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Packers insider: Thumbs up to Hyde, Thumbs down to Crosby

Jul. 26, 2013
 

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Green Bay Packers cornerback Micah Hyde runs drills during training camp practice Friday at Ray Nitschke Field. / Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette Media
Green Bay Packers cornerback Micah Hyde (33) runs drills during training camp practice Friday at Ray Nitschke Field.

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Thumbs up

Making plays really will mean something when the pads come on Sunday, but fifth-round draft pick Micah Hyde distinguished himself on the first day of training camp Friday by knocking down several passes. In 11-on-11 drills, Hyde broke up a Graham Harrell pass over the middle to Alex Gillett and later a throw to Sederrik Cunningham. Then in 7-on-7s, Hyde knocked away a B.J. Coleman pass to tight end Andrew Quarless. “If you had asked me who was the one player that jumped out to me today, I’d say it was Micah,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “That’s something that you saw on his college film at Iowa, his ability to play the football. He has excellent ball skills. He’s a very good anticipator. He jumped out to me.” Hyde practiced extensively with the No. 1 defense because injuries to Casey Hayward (hamstring) and Davon House (illness) opened up snaps for several cornerbacks. Hyde has ordinary speed for the position (4.56 seconds in the 40), but the Packers liked his potential as a nickel/dime slot cover man because of his instincts and ability to play the ball. As he did in offseason practices, Hyde looked like a less athletic version of Hayward. The day wasn’t a complete win for Hyde, though. In the no-huddle period that finished practice, he gave up a 17-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to James Jones in the corner of the end zone.

Thumbs down

You can bet Mason Crosby and his coaches were hoping he would start camp ablazin’, make nearly every live field goal attempt and maybe even shut the door on his kicking competition with Giorgio Tavecchio in two or three weeks. Well, Crosby didn’t come out ablazin’. It’s not like his first live kicking against Tavecchio was a disaster, but the seventh-year pro went 4-for-6 with misses from 50 and 53 yards, and makes from 33, 36, 44 and 53. Tavecchio went 5-for-6 from the same distances, with his lone miss from 50. It’s only one practice, and both of Crosby’s misses were from long range, so it will be forgotten quickly if he goes on a strong run in the next week. But the Packers will be doing more live kicking this year than in the past several years because Crosby hasn’t had competition in camp since his rookie year of 2007, and everyone attending and monitoring camp will be watching closely. A cleaner start might have eased his and the team’s minds. “We want to make sure we have plenty of information,” McCarthy said. “I think that’s obvious, anytime you have two kickers, as opposed to one. When you have one kicker, you really worry about too many reps.”

Did you notice?

• Return man and receiver Jeremy Ross was in a new role on special teams as Tim Masthay’s personal protector with the No. 1 punt team. Fullback John Kuhn held that job the last few years and worked as the backup Friday. Though Ross is a receiver, he has enough size (215 pounds) to hold up as a blocker and would provide more speed in coverage if he wins the job.

• Harrelland Coleman evenly split the backup quarterback snaps. In team drills and 7-on-7s, the rotation was Rodgers taking four snaps, then Harrell and Coleman two each. “We want to make sure they both have an opportunity to compete for the job,” McCarthy said.

• Second-year offensive lineman Don Barclay could end up being the backup center on game day if he doesn’t win the starting right tackle job. Though Greg Van Roten worked as the No. 2 center behind Evan Dietrich-Smith, Barclay played center regularly also when he wasn’t taking snaps at right tackle. The Packers usually suit up only seven offensive linemen on game day, so if Barclay is a viable backup at center, he would be attractive as one of the two game-day backups because he could play at least three positions (right tackle, right guard and center).

Andrew Datko, who spent all last season on the practice squad, played every position but center.

pdougher@pressgazettemedia.com and follow him on Twitter @PeteDougherty.

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