5 things learned at Packers training camp – Aug. 24

Notes on Mason Crosby’s health and legacy, Aaron Rodgers’ film study and the team set to practice again inside Lambeau

K Mason Crosby

GREEN BAY – The Packers were not in pads during Monday's practice at Ray Nitschke Field, instead holding what was largely a jog-through before Tuesday's practice inside Lambeau Field.

Here are five things learned from the day:

1. Mason Crosby had legacy on his mind when he re-signed.

The Packers checked perhaps the biggest box of their offseason when they locked in their all-time leading scorer for a 14th season this past February.

Crosby was set to hit the market at a good time, having made 22-of-24 field goals in 2019 to tie Jan Stenerud's franchise record for FG accuracy in a season (91.7%).

Negotiations between the Packers and Crosby's camp started soon after the season ended. Throughout the process, Crosby and his wife, Molly, hoped it would lead to the 35-year-old kicker remaining in Green Bay for the foreseeable future.

"Molly and I really reflected over our time as we started getting to those negotiations. Some of that definitely played a role in it," Crosby said. "The legacy that I've created here and the teammates and the organization and the support that I've had through our time here has just been outstanding and overwhelming."

As solid as Crosby was on the field in 2019, his family endured quite a lot off of it over the past year.

Prior to the start of training camp, Molly was diagnosed with a cancerous neuroendocrine tumor on her lung. She underwent surgery to remove the tumor the day before the Packers' preseason finale vs. Kansas City.

While Molly eventually was declared cancer free, tragedy again struck the family when Mason's sister-in-law, Brittany, died at 30 years old following a three-year battle with ovarian cancer.

Looking to move forward in 2020, Crosby was then blindsided when he found out he tested positive for COVID-19 upon returning for camp. He only experienced mild symptoms.

"I might have been the most surprised of anybody," Crosby said. "I see my kids and my family. I don't live a high-risk lifestyle. It was a surprise to me coming in and having a positive test. But the protocols and the things that are in place, I'm thankful to know."

Crosby said he and Molly discussed whether he should play this upcoming season, and he chose to after consulting her doctors. With Molly receiving a clean bill of health in all her recent checkups, Mason is looking forward to getting back to football.

"I really tried to focus on my mental processes and the things that I could control through that 10-day quarantine," Crosby said. "I feel like I came out of it really strong. I feel like I'm hitting the ball really well. The pop in my leg feels as good as it has in years. So I'm just gonna continue to build that. We have a couple more weeks here of just consistent work to get ready for the season."

2. Self-improvement never stops with Aaron Rodgers.

The Packers quarterback has been red hot in practice over the past few days, whether it's been the sharpness of Rodgers' throws or his completing 6-of-7 passes during the final two-minute drill on Sunday to set up a "game-winning" 47-yard field goal by Crosby.

If you ask Rodgers, it's not a coincidence. The two-time MVP believes he picked up on something after watching 10-year-old cut-ups during recent installs.

"I just noticed something from a clip from 2010, actually. It kind of hit me," Rodgers said. "And I know it was 10 years ago but the next day I went out to practice and started working on what I saw on the film, and the last couple days kind of happened.

"It's just a good reminder for all of us the tape of yourself can often be the most important to watch. Because you can always pick things up. I won't get into exactly what I saw but it definitely has helped me the last couple days."

3. Za'Darius Smith and Jaire Alexander returned to practice.

Smith and Alexander both participated in the 1½-hour practice, getting a chance to get re-acclimated back into their individual positional drills.

Smith sat out the Packers' previous four practices, while Alexander missed two days. In addition to the players currently on PUP, tackle Rick Wagner, defensive tackle Montravius Adams and safety Raven Greene didn't practice Monday. All three attended, though.

The Green Bay Packers practiced on Ray Nitschke Field on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020.

4. JK Scott is looking to put his best foot forward in 2020.

The Packers' third-year punter is again off to a strong start to training camp, with Crosby mentioning how Scott has looked "outstanding" through the start of camp.

The 6-foot-6 punter started the 2019 season strong and improved his numbers across the board in Year 2, finishing the year with 29 punts inside the 20-yard line. Still, Scott sees this year's goal as being more consistent for the full duration of the season.

In talking with special-teams coordinator Shawn Mennenga and personal punting coach Tom Rouen, Scott worked on developing and conditioning his body this offseason to better preserve himself for upwards of 19 games.

"Managing my body throughout the season and just kind of the physical fatigue and those types of things," Scott said. "I have a little bit of a different strategy this year with that. And the other thing is just when you kind of get into some different conditions and wind and those types of things you've got to make some adjustments and not just hit away, hit bombs."

5. The Packers are ready to head back inside Lambeau Field.

After Monday's light practice, the team will be back in pads for Tuesday's practice inside Lambeau. It'll be the second practice Head Coach Matt LaFleur has held inside the stadium bowl.

LaFleur said it's likely the Packers will close Tuesday's practice with younger players again participating in another live-tackling team period like they did Saturday.

"It'll be a longer practice," LaFleur said. "There will be a lot of call-it situations, so the guys may not know what's coming or going to get thrown at them. I think it'll be a great test to see where we're at as a football team."

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