Wind gets best of Rayner

The winner of the Packers' kicking derby keeps a positive outlook after missing three times from 39 yards.

Dave Rayner called it "embarrassing."

Packers general manager Ted Thompson might use the same word if it happens in a game.

During an end-of-game scenario as part of Thursday's practice at Ray Nitschke Field in which the field-goal team scrambled onto the field, Rayner missed a 39-yard kick so badly that it smacked off the scoreboard far to the left of the goalpost. Think Mike Vanderjagt's miss in the Colts' playoff loss to Pittsburgh last season, but the other direction.

With a storm trekking toward Green Bay, Rayner had to battle a difficult right-to-left crosswind. Rayner struggled making the adjustment — finishing 7 of 10, with all three misses going wide left from 39 yards. Rayner, Thompson and the Packers no doubt hope Rayner's rough day won't foreshadow how he'll do in the often unfriendly confines of Lambeau Field.

"Two of them I hit pretty good," Rayner said. "The one when we ran on, it was embarrassing. The other two I hit real well. I put the ball right down the middle and they went left. If I had aimed right, it would have gone down the middle. It just took me two shots to figure that out, which is not good."

On the plus side, he connected from 20, 24, 30, 30, 30, 39, 39 and 44 yards. It also sounds like he has a short memory, which is a must for such an on-an-island position as kicker.

"You know what? If I sit here and dwell on three kicks I missed in practice, I'm going to go insane," he said. "My biggest thing is, it's in practice. I know what I did wrong, I can go fix it tomorrow. I'm not going to sit here and dwell on it and analyze it to death. That's kind of my way. If I sit and think and think and think, then the next time I go to kick, I'm going to be a head case."

Quick hits

— Injured fullback William Henderson, who underwent knee surgery earlier in the week, called the procedure a tune-up and said he hoped to be back in time for the Sept. 10 season opener against Chicago. Henderson said the injury didn't occur on a specific play on Saturday against Atlanta, but was rather just a cumulative injury. "It just didn't feel like it responded how it should," he said.

— Packers coach Mike McCarthy said offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski will be on the field, not the coaching booth, on game days.

— Punter Jon Ryan had a big day kicking into the wind, but he also dropped a snap.

— Of the five punt returners fielding kicks, only rookie fourth-round pick Cory Rodgers dropped the ball.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to PackerReport.com. Send comments to steve_lawrence_packers@yahoo.com.


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