Training Camp Report: Plays On Both Sides Highlight First Two-A-Day

What would have been the play of Sunday morning was a near-miss, as wide receiver Greg Jennings had a deep ball from quarterback Aaron Rodgers glance off his fingertips after he had gotten behind cornerback Tramon Williams down the right sideline, but Jennings bounced back to redeem himself at night. - More Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Aug. 2


What would have been the play of Sunday morning was a near-miss, as wide receiver Greg Jennings had a deep ball from quarterback Aaron Rodgers glance off his fingertips after he had gotten behind cornerback Tramon Williams down the right sideline, but Jennings bounced back to redeem himself at night.

"I should have taken off all of my pads, went one by one, individually, and apologized to every fan that had to watch that," Jennings joked after the morning session. "Greg was very disappointing today. He had a horrible day today, but I promise Greg will be better."

Jennings followed up on that promise in the second session of the day, first catching a deep pass down the middle from Rodgers with linebacker Aaron Kampman covering him and safety Atari Bigby coming over late to help.

Jennings then made the catch of the night as the defense jumped offsides and Rodgers threw a long pass down the right sideline as Jennings was once again matched up with Williams. Williams had inside position and looked to be in place to make the interception, but Jennings wrestled it away for a big gain.

The defense made their share of plays as well. In the morning, safety Anthony Smith knifed into the backfield for what would have been a clean shot on running back Ryan Grant, while linebackers A.J. Hawk and Brandon Chillar blitzed for a sack of Rodgers. Linebacker Brady Poppinga also got into the backfield for what would have been a sack of quarterback Brian Brohm.

Cornerback Charles Woodson made a nice read and interception on a ball over the middle from Rodgers to wide receiver Donald Driver, while safety Nick Collins made a good deflection along the sideline on a comeback route to wide receiver Brett Swain, barely getting over there in time. During the evening, Woodson nearly made another interception when he read Brohm's bootleg left and attempted pass to Swain.

The big hit of the morning went to running back DeShawn Wynn, who knocked linebacker Desmond Bishop's helmet off on a blitz pickup.

Year two

Jermichael Finley is expected to challenge incumbent Donald Lee for the starting tight end position, but the second-year man said he is not concerning himself at this point with how many snaps he will be getting this season.

"I am just thinking about winning and getting to the (Super Bowl) like every team is right now," Finley said. "I'm not in the competing mode right now.

"Me and D-Lee are great friends. Hopefully they can get a lot of two-tight end sets going. Hopefully both of us can be successful. That's how I feel."

The competition at tight end includes veteran Tory Humphrey, as well as Evan Moore, who missed his entire rookie season in 2008 with a knee injury sustained during the preseason.

Finley played in all 14 games with one start as a rookie in '08, catching six passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. He flashed some of his big-play ability down the stretch, posting a 35-yard reception in Week 16 at Chicago, a 26-yard grab in Week 17 vs. Detroit, as well as his first touchdown catch in the Lions game.

On Sunday morning, Finley made an awkward adjustment on a pass from Rodgers on a pass over the middle and wasn't able to hang on to the ball. During the night session he made a nice grab over the middle from quarterback Matt Flynn and absorbed a big hit from safety Aaron Rouse.

While he has shown glimpses of his pass-catching talents, Finley said much of his attention in camp will be turned to developing his blocking skills even more as he attempts to lock down a larger role for 2009.

"That's what I am really focused on," Finley said. "Everybody knows I can catch and run routes. Right now I am working on getting that killer instinct in blocking and driving."

Going camping

Despite entering the league in 2007, punter Jeremy Kapinos is expecting to go through his first full training camp as a pro this season.

Kapinos, who signed with the Packers late in the '08 season and punted for the final four games, was waived early on in camp as a rookie with the N.Y. Jets in 2007, and was released by New York last year prior to the start of training camp.

Unlike last year's camp that saw the Packers carry just one punter in Jon Ryan, Kapinos is competing with Durant Brooks for the punting job in a battle that is expected to be waged throughout the preseason.

"You're not really looking over your shoulder," Kapinos said. "You're more worried about the type of punter you can be. I am more focused on the things that can make me a good, quality punter."

{sportsad300}Injury/participation update

Four players coming off of surgeries from the offseason - Bigby, defensive end Cullen Jenkins, tackle Chad Clifton and center Scott Wells -- sat out the morning workout but returned to action for Sunday night's practice. The players are expected to stay on that one-a-day schedule when the Packers practice twice a day during camp.

In Jenkins' absence in the morning, defensive end Justin Harrell took snaps with the No. 1 defense until dropping out of practice late with leg cramps. Defensive end Michael Montgomery then filled in. Harrell was back on the field at night.

Smith took the vast majority of the snaps with the first unit in place of Bigby in the morning.

Cornerback/safety Jarrett Bush sustained an abdominal strain in the morning session and did not practice in the evening. Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Bush would be evaluated further Monday morning.

Defensive end Johnny Jolly suffered a sprained right ankle Sunday night when he got rolled up on during a short-yardage drill. McCarthy said Jolly would also be evaluated Monday morning.

Nose tackle Ryan Pickett sat out the night session, but McCarthy said they were just being smart with a veteran player to give him some rest. Anthony Toribio worked at nose tackle with the No. 1 defense in Pickett's place.

Linebacker Jeremy Thompson missed some time later on in Sunday night's practice with leg cramps, giving rookie Clay Matthews his first opportunity to work with the first defense. Thompson did return for the next team period.

On the offensive line in the morning, the No. 1 unit was the same as during the offseason with Tony Moll playing left tackle for Clifton, Jason Spitz at center, and Josh Sitton at right guard. Allen Barbre remained at right tackle and Daryn Colledge at left guard.

At night, Clifton returned to his left tackle spot, with a rotation being employed again at center with Spitz and Wells both seeing time, as well as right guard with Sitton and Spitz each getting work there with the first unit.

Linebackers Nick Barnett (PUP list/knee) and Brad Jones (PUP/back) sat out both practices. Rookie nose tackle B.J. Raji was not at either practice since he has yet to sign with the team.

In the stands

Attendance for the morning practice was estimated at 1,400, while an even larger crowd appeared to be on hand for the first-ever night practice at Ray Nitschke Field.

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