Insider: Dorleant latest CB to sparkle
The Packers have accumulated a nice corps of cornerbacks who should serve them well for a number of years to come, but they probably never expected things to be as competitive at the position as they have been. Beyond their top four, they have a dogfight going on involving three undrafted players making their case for the 53-man roster. Robertson Daniel, who was on the practice squad last year, has had his moments. Josh Hawkins, a speedster signed in May, has been so impressive that if the Packers don’t want him, somebody else probably does. Now you can add Makinton Dorleant to the mix. The undrafted rookie from Northern Iowa dug a hole for himself by missing more than a week of camp with a hamstring injury. But over the last few days, he has returned to being the guy the coaches were very high on during offseason workouts. During one-on-ones he blanketed a power receiver (Davante Adams) and a speedster (Harvey Binford). In team drills, he nearly intercepted Marquise Williams’ throw to Herb Waters, pulled tight end Jared Cook to the ground without drawing a penalty on a failed fade route in the end zone and then jumped an out route to Cook and picked off Aaron Rodgers. All in all, a good day.
Maybe it should be “All Thumbs” instead. Receiver Randall Cobb has made some of the best catches of camp on deep crossing routes into tight coverage, but he cannot shake off an intermittent case of the drops. Tuesday was a perfect example. In one-on-ones, Cobb was sloppy with the ball and let cornerback Quinten Rollins poke it out of his hands. Then on a free play caused by Rodgers’ hard count, Cobb dropped a pass over the middle that would have been close to a 20-yard gain. Finally, Rodgers threw a dart over the middle to Cobb on the goal line and it bounced off his hands. According to STATS, Cobb has had six drops each of the last two seasons after having one in 2013 and nine in ’12. Often when he drops a pass it looks like he’s trying to run with it before it’s secured. Whatever the case, Cobb at least took his drops seriously. During a long special teams period, he caught dozens of balls on the jugs machine.
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Defensive tackles Kenny Clark (back) and Mike Daniels (illness) did not participate. Clark hurt his back Monday night and was unable to finish practice. Linebacker Joe Thomas was sidelined after injuring his shin, but said after practice it was not serious.
Receiver Jordy Nelson (knee) and linebacker Jake Ryan (hamstring) took part in individual drills only.
Bits and pieces
» Nelson ran his customary stop route against Sam Shields in one-on-ones, a sign he’s not afraid to plant his foot hard and torque his lower body.
» Punter Peter Mortell bombed a number of kicks during his 15-punt day, driving the ball 66, 64 and 63 yards on consecutive tries with a strong wind at his back. Mortell’s hang times weren’t great on a number of those, but the wind might have kept them from turning over the way he wanted.
» The No. 1 kickoff coverage unit in practice featured rookies Blake Martinez, Kentrell Brice, Kyler Fackrell and Dorleant, a sign they will be getting a good long look Friday night in San Francisco.
» Kicker Mason Crosby went 6-for-6 on field goals. Receiver Jared Abbrederis had a tough go of it in one-on-ones. Rollins was on him like glue on two attempts, intercepting the second on a deep ball, and Hawkins beat him to the ball on a comeback route.
» It was chaos on defense as the team prepared for 49ers coach Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense. Coaches substituted constantly while the offense came to the line and ran plays right after the ball was spotted.
Quote of the day
“I’m not out for the year, but it’s like, it’s a matter of when the hell this thing is going to heal, you know? So it’s frustrating from that aspect, but you’ve just got to deal with it.” — C Corey Linsley on his hamstring injury
The Packers play at San Francisco at 9 p.m. Friday. The next open practice is Monday at 12:15 p.m.