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Training Camp Report: Kickers Going Toe-To-Toe


The battle to be the kicker for the Green Bay Packers is far from settled at this point.

On Wednesday (and like most days), kickers Billy Cundiff and Dave Rayner took turns drilling field goals from increasingly longer distances. Each went 5-for-5, hitting from 29, 34, 39, 44 and 52 yards, all with the wind at their back.

"Kicking with the wind is easy," special teams coach Mike Stock joked.

All kidding aside, it was an impressive performance by both and their efforts will continue to be tracked daily.

"We'll probably take the whole training camp and evaluate that," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "Obviously the games will play a big part in that."

Cundiff is the more experienced of the two, having played the last four seasons in Dallas. He made a name for himself with respectable accuracy in 2003-04, hitting 43 of 55 field goals (78 percent) over those two seasons.

"I think Billy is a true pro," McCarthy said. "He's done a great job in our offseason program. He's really handled everything we've thrown at him, and he's very consistent."

Rayner is just in his second year after being a kickoff specialist for Indianapolis last season and is known for his strong leg. Stock said he gets his distance from his leg speed and whip, much like a golfer's club-head speed with the driver. His 52-yarder on Wednesday, albeit with the wind, had at least 10 yards to spare.

"He's a young guy with a big, strong leg and a lot of confidence, so he's a good candidate," Stock said. "It's good competition."

Though it's always possible the Packers could look to the waiver wire for another kicking candidate, the competition will play out as is for now.

"The way I feel about it, I think they both can kick in the league," Stock said.

More good throws

Backup quarterback Aaron Rodgers followed up a strong day on Tuesday with another one Wednesday. During team drills, he hit both Chris Francies and Vince Butler on similar sideline go routes with well-placed throws that beat good coverage.

Francies made a nice diving catch on his play, drawing a loud cheer from the fans along the Oneida Street fence.

"I think he has a complete understanding of what we're trying to do on offense, a complete understanding of his role as far as his individual responsibilities, as far as footwork and reads and things like that," McCarthy said.

"The next step he needs to make is just play with a little more urgency. I think you're seeing signs of that every day. He made three throws last night that are as good as you'll see, and he just needs to continue to do that on a daily basis."

McCarthy cautioned, however, that Rodgers shouldn't be evaluated just on the highlights. It's not only making the tough pass when you have to, but not making the tough one when there's a better option.

"With quarterback play, let's not all get enamored with the 2 or 3 throws," McCarthy said. "He's got to also make the easy throws, which are the checkdowns, and just playing smart.

"I think he can keep continuing to improve on his decision-making and improve on his urgency, but I think you're seeing a young man who has reached the comfort level."

Rainy finish

Though it rained off and on throughout practice, the last 15 minutes or so were carried out in a heavy downpour. But McCarthy didn't express any concerns about the potentially slick practice conditions.

"You have to play in it someday I'm sure," he said.

Injury update

Quarterback Brett Favre wore a black rubber sleeve on his lower left leg to protect the calf that was banged during a blitz drill on Tuesday night, but participated in the entire practice. McCarthy said it's not serious and if he were concerned, he would have rested him.

Running back Najeh Davenport (ankle) sat out another practice, though this was the first time he missed a workout when only one was scheduled. On days with two practices, he's been sitting out the morning workout and would do so again Thursday, though it was unclear if he'd be ready to return Thursday night.

Guard Junius Coston returned to practice after recovering from heat-related issues the past couple of days.

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