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Notebook: McCarthy Excited About Punting Competition

While neither one of the punters on Green Bay’s roster have any regular-season NFL experience, Head Coach Mike McCarthy likes the talent level of both Tim Masthay and Chris Bryan. - More Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - April 30


While neither one of the punters on Green Bay's roster has any regular-season NFL experience, Head Coach Mike McCarthy likes the talent level of both Tim Masthay and Chris Bryan.

Friday's rookie orientation practice was the first team workout for the tandem this offseason, and both punters got their fair share of kicks off inside The Don Hutson Center.

"They've been working, they've been here working really since Chris was signed on," McCarthy said. "As far as the quantity, I would say that would fall, that was probably a normal workout. Obviously they were hitting the roof the whole time, so we were able to shoot some jugs to the returners to make sure they were getting the work.

"I think that's going to be a very good competition that we'll have to keep a close eye on all the way through training camp."

Masthay was an All-SEC punter at Kentucky and spent time with Indianapolis last year during the preseason, but didn't get any game experience before being released. Bryan is a 28-year-old rookie attempting to learn the American game after spending five seasons playing Australian Rules Football.

After punter Jeremy Kapinos struggled last season with consistency, McCarthy is optimistic that the team could take a step forward with one of the two new punters this season.

"I think we definitely have crossed that hurdle is the way I view the punting position," McCarthy said. "There's definitely more talent with these two guys than there has been in the past, and that's definitely a big step in the right direction."

In the family

Tackle/guard Marshall Newhouse, who was selected in the fifth round by the Packers out of TCU, has a chance to become the second member of his family to play in the NFL.

Newhouse's cousin, Robert Newhouse, played fullback for the Dallas Cowboys for 12 seasons (1972-83) and ranks fifth in franchise history in career rushing yards.

Newhouse said he received a congratulatory call from his cousin after he was selected by the Packers last Saturday, but hasn't caught up with him as of yet.

Since Newhouse was born in 1988, he doesn't have any memories of his cousin's career, and said he doesn't feel any added pressure to live up to the family name.

"It's a great thing," Newhouse said. "It's not a burden. I have gotten used to it. It has been since I was little. I didn't really know much about him until now. I'm blessed to have had family in the NFL, so that's the way I see it."

Robert played against the Packers five times during career, including a playoff contest during the 1982 season. He never played in a game at Lambeau Field, but did play in three contests in Milwaukee at County Stadium. In a game Nov. 12, 1978, at Milwaukee, he rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns in the Cowboys' 42-14 win.

Newhouse's father, John, played football at the University of Houston and was a part of three Cotton Bowl teams (1977, 1979-80). Two of his other cousins, Reggie Newhouse at Baylor and Rod Newhouse at Rice, also played Division I football.

Newhouse played left tackle his final three seasons at TCU, but is expected to work at various spots along the line. During Friday's rookie orientation practice, he took snaps at left guard and left tackle.

Carrying it over

Defensive end Mike Neal might have set several team weightlifting records during his time at Purdue, but the second-round pick said he doesn't put much stock into them.

His weightlifting statistics include a 510-pound bench press as well as 31 repetitions of 225 pounds at the combine.

"I really don't care (about the numbers)," Neal said. "You lift and you lift and you lift and you get the numbers that you can get. I want to be able to use what I have and put it on the field. There are plenty of people that can bench over 500, but can those plenty of people come on the field and play football? That's what it comes down to, using what I have to my advantage.

"I think learning the scheme and being able to use my hips and explosion and being able to work with the weight and conditioning coaches and using what I have will play to my advantage. I really don't care about the weight-room numbers."

{sportsad300}Neal will be joining a veteran defensive-line group that helped the Packers rank No. 1 against the run in 2009 for the first time in franchise history, but the 22-year-old is aiming to make an immediate contribution as a rookie.

"I look at it as they drafted me in the second round," Neal said. "They have an expectation. I have to meet that expectation. I have my own expectation and I like to exceed my own expectations.

"I think as long as I do that, I'll be fine. I really set the bar high, just as high as they do. I just want to get in here and be worth every dime that they spend on me."

On the Web

Bryan took an unusual path to the NFL from Australia, and how teams found out about him was also a bit out of the ordinary.

Bryan spent the last two years working out with coaches from the ProKick Australia academy to prepare for the American game, and has worked with Nathan Chapman, a former punter who went to training camp with the Packers in 2004.

Bryan said Chapman helped put together some clips of him punting the ball, which they then put on YouTube and sent to teams around the league that they felt might have a need at punter.

Bryan laughed when he was asked if there were any questions about the legitimacy of his punting performance on film.

"No, it was funny (laughing)," Bryan said. "There were a lot of comments that we had the markers set out every 10 yards, and there were some questions like, 'Oh, are you sure all of those are 10 yards apart and not nine?' We were like, 'We're not going to pull the wool over your eyes.'

"If I can't do it, I can't do it. I'm not going to come over here and not be any good. There are always questions, but the proof was there with all of the coaches putting the clock on the video. It was all good."

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