Notebook: Barnett To Open Camp On PUP List

Linebacker Nick Barnett, looking to return to the field after sustaining a torn ACL in his right knee in Week 10 at Minnesota last season, will open training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list after not passing his physical on Friday. - More Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - July 31


Linebacker Nick Barnett, looking to return to the field after sustaining a torn ACL in his right knee in Week 10 at Minnesota last season, will open training camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list after not passing his physical on Friday.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy did not put a timetable on Barnett's anticipated return date, but expressed confidence that the seventh-year linebacker would be back on the field at some point during camp.

"Nick has had a very good rehab process throughout the spring and over the summer," McCarthysaid. "He looks good. I know the training staff is very positive of his testing results. Not to get into specifics and everything about Nick Barnett, but he's definitely headed in the right direction."

Barnett did participate in the jog-through portions of OTAs and mini-camp this offseason as he looked to pick up the intricacies of the 3-4 scheme that will be implemented by new defensive coordinator Dom Capers. If healthy, Barnett is expected to start at the "Mack" linebacker spot, the weak side position in Capers' 3-4, next to A.J. Hawk, who will play the "Buck" position.

"Nick has been working exclusively with the trainers," McCarthy said. "Now it's time for Nick Barnett and (inside linebackers coach) Winston Moss to get more into the football drills with the coach as opposed to the trainer, because it goes to a different level. He just has to take that next step."

Another linebacker, rookie seventh-round draft choice Brad Jones, will also open training camp on the PUP list after tweaking his back during the run test and failing his physical on Friday.

Defensive end Cullen Jenkins, who missed most of the 2008 season with a torn pectoral suffered in Week 4, passed his physical. McCarthy said the team would be smart with how much practice time Jenkins would see.

Tackle Breno Giacomini, expected to compete for the starting right tackle position, is expected to participate fully after missing the entire offseason following ankle surgery in February. McCarthy said the team would watch Giacomini during individual work since he had not faced live action in quite some time.

McCarthy said safety Atari Bigby, who had an injury-riddled 2008 campaign and was limited during the offseason as he recovered from an ankle injury, was fine but the team would monitor his practice schedule as well.

Tackle Chad Clifton, who had arthroscopic surgery on both knees this offseason, will likely practice just once a day during camp, which has been his customary schedule for several seasons.

Center Scott Wells, coming off of shoulder surgery this offseason, is expected to practice but will be monitored closely like the other injured players the first two or three days.

One deal left

Nose tackle B.J. Raji, the first of Green Bay's two first-round picks in 2009 and the ninth overall pick, is the lone draftee who has yet to sign with the team after fellow first-rounder Clay Matthews signed on Thursday night.

Raji saw time at both nose tackle and defensive end this offseason, working on the left side next to veteran nose tackle Ryan Pickett. McCarthy said how much time Raji sees at the two spots will be based partly on when he reports to camp.

"Really it depends on when he gets here because the end snaps are very important for him, especially in base," McCarthy said. "Just like most teams I would think, you start off with base your first practices and work your way to sub."

{sportsad300}McCarthy said it was too early to speculate whether Raji missing practice time would affect how the team is able to utilize him in the defense.

"I'm not ready to go there," McCarthy said. "We don't practice tomorrow until mid-afternoon. That is a lot of time in contract negotiations. But you don't ever want to see a young player miss snaps. They are important, no doubt."

What a difference

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers entered training camp last season having never started an NFL game.

Coming off a 2008 campaign that saw him become only the second player in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards in the first season that he started a game, Rodgers is now firmly entrenched as one of the Packers' leaders.

"I think the biggest change that I see in Aaron Rodgers is his growth with his teammates in the locker room and the way people react to him," McCarthy said. "I see a young man that is still busting his butt, paying the extra time to the quarterback school. So I see a very consistent football player that is finding different ways to improve, whether it his offseason program. He goes back to San Diego between the OTAs and now.

"He has improved every year from our first year together, so I think he is very consistent there, but the biggest change I see is just really the interaction and the way he treats (his teammates) and the way his teammates treat him. You are definitely seeing his leadership ability moving forward."

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