One day after wide receiver Jordy Nelson returned to practice following recent knee surgery, he was running like a player who didn’t seem slowed by the injury whatsoever. Working on the offensive scout team with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Nelson got past cornerback Loyce Means and safety M.D. Jennings and hauled in an 85-yard touchdown pass.
“He’s a fast healer and we’re glad that he’s feeling good,” Rodgers said of Nelson. “I’m sure after today it will be a good judge of where he’s really at. We threw a lot of balls yesterday on the side and you know he had to go about 50 yards to get that deep one in the air across the field, so it was fun to see him run that one down.”
If there were any remaining questions as to whether Nelson will be healthy enough to play in the Packers’ Week 1 regular season game at San Francisco, that one play answered them.
“I laid it up there nice and high,” Rodgers said. “In retrospect, maybe not have him run that far across the field. He was a little tired after that. I’m glad he didn’t open up too much or too soon. But he’s feeling good. I talked to him yesterday for a while. We visited after practice and he said he felt really good, so that’s encouraging considering some of the injuries we’ve had around here that we can count on him to be ready for the season opener.”
Wide receiver Tyrone Walker earns an honorable mention for making two spectacular catches. One was an over-the-shoulder grab on a fade route along the right sideline against Brandon Smith. The other was on a back-shoulder throw from Rodgers, which was also defended by Smith.
So You Had A Bad Day:
WR Charles Johnson
This was not the performance that rookie wide receiver Charles Johnson wanted to show. One day after the Packers cut three undrafted receivers, Johnson dropped two passes in Monday’s practice. First, Johnson let a slant pass from B.J. Coleman fall through his hands. Later, Johnson dropped a pass on the run and was shoved in the back by Sam Shields after the ball had fallen to the ground.
With Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones all guaranteed to make the team and Jarrett Boykin becoming a lock with his continued improvement, Johnson is one of several receivers fighting to be No. 5 on the depth chart. Even though Johnson was a seventh-round pick earlier this year, he’s clearly been outplayed by Walker. Jeremy Ross and Myles White have been inconsistent at times, but it’s still possible that they’re both ahead of Johnson. That means Johnson could be ranked No. 8, and that’s nowhere near good enough to make the 53-man roster.
Tight end Brandon Bostick is honorable mention for dropping a wide-open pass in the end zone from Rodgers on the final play of practice.
– With heavy rain in the morning, the Packers were forced to move practice inside the Don Hutson Center. Originally scheduled as a padded practice, the team was only in shorts and helmets.
– Rodgers took only scout-team reps. That put Vince Young in at quarterback to take the vast majority of the snaps with the starting offensive line and wide receivers. This would indicate that Rodgers will likely not play in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Kansas City Chiefs and that Young will get some work with the starters in that game.
– One of Young’s passes in the ‘team run’ period was overthrown and intercepted by Jennings. Later, Young was intercepted by Hyde on an out route to White. Hyde returned it for a touchdown.
– Jeremy Ross took the first punt return, followed by Cobb, Tramon Williams and Micah Hyde.
– Marshall Newhouse got some work as the starting left tackle and as the starting right tackle. It’s unlikely that Newhouse will wind up as a starter, but the Packers are making sure he’s ready at both spots in case he’s needed.
– Bostick took D.J. Williams’ spot on both the No. 1 punt return unit and the No. 1 kick return unit. Special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said that nothing should be read into that, but it seems like a good sign for Bostick and a bad sign for Williams.
– Second-year offensive tackle Andrew Datko committed back-to-back false starts during the blitz period.
– James Starks was the only running back to drop a pass from the JUGS machine.
– Alex Green was the only player to fumble during the team gauntlet ball-security drill. Terrell Manning forced the strip.
– The three songs played during the team’s water break: Rihanna, “Diamonds” – Johnny Cash, “Jackson” – Guns N’ Roses, “Sweet Child O’ Mine”
* WR Kevin Dorsey (Toe — First missed practice)
* LB Dezman Moses (Toe — Left Monday’s practice early)
* S Morgan Burnett (Hamstring — Consecutive Missed Practices: 2)
* RB DuJuan Harris (Knee — Consecutive Missed Practices: 2; getting a second opinion on the injury)
* CB Casey Hayward (Hamstring — Consecutive Missed Practices: 2; previously missed 15 practices with injury to same hamstring)
* LB Brad Jones (Hamstring — Consecutive Missed Practices: 2)
* CB Jarrett Bush (Ankle — Consecutive Missed Practices: 2; and one game)