Notebook: Coach gets wish Grant-ed

Rouse turns up heat on Collins; Blackmon, Hall return to practice; and tons more from Saturday's practice.

Ryan Grant and the Green Bay Packers have agreed to terms of a new contract, was the first to report. For Packers coach Mike McCarthy, the news of Grant joining the team in training camp could not have come soon enough.

McCarthy strongly suggested to reporters after practice Saturday that Grant, who has not practiced with the team this offseason, get his contract situation resolved, like now. Fortunately for Grant and McCarthy, that's exactly what happened.

Grant, entering his second NFL season, refused to sign Green Bay's $370,000 tender offer as an exclusive-rights free agent. Instead, he held out for a more lucrative four-year deal.

"He's not helping himself," McCarthy said after Saturday afternoon's practice. "I think everybody agrees with that. The thing that concerns me about Ryan, he went about everything that he needed to do throughout the spring, he was very conscientious. I know (running backs coach) Edgar Bennett is in daily contact with him, but it's time for him to get to camp. He is still a young player. He doesn't have a high level of experience, and it's time for him to get here and be a part of what is going on. It's obviously a contract negotiation, it's a business matter that I really don't get too involved with or get too caught up in, but I would really like to see Ryan get here."

According to a report in the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Grant agreed to a four-year deal that could be worth more than $30 million. Grant will make $4.25 million this season. That includes a roster bonus of $3 million and another of $500,000, plus a base salary of $750,000. In year two, Grant will receive at least $3.75 million, making it worth a total of $8 million in the first two years.

The deal is filled with elaborate escalators based on incentives that could enable Grant to earn more than $30 million over the four years.

Second-year pro Brandon Jackson has been taking all of the reps with the first-team offense. Grant will report to Green Bay on Sunday, and with Monday being an off day, he should make his training camp debut on Tuesday.

Grant had five 100-yard games for the Packers last year and finished with 956 rushing yards in the regular season, including 929 in the final 10 games.

Vernand Morency, Noah Herron and DeShawn Wynn will compete for a spot behind Grant and Jackson in the Packers' backfield.

Training camp battle heats up
Nick Collins has taken all the reps with the first team defense at safety opposite Atari Bigby, but keep an eye on Aaron Rouse. The second year pro made an impressive, diving interception during a 7-on-7 drill during Friday evening's practice at Clarke Hinkle Field. On Saturday afternoon, Rouse recovered a fumble forced by cornerback Will Blackmon on wide receiver James Jones during a play in the final team drill segment.

In the little playing time that he received last season and thus far in training camp, the imposing Rouse has displayed an ability to get his hands on the ball.

"Aaron Rouse is off to a good start," McCarthy said. "When you just look at Aaron physically, he's gifted. He has excellent size, range, and I just go back to his rookie season last year, he was given a limited number of opportunities and took full advantage of it. We're looking for him to carry that over to this year and factor in both the safety play and the special teams."

Rouse played in 11 games last season, starting three for the injured Collins. He made two interceptions in those three starts. Collins, entering his fourth season, has started all but three games in the last three seasons. While he is a good tackler, he has had trouble holding onto the ball for interceptions. He had no interceptions last year and six passes defensed compared to three interceptions in 2006 and a career-high 16 passes defensed.

Though Rouse hasn't supplanted Collins yet, he may have a chance with good performances in Green Bay's preseason games.

"I just think Aaron is in a very similar position like a number of our young players," McCarthy said. "It's just that consistency, just playing every down consistent. He has obviously shown the ability. He has been very productive, like I said, in his limited reps. He has the size and speed and instincts that you are looking for, but he just has to continue to practice and play at that level of consistency."

Back to work
Defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, Cornerback Will Blackmon and fullback Korey Hall each returned to practice on Saturday afternoon. All three players sat out of Friday evening's practice.

Gbaja-Biamila, who is recovering from knee surgery this spring, took part in some individual drills early in practice before taking his pads off and working out inside the Don Hutson Center. It is unlikely that Gbaja-Biamila will take part in the team's Family Night Scrimmage.

Hall injured his knee during Wednesday evening's practice, but appeared to be recovered from the injury. The Packers were being extra cautious with Blackmon, who had soreness in his surgically repaired foot on Friday. He was back as the team's No. 1 kickoff returner on Saturday.

Tempers flare
Running back Noah Herron and linebacker Abdul Hodge had to be separated after a play during a team drill. Herron lost his helmet while running the ball, then was hit by Hodge at the end of the play. A steamed Herron quickly got into a shoving match with Hodge. As Herron turned and walked away, Hodge jumped on Herron's back and the players had to be separated by teammates.

Saturday's practice was the warmest of the week with temperatures in the high 80s and not a cloud in sight. That may have had something to do with the short tempers.

"I would think that's normal at this point of camp," McCarthy said.

Extra points

— Mistakes aren't being tolerated. During a drill in which the offense had one play to make enough yards to set up a field goal, tackle Tony Moll was flagged for a false start. The punt team immediately was sent on the field.

When impressive undrafted rookie Johnny Quinn was penalized for a pre-snap penalty, he was pulled out of the offense and replaced with Ruvell Martin. That's generally how pre-snap penalties have been handled, especially with the offense.

The offense spent time after practice cleaning up mistakes from earlier in the session.

— Defensive tackle Johnny Jolly intercepted a middle screen by Aaron Rodgers. Fellow tackle Colin Cole, while being held by Junius Coston, batted a pass in the air that was almost intercepted by Jarrett Bush. The ball was wrestled away by Greg Jennings for an incompletion.

— Jolly spent a lot of time in the offensive backfield. He leveled Brandon Jackson on a running play in an 11-on-11 drill.

— Linebacker Spencer Havner had the hit of the day, drilling Kregg Lumpkin along the sideline, even though it wasn't a full-tilt drill.

— Defensive end Cullen Jenkins had perhaps his best practice. He had a sack in 11-on-11 and blew up a screen to Vernand Morency.

— Undrafted rookie Taj Smith hauled in a deep pass by Matt Flynn against Al Harris. Smith adjusted nicely to the underthrown ball.

— Defense is played as a team. That was evident when Nick Collins stopped Jackson for no gain. The play was made by linebacker A.J. Hawk, who took out lead blocker Korey Hall to open a path for Collins.

— Rodgers threw two beautiful passes in 11-on-11. On one, he got out of the pocket and fit a pass to Jennings in between a cornerback and a safety. He also threaded the needle to tight end Donald Lee in double coverage.

Packer Report's Bill Huber contributed to this story

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