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Insider: Perry punishes backups; Tyler better get a grip

Aug. 19, 2012
 

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Running back Marc Tyler drops the ball during training camp practice Sunday in The Don Hutson Center. Megan McCormick/Press-Gazette

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Nick Perry had the kind of practice befitting a first-round draft pick.

The rookie outside linebacker on Sunday recorded a sack, batted down a pass and stuffed a running play at the line of scrimmage.

The only problem was it all came against the scout-team offense.

Other than recording a sack in the preseason opener against San Diego on Aug. 9 and scoring a few victories in one-on-one pass rushing drills, Perry’s impact has been minimal despite getting nearly every rep with the starting defense since camp opened. He recorded just one tackle in last Thursday’s preseason game against Cleveland.

Barring injury, Perry will be the opening-day starter on the left side. Even though his sack came against backup quarterback Graham Harrell, his deflected pass came off the hand of third-string quarterback B.J. Coleman and run stop was against rookie back Marc Tyler, perhaps those plays will help increase Perry’s confidence.

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Speaking of Tyler, the undrafted free agent from USC hasn’t helped himself with his ball-security issues.

His fumble at the Chargers’ 40-yard line in the final minute cost the Packers any shot at tying the game on the last drive, and he coughed it up again in practice on Sunday. Though he recovered his most recent fumble, it had to be unsettling for the coaches, who need to know they can trust a running back to hold on to the ball.

Tyler’s latest fumble was unforced. The ball came loose when he ran up the back of one of his blockers. Seen as a promising prospect despite a college career that fizzled, the son of former NFL running back Wendell Tyler has averaged just 1.8-yards per carry in the two preseason games despite getting a team-high 21 rushing attempts.

With Cedric Benson now a full-time participant in practice — Sunday was his first padded practice since signing last week — Tyler can’t afford any more miscues if he is to make a serious push for a spot.

Did you notice?

• Packers coach Mike McCarthy was the happiest person at Ray Nitschke Field when rain started to fall halfway through Sunday’s practice. While fans and observers scattered to find cover, McCarthy kept the team on the field through a steady rain.

“I think the rain was great,” McCarthy said. “I wish it would have stayed that way the whole time. You have games that you play in like that. You do wet-ball drills every 10th day that we’re out there, so to have the opportunity to practice in it, I thought was perfect.”

But McCarthy was later forced to move practice inside when lightning was spotted.

“I don’t mess around with lightning; never have, never will,” McCarthy said.

• There were a couple of changes in the No. 2 offensive line, which struggled against the Browns. Don Barclay moved from left guard to right guard, and Reggie Wells was inserted at left guard. Tommie Draheim, who played right guard, was demoted. Draheim worked at center with the scout team.

• Center Jeff Saturday was penalized for an illegal snap during a team period and per McCarthy’s rules was pulled out for one play. Saturday either didn’t want to come out or didn’t realize he was supposed to because he had to be told several times that he was being replaced by Evan Dietrich-Smith.

• Tackle Andrew Datko and defensive end Anthony Hargrove dropped out of practice, but McCarthy didn’t have updates on either player.

• In a short one-on-one pass rushing/pass blocking period, Dezman Moses, Daniel Muir and B.J. Raji had the only wins for the defense.

• Four of the five starting offensive linemen scored victories in the one-on-ones. Saturday, who has taken only two reps in the drill all camp, didn’t get a turn.

rdemovsk@greenbaypressgazette.com and follow him on Twitter @RobDemovsky.

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