Veteran tackles return

Jackson, Hunt not expected to play against Titans

Grady Jackson and Cletidus Hunt were together again Monday, but they did more than work out on their own, then stand around and watch their teammates practice. The two veteran defensive tackles wore pads for the first time in a long time and actually took a few snaps during scrimmages.

Don't expect the two to play in the team's preseason finale Thursday at Tennessee. The Packers are easing Jackson and Hunt back into playing shape with an eye on the Sept. 11 season opener at Detroit.

"I wish they were with us the entire preseason," Packers coach Mike Sherman said. "But hopefully we'll have them for the extent of the regular season."

Jackson and Hunt lined up with the first-team defense for a few plays in a 9-on-7 drill and for a few plays in an 11-on-11 scrimmage. The team practiced in pads inside the Don Hutson Center today, but there was no live tackling.

"It felt good to be out there with the team," Jackson said. "Just being out there running around, it felt pretty good."

With only one practice (Tuesday) before the preseason game at Tennessee, it is highly unlikely that Jackson and Hunt will suit up. Hunt has been bothered by tendonitis in both knees and a shoulder injury that has kept him out of most of training camp. He practiced during the first few days of camp, then was sidelined prior to the team's scrimmages Aug. 4 and 5 against Buffalo and hasn't practiced until Sunday. Jackson had off-season knee surgery and did not practice until Monday. He also sat out of the team's two off-season minicamps.

"I did not have a whole lot of choices," Sherman said. "The doctors have held them back," he said. "So what do we do from here? We get them in. We continue to condition them."

Second-year pro Corey Williams, who began training camp as the starter ahead of Hunt also returned from back and rib injuries on Sunday. Williams may be ready to play against the Titans. Donnell Washington and James Lee started Friday against the Patriots at the tackle positions, but New England racked up more than 150 yards rushing. Others who have been rotated into the mix at tackle include Cullen Jenkins, Colin Cole and Kenny Peterson.

Packers coaches have been impressed with Jenkins. He also has been practicing at defensive end, but seems to be more effective at tackle. Peterson last week was moved back inside to the tackle position. He spent most of training camp at defensive end, but has not been effective.

The Packers will keep nine or 10 defensive linemen on the 53-man roster. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, Aaron Kampman, Michael Montgomery, and R-Kal Truluck have the inside track at defensive end. Jackson, Hunt, Jenkins, Peterson, Lee, Washington, Cole, and Jenkins are the top candidates for the five or six remaining roster spots.


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