For the first time, defensive players are allowed to have a radio headset, a luxury quarterbacks have enjoyed for several years. The Packers started working out the kinks during organized team activities, and will continue doing so during the minicamp that started Tuesday.
"Sometimes as (defensive coordinator Bob Sanders) is talking and I'm trying to get the play out (to teammates) at the same time, sometimes you get a little confused because you say, 'OK, I am trying to say this,' but you are hearing stuff at the same time," said linebacker Nick Barnett, who is probably the most logical defensive player to wear the headset. "I think it just takes a little time to get used to. I don't mind it."
Only one defensive player with a functioning headset will be allowed on the field, and coach Mike McCarthy has said it will be either the middle linebacker (Barnett) or a safety, because those players seldom come off the field. Barnett, for instance, is the only linebacker on the field when the Packers go to a dime (six defensive backs) alignment.
Barnett and safety Nick Collins are getting the most experience using it. It's not something that will be tried with many players, though.
"They're pretty expensive," McCarthy said.
The main impetus for giving the defense a headset is the Spygate scandal. Having coach-to-player communication will be helpful during two-minute situations, Barnett said.
"Usually in the two-minute drill, you have everybody looking over to the sideline and someone is getting this half of the call and getting that half of the call," Barnett said. "With us having the speaker in our helmet, everyone is going to know that I am going to have the official call and able to just communicate it and then everybody just passes it along."
Good and bad for Brohm
Rookie quarterback Brian Brohm was intercepted three times on Tuesday afternoon. He did, however, lead the only touchdown drive as all three quarterbacks got a crack at running a two-minute drill.
Aaron Rodgers' drive with the starting offense, which started at his 40-yard line sputtered early and ended with five conseuctive incompletions inside the defense's 10-yard line. Matt Flynn went 1-for-4, with the only completion being a batted ball that he caught. Brohm, however, led the No. 2 offense to a 60-yard touchdown drive that he capped with a scoring pass to tight end Evan Moore. He completed 6-of-7 passes.
Finley returns to practice
Rookie tight end Jermichael Finley practiced Tuesday for the first time since injuring a knee in a collision during the June 4 OTA.
There were no surprises among the absentees, with the list following what happened during OTAs: defensive tackles Johnny Jolly, Justin Harrell and Colin Cole; defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila; offensive linemen Chad Clifton, Junius Coston and Cameron Stephenson; cornerbacks Will Blackmon and Kyle Ward and unsigned running back Ryan Grant. Ward, however, practiced in the afternoon.
McCarthy has been holding Clifton out of action to rest his aging left tackle. McCarthy said Coston would likely be practicing if this were a game week; Coston injured his back last week at OTAs.
Absent from the first practice was cornerback Charles Woodson for personal issues. McCarthy said Woodson would practice in the afternoon, and indeed he did.
— Speaking about Harrell, who is recovering from back surgery, McCarthy said: "Justin has really picked up his rehab schedule, and the feedback has been very positive from both (trainer) Pepper (Burress) and (strength and conditioning coach) Rock (Gullickson) as far as what he's been able to do, and the level that he's been able to push through the drills and so forth. I anticipate at some point he'll be ready for training camp."
— A couple of undrafted rookies who we've profiled here made nifty catches in the morning: wide receiver Jake Allen along the sideline and tight end Mike Peterson with a leap.
— Daryn Colledge, not Allen Barbre, worked as the starting left guard during the morning practice. He remained a starting guard for the afternoon session because center Scott Wells was held out. Right guard Jason Spitz moved to center, Barbre stepped in at left guard and Colledge moved to right guard.
— As of 6 p.m. Central, the latest from The Associated Press was that former Packers receiver Javon Walker could be released from a Las Vegas hospital today, a day after he was found unconscious after being beaten and robbed.
Walker suffered "significant injuries," according to police, who said "was a large amount of case taken, and some jewelry."
Walker, 29, signed a six-year, $55 million contract with Oakland after being released by Denver in February.
— Fans were allowed to watch about 45 minutes of the morning practice. A portion of Wednesday's and Thursday's 10:15 a.m. practices inside the Don Hutson Center again will be open to fans.
Steve Lawrence is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org