Insider: Thumbs up to Crosby, down to injuries
Mason Crosby has had a remarkable training camp.
The kicker hasn’t missed a kick during a live period in practice or in a preseason game when Tim Masthay has been his holder. That’s 35-for-35.
Crosby’s only misses in camp so far were with Cody Mandell holding in practice, and the Packers cut Mandell last week. So overall in camp and one preseason game, Crosby is 41-for-45. He’s also made his last 29 attempts.
When the Packers do live periods in practice, they usually try six or eight kicks, moving back 3 to 5 yards on each attempt, and often alternating hash marks with occasional attempts in the middle. They generally start with kicks of a little more than 30 yards and finish in the upper 40s to low 50s.
In practice Monday, Crosby kept racking up the numbers with a 6-for-6 effort. They came from 33, 37, 43, 46, 48 and 51 yards. It’s hard to remember any Packers kicker in the past 20 years having a camp as good as Crosby’s.
In his news conference before practice Monday, coach Mike McCarthy said he expected to have fewer players sitting out than the camp-high 13 that missed Saturday. Then when the Packers took the field for their 12th practice of training camp, they had 13 players out.
Though cornerback Damarious Randall (groin) and defensive lineman Josh Boyd (knee) returned Monday, defensive lineman Bruce Gaston (illness) and cornerback Casey Hayward (quad) were new non-participants.
These injury numbers aren’t epidemic high, but they’re getting up there. Last year, when McCarthy implemented a new practice schedule meant specifically to reduce injuries, the Packers had only eight players miss their 12th practice of camp.
Now, it must be noted that more important than how many are hurt is who’s hurt, and how badly. Five starters didn’t practice Monday: left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee), defensive tackle Mike Daniels (ankle), Hayward (quad), outside linebacker Nick Perry (groin) and defensive lineman Letroy Guion (hamstring). At least for now, none of those appears to be anything that will last into the regular season, though time may prove otherwise.
The injured list also includes some roster longshots: receiver Adrian Coxson (concussion), who actually was cut after practice Monday; receiver Javess Blue (shoulder); cornerback Tay Glover-Wright (hamstring); and defensive back Kyle Sebetic (ankle). Still, no matter how you look at it, the injury rate is higher than at this time in 2014.
Did you notice
■ Rookie quarterback Brett Hundley is improving in some of the small things the Packers work on in quarterback drills. In one drill they do most practices, the quarterbacks simulate dropping back, scrambling and throwing on the run. As they leave the pocket, they run toward the sideline and have to step over six pads, each maybe half-a-foot tall. They then continue running at a slight backward angle behind several cones, and when they get to the final cone throw on the run to a nearby receiver standing on the sidelines. When Aaron Rodgers and Scott Tolzien do the drill, their head and eyes are aimed down field while they’re chop-stepping over the pads and veering behind the cones. But in the offseason and early in camp, Hundley looked at the sidelines so he could see the pads as he stepped over them. That keeps him from seeing his receivers. This week in that drill, he’s had his eyes down field while running, though he still was taking more than a peek at the cones.
■ With Hayward sitting out practice, second-round draft pick Quinten Rollins worked as the starting cornerback across from Sam Shields with the No. 1 base defense.
■ With Daniels and Guion out, Mike Pennel and Boyd were the defensive ends in the starting 3-4 base defense; B.J. Raji was in his usual spot as starting nose tackle.
■ Ty Montgomery (return man) and Aaron Ripkowski (wedge blocker) were the only rookies working on the Packers’ No. 1 kickoff return team Monday.
■ The only fully live period of practice — that is, where the Packers were running their offensive scheme against their defensive scheme, rather than one or the other being scout team — was the 2-minute drill to end practice. That pitted the starters against each other. In a downpour, the defense got a stop on downs when it forced a fourth-down incompletion on a pass from Rodgers to Jordy Nelson.
■ The Packers do not practice Tuesday, then practice at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday at Ray Nitschke Field.