Ray Nitschke Field was abuzz Tuesday night over the performance of Jared Cook. The veteran tight end made his debut in pads with several eye-opening receptions, demonstrating for the first time in a Packers uniform why GM Ted Thompson signed him to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on March 28. Cook didn’t take a ton of snaps largely because it was his first practice of the summer. Brian Angelichio, the new tight ends coach, inserted Cook in key situations almost always when Aaron Rodgers was at quarterback. On the third 11-on-11 play of the night, Cook flashed into the middle of what looked like a two-deep shell and made a terrific catch between FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and SS Micah Hyde on a ball from Rodgers for about 20 yards. A red-zone period ended when Cook accelerated away from speedy FS Kentrell Brice for a 1-yard TD flip from Rodgers. In later red-zone work, Cook flew into the middle on third and 6 to haul in a 16-yard TD from Rodgers. He wrapped up the night with a 6-yard TD followed by a bang-bang slant for 9 on third and 9 from Rodgers in a blitz drill. Both the Titans and Rams basically gave up on Cook partly because he dropped too many balls. There was none of that on this night. One should point out that Cook benefited from fresh legs, but no one had done much of anything for five days.
Coach Mike McCarthy’s seventh practice in pads since camp began 15 days ago contained 77 plays of 11-on-11 competition. It was a hot but almost windless night, and both Rodgers and his teammates on offense probably were as sharp as they have been all summer. He was rifling the ball all over the yard, and often times the passes were deadly accurate. Once again, however, WR Jeff Janis had almost no production. Of his six targeted throws, Janis’ lone catch was on a bubble screen. On his second-to-last attempt, Janis ran some type of hook on second-and-8 but CB Randall Jette shouldered inside of him and intercepted Joe Callahan’s pass. His last target came on third-and=3 to begin an all-out blitz period. Lined up wide left, Janis ran an inside-breaking route and the pass from Rodgers fell inconplete at the first-down marker. Rodgers didn’t appear to say anything, but his body language suggested that he wasn’t happy with the route. With Jordy Nelson still sidelined and Ty Montgomery sitting out until Tuesday night, Janis in some ways has squandered an opportunity to establish himself as a player to reckon with on offense.
Making their practice debuts after being removed from the physically unable to perform list were Montgomery, Cook and LB Sam Barrington. Also returning was RB Eddie Lacy.
Added to the injury list was C JC Tretter (illness, he did observe). T Bryan Bulaga was withheld to rest his knees.
LS Jesse Schmitt suffered an injury to his right hand and didn’t return. His first practice consisted of some individual work and then two snaps against a rush.
Bits and pieces
» Montgomery’s return from ankle surgery in late December was brief but nonetheless impressive. He speared a 20-yard TD pass from Rodgers that required adjustment, body control and hands. Montgomery was withheld from 10 minutes of drill work at the end of the 2 hour, 35 minute practice.
» Tim Masthay averaged 41 yards and 4.62 seconds of hang time in three punts against a rush. Peter Mortell averaged 44.5 and 3.76 in his two. It was the fourth time in the five punt-offs of camp that Masthay’s hang time was better than Mortell’s.
» Randall Cobb continued to see extensive duty as the third-down back, and even Montgomery got a turn in the backfield and took a handoff for a nice gain. With all the emphasis on passing this summer, Lacy’s playing time is down. Of the 77 plays, Lacy had three carries. He was cruising inside the 5 on a fourth and 2 when SS Morgan Burnett stripped him from behind and the defense recovered.
» Position coach Alex Van Pelt runs the quarterback drills but Tom Clements, the associate head coach, almost always is hovering nearby offering pointers to the passers.
» Mason Crosby made six of seven field-goal attempts from 33 to 53 yards. His miss came from 48.
Quote of the day
“Coach Tom Coughlin is here today. Just got done visiting with him talking football. He’s obviously working for the league office this year.” – Coach Mike McCarthy on Coughlin, who coached the Packers’ wide receivers in 1986-’87.
Wednesday, 11:45 a.m.