Packers Camp Insider: Sixth-round pick Kofi Amichia struggling

Pete Dougherty
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Green Bay Packers offensive guard Kofi Amichia (79) blocks during training camp practice on Aug. 4, 2017, at Ray Nitschke Field.

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One way to break the routine of training camp is to try a new drill every now and then. Kudos to offensive line coach James Campen for what appears to have been a new one Wednesday. The drill simulated blocking while the quarterback moves around looking to throw. It’s something the Packers have to do a lot with Aaron Rodgers, and really all four of their quarterbacks. For each rep, two offensive linemen would lock up. One would act as a rusher pushing hard, the other would try to hold his ground. It looked a lot like wrestling, and the goal was to hold on for 10 seconds. “Make you sit in a pass-protection, athletic stance for a ridiculous amount of time just to train or over-train that fundamental base,” tackle Kyle Murphy said. “Throwing it in the middle of practice is going to make those following periods hard, but it’s just one of those things. It’s training camp, right?” If the drill isn’t new, Campen rarely has used it. Several of the linemen said it was the first time they’d done it, and a couple reporters who have covered the team for years said they couldn’t remember seeing it, either. The drill was as exhausting for both players as you’ll ever see in practice. When the period finished, the linemen showed all the signs of being worn out — walking slowly, arms hanging, breathing hard. Undrafted rookie Thomas Evans, who takes a lot of snaps with the scout team, even had to rest on one knee for a couple minutes while a trainer talked to him and another staff member squirted water down his back. “That’s a great drill, I love it,” Evans said. Said guard Lane Taylor: “It kind of separates some people from another. Whenever you get tired it might tap into your technique, you get stiff legged, you bend at the waist. It’s a good drill to emphasize your technique the entire time.”

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The Packers’ depth on the offensive line is looking thin, and the chances of their only drafted lineman, sixth-round pick Kofi Amichia, helping this season aren’t looking good. Amichia has been playing mostly guard but was drafted as a potential center also. He has NFL tools — his vertical jump (33½ inches) and broad jump (9-6) at his pro day were significantly better than the average interior lineman at the scouting combine going back to 1999 (27¾ inches and 8-4¾), according to data from MockDraftable. And until this week, he'd been working as the left guard with the No. 2 offensive line. But he has had his share of struggles as camp has gone on. In one-on-one drills Wednesday, he badly lost one of two reps, when he jumped at Brian Price and fanned. Then in team drills, undrafted rookie Geoff Gray played ahead of him with the No. 2 line. Things occasionally change the final two weeks in training camp, but for now, it’s looking like Amichia will end up on the practice squad, not the 53-man roster.

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Injury report

Tackle Bryan Bulaga left practice because of an ankle injury, and outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott (back) dropped out of practice for the second day in a row.

No new players missed practice.

Linebacker Derrick Mathews (concussion) returned for the early portion of practice but didn’t take part in team drills.

Bits and pieces

» Rookie punter Josh Vogel had probably his worst punt of camp but also boomed several punts with a strong breeze behind him. He badly shanked his first punt of the day but over the course of two periods also hit six (of 11 total) with hang times of 4.7 seconds or more. That included a 57-yarder with a 5.26 hang time.

» As punt returners, Randall Cobb and Quinten Rollins each muffed a catch.

» Mason Crosby was 6-for-7 on field-goal attempts ranging from 33 to 50 yards. His miss was from 50. Derek Hart snapped the first two and Brett Goode snapped the rest, including on the miss.

» In a two-minute drill with Brett Hundley at quarterback, cornerback LaDarius Gunter dropped an interception, and tight end Lance Kendricks dropped a touchdown on a back-shoulder throw.

Quote of the day

"I go back to the Super Bowl year, it took 77 players to win that Super Bowl. You don’t win in this league with 53 players. We always talk about the 63 because it’s the 53 plus the 10 practice squad players and then you’re probably going to be another 10 or 15 above that at the end of the ride. So the opportunity to continue coaching players a week longer is a benefit for everybody. It’s a benefit for the player, it’s a benefit for the club, it definitely makes your team better." — coach Mike McCarthy on the new NFL rule in which all cuts from 90 players to 53 are after the final preseason game.

Practice schedule

The Packers don't practice in front of the public for the rest of the week. Their final public practice of camp is next Tuesday at 11:45 a.m.


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