Michael Cohen and Aaron Nagler gave their initial takeaways from Monday's training camp practice. (Aug. 7, 2017)
Draft picks DeAngelo Yancey (fifth round) and Malachi Dupre (seventh round) have had nondescript camps so far — practice-squad holdover Max McCaffrey clearly has outperformed both, for instance. But Yancey had the kind of practice Monday that could help him move ahead of draft classmate Dupre and gain some ground on McCaffrey in the battle for the final couple roster spots, a battle that also includes returnees Trevor Davis and Jeff Janis. Yancey got a lot of playing time in practice Monday as the Packers began preparing for their preseason opener against Philadelphia this week, and he was maybe the quarterbacks’ favorite target of the day. Better yet, two of his receptions were from Aaron Rodgers while they were working on scout team. That’s one way to start earning your quarterback’s trust. Yancey’s biggest play was when he got behind cornerback Quinten Rollins, who has been having a good camp, and caught a go route from Rodgers. He also converted a third-and-four from Rodgers on an out against rookie cornerback Kevin King. And Yancey picked up a nice gain with a tough reaching catch against rookie Donatello Brown when Brett Hundley zipped a throw on a crossing route. It was definitely Yancey’s best showing of camp and likely drew the notice of the coaching staff on the eve of the most important days of the evaluation process, the preseason games. If he can carry this over to the games, he has a chance to win a spot on the final 53 rather than the practice squad.
ANALYSIS: King, Jones look the part early in camp
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Getting a good jump on the snap is exponentially harder for pass rushers in the NFL than in college, because veteran pro quarterbacks are much more advanced with their cadences than college passers. Undrafted rookie Jonathan Calvin got a lesson in that Monday against one of the league’s best at drawing players offsides (Rodgers) and his protégé who has been getting better at it the last two years (Hundley). Both got Calvin to jump Monday, which gave them a free shot downfield. Neither connected, but those are potentially costly penalties, and Calvin can’t make many mistakes like that as an undrafted rookie fighting for a roster or practice-squad spot. He expected to get a chewing from linebackers coach Winston Moss in video-review sessions later Monday. “It will probably be bad,” Calvin said, “but that’s my first time jumping since I’ve been here.” Calvin usually either watches the ball or more often looks for the tackle’s knee to move to get a jump on the snap, but against the Packers’ younger quarterbacks he’ll sometimes go by the cadence. Rodgers, who was running the scout team on the play, exclaimed, “Yeah, I got him,” as he backpedaled after taking the snap. Said Calvin: “If I would have seen Rodgers back there I wouldn’t even have been listening.”
The two new injuries were to receiver Colby Pearson (ankle) and cornerback Davon House (hamstring). Tight end Beau Sandland (knee) and defensive lineman Montravius Adams (foot) remain out. Vince Biegel (foot) and Demetri Goodson (knee) still haven’t passed their physicals and are on the PUP list.
Bits and pieces
» Based on practice Monday, it looks like Rodgers and perhaps a few other starters aren’t going to play in Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Eagles. Rodgers worked only with the scout team and receiver Jordy Nelson didn’t take any team snaps, which means they won’t be playing. Rodgers played in only one preseason game last season.
» The Lambeau Field practice Saturday marked the end of the most competitive part of training camp. In the first eight practices, the Packers almost exclusively worked their own offensive scheme against their own defense. But from here on out, most team drills will be against the scout team on one side of the ball or the other in preparation for the next preseason game or for the regular-season opener against Seattle.
» With House not practicing, the starting cornerbacks in the base 3-4 defense were Rollins and Damarious Randall.
Quote of the day
Coach Mike McCarthy on his offensive line: “You look at the history of the NFL, your best lines are the ones that pretty much play every week together, week in and week out, and get the number of starts. Lane Taylor’s definitely taken a big jump. He did some really good things Saturday night in the Family Night scrimmage. We have a segment when we get together as a group, offense and defense, and highlight the positive things that a specific individual did that we can learn from. Lane was part of that tape again this morning. And Jahri (Evans) has been a really good fit
The Packers’ next practice is set for 11:45 a.m. Tuesday at Ray Nitschke Field.