Monday’s Play, Player and Position of Day

Some of the team's big names had big nights, including an excellent catch-and-run touchdown by Jordy Nelson. Plus, our daily positional spotlight shines on the inside linebackers.

We review the eighth practice of Green Bay Packers training camp.

PLAY OF THE DAY

In the red zone, where the amount of space is limited, the offense often needs someone to make a play.

Jordy Nelson made such a play toward the end of Monday night’s practice.

Aaron Rodgers threw a short pass to Jordy Nelson along the sideline. He took the ball inside and got past Jarrett Bush, then took it to the outside and got past Jumal Rolle to score a touchdown.

For a runner-up, second-year receiver Kevin Dorsey had his best day of camp. He scored two touchdowns, including using his strong hands to make a catch in the end zone against tight coverage from rookie cornerback Demetri Goodson. Dorsey, who ranks high on the special teams depth charts, has a legit chance to make the team.

PLAYER OF THE DAY

At just about every practice, you could single out Rodgers and Clay Matthews as the best players on the field. Both players were superb on Monday. Rodgers is getting into a groove, showing precise accuracy and timing throughout the practice.

Matthews, however, might have been better. Several times, Matthews used his superior quickness off the ball to get into the backfield. Near the goal line in a run-game drill, Matthews exploded down the line of scrimmage to stop James Starks. Moments later, Matthews ignored Rodgers’ play-action fake. By the time Rodgers turned to look at his receivers, Matthews was in his face for what would have been a sack. Instead, Matthews put on the brakes and Rodgers hit Andrew Quarless for a touchdown. Later, Matthews used a swim move to get past tight end Richard Rodgers; it didn’t look like Matthews was even touched as he made the play on fullback John Kuhn.

More than ever, Matthews will be a focal point of the defense. A new wrinkle unveiled on Monday — which we are not allowed to write about — puts Matthews in an even bigger spotlight.

POSITION OF THE DAY

On Friday, linebackers coach Winston Moss said inside linebackers Jamari Lattimore and Sam Barrington have to be ready to take advantage should an opportunity for extended playing time present itself.

With starter Brad Jones sidelined for the second half of practice with an undisclosed injury, Lattimore took advantage as he joined A.J. Hawk with the No. 1 defense. Whether he winds up unseating Jones in the starting lineup remains to be seen, but there’s no doubt Lattimore — who started four games for an injured Jones last season — is the most versatile player in the group.

“Jamari’s had a great approach and a great attitude,” Moss said. “He looks ready to go. He’s always been a smart player as far as knowing what to do. If you remember last year, he came in and performed very, very well. That’s carried over to this year. With the opportunities he gets, he’s shown up very well. He’s one of those type of guys that has multiple uses. You can see him inside, outside, coverage, blitz, run. He’s talented enough to do it all.”

In terms of hard hits and consistently making their presence felt, Lattimore and Barrington have had the best camps of the inside linebackers. Barrington, who almost intercepted a pass intended for Nelson, generally stops the backs’ progress in the run game.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

Coach Mike McCarthy, on the offensive line: “I’ll say the offense line if I was going to jump out there for one position group that had the most consistent work from practice 1 through 8, I’d say that’s the group. I think they’ve consistently given the running backs good looks in the running game. The protection part of it, we’re further ahead than we were last year. Really, our defensive front is clearly further ahead than we were last year in the area of pass rush and things like that. I’m happy with the line play so far.”


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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