Defense Spends Night in Backfield

Maybe it was good timing for a break for Aaron Rodgers and other veterans. During Tuesday night's practice, Dom Capers emptied his playbook and quarterbacks Matt Flynn and Graham Harrell rarely had time in the pocket.

If one play could sum up the Green Bay Packers' Tuesday night practice, it would be this one: Brad Jones "sacked" Graham Harrell but Harrell threw the ball to Tori Gurley, who dropped it.

The offense was overwhelmed by the defense during a 27-play team period during the middle of practice. How about these for ugly numbers:

— Receivers dropped three passes (Jermichael Finley, who would have scored a touchdown against Charlie Peprah, and Gurley and Greg Jennings on back-to-back plays).

— Eight sacks, with pressure coming from every which way as defensive coordinator Dom Capers turned loose blitzer after blitzer. On back-to-back plays, Pat Lee charged in untouched off the corner for sacks. On another play, rookie running back Alex Green saw two untouched blitzers coming his way. He picked the wrong guy — not that it mattered — and Tramon Williams wound up with the sack.

— One false start (Caleb Schlauderaff) and one fumble (Graham Harrell).

Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin didn't seem overly concerned by the parade of pass rushers collapsing the pocket. That's just part of facing Capers' exotic schemes.

"We tell our guys all the time, ‘We're not going to be calling the defenses for the opponents we play,'" Philbin said. "‘even though we're going to scout them and we've got our tendencies and we've got our computers and all this and that. At the end of the day, we don't really know what they're going to do.'"

Senior Night

As is coach Mike McCarthy's custom, he periodically gives his older players a practice off. That happened for the first time during this training camp, with the eight players with seven-plus years of experience getting a break: quarterback Aaron Rodgers, cornerback Charles Woodson, safety Nick Collins, center Scott Wells, left tackle Chad Clifton, defensive end Ryan Pickett, receiver Donald Driver and defensive end Howard Green.

Without Rodgers, Matt Flynn and Harrell were the quarterbacks.

"This is what I told Matt and Graham in the quarterback school before this: ‘You've got the keys. Take it for a ride. Let's go,' McCarthy said. "I thought both of those guys did very well. They moved the ball in the two-minute drill. In the extensive third-down period, the blitz work, Dom had the Psycho package in tonight as an install, so they saw that for the first time. Those are reps you can't buy. I thought they both performed well and handled everything thrown at them tonight."

Injury updates

Old injuries: K Mason Crosby (ankle), WR Brett Swain (hamstring), S Brandon Underwood (knee), CB Davon House (hamstring), LBs Cardia Jackson (unknown) and Diyral Briggs (hamstring), OL Adrian Battles (Achilles), NT Eli Joseph (hamstring and hip flexor), T Chris Campbell (knee).

New injuries: CB Brandian Ross (hamstring).

Back in action: T Marshall Newhouse (shoulder sprain) returned after missing the final one-third of Monday's practice and worked with the first team in place of Clifton.

Four-point stance

— Neither the Flynn-led first-team offense nor the Harrell-led second-team offense got into the end zone during their two-minute drills. On first-and-10 from the defense's 34-yard line with 23 seconds to go, Flynn threw a hair too high for Randall Cobb. Cobb couldn't make the catch and Morgan Burnett grabbed the interception. Harrell, who kept a drive alive with a fourth-down completion after dropping the snap, hooked up with Kerry Taylor in the back of the end zone on third down from the 8 as time expired but Taylor couldn't get both feet inbounds.

— With Crosby ailing with a sprained ankle, general manager Ted Thompson said he'll consider signing a kicker. The best of the undrafted free agents, UCLA's Kai Forbath, was on the team's radar, according to a source, but he recently signed with Dallas.

— Finley, on getting a contract extension before becoming a free agent at the end of the season: "It's a business. If they come at me with a long-term (contract), of course I'll take it. But if they don't, I'm going to still play ball to my best."

— Williams and Gurley exchanged blows. It appeared Gurley, a 6-foot-4 undrafted free agent, threw the first punch; Williams retaliated and knocked Gurley down before order was restored.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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