Packers Camp Insider: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix playing with confidence

Pete Dougherty
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Green Bay Packers free safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (21) catches a ball during training camp Monday, July 31, 2017, at Ray Nitschke Field in Ashwaubenon, Wis.

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Ha Ha Clinton-Dix doesn’t have Nick Collins’ game-changing speed, but he has become a formidable safety in his own right as he enters his fourth year in the NFL. He went to his first Pro Bowl last season and has looked every bit a player in his prime so far in training camp. It’s not that he dominated practice Monday, but early in the day he made a play that displayed command of his position, the kind of play that can go a long way toward winning a game. It came during a two-minute drill featuring the No. 1 offense and defense. Aaron Rodgers had the ball at the defense’s 41 and needed a touchdown to win in the final 20 seconds. On a second down, he threw to Davante Adams over the middle looking for about a 15-yard gain, but Clinton-Dix, lined up at deep safety, read the play, broke aggressively on the ball and shot in front of Adams to knock down the pass. A completion would have given Rodgers a much better chance to win the game, but instead, he ended up having to heave a failed Hail Mary on the final play two snaps later. “Confident, wanting to make a play,” cornerback Davon House said in describing Clinton-Dix on the breakup. “Usually guys in that situation, two-minute drill, they want to play safe ball, don’t get beat deep. That’s not Ha Ha’s game. Ha Ha is always about the ball, always wants to make plays. It’s one of those he trusted his instincts, read it and went for it.”

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So far in training camp, Jeff Janis is looking like an afterthought as a receiver. It’s early, so that could change if Janis starts making a few plays in 11-on-11 drills. But at least for now, it’s looking like his chances of making the team rest more than ever on his play on special teams. No doubt the Packers still could use someone with Janis’ 4.42 speed to stretch defenses, but through four days of practice, he has been almost invisible in team drills. He has had few passes thrown his way and none of the occasional deep shots he got in training camp last season. Those instead have gone to second-year pro Trevor Davis, who like Janis ran a 4.42 40 at the NFL scouting combine. Davis, Geronimo Allison, draft picks DeAngelo Yancey (fifth round) and Malachi Dupre (seventh round), and practice-squad holdover Max McCaffrey all have been targeted more than Janis so far. On Monday, Janis finally had his first catch in 11-on-11s through four practices, on a short slant from Joe Callahan. But he also dropped a short throw along the sideline after a Rodgers’ scramble. That drew a negative reaction from the quarterback. Janis’ chances of making the 53 in his fourth season mainly rested on special teams anyway — he played on all four core special teams last year, has at times stood out as a gunner on punt coverage, and is an option as a kickoff returner. The first few days of camp only reinforce that .

Injury report

Rookie tight end Aaron Peck (hamstring) was activated from the non-football injury list and practiced for the first time Monday. Sitting out with injuries: Montravius Adams (foot) and cornerback Herb Waters (shoulder). Vince Biegel (foot) and Demetri Goodson (knee) are on the physically unable to perform list.

Bits and pieces

» Tackle Bryan Bulaga scuffled with defensive linemen Dean Lowry and Mike Daniels after the first snap of a one-on-one run-blocking drill. Bulaga and Lowry tussled after the play was blown dead, and then Daniels jumped in for a brief pushing match with Bulaga as players from both sides of the ball engulfed them.

“To have a guy like Mike Daniels having your back, you can take an extra risk with a guy sometimes,” Lowry said with a laugh.

» Rookie safety Josh Jones made another noteworthy play Monday when he intercepted Brett Hundley in an 11-on-11 drill.

» Biegel still is recovering from offseason foot surgery but took part in a handful of snaps in pre-practice walkthrough for the first time in camp.

Quote of the day

Bulaga, on whether he or left tackle David Bakhtiari should decide whether the offensive or defensive line wins the WWE-style championship belt for practice each day: “Good idea, cool idea, but I have a couple other things I worry about besides who gets the belt that day. We (other linemen) are talking about wives, how the kids are doing; Dave’s got nothing to worry about, so he can decide what’s happening with the belt. He can do that, that’s cool.”

Practice schedule

The next practice is Tuesday at 8:15 a.m.; it's the final scheduled early-morning practice.


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