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Insider: Rookie receiver Boykin earns coach's mention

Aug. 27, 2012
 

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Wide receiver Jarrett Boykin tries to get by cornerback Casey Hayward during practice last Tuesday at Ray Nitschke Field. Megan McCormick/Press-Gazette

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Thumbs up

When training camp began, Diondre Borel and Tori Gurley looked like good bets to make a strong push for a roster spot if the Packers kept a sixth receiver. And if they both performed well, it didn’t seem out of the question that the Packers could keep seven receivers.

Now, it might be a safer bet that the Packers will keep only five receivers like they did last year.

And if they do keep a sixth receiver, it might not be Borel or Gurley, both of whom spent last season on the Packers’ practice squad and turned down offers to sign with other teams in the middle of the season.

It could be rookie Jarrett Boykin, an undrafted free agent from Virginia Tech. In a conversation about backups on Monday, coach Mike McCarthy brought up Boykin’s name unprompted, saying “I like what Boykin is doing.” He said the same thing of rookie free agent tight end Brandon Bostick.

Boykin still appears to be behind both Borel and Gurley on special teams, which could hurt his chances, but the 6-foot-2 and 218-pound Boykin is tied for the team lead with eight catches through the first three preseason games.

When asked about Boykin on Monday, offensive coordinator Tom Clements said he has had “a great camp” and praised Boykin’s intelligence and ability to pick up the Packers’ complex offense.

Thumbs down

Almost every day in practice this summer, Aaron Rodgers and the starting offense have put on a no-huddle clinic, moving the ball down the field with relative ease.

But on Monday, things weren’t clicking.

Starting at their own 20-yard line, Rodgers completed just 2-of-5 passes, and the drill ended at their own 45-yard line. Twice, Rodgers and tight end Jermichael Finley failed to hook up. Rodgers threw high on the first play, and Finley got a hand on it but couldn’t make the catch. Finley also got two hands on a diving attempt over the middle but couldn’t finish the play.

The drill also was slowed by a false start penalty on left tackle Marshall Newhouse.

Sometimes, it’s good when the offense stalls out because it means the defense did its job. But this was more a case of the offense stumbling than anything else.

Did you notice?

• Monday’s two-hour practice was essentially the final full practice of training camp. It was the last practice in full pads. Tuesday’s 11 a.m. workout, the 21st and final practice of camp, will be conducted in helmets and shorts and won’t contain any live competitive periods.

• It was an eventful day for Rodgers even before he got a shaving-cream pie in the face from fullback John Kuhn in the locker room. He not only took scout team reps at quarterback, but he had an interception — that’s right, he picked off a pass — while playing safety on the look team during a jog-through period.

• For the second straight day, backup center Sampson Genus nearly rolled a shotgun snap back to the quarterback. He consistently snaps the ball too low.

• There were no one-on-one pass rushing/pass blocking drills on Monday, which means that starting center Jeff Saturday took only two reps the entire camp in that drill. He won them both. Defensive end Ryan Pickett took only three reps, going 1-2. They were the only starters to take fewer than five reps in the drill.

• Milwaukee Bucks first-round draft pick John Henson watched practice from the sidelines. The 6-foot-11 forward from North Carolina was the 14th overall pick in the draft. Former Packers running back Ahman Green also was in attendance.

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

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