Packers Camp Insider: Undrafted rookie Montay Crockett getting up to speed

Pete Dougherty
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Wide receiver Montay Crockett catches a pass during rookie orientation Friday at the Don Hutson Center.

This isn’t a good year to be an undrafted rookie receiver with the Packers. They return the seven receivers who were on their roster at the end of last season, and they drafted two more in the spring. But Montay Crockett is giving it a shot and holding his own. He had his best practice of camp Tuesday and has a quality that stands out. “Speed,” was the first word out of cornerback Davon House when asked what he thought about No. 9. (i.e, Crockett). Crockett ran the 40 in 4.39 seconds at his pro day at Georgia Southern in the spring, then a reported 4.30 at the regional combine in New Orleans. That 4.30 sounds a little too good to be true, but even if his actual time is more like 4.39, that’s still fast. “Probably one of the three fastest on the team,” House said based on what he has seen on the practice field. Crockett finished last week on a good note in the preseason opener against Philadelphia with a contested catch and toe tap to stay in bounds to convert a third-and-10 in the fourth quarter. Then in practice Tuesday he had four catches – one from each of the four quarterbacks in camp – including three that converted third downs. Crockett is raw as a receiver coming from a college program that ran triple option his first three seasons before switching to a spread passing game his final year. So he’s still looking at long odds to make the 53-man roster. But he has a shot at the practice squad, especially if he has more days like Tuesday.

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Aaron Jones is fighting for a roster spot, and after that for playing time at halfback behind Ty Montgomery. But it doesn’t matter how well he plays if he fumbles, and in practice Tuesday he fumbled early in team drills. It was the fifth-round draft pick’s third fumble in training camp, counting all drills. “It’s a horrible feeling,” Jones said. “The coaches get on you, as they should. Makes you feel bad, you don’t want to let anybody down on your team, and definitely you don’t want to be that guy that fumbles.” Jones is one of three running backs general manager Ted Thompson drafted this year, along with Jamaal Williams (fourth round) and Devante Mays (seventh round). Williams so far is the front-runner for the No. 2 job behind Montgomery. What will matter most in determining the depth chart is performance in the preseason games, which is the only time the backs are tackled in camp. But even before that, protecting the ball is paramount.

Injury report

Five players didn’t practice because of new injuries: Montgomery (lower leg), cornerback Damarious Randall (concussion), offensive lineman Don Barclay (ankle), receiver Malachi Dupre (concussion) and receiver DeAngelo Yancey (groin). Three others dropped out during practice: safety Josh Jones (ankle/foot), safety Jermaine Whitehead (unidentified) and tight end Aaron Peck (unidentified). Still out were receiver Colby Pearson (ankle) and defensive lineman Montravius Adams (foot).

Bits and Pieces

» A Packers strength coach had Vince Biegel (foot) and Demetri Goodson (knee) running short sprints on the unused portion of the practice field late in Tuesday’s practice. It’s the first time the two have done that in public view this camp. Neither has passed a physical. “For me, it’s getting my spring back, getting my pop back in the foot,” Biegel said. “That’s what we’re doing here, we’re getting that last pop back in the foot. We’re getting the last details.”

» With Barclay not practicing, Lucas Patrick worked as the center with the No. 2 offensive line.

» Tight end Richard Rodgers had a couple drops Tuesday but is playing with a splint on his broken finger.

» During a punt-cover drill, long snappers Brett Goode and Derek Hart split snaps – Goode took the first four, Hart the last four. All eight snaps appeared to be fine. The Packers didn't kick field goals.

Quote of the day

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers on the difference between practice reps and preseason game reps: “Those practice reps are very important. That to me is more real football. If you look at the game the other night against Philly, I think they brought maybe one or two pressures. … In practice, playing against our defense, it’s multiple looks, fronts, personnel groupings, pressures, coverages. That to me is more what you’re going to see in a game than preseason. Preseason to me is all about execution – can the guys line up, do what they’re supposed to do? When they get the ball in their hands, are they making plays out there? The real football part, that’s kind of saved for the practice reps.”

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