Insider: Cook, Binford play long ball
The Packers’ deep passing game, mediocre much of camp, throttled forward Monday. The perpetrators of the home-run explosion, TE Jared Cook and WR Harvey Binford, face far different futures in Green Bay but were co-standouts in the afternoon practice before another full house at Nitschke Field. Cook got open on a long corner route and hauled in a 40-yard strike from Marquise Williams. Binford, who arrived July 28 from the Arena Football League, once ran the 40-yard dash in 4.22 seconds. It showed on the 75-yard bomb that he caught behind CB Makinton Dorleant and his 35-yard take-off route in which CB LaDarius Gunter was victimized. Two plays after Binford’s second big catch, Davante Adams beat CB Josh Hawkins by almost five yards on a 50-yard heave from Joe Callahan. Cook has been separating as well if not better than almost any wide receiver in camp. If Binford keeps improving, there’s a chance he could land on the practice squad.
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers and his line coach, Mike Trgovac, gave indications Thursday night in the Oakland game what they have in mind for DT Christian Ringo. In most cases, they play defensive linemen either early or late. Once a player has a lather up, he usually isn’t asked to return after an extended time on the bench. Not so Ringo, whose first snap was the Packers’ sixth defensively of the night and his last snap was their second-last. Throughout the second half, the coaches kept using Ringo almost as a designated inside pass rusher on third downs. After registering a sack against Cleveland, Ringo didn’t mount any pressure against Oakland. With Mike Pennel headed for a four-game suspension, Ringo is in position to survive the last cut if the Packers keep five D-linemen. They’re not, however, going to keep him by default. Ringo needs to bring some heat.
Joining the ranks of injured players sitting out Monday was G-T Josh Walker (knee). He was walking with a semi-limp.
Returning to practice on a limited basis were WR Jordy Nelson (knee), TE Mitchell Henry (broken finger), DT Demetris Anderson (calf) and LB Jake Ryan (hamstring). Returning to full practice was CB Warren Gatewood.
There comes a point in camp, and it’s right about now, in which teams are reluctant to put injured free agents back on the field if they have little chance to make the team. If those players drop out again, it could cost the team financially through an injury settlement or a berth on injured reserve.
Bits and pieces
» It’s likely no squad in Packers history has had a practice schedule in training camp as light as this one. After playing the Raiders on Thursday night, the players didn’t practice Friday, Saturday or Sunday. They were supposed to work Saturday but had it canceled for a so-called “team exercise.” On Monday, the Packers worked in pads for 1 hour, 47 minutes, which was the second shortest practice of camp. Excluding day-before-game walk-throughs, coach Mike McCarthy has conducted 11 practices in pads and two (the first two) in shells. Camp began 28 days ago. It’s all about getting the team to opening day with a minimal injury list.
» Marwin Evans, the hard-hitting rookie safety from Milwaukee (Oak Creek High School), cut in front of a pass by Williams for an interception.
» Perhaps the reception of the day was a 10-yard slant by Jared Abbrederis with Hawkins all over him clawing at the ball.
Quote of the day
“That first drive he played 14 reps, nine carries, didn’t come out. He said he was pretty surprised he didn’t have to come out. I think that bodes well for his fitness level.” – RB coach Ben Sirmans on Eddie Lacy.
Tuesday, 11:45 a.m. The next open practice is in six days.