Both Pickett and Harris did not attend either of the Packers' two voluntary OTA practices last week, but the veterans each feel a need to work on their technique and prepare for the upcoming training camp, which begins July 28. Each player stepped in with the first team defense during drills this week.
"Just trying to knock the rust off," said Harris, who skipped the team's OTA workouts last year in a contract dispute. "You can work as hard as you want wherever you're at, but as far as playing football, bump-and-run, you gotta come and get some of that."
Pickett was not able to attend the OTA practices last year due to family issues, but this year the seventh year pro is currently working on losing about eight pounds to reach his listed weight of 322, and to polish his technique. Pickett said he plans to practice all four days with the team next week, then finish up on June 18.
"I think it's very important to be here," Pickett said. "Last year, it was unfortunate that I couldn't be here. I think I missed out on a lot. I think it will help me have a faster start to my season and help me do better."
Excused from practice
Offensive tackle Mark Tauscher (death in the family) and backup quarterback Aaron Rodgers (brother's graduation) were excused from practice, according to the Packers. Tony Moll took Tauscher's right tackle spot with the No. 1 offense. Josh Bourke also took some snaps with the first unit.
Back in action
Rookie running back DeShawn Wynn, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury since the team's rookie orientation camp in early May, has returned to practices this week. Wynn was selected by the Packers in the seventh round (228th overall) of this year's NFL draft.
"Talented young man," said Packers coach Mike McCarthy. "I know we're just in helmets and shorts and T-shirts, but I'm very impressed with his vision and his foot quickness. He's really had an excellent week of practice. Once again, that needs to transfer to the padded practice. He seems to be picking up the scheme, has an understanding. His instincts, obviously his size, and the thickness that you like to see with a guy who runs with his pad level. He's had a very good week of practice."
Rookie running back Brandon Jackson injured his knee earlier this week in practice, but head coach Mike McCarthy said he's hopeful Jackson will be back on the field next week. Offensive tackle Chad Clifton left practice early after injuring his elbow while blocking against Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. Free agent Orrin Thompson played with the first-team offense in Clifton's place. Josh Bourke also took a few snaps at left tackle.
Cornerback Will Blackmon did not practice due to "fatigue" in his foot. Blackmon missed all of the team's OTA practices and training camp last year due to a broken bone in his foot that he sustained during a minicamp practice.
First-round draft pick Justin Harrell (bicep), linebacker Abdul Hodge (knee) defensive end Aaron Kampman (knee), wide receiver Robert Ferguson (mid-foot), have yet to practice with the team this off-season and are expected to be held out until the start of training camp.