The Green Bay Packers practiced on Tuesday morning, and a few key themes stood out from today's two-and-a-half-hour session. Third-round draft pick Ty Montgomery is quickly becoming one of the standout players in practice, as he put yet another great day together with his work both on offense and special teams.
On the defensive side of the ball, multiple players got playing time, but head coach Mike McCarthy is looking for more from the players at that position.
Here are our observations from today's practice, as well as some quotes from McCarthy's post-practice press conference.
Clay Matthews remained out on Tuesday, while fellow linebacker Adrian Hubbard sat out as well with an ankle issue that bothered him on Monday. Guard Matt Rotheram was back at practice after missing a few days with an ankle problem of his own.
On the inside with Matthews out, four different players took first-team reps next to Sam Barrington. Nate Palmer, Jake Ryan, Joe Thomas, and Carl Bradford all got reps there in different drills and practice periods, as the team appears to be giving all of them opportunities to earn playing time.
The secondary continues to be a bit of a work in progress as well. With Sam Shields and Casey Hayward starting at corner, Micah Hyde played the slot in the nickel with the starters, and Damarious Randall took the field in the dime package. Both Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter were also rotating in for some dime snaps as well.
The team ran some special teams drills today as well, primarily kickoff returns. Ty Montgomery was the top option as a returner, and one surprise as a blocker on the first team was undrafted rookie tight end Mitchell Henry. John Kuhn was still working on that unit as well, while Aaron Ripkowski was not.
Jordy Nelson took a few punt returns today. Seriously.
Ty Montgomery and Myles White both had impressive practices, with White making a few nice catches downfield and Montgomery looking good in space on screens and reverses. The rookie also caught a touchdown on the final play of practice, on which he ran a short fade route.
Offense had a good day:
Thought the quarterbacks threw the ball very well...receivers were able to get on top of the corners for some big plays.
Richard Rodgers is impressing his head coach:
Has definitely taken a step from last year. The thing I really like from what he's doing, he's had some dominant plays on special teams. He blocked two punts today. He's doing some really good things. He's taken a step offensively, in the passing game...he's comfortable, he's catching the ball very well.
Inside linebackers getting opportunities:
It's a big opportunity for the inside linebackers, and they need to start making some plays, quite frankly...there's too much thinking going on, which is understandable...they need to settle in and start playing.
Ty Montgomery is having a good camp so far:
Ty's doing a good job. We train our receivers at all four positions. There's no inside or outside pattern to it as far as the reps ... he's excellent as far as in the classroom, he's picked it up very easily, as well as anyone who's come through here. He's done some great things on special teams.
I would say the production for the offensive running the football is high ... I think it speaks volumes of the whole group. I think their football IQ as a whole is much higher.
On today's new injuries:
Adrian (Hubbard) had a groin and (tackle Vince) Kowalski is a concussion.
On why Eddie Lacy stopped practicing late in the session:
Eddie had some foot soreness, we pulled him out there toward the end.