Packers OTA notebook

Woodson returns for practices; Blackmon still out, Jennings hobbled; special teams a priority

Charles Woodson participated in all four practices this week. The veteran cornerback skipped the Packers' Organized Team Activities practices last year in favor of working out on his own in Houston, but this year he decided to participate for a portion of the OTA's after a chat with fellow veteran Al Harris.

"We talked a little bit to make sure we were both here simultaneously at some point," Woodson said with a smile. "We definitely worked it out."

Harris attended the voluntary practices last week, but has not been present this week. Woodson did not attend any practices until this week. He said that he doesn't plan to be around for the two practices next week Monday and Tuesday.

"We had good work with Charles," said Packers coach Mike McCarthy.

Woodson said that he will return to Houston, where he resides in the off-season. He said he works out about two hours a day, seven days a week.

Blackmon still out, Jennings hobbled
Cornerback Will Blackmon has not been able to practice this week due to a groin injury. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said that Blackmon might be able to return to practice next week.

Blackmon sustained a broken bone in his foot during a minicamp practice in May of 2006 and missed all of training camp. He then injured his ribs midway through the season and was placed on season-ending injured reserve.

Until his groin injury, Blackmon was practicing as one of the top cornerbacks in the team's nickel and dime passing defenses. He also is expected to be a leading candidate to return kickoffs and punts this season.

"I'm hoping he'll be ready ... hopefully next week he can get some work, but I don't think it can go much longer than that," McCarthy said.

Wide receiver Greg Jennings did not practice today because of a hip flexor injury. It is uncertain if he will return to practices next week.

Special teams a priority
The Packers seem determined to improve their special teams units this season. Green Bay has ranked near the bottom of the league in various categories over the last couple of seasons.

The Packers spent about 10 to 15 minutes on kickoff returns in practice today, and have paid more attention to the punt and kickoff units throughout this off-season.

"I treat it just like I do offense and defense," said McCarthy. "I make sure Mike has his 30 minutes every day to meet and he has his three periods during practice. You can't balance it with offense and defense, but we make sure he has the appropriate time to get everything taught, has the fundamentals, time for fundamentals, to get that taught, in situations. Everything I do from a practice environment the focus is on fundamentals and situations. That's prominent in everything we do, and I make sure Mike has the time to get that done."

McCarthy feels that the Packers have the type of players that will help special teams get better.

"I think we have the size, the combination of size, speed and athletic ability you're looking for, and that's something you're always striving for as far as personnel matchups," said McCarthy. "So I think we've definitely improved in that area. The understanding schematically, we're very much-improved there. I thought we started the season very slow, tentative to a point. We've talked about the youth of our football team, I thought it was highlighted in our special teams, the inexperience specifically in some of the areas. So from that part of it, I think we've had a lot of improvement, so I'm excited about that.

"And once again, special teams is a big part of it, just part of our game period, is mindset, attitude, approach, and that's something I think we'll see taken to the next level when we get to preseason.


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