Insider: Thumbs up to Perillo, down to fights
Justin Perillo doesn't have the name recognition of Colt Lyerla, but the former University of Maine tight end quietly has thrived in camp.
Everyone expected Lyerla — the talented but erratic Oregon tight end — to make the biggest impact as an undrafted free agent, but it's been the unheralded Perillo who has caught nearly every pass that's come his way.
He played 15 snaps against Tennessee on Saturday and caught one pass for 10 yards in the fourth quarter. The 6-foot-3, 250-pounder kept the plays coming in Wednesday's practice with a pair of workman-like catches in team periods, including a pass in the flat from Scott Tolzien in the final team drill.
"There were some technique things we can always work on, but he's been able to make some plays whenever he's been given opportunities," tight ends coach Jerry Fontenot said. "It's nice to see him developing and continue to kick the tires and see what we have."
It's still going to take a minor miracle for Perillo to make the 53-man roster, but he's only helped his case. Since signing for a modest $2,000 bonus after the draft, Perillo has also been working as a backup long-snapper. Even if he doesn't make the roster, Perillo could be an intriguing candidate for the practice squad, though returning tight end Jake Stoneburner has eligibility, as well.
The jawing and jousting between Packers players and coaches is seen as a byproduct of training camp. They're not playing badminton, after all. It's a physical game.
It seemed like the shenanigans started to go overboard as practice wore on, though.
"We probably had a little too much extracurricular activity, but it was a physical practice," coach Mike McCarthy said.
The five or six scuffles halted practice only momentarily, but it started to feel overdone near the end of the day when receiver Jeff Janis and cornerback Antonio Dennard wrestled each other to the ground at the end of a block, and receiver Gerrard Sheppard started sparring with the secondary.
McCarthy didn't seem to have an issue with it. If he feels scuffles are slowing things down, he'll make his voice heard.
"We think it's good for competition," guard Josh Sitton said. "Obviously, you don't want anybody out there getting hurt. Guys can definitely be stupid, but it's part of the game."
The important thing was there were no documented injuries with a few players putting themselves in jeopardy of an injury when throwing punches at teammates' helmets. Last year, tight end Jermichael Finley was admonished after wailing at the helmet of street free-agent linebacker Jarvis Reed.
"Throwing punches is not smart, no, it's pretty stupid," Sitton said. "I might have been stupid today."
DID YOU NOTICE?
■ With Brad Jones missing practice because of a dental procedure, Jamari Lattimore worked next to A.J. Hawk as the first-team inside linebackers in the base and nickel sub-package. Hawk replaced Jones as the lone linebacker in dime.
■ McCarthy confirmed quarterback Aaron Rodgers will play Saturday against St. Louis, but receiver Jordy Nelson wouldn't speculate on his availability. He returned Tuesday from the hamstring injury that sidelined him against the Titans and appeared close to full participation.
■ Cornerback Tramon Williams, outside linebacker Adrian Hubbard and safety Sean Richardson had interceptions with Hubbard (scout team) and Richardson each picking off Tolzien.
■ Kicker Mason Crosby missed twice on six attempts, wide right from 42 and 53 yards. He made his final kick at 54. He's 38-of-42 in camp (90.5 percent).
■ Since returning from shingles, Janis continues to make plays. He laid out for a diving catch from Tolzien in an 11-on-11 period to bounce back from his two drops during individual work.