Green Bay's Casey Hayward was often in the right spot during Saturday's opening training camp practice and was making plays.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy looks on during Saturday's training camp practice in Green Bay.
Morry Gash / Associated Press
By Paul Imig
Saturday, July 26, 2014
8:20 a.m. (Total: 2 hours, 16 minutes)
Movin' On Up:
Cornerback Casey Hayward
In his first non-offseason practice back on the field since being placed on injured reserve last year, Casey Hayward was fantastic. Just like he did during his rookie season in 2012, Hayward was often in the right spot during Saturday's opening practice and was making plays.
During an early team period, Hayward was in single coverage on separate plays against Andrew Quarless and Davante Adams. Neither of them were able to make the catch as Hayward gave them no room to get open. Later, during a "pass under pressure" drill, Hayward made his best play of the day when he had a diving pass breakup on a throw to Adams. He almost had a fourth deflection but a pass to Randall Cobb was just low enough that it was out of Hayward's reach.
"I thought Casey had a good day," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "He's back. So instinctive, his ball skills, you can see him jump off the spot a few times and make a play."
Wide receiver Jordy Nelson had a phenomenal practice and made a highlight-reel play. During the "blitz" period, Aaron Rodgers rolled left and sent a deep sideline pass to Nelson. Despite being double covered by Sam Shields and Micah Hyde, Nelson made a great catch. It was so good that all Shields could do was laugh as he marveled at the play. However, there was a different positive for Nelson on Saturday, so Hayward gets the deserved recognition here.
Given the uncertainty among the Packers tight end group, there will be plenty of opportunities for roster spots to be won at that position. Unfortunately for Colt Lyerla, his first NFL training camp practice was not a good one.
On a day in which there were very few dropped passes overall, Lyerla had two of them. One would have been a relatively difficult catch as Matt Flynn underthrew a deep pass, but Lyerla slipped, got his hands on it and couldn't haul it in. The other was a more routine play on a rollout from Flynn that Lyerla has to make.
As an undrafted free agent with the off-the-field history that Lyerla has, he has to be a lot better than he was Saturday in order to stick around.
- The Packers' first-team defense was: Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, Datone Jones, B.J. Raji, Mike Daniels, A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones, Tramon Williams, Sam Shields, Morgan Burnett and Micah Hyde.
- That means, as it was during offseason practices, that Hyde currently leads Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the battle at starting safety.
- After twice breaking his right thumb last season, Matthews had it protected but had his fingers free.
- Versatile offensive lineman Don Barclay took the starting right guard spot with T.J. Lang being limited with a shoulder issue.
- JC Tretter was the starting center, followed by Corey Linsley. That is the likely order in which those two will begin the regular season, though it is a training camp position battle to watch.
- The punt returners getting work included Hyde, Cobb, Jared Abbrederis and Myles White.
- The kick returners included DuJuan Harris, Kevin Dorsey, Chris Harper and Michael Hill.
- A.J. Hawk had a nice play in coverage, getting his hand on a pass across the middle that fell incomplete.
- Jamari Lattimore manhandled undrafted rookie running back LaDarius Perkins to pick up what would have been a sack. Of course, there was no tackling in this non-padded practice.
- Mason Crosby went 7-for-8 on live field-goal attempts, with his only miss coming from 44 yards. He made both of his 50-yard attempts.
- The "re-generation"/TV timeout periods are back for Year 2, and the songs played loudly over the speakers were: The Killers - "Spaceman," Jake Owen - "Days of Gold" and Grouplove - "Shark Attack"
- A new element of those break periods were that Packers personnel handed out Jello, granola bars and other similar snacks to the players.
* Mike Neal (core / abdomen -- First missed practice) * Nick Perry (foot / knee -- First missed practice) * Jerel Worthy (lower back -- First missed practice) * Letroy Guion (hamstring -- First missed practice) * Jeff Janis (illness) * T.J. Lang - limited (shoulder)
* Sunday, July 27 - 8:20 a.m. (Training Camp practice No. 2) * Monday, July 28 - 8:20 a.m. (Training Camp practice No. 3)