Packers training camp: Full pad practice
As expected, the first practice in full pads was a lively one. I counted three dust-ups in practice with each one bigger than the last. That's typical for any NFL team when the pads are put on, there's live hitting for the first time and the f-bombs are flying like it was a trip to the dentist's office. Coach Mike McCarthy said after practice that the adrenaline level was high but the discipline level was low.
Other observations from Sunday: early on Nate Palmer and Micah Hyde were taking snaps with the first team defense. Hyde has taken advantage of a thinned out secondary and Palmer has a good chance at adding some quality depth to the outside linebacker position.
Running back Johnathan Franklin struggled catching passes from the jugs machine. That could be a bit of an issue considering he's expected to be a pass-catching back but it might've been nothing more than just a rough series. Franklin atoned for it later in practice by making a number of nice plays during 7-on-7 work. Two things certainly stand out with him: one is the ability to hit the corner and accelerate, two is the way he uses his smaller size to his advantage. He gets lost in the garbage at the line of scrimmage and can dart in and out quickly.
When the hitting began the defense got after Eddie Lacy. Lineman Jordan Miller zeroed in on Lacy twice during live drills. Could be because few could catch Franklin once he got out in space.
Opportunity is abundant at the wide receiver position with three players missing practice due to injury. Tyrone Walker certainly took advantage with some nice receptions on deep routes. Myles White made up for a rough Friday with a couple of nice catches as well.
It was a big up-and-down day for cornerback James Nixon. He fumbled a kickoff return but made arguably the play of the day when he intercepted Aaron Rodgers during the passing drill.
Another cornerback making a name for himself is Loyce Means, who saw quite a few snaps today.
During various hitting drills Datone Jones, Brad Jones and Sam Barrington all made nice tackles. Obviously tackling was an issue with this team the last couple of years and this was just a very small window but those three guys can be difference-makers this year.
Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman faced a lot of pressure during the blitz drill, this was due in large part to the inability of the second team offensive line to keep protection up. Again, it's just a small glimpse but depth has been a problem upfront and no one stood out today among the reserves.
James Starks has had a solid opening to training camp. The big question is are we seeing a new Starks or is this just a mirage? He's one of the guys who needs to play well once the preseason begins.
One of the neat things about training camp is getting to watch the assistant coaches up close. Linebackers coach Kevin Greene got all fired up after a play during 7-on-7, jumping around and yelling. He was pleased about something. One thing is for sure, he looks like he could still wreak havoc in the NFL. Another moment involved defensive line coach Mike Trgovac, who was talking up technique to all of his lineman, from rookie Josh Boyd to veteran B.J. Raji.
The Packers have a full off day Monday before going through another full pad practice on Tuesday.