Wes Hodkiewicz and Pete Dougherty recap the highlights of this year's Packers Family Night practice at Lambeau Field. (Aug. 2, 2014)
Last year on Family Night, Mason Crosby hit his low point of 2013 training camp when he went only 3-for-8 in a kicking competition with Giorgio Tavecchio. He'd made a career low 63.6 percent on field goal attempts the previous season, so his job definitely was in jeopardy.
Family Night this year was much, much better for the eighth-year pro. During a live field-goal period that ended Family Night, Crosby made all six of his attempts, ranging from 28 to 50 yards.
"I'm moving past each kick," Crosby said, "kinda taking each as they come and really in that moment. So make or miss, I'm moving on to the next one and making sure I lock in and try to consistently hit the ball the same every time. Tonight it kind of came together even more than it had during the week, where every ball came off my foot exactly the way I wanted it to and was on a good line. Felt really confident with that. It's nice being able to do it in front of 67,000 people in a practice to get a little work there before the season comes upon us."
Crosby is off to a great start in camp. In three live field goal periods, he's 20-for-22.
In one way, it's hard to blame Colt Lyerla for taking the risk.
He's an undrafted player trying to impress his coaches and make the team. But ultimately, his attempted hurdle of a tackler in a non-tackling practice was a really bad idea.
Lyerla is athletic, strong and has flashed blocking ability at tight end in the half-line running drills, but he's had a so-so start as a receiver in camp. On Saturday night, he had a bad short sequence during a team period that ended with him getting hurt.
The play started with the offense having to delay at the line of scrimmage while waiting for Lyerla to take his position. Coach Mike McCarthy's priority in practice is a fast tempo in team periods, so that was a big no-no.
Then on the play, Lyerla caught a short bootleg pass from Matt Flynn and tried to hurdle cornerback Jumal Rolle. He displayed impressive athleticism — Lyerla nearly made it over Rolle, who just caught Lyerla's extended right leg as he stood up. But it finished Lyerla's night.
Lyera said his injury was to his leg, though he wouldn't be more specific. McCarthy wasn't happy.
"Obviously it wasn't a live tackling period," McCarthy said. "I think you can figure that out from there. There's a time for the opportunity to hurdle the defender, and I think that was probably not the right time."
Did you notice?
• McCarthy loved the atmosphere from the Family Night-record crowd of 67,316 at Lambeau Field and said he didn't think the fans were shortchanged even though the Packers conducted a regular practice rather than a scrimmage. For the first time on a Family Night, the Packers played music during team drills to simulate crowd noise.
"I'd pay to watch that performance tonight," McCarthy said. "The opportunity to see your favorite football team and be a big part of trying to make us better. The environment the fans created for us was as good as it's been. I was a little curious to see what the flow was going to be like because it was totally different to the fans. But the energy from where I was standing was unbelievable, thought it was awesome, maybe our best level of energy as far as participation and music."
• Receiver Chris Harper had a big drop during a team period after he'd gotten behind the secondary for a potentially big play. Quarterback Scott Tolzien underthrew the deep pass, but Harper still had the unencumbered chance for the catch and dropped it.