the team is willing to try new things in an effort to improve.
It was a situational drill for Green Bay’s offense, tasked with the challenge of being down by two points with the ball on third-and-7 from the 35-yard-line with no timeouts and 22 seconds on the clock. Aaron Rodgers fired deep to Randall Cobb, but the pass fell incomplete.
That set up Mason Crosby for a "game-winning" 53-yard field goal attempt. However, as Crosby sent the kick wide to the left, the Packers "lost."
Crosby was then sent out for three more similar opportunities. He connected from 33 and 43 yards, but he missed wide left from 38 yards. A 2-for-4 day in situations that simulate the game being on the line is certainly not good enough for Crosby or any other NFL kicker.
– The one big injury concern surrounds cornerback Casey Hayward. After leaving Tuesday’s practice early, Hayward was unable to participate Thursday. McCarthy said Tuesday that he was "being smart" with Hayward. It’s a near-certainty now that Hayward won’t play in the third preseason game against Oakland. Hayward’s hamstring is an ongoing issue, as it cost him all but three games last season.
– As has been the case all week, Matt Flynn ran the No. 2 offense. Unless there’s a drastic change in the 24 hours before kickoff, Flynn will go in after Aaron Rodgers in Friday night’s game.
– DuJuan Harris remains the No. 1 kickoff returner. Jeff Janis and Kevin Dorsey also had opportunities at kick return Thursday.
* TE Brandon Bostick (Lower leg — Consecutive Missed Practices: 3 — out "a couple weeks")