On Friday morning, the Green Bay Packers held their seventh practice of the team's 2015 training camp. The health of the linebacker unit is quickly becoming a concern once again, as several veterans missed practice again due to injury.
With the team's Family Night practice taking place tomorrow night, it seems unlikely that any of these players will participate on the field, though it would be a shock not to see Clay Matthews make an appearance in some manner. Here's a breakdown of what happened on Friday morning, as well as some comments from head coach Mike McCarthy after practice wrapped up.
Once again, Clay Matthews, Nick Perry, and Adrian Hubbard sat out today's practice, along with Mike Neal and Ricky Collins, who remain on the PUP list, and a few others. Tight end Mitchell Henry and nose tackle Mike Pennel were the new names added to the injury list, as they did not participate either.
One new player came off the PUP list after being cleared to practice, however: running back John Crockett.
Brett Hundley has shown some signs of improvement, making a few nice throws including one that should have been a touchdown if not for a drop by his receiver. However, his inconsistency still showed up, as he had a few poor throws as well.
Rookie Damarious Randall had another nice play today, breaking up a Hundley pass in the end zone and sending Joe Whitt into an excited frenzy on the sideline.
Wideout Myles White was also identified as having a good day, with multiple catches. As the Journal-Sentinel's Tom Silverstein commented, he is performing the best of any wideout behind the top four (Nelson, Cobb, Adams, and Montgomery).
Kennard Backman has not been impressing, however. ESPN Wisconsin's Jason Wilde noted that the tight end dropped another pass in Friday's practice.
McCarthy Press Conference
On why Friday's practice was shorter than usual:
We had planned on cutting practice shorter by about 20 minutes, we ended up cutting back 30 minutes and doing ball drills. This the the point in camp you concern yourself with...you have to be smart with trying to prevent the fatigue injuries. It was a little slick out there with the light rain.
Why was Jayrone Elliott limited in practice?
Is the lack of reps for Clay Matthews a concern?
I'm not of high concern. I think the biggest and most important thing Clay needed is just to start from the beginning at the position. Go from square one ... get to practice them throughout the entire offseason. Now this is really the review for the veteran players.
(Mitchell) Henry had a finger and (Mike) Pennel had a groin. Groins and strains are in the fatigue injury category ... Josh Francis, he has a hip. Actually he has two hips, but he hurt one of them.
And T.J. Lang, who was subbed out on occasion today?
On John Crockett's return:
He was back on a limited basis as far as doing the individual work.
On the difference between a regular practice and Family Night:
The only difference, there's two things that'll be different tomorrow night. The structure of the practice will be different, because we're working on Lambeau Field ...The second part is really handling the football in front of the crowd, under the lights ... the competitive level, it'll go up. It had better go up ... You want to see how your young guys handle that. We want to make sure we handle the ball tomorrow, that will be the only chance we get to handle the ball at night before we go to New England.
On the team's feelings about Family Night:
Any time you can include your family into this inner circle that we operate at every day ... I think it's special and it's unique and there's nothing more unique than taking your kids out on Lambeau Field and watching the fireworks show. I know it's something our players and our coaches really look forward to.
Will McCarthy have a better ability to make in-game decisions after giving up playcalling?
I think that's the natural thought process. You're gonna see more. I know I'll see more of the game than I've seen in the past because I'll be involved in different conversations than I've been involved in the past ... my role has changed, it's going to be different.