Packers Camp Insider: Brett Hundley has his best showing
Brett Hundley hadn’t done much to stand out in the first four days of training camp, but on Thursday night he had his best practice so far. Coach Mike McCarthy has been praising Hundley since the offseason for doing a lot of things right that are hard to see from the outside looking in, but the Packers' backup quarterback on occasion had appeared to hold the ball a little too long and missed a few throws early in camp. On Thursday night he looked sharper and threw several darts for completions. In a seven-on-seven drill he put a deep ball on the money to Michael Clark, who made a leaping catch over Ladarius Gunter. In one team period Hundley got the ball out fast against a blitz and hit Richard Rodgers to convert a third-and-two. He hit Trevor Davis against tight coverage by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix on another play. He put a deep ball right on the money to Geronimo Allison, though cornerback Damarious Randall popped the ball out at the last instant. He hit Max McCaffrey on a crossing route with another strong throw. He hit Jeff Janis on a seam route against a blitz, later drew Kyler Fackrell offsides with his cadence, and on the final play of practice he converted a third-and-five with an out to Clark. Hundley missed a couple throws too, but it was his best night of live throwing in this camp.
Aaron Rodgers said Thursday morning that he was going to test the Packers’ top draft pick this year, cornerback Kevin King, on the practice field. He did, and he and Jordy Nelson worked over King early in what had the feel of a welcome-to-the-real-NFL moment for King. To be fair, King shows real talent in coverage with his combination of height (6-3) and athleticism. It’s easy to see why the Packers liked him so much. The Packers need more defensive players with his kind of talent, and there’s a good chance he’ll be a starter in the nickel in Week 1. But Rodgers and Nelson showed him how tough it can be to defend a top quarterback-receiver duo in this league, and it’s the kind of work King needs after missing most of the offseason because his college (Washington) was on the quarters system, and then he'd missed the most recent padded practice because of a shoulder injury. So Rodgers and Nelson went after King in a two-minute drill early in practice, and Nelson beat him for two big plays. The first was a quick slant where King had tight coverage and tried to make a play on the ball. But Rodgers’ and Nelson’s timing was so precise that King couldn’t get even a finger on the throw, and his extended attempt at the breakup allowed Nelson to take off for a 16-yard gain. A little later, on a third-down from the 11, Rodgers and Nelson beat King with the back-shoulder throw that they execute as well as any combo in the league. King’s coverage was fine, but Nelson didn’t give away that the ball was coming until the last moment, and he made the catch at the 1 and rolled into the end zone for the score. Later, Randall Cobb beat King deep but Rodgers missed the throw long. Those were a few tough moments for King, though he does look the part of an NFL cornerback. “You’ve got to test those guys, see what they’re all about,” Rodgers said before practice. “You’ve got to give them some work. Obviously, you still want to go through the progressions, but if you have opportunities to throw at those guys, you want to put them through it a little bit. (King) has done a nice job. He’s a big, tall kid who uses his arms and his length really well.”
King (shoulder) returned to practice. Montravius Adams (foot) didn’t practice. Demetri Goodson (knee) and Vince Biegel (foot) haven’t passed their physicals and are on the physically unable to perform list.
Bits and Pieces
» Mason Crosby continued his strong start to camp. He went 8-for-8 on field goal attempts, including hitting a 53-yarder. That makes him 22-for-23 in camp so far.
»The Packers practiced in the Don Hutson Center because rain earlier in the day left Ray Nitschke Field too wet.
» A partial crew of NFL officials worked practice Thursday instead of the usual local refs. The NFL refs are in town to work three practices, including Family Night on Saturday, and also to present to the team the rules changes and points of emphasis for this season.
» Undrafted rookie guard Geoff Gray from Canada is off to a nice start in camp and went 3-0 in one-on-one pass blocking, including winning against Clay Matthews when Matthews lined up as a standing inside rusher.
Quote of the day
McCarthy on Aaron Rodgers: "He always wanted to know how did Joe Montana do it when you were with him in Kansas City? and then obviously he had the opportunity to be around Brett (Favre) and how coach Mike Holmgren installed the offense. He really has a great appetite for the history of the West Coast offense and how everything’s evolved and really what we’ve done with it, and especially with his ability particularly at the line of scrimmage. Obviously Aaron’s a great player, but he has a great mind. He has a great football mind. I can’t get enough of it."
The Packers have another 6:15 p.m. session Friday.