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Training Camp Report #4: Monday, July 30

Jul 30, 2012 -- 5:36pm
 
Photo/Associated Press via ESPN.com

Thumbs up: You don’t have to be a special teams guru like the Green Bay Press-Gazette’s Rob Demovsky (“The Punting Professor”) to appreciate just how good Packers punter Tim Masthay is. Monday, he was masterful in a drill where he was punting with the line of scrimmage at the 50-yard line and he was using his Aussie-style punt to down the ball inside the 10. Masthay was successful on 7 of 9 punts, with only one going into the end zone on the fly (another bounced in). All three of Masthay’s final punts were downed inside the 5-yard line, including one on which rookie wideout Dale Moss did a great job of knocking the ball out of bounds.

Thumbs down:  Sam Shields needs to get his act together. He’s already been passed by Jarrett Bush for the No. 3 cornerback job, and he hasn’t responded the way one would have expected. After a rough practice on Saturday, when he saw Davon House and Casey Hayward take snaps that had been his as the No. 4 cornerback in the dime, Shields was back as the No. 4 cornerback in the dime to start practice on Monday. It didn’t last, however – although that likely had more to do with House’s strong day than anything Shields did. Nevertheless, Shields needs to start making plays to get some positive momentum going. Monday wasn’t a horrible day for him like Saturday was, but he didn’t do much to stem the negative tide, either.

Play of the day: The buzz so far in training camp has been about young cornerbacks House (who had a terrific interception of his own Monday) and Hayward (whose streak of practices with an INT ended at two on Monday), but the old man Charles Woodson still gets it done. In an 11-on-11 red-zone drill Monday, he jumped an Aaron Rodgers pass intended for tight end D.J. Williams, picked it off and was off to the races for what would have been a long pick-six interception return for a touchdown. The Packers were in their dime defense at the time, so Woodson, who has moved to safety in the base, was working as a slot corner.

Camp confidential: Off days are not unusual under McCarthy, who instituted the idea of giving the players every Wednesday off from practice several years ago. But such off days weren’t truly off days – players still had meetings and other team responsibilities. Not so on Sunday, when the players had a full-fledged day off, thanks to the new training camp rules set forth by the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association. “It was a full day off. We concluded meetings Saturday night at 9 o’clock and they reported today for practice,” McCarthy said. The off day is a welcome respite, even during a comparatively lighter camp than the old days. Veteran center Jeff Saturday, whose first training camp was in 1999 with Indianapolis, was instrumental as part of the NFLPA’s executive committee in drafting the CBA rules for camp. “Jim Mora ran a rough camp, buddy. And there were two-a-days, and you had full pads both practices,” Saturday recalled. “I remember a lot of guys getting carted off, cramped up or passed out from heat exhaustion, people dumping water on them in the cold tubs, it was very, very different. here, you’re going through one long practice, but you don’t have to suit it right back up. It’s completely different than my first year.”

Injury report: TE Eric Lair suffered a knee injury late in practice and did not return. He had ice wrapped to his right knee after practice, but McCarthy said he was still being examined, so how long he might be out is unclear. However, the team did sign tight end DeMarco Cosby later in the day, which may or may not have hinted at the severity of the injury. WR/KR Shaky Smithson (chest bruise) and TE Brandon Bostick (finger) returned to practice after missing time with injuries, while TE Jermichael Finley (concussion) participated only in individual, non-contact drills and was held out of 11-on-11 periods. DE Anthony Hargrove (personal matter, travel issue) practiced for the first time since Thursday, too. WR Greg Jennings (elbow bruise) and OT Mike McCabe (hip) remained sidelined. The seven players who failed their physicals remained sidelined: ILB Desmond Bishop (calf), G Jaymes Brooks (hamstring), DE Johnny Jones (knee), FB John Kuhn (knee), TE Andrew Quarless (knee), OT Derek Sherrod (leg) and OLB Frank Zombo (hamstring).

Practice schedule:The Packers practice in full pads on Tuesday at 8:15 a.m. at Ray Nitschke Field, weather permitting.

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