New tight end Jared Cook missed valuable practice work with Aaron Rodgers because of the foot surgery that sidelined him during OTAs and the first two weeks of training camp. Even this week, the starters were playing scout team, so they ran Kansas City’s offense, not their own. Still, Rodgers and Cook hooked up on a few passes that suggest their timing and chemistry are coming along fast.
Rodgers connected with Cook on at least three plays Tuesday. One was a quick pass on a two-point conversion; one was on a crossing route in which Cook separated to get open and had what would have been an ample run after the catch; and the third came on a scramble play from the 3, when Rodgers moved around and found Cook in the back of the end zone for the touchdown.
The coaches translate scout-team plays into the Packers’ terminology, so as much as is possible Rodgers and Cook were working on routes in their playbook.
“When you see (Cook) out there making good reactions, running timing routes with proper depth and fundamentals — I love seeing him on the adjustments,” Rodgers said. “Like on the scramble drill making an adjustment coming out of his route and catching the ball. Those are huge reps. Those are reps that I sock away in my mind for later and feel good about looking for him in those situations.’
The Packers have a good battle going for probably one cornerback spot among undrafted rookies Josh Hawkins and Makinton Dorleant and practice-squad holdover Robertson Daniel. All three look like they belong. Dorleant is out this week because of a hamstring injury, which hurts his cause depending on how long the injury is expected to last. Daniel gets the thumbs down because he gave up more completions in the last two days than in any week of practice so far, though the truth is, on almost all of them his coverage was good or better.
For instance, on Monday, Jordy Nelson made a one-handed grab on a deep ball along the sidelines against Daniel, though Daniel was right on his hip.
“It literally happens to everybody,” Daniel said. “If you play the corner position you have those days where it seems like you can’t do anything right. But the way I look at those plays is, I was in good position, just didn’t go my way. Run the same play back and I make those plays.”
Daniel came back Tuesday and intercepted Rodgers on a scramble and across-the-field throw to Nelson early in team drills Tuesday. But then Rodgers and Nelson later teamed up on a perfect back-shoulder throw against Daniel’s tight coverage for a five-yard touchdown.
“That’s one thing that’s hard to stop when it comes to Aaron,’ Daniel said. “(Nelson) gave me the slant and go. I didn’t bite on the slant, and when I went to squeeze in on the corner the ball was perfect, backside shoulder right on time. Ain’t much you can do about that.”
Daniel will get a long look Thursday night against the Chiefs. If he doesn’t make the Packers’ 53, it’s a good bet he’ll be on their practice squad if another team doesn’t claim him.
The only new absence Tuesday was TE Richard Rodgers (illness). Also not practicing were Dorleant (hamstring), OLB Jayrone Elliott (hamstring), S Chris Banjo (hamstring), ILB Joe Thomas (shin) and DL Kenny Clark (back).
Fullback Aaron Ripkowski (knee) returned to practice.
Bits and pieces
» With Jeff Janis (broken thumb) sidelined, the two-deep kickoff returners with the No. 1 unit Tuesday were Ty Montgomery and Trevor Davis.
» Daniel and Jared Abbrederis worked as the gunners for the No. 1 punt-cover team Tuesday, so they’ll likely get a good look in that role Thursday night.
Tuesday was the final practice of camp open to the public.