Packers growing thin at outside linebacker

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Green Bay Packers linebacker Nick Perry looks on during training camp practice at Ray Nitschke Field on Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015.

Julius Peppers is once again the last starter standing at outside linebacker.

Nick Perry (groin) joined Clay Matthews and Mike Neal on the sideline of Thursday's padded practice at Ray Nitschke Field. The fourth-year outside linebacker had been working across from Peppers with the first-team defense before the flare-up.

Perry previously missed all of the offseason program after a shoulder surgery. Third-year outside linebacker Andy Mulumba took Perry's place opposite Peppers with Jayrone Elliott and rookie Jermauria Rasco rotating behind them.

Peppers, who turned 35 in January, has yet to miss a practice since signing with the Packers. Coach Mike McCarthy offered no timeline for either Matthews (knee) or Neal (abdomen) other than to say they're getting better.

As for Peppers' workload, McCarthy says injuries have no bearing on his reps.

"I really think our practice schedule takes care of that," McCarthy said. "In past training camp environments where you play a lot more football that would be the case. But we've got three practices, we've got a day off.

"Then this is our toughest stretch of training camp with three padded practices in a row. That really takes care of it."

Outside linebacker Adrian Hubbard (groin), running back John Crockett (ankle), tackle Vince Kowalski (concussion), and receivers Jared Abbrederis (concussion), Adrian Coxson (concussion) and Ricky Collins (heel) did not practice.

Cornerback Sam Shields missed the first hour of practice because of a dental appointment, but returned for the second half. McCarthy said there were no restrictions on running back Eddie Lacy, who split team reps with James Starks after sitting out the end of Tuesday's practice with foot soreness.

Still no-catch

NFL line judge Ron Marnucci and his crew are in Green Bay this week refereeing practices and Saturday's Family Night event.

They're also spending part of that time answering questions from players, coaches and media about rule changes for the upcoming season. One of this year's popular points of emphasis revolves around Dez Bryan's noncatch from the Packers' playoff game against Dallas in January.

For all its controversy, Marnucci said it was a pretty rudimentary decision. Whatever way you slice it, it's still not a catch.

"In the Dez Bryant play, he never really established himself as a runner," Marnucci said. "He was a receiver who caught the ball. Did he have both feet down? Absolutely. No doubt he had both feet down, but did his momentum take him to the ground? If you answer yes to his momentum taking him to the ground, when he hit the ground, he must maintain control of the football and obviously you saw it pop up. That's why it becomes an incomplete pass."

— and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.

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