The defense dropped what should have been a pair of easy interceptions Sunday afternoon in practice. Then LB Carl Bradford capped his big week by actually catching the ball for a pick on a short pass that Marquise Williams threw slightly behind Geronimo Allison that still should have been caught. Two days before that, Bradford played his finest exhibition game in three seasons against Cleveland. When Bradford had the chance, he hit people. At times, his reactions still weren’t great. His burst to the ball was ordinary. But, for perhaps the first time, it seemed like his two-year conversion from outside to inside linebacker could pay off. “I definitely think he’s really stepped up,” said Scott McCurley, the assistant linebackers coach. “Losing weight … changing his mindset, routine, habits. You’d see these plays every now and then in past preseasons, and then there might be a play or two where he’s lost. This past game he put it together.”
Two days after being out-punted by Browns veteran Andy Lee, Tim Masthay and Peter Mortell hoped to make amends Sunday. The fact they didn’t caught the attention of special-teams coach Ron Zook. “They both struggled a little bit today, which surprised me,” Zook said. “But that’s probably what the competition is good for.” Masthay’s seven punts had averages of 42.4 yards and 4.30 seconds of hang time. Based on the standards of his first six seasons, he has had a pedestrian camp. Meanwhile, Mortell’s eight-punt averages were 41.9 and 3.61. The last four punts by Mortell represented probably his worst moment of camp. Their hang times were 3.19, 3.19, 2.84 and 3.09. “I’m not worried about it – yet,” Mortell said. “I was trying to change some stuff up and see if maybe I can speed up a little bit. I know the things I have to improve on, and one was getting the ball off quicker. I’ll be all right. That’s what practice is for.”
Returning to practice were WR Randall Cobb, TE Mitchell Henry, QB Brett Hundley, LB Clay Matthews and CB Makinton Dorleant.
Missing practice with new injuries were WR Herb Waters (knee), G-C Matt Rotheram (biceps), NT Demetris Anderson (calf), LB Lerentee McCray (illness), CB Warren Gatewood (shoulder) and S Morgan Burnett (back). WR Ty Montgomery was given the day off.
A total of 13 players on the 90-man roster sat out due to injury.
Bits and pieces
» The assumption was that Aaron Rodgers would start Thursday night against Oakland after sitting out the opener. In fact, he said he was playing. But, after beginning practice directing the No. 1 offense in a nine-play drive, Rodgers spent the rest of the afternoon running Raiders’ plays for the scout team. It might be a harbinger of another did-not-play night.
» With five of the 15 O-linemen sidelined, rookie C-G Kyle Steuck of Northern Michigan was signed. Steuck will try to become the first player from West De Pere High School to play in an NFL game. De Pere, the other high school in the city located about six miles from Lambeau Field, has produced two NFL players: WR Jerry Daanen, St. Louis, 1968-’70, and C-G Drew Nowak, who is in Kansas City’s camp after three seasons in Jacksonville and Seattle. Steuck helped lead the Phantoms to the WIAA Division 3 state title in 2010.
» When S Kentrell Brice returned to the sidelines after dropping an interception, he knocked off 10 pushups. It’s a rule among the safeties.
» G Lucas Patrick, a free agent from Duke, played 56 snaps with a black club protecting his damaged right hand. He was injured in camp but didn’t miss any time.
Quote of the day
“Obviously, on that last (34-yard free-kick) return, that was all him. I don’t know if we blocked anybody.” – Ron Zook on WR Jared Abbrederis.
Practice on Monday starts at 11:45 a.m.