Insider: Thumbs up to White, down to Mandell
Remember Myles White? The former undrafted receiver played seven regular-season games in 2013 when Randall Cobb was placed on temporary injured reserve. After missing on his previous two chances to make the 53-man roster coming out of training camp, maybe the third time is the charm.
The 6-foot, 190-pounder spent all of last season on the practice squad and so far has taken advantage of the extra reps afforded to him from the absence of Jared Abbrederis (concussion) and Ricky Collins (heel). A week into training camp, consistency has been his biggest ally and allowed him to re-emerge as a candidate for a roster spot.
White allowed one pass to go through his hands Thursday — he was looking for a flag for defensive pass interference afterward — but that’s really been his only blemish so far in camp. White closed the no-huddle period with a 16-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Scott Tolzien after beating safety Jean Fanor on the corner route. It came three days after he properly judged a deep pass from Tolzien for a 35-yard touchdown over cornerback LaDarius Gunter.
White’s chances at making the roster seemed to take a hit when the Packers drafted Ty Montgomery in the third round, which cluttered the slot position. The absence of Abbrederis has breathed life into White’s chances. Currently, he’s competing for the No. 5 job with Jeff Janis and Jimmie Hunt, who has distinguished himself from the other undrafted rookies with his ability to high point balls in team periods.
One of the smallest guys on the roster, White still has a knack for making big catches. Don’t be surprised if it gets him more opportunities in the coming weeks.
There is more to winning the punting job than just kicking far. That winner likely will be holding for kicker Mason Crosby on field goals and extra points. In that area, incumbent Tim Masthay still holds a considerable advantage over his challenger, Cody Mandell, who bobbled a snap from Brett Goode during a field-goal period Thursday. The Alabama alumnus was pulled in favor Masthay, who then held for Crosby’s final make from 46 yards.
Maybe it’s pure coincidence, but Crosby is 14-for-14 when Masthay is holding opposed to 6-for-10 with Mandell. That’s also not counting Thursday’s botched hold that may have resulted in a block if the play wasn’t blown dead.
“That’s something that will come,” special-teams coordinator Ron Zook said Wednesday. “Tim and Mason have been doing it a long time. They can do it in their sleep. It’s just repetition, repetition, repetition. You miss an inch here or there, it’s a big difference for a kicker, particularly when you add the wind and all those other things, but I don’t think that’s going to be an issue.”
Masthay and Mandell did plenty of punting Thursday, too. Masthay placed punts at the 10-, 11- and 4-yard line with an average time of 4.0 seconds during a pooch-punt period. Mandell averaged 4.25 seconds on his two efforts that landed at the 6 and 15. When punting out of their own end zone, Mandell bested Masthay in hang time (4.66/4.91 to 4.51/4.45), while Masthay’s went farther (62 and 65 yards to 52 and 60).
Did you notice?
■ Letroy Guion won his first rep in the one-on-one pass rush in a huge way when he threw reserve guard Lane Taylor to the ground with a bull rush. Taylor, who entered Thursday 9-1 in the drill, then stopped rookie Christian Ringo before falling to Mike Daniels with another bull rush. Guion later won a second rep against Don Barclay, who was playing out of position at center. One of the more impressive battles in camp has been between starting center Corey Linsley and nose tackle B.J. Raji. In each of the last two practices, Linsley has won the rep after Raji gained the early advantage with a hump move.
■ Rookie guard Matt Rotheram seemed befuddled when defensive end Datone Jones beat him inside in the one-on-one drill. Jones had been mostly rushing wide before that. Rotheram beat Jones on the next attempt.
■ Tight end Richard Rodgers has been active in red-zone periods early in camp. He caught two touchdown passes from Aaron Rodgers in Thursday’s period, including a 7-yard lob over an outstretched Sam Barrington in the back of the end zone. During an early team period, he recovered his own fumble after safety Sean Richardson popped the ball out from behind him.
■ Cornerback Quinten Rollins took reps on the outside for the first time in camp, particularly early in practice when starter Sam Shields was late because of a dentist appointment. The Packers planned to take it easy with the second-round draft pick after he missed the first three days of practice with a hamstring injury.
■ Rookie cornerback Damarious Randall was taking first-team snaps ahead of receiver Jeff Janis at the gunner spot opposite Demetri Goodson. Defensively, the Packers have told Goodson he’ll strictly be working on the outside.
— firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.