Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby signs autographs Aug. 6 during training camp at Ray Nitschke Field. / H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media
Green Bay Packers cornerback Casey Hayward goes through drills Monday during training camp practice at Ray Nitschke Field. / H. Marc Larson/Press-Gazette Media
New injury: CB James Nixon (knee, ankle),
Did not participate: WR Charles Johnson (knee), WR Randall Cobb (bicep), S Sean Richardson (neck), CB Tramon Williams (knee), OL J.C. Tretter (ankle), OL Bryan Bulaga (knee), OL Derek Sherrod (leg), TE Matthew Mulligan (elbow), WR Jordy Nelson (knee), DL Jerel Worthy (knee).
Returned: DL Datone Jones (ankle), TE Andrew Quarless (quad), CB Casey Hayward (hamstring).
Place-kicker Mason Crosby continued his remarkable turnaround since a rough outing during the Green Bay Packers’ Family Night scrimmage.
Crosby drilled 9-of-10 field goal attempts in practice on Monday at Nitschke Field. That followed a 3-for-3 performance against the St. Louis Rams on Saturday at the Edward Jones Dome.
“I like the way Mason Crosby has responded since Family Night,” said Packers coach Mike McCarthy. “He’s stroking the football with a lot more consistency. That’s all he really needs to do. He has tremendous leg speed for a kicker. He’s very talented. I like the groove that he’s in.”
Since going 3-for-8 on Family Night on Aug. 3 and getting booed at Lambeau Field, Crosby has converted 32 of his last 35 field goals attempts (91.4%) in practices and games.
“I had a bad night, it was just a really bad night,” said Crosby of Family Night. “I’ve moved on from it. Since then I’ve been hitting the ball the way I want to.
“That night, I just evaluated it, broke it down and then I moved forward.”
Crosby drilled field goals from 35, 41, 45, 49, 34, 39, 47, 53 and 55 yards on Monday. His only miss was wide right from 50 yards.
“Right now I’m really feeling like I’m in a good place,” said Crosby. “Every time I go out there I have a great plan and I’m really putting a good strike on the ball.”
Crosby’s chief competitor, street free agent Giorgio Tavecchio, made 8 of 10 field goal attempts in practice. He made his kicks from the same distances as Crosby, except he missed wide right from 41 and 50 yards.
Tavecchio has made 46-of-53 (86.8%) field goal attempts overall during training camp, while Crosby is 44 of 54 (81.5%). Since Family Night Tavecchio is 30 of 34 (88.2%), which is slightly worse than Crosby, and he hurt his cause with a 49-yard miss indoors against the Rams.
After missing all of training camp with a hamstring injury, second-year cornerback Casey Hayward was back on the practice field.
“Trying to get back into the groove of things,” said Hayward, who took part in a limited number of team reps.
“I wouldn’t be out there if I wasn’t 100 percent. I felt pretty good out there. There are a few kinks I want to work out with my leg.”
Hayward injured the hamstring prior to the start of training camp.
“I was working out in Atlanta running and it was just a freak accident,” said Hayward. “I knew as soon as it happened. I wasn’t sure how long I would be out. I wasn’t hoping to be out this long, but the MRI showed I pulled it pretty good.”
Hayward likely won’t play until the final preseason game.
Nelson eyes return
Receiver Jordy Nelson, who will miss the entire preseason after having knee surgery earlier this month, is still hoping to be back for the regular-season opener against the San Francisco 49ers.
“It was something I would have been able to play through if it happened in-season or something,” said Nelson, “but like I said there was enough time that we kind of took the chance that if everything went smooth we could get in and out during training camp and hopefully have a healthy 16-game season.”
The surgery corrected a nerve issue that originally bothered Nelson in college. The knee flared up at the start of training camp.
Nelson said the knee hadn’t been a problem since college.
“You want to avoid surgery as much as possible and that’s what we tried to do,” said Nelson. “(I) thought we had it taken care of.”
Packers receiver James Jones underwent a similar procedure on his knee earlier in his career.
Nelson said his knee is coming along in rehab. “It’s felt good,” he said. “We’re slowly progressing still. We’ve been able to do different things with different stuff the trainers have in there for us to speed up the process, so it felt good. We’re right on where we thought we would be.”
Defensive tackle Johnny Jolly continues to make plays, and if he keeps this up, he stands a good chance of making the final roster.
After intercepting a pass against the Rams on Saturday and tipping another ball that led to a Jarrett Bush interception, Jolly was back at it on Monday, batting down a pair of passes at the line of scrimmage.
“It's just hand-eye coordination,” Jolly said. “Seeing the quarterback's release, and getting your hands up in the pass lane as fast as you can from there. Also you've got to get a little push on the offensive line.”
Jolly also credited his days as a basketball player.
“I played a little basketball in my time, too,” Jolly said with a smile. “I kind of blocked a couple shots here and there ... I did play basketball. I just try to get my hand in the passing lane, and if I'm lucky I get my hand on the ball.”
Conditioning has been a question mark for Jolly during training camp after his three-year drug suspension, but he’s starting to feel better.
“I'm getting the feel back,” Jolly said. “How to dig in when I get tired on the field. I still have a couple weeks to go and I'm trying to get better.”
■Tight end Andrew Quarless returned to the practice field after missing more than two weeks with a quad injury. Quarless did some work during individual drills but didn’t participate in the team portion of practice.
With plenty of competition at his position, Quarless knows there’s an urgency to the rest of the preseason.
“Definitely, we’ve got two weeks left,” he said. “I missed quite a bit, so that doesn’t make me happy (or) excited. … none of this is guaranteed. I’ve still got to get out there and produce and show ‘em what I can do.”
■Tim Masthay boomed a pair of kickoffs out of the end zone during a special teams drill, with the second one traveling 10 yards beyond the end line with the wind at his back.
■Rookie defensive lineman Datone Jones returned to practice after spraining his ankle in the first preseason game but he didn’t take part in team drills.