Notebook: Big hits define spirited practice

Also, an injury update and a potpourri of quick hits from Wednesday night

A day off is coming at a good time for the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers engaged in a spirited and hard-hitting practice on a warm and humid Wednesday night.

"It was one of those practices where the offense got after the defense and the defense got after the offense," coach Mike McCarthy said. "I just look at the body of work this whole week. I think we have a lot to build off of."

McCarthy is pleased with the health of his team, though there are sure to be some sore bodies after Wednesday night's practice, which featured a heavy dose of goal-line and red-zone work.

Defensive tackles Ryan Pickett (hamstring) and Justin Harrell (back) remain out of action, and cornerback Tramon Williams (hip flexor) missed his third consecutive practice. Defensive tackles Johnny Jolly and Daniel Muir and safety Aaron Rouse limped off the field during the last goal-line sequence, but all three returned to action.

McCarthy thought Williams would practice on Friday — when the team gets back to work after spending Thursday in meetings and lifting weights. Pickett could make his camp debut on Friday or Saturday.

"This is the healthiest camp I've ever been a part of, and knock on wood, I hope it stays that way," McCarthy said. "Not to hear (head trainer) Pepper Burruss talk very much every day is a blessing, trust me."

Quick hits

— Late in practice, the first skirmish of camp broke out. It was snuffed out quickly, and the reason for the fracas wasn't clear.

— Linebacker Abdul Hodge enjoyed his first notable practice since 2006. Early in the night, Hodge drilled running back DeShawn Wynn. Later, in a blitz drill pitting linebackers against running backs, Hodge — whose 2007 season ended in training camp with surgery to both knees — ran right through undrafted rookie Kregg Lumpkin. In that same blitz drill, 260-pound fullback Ryan Powdrell stuck Hodge in his tracks.

— With Williams sidelined, the top two kickoff and punt returners were Will Blackmon and rookie Jordy Nelson. They were followed in both instances by Greg Jennings and rookies Taj Smith and Brett Swain.

— Running back Brandon Jackson got to throw a pass. It wasn't pretty. His wounded duck fluttered well over the head of Jennings.

— Rookie quarterback Matt Flynn had a pass batted down, making it three on the day.

— Undrafted rookie cornerback Condrew Allen batted away a pass, giving him three on the day.

— Impressive rookie receiver Nelson wrestled a pass away from fellow second-round pick Patrick Lee.

— Kicker Mason Crosby hit five of six field goals, with the only miss a block that was due in part to a shaky snap by Thomas Gafford.

— In the morning, Brian Brohm threw a pass 50 yards into a hoop. In the evening, Aaron Rodgers turned the trick and earned the loudest applause of the night.

— Speaking of Brohm, he threw two absolutely ugly wounded ducks at the feet of his receivers. He's had that problem on occasion.

— Speaking of Rodgers, he had a rocky first red-zone period. The period began with a false-start penalty, then Rodgers fumbled the snap — which earned the No. 1 offense an unwanted breather. Moments later, he threw low to Donald Driver, who deflected the ball to Aaron Rouse for an interception. Rodgers threw a beautiful corner route to Chris Francies for a touchdown, but that pass was sandwiched between two near-interceptions.

— In one-on-one pass-rush drills, Jason Hunter won reps against Breno Giacomini and Orrin Thompson. Thompson's brother, fourth-round pick Jeremy Thompson, whipped Giacomini with a nifty inside spin move, which he also used to rout Tony Moll. Colin Cole, known for his run-stopping skills, overpowered Ryan Considine with a bull rush.

— Rookie tight end Jermichael Finley made a nifty one-handed catch in a one-on-one passing drill, and beat linebacker A.J. Hawk for a touchdown after Rodgers bought some time.

What's next?

There is no practice on Thursday, and practices at 8:45 a.m. (shells) and 6:30 p.m. (pads) on Friday. The team practices at 2 p.m. (pads) on Saturday, with the sold-out Family Night Scrimmage at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.

Bill Huber writes for Packer Report. E-mail him at

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