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Notebook: Tavecchio continues to outperform Crosby

Aug. 12, 2013
 
ES_GPG_Packers vs. Cardinals_8.9.13
Green Bay Packers kicker Giorgio Tavecchio (7) maintained his edge over Mason Crosby (2) with another solid performance during Monday's closed practice. / Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette Media

Injury report

Did not practice: WR Kevin Dorsey (hamstring), WR Charles Johnson (knee), RB Eddie Lacy (hamstring), S Sean Richardson (neck), CB Casey Hayward (hamstring), CB Tramon Williams (knee), OL T.J. Lang (back), OL JC Tretter (ankle), OL Andrew Datko (concussion), OL Derek Sherrod (leg), TE Andrew Quarless (quad), TE Ryan Taylor (knee), WR Jordy Nelson (knee), DL Datone Jones (ankle), DL Jerel Worthy (knee), OL Bryan Bulaga (knee).
Returned: RB DuJuan Harris (knee).

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Street free agent Giorgio Tavecchio maintained his advantage over veteran Mason Crosby in the battle for the Green Bay Packers’ kicking job Monday.

During the Packers’ closed practice at Nitschke Field, Tavecchio successfully converted 8 of 8 field goals, while Crosby made 7 of 8.

It was the busiest practice of training camp for the kickers, who didn’t attempt any field goals or extra points during the team’s 17-0 loss to Arizona in the preseason opener Friday night.

“I thought they hit the ball better than the last time we lined them up,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “We increased the volume; we need to continue to do that. We’re kicking every other day and we just can’t do enough of it.”

Tavecchio has made 27 of 31 field goal attempts (87.1 percent) during training camp, while Crosby has connected on 22 of 31 (71.0 percent).

Alternating between the right and left hash marks Monday, Tavecchio connected on field goals of 36, 42, 46, 53, 36, 42, 46 and 53 yards. Crosby made field goals from the same distances, except he missed wide left on his second attempt from 46 yards.

“It was a warm day today so the balls were flying,” Tavecchio said. “I felt good. The snaps and the holds were perfect today so I got into a rhythm and the ball was coming off my foot well.”

Lang sits out

Starting right guard T.J. Lang, who is battling a back injury, said he was ready to practice Monday but McCarthy wouldn’t let him.

“I got treatment this morning, I was ready to put my cleats on and go out there and practice and I saw coach in the cafeteria,” Lang said. “He told me he doesn’t want me going through what I did last year with the elbow injury, just beating it up day after day, making sure I’m resting the thing before I get back out. I wanted to fight it a little bit but it’s hard to argue with his decision. And I appreciate the fact he’s looking out for my health, making sure I’m ready to go before I do anything worse.”

Lang injured his back at practice last Wednesday. “It was in one of the run-blocking drills,” he said. “Kind of took a pretty violent shot to the back, kind of got rolled up on, extended the wrong way. We did a lot of tests: X-rays, MRIs, (but it’s) nothing serious.”

Lang played in the first series of the preseason opener Friday night with the No. 1 offense and said he felt fine. But once he came out of the game his back stiffened up.

“We’re just being precautionary,” McCarthy said of Lang.

With Lang out, Don Barclay took most of the snaps at right guard and Marshall Newhouse at right tackle.

Long layoffs

Tackle Derek Sherrod and safety Sean Richardson continue to watch practice from the sidelines with no end in sight to their long layoffs.

Sherrod broke his leg in two places in December 2011 and hasn’t played or practiced since. When asked if Sherrod might be ready to practice next week, McCarthy was non-commital.

“I don’t know about that,” McCarthy said. “Derek Sherrod is making progress. He’s very confident. The medical staff feels good about the way he’s coming. ... We’re trying to get him comfortable where he’s shown the explosion and the ability to push through the rehab process, because once you pass that physical you can’t turn back.”

Richardson, meanwhile, injured his neck last November and his status remains in limbo. “Actually, we talked about him this morning,” McCarthy said. “The evaluation that just occurred with the information that was given to Dr. (Pat) McKenzie, we feel we still need to wait. There’s still some healing that needs to take place.”

Longwell retiring as Packer

Kicker Ryan Longwell will retire as a Packer, the team announced.

Longwell is the Packers’ all-time leading scorer and has the best field goal percentage in franchise history (81.6%).

Longwell played nine seasons with the Packers (1997-2005) after signing as an undrafted free agent and beating out third-round draft pick Brett Conway.

He signed an unrestricted free agent contract with the Vikings in 2006 and played in Minnesota for six seasons.

Longwell ranks No. 13 on the NFL’s all-time scoring list with 1,687 career points.

Extra points

■The Packers held their first closed training camp practice in as long as anyone could remember. The stands at Nitschke Field were empty and tarps were placed on the fences around the field. Players worked out in shorts and helmets.

“A closed practice is more of a reflection on what you’re trying to work on,” McCarthy said. “Today’s focus was just working on concepts that we probably didn’t get to hit as far as the quantity and quality during our installation phase. It’s just things that we would rather work on in private.

“It’s great to have the open practices, it’s obviously very beneficial for the environment it creates, and for the fans. But there are some things that you do not want exposed until the season comes.”

■Rookie first-round draft choice Datone Jones, who suffered a sprained ankle in the preseason opener, was dressed but didn’t participate in practice. “He’ll miss a couple of days this week,” McCarthy said. “I don’t have a good handle on if he’ll be available for St. Louis.”

■McCarthy said running back Eddie Lacy wasn’t ready to return to practice. The team was waiting for the results of a test on Lacy, who suffered a hamstring injury last week and didn’t play against Arizona.

■Undrafted free agent receiver Tyrone Walker and rookie cornerback Micah Hyde saw more action on the practice field than normal. “Certain guys played well in the game (and) got some increased reps,” McCarthy said. “I’m sure you saw that with Walker and also Micah Hyde. Some of the players that performed well are earning more opportunities.”

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