Family Night notes

Kickers showered with noise; returners audition; cornerbacks get night off

After they were showered with water the other night, kickers Dave Rayner and Mason Crosby faced another distraction Saturday night at Lambeau Field – noise.

The Packers, whether it was a coincidence or not, cranked up the music while the stadium's public address announcer, Bill Jartz, encouraged the sellout crowd of nearly 60,000 to make as much noise as possible while Rayner and Crosby continued their field goal competition with 11 kicks each near the end of the intra-squad scrimmage.

"You don't know exactly what to expect that whole period," said Rayner. "I think it's good. The more distractions the better. As long as it's not water bottles."

Coach Mike McCarthy had to stop the kicking competition the other night when the kickers' teammates got a little too aggressive with the water that they squirted on the kickers as they attempted field goals near the end of practice. In the noise, Rayner made 8 of 11 attempts, missing from 36 and twice from 52 yards. Crosby, the team's sixth round draft pick, made 9 of 11 attempts, missing wide left from 38 and 49 yards. Punter Jon Ryan and wide receiver Ruvell Martin, as they have been throughout training camp, switched off as holders for each kicker.

The kickers attempted field goals from 25, 28, 31, 36, 38 (twice), 44, 49 (twice), and 52 yards (twice) from both the left and right hash marks.

Rayner was disappointed that he missed twice from 52 yards, but not devastated. He was 1 of 3 from 50-plus yards last season, including a team-record tying 54-yarder against the Eagles at Philadelphia.

"We've kicked a lot lately, which is not a bad thing," said Rayner. "I'm not going to look into it. I hit the ball well tonight. That last (52 yarder), I hit it as pure as I've hit a ball in my life."

Returners begin auditions
Special teams coach Mike Stock and head coach Mike McCarthy could have a pleasant problem to deal with when they decide on who to use as punt and kickoff returners for the upcoming season. On Saturday, a handful of players got their first chance in a ‘thud' tackling setting to show what they can do.

For now, it appears Shaun Bodiford jumped to an early lead with impressive punt and kickoff returns. Bodiford returned one punt 30 yards and averaged 25 yards on two kickoff returns.

Wide receiver David Clowney, selected in the fifth round of the recent NFL draft by Green Bay, returned a kickoff 103 yards, though, wide receiver James Jones "two-handed" Clowney at about the 30 yard line, so it was difficult to tell if Clowney would have gone the distance in a ‘live' tackling setting.

Cornerback Will Blackmon returned one punt 12 yards and one kickoff 25 yards. Running back Brandon Jackson returned a kickoff 21 yards. The Packers also placed fullback Ryan Powdrell back as a kickoff returner, but he did not have any chances.

Did not practice
Cornerbacks Al Harris and Charles Woodson did not suit up for practice. Coach Mike McCarthy gave the two veterans the night off in his ongoing effort to keep his veteran players fresh. Harris and Woodson also got the morning practices off on Tuesday and Thursday prior to each day's evening practices last week.

Other players who did not participate in the intra-squad scrimmage due to injuries included tight ends Bubba Franks (eye) and Clarke Harris (ankle), running back Vernand Morency (knee), and linebacker Rory Johnson (shoulder).


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