Notebook: No Denver replay for Grant

Also from Monday: Six starters miss practice; Barnett learns lesson; Hawk ailing; and much more.

Ryan Grant's fast track to stardom began last season at Denver.

His return to Denver will not be so exciting.

The halfback, who replaced an injured DeShawn Wynn in the second quarter at Denver in Week 8 and rushed for 104 yards, likely will not make his preseason debut during Friday night's preseason game against the Broncos, coach Mike McCarthy said after Monday night's practice.

It appears a nagging hamstring injury that Grant sustained shortly after reporting late to training camp with a new four-year contract will keep him out of a third preseason game.

"The biggest thing is just to make sure I don't feel it ... that it's not a recurring thing," Grant said after suiting up but not participating at practice.

Asked if he'd be able to play if this were the regular season, he said, "yes, yes, yes."

"I'm right there with the coaches, with the training staff, doing everything they tell me to do — probably a little more," Grant said. "I'm at their call. I'll do everything in my power to make sure I'm prepared."

Showing he remains optimistic he'll be ready to go for the regular season game, Grant upped the volume of his voice during an interview to inform anyone within ear shot that pass blocking for starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers "is my No. 1 priority this whole season."

McCarthy said Grant is getting closer to returning to practice.

"I was hopeful he could go this week, but he's not quite ready," he said.

Six starters among the injured

A slew of players watched Monday's workout. Joining Grant on the sideline were offensive linemen Scott Wells (trunk) and left tackle Chad Clifton (rest, soreness), running back DeShawn Wynn (ankle), defensive linemen Ryan Pickett (hamstring), Justin Harrell (back), Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (knee) and Daniel Muir (groin), linebacker A.J. Hawk (chest), cornerback Al Harris (back), tight end Evan Moore (bruised knee ligament) and safety Charlie Peprah (hamstring).

McCarthy said the intriguing Moore — a converted receiver who's been a tough matchup for the No. 1 defense — would be out a few weeks after taking a helmet to the knee on Saturday night.

Back were receivers Greg Jennings (knee) and Brett Swain (quad), offensive tackle Orrin Thompson (ankle), linebacker Desmond Bishop (Achilles) and tight end Tory Humphrey (Achilles).

Abdul Hodge had done well in Bishop's absence as the No. 2 middle linebacker in two preseason games, but Bishop was back as Nick Barnett's backup.

Barnett learns a lesson

Barnett, who departed Saturday's game with a bruised hip after going high for a tackle and landing awkwardly, was going full speed at practice.

"My hip is bruised. I'm not going to lie to you; it hurts," he said. "But it doesn't hurt to stop me from playing. I came down pretty hard. I made a Pop Warner mistake of trying to go up too high. I should have chopped him down, or at least low tackled him."

"That won't happen again," he added. "Don't worry about that."

For the second consecutive week, the No. 1 defense dominated the first few series before encountering problems. Coupled with the offense's poor performance, the Packers were humbled by the 49ers.

"Being it is preseason, you can take it as a good lesson learned," he said. "You can't step out on that field and give nothing but your best. There's a lot of things that we learned in that game. We can take it as a lesson learned or you can take it as that's you, that's the type of player you are. But, no, we take it as a lesson learned. We'll go out there and correct the mistakes, like we did today, and then move on to (Denver)."

News not so good for Hawk

The injury status isn't so good for Barnett's wing man at linebacker, A.J. Hawk. McCarthy said Hawk's status is "week to week" and he almost certainly will not play at Denver.

Hawk, who was injured while breaking up a pass against Cincinnati, has started all 34 games in his Green Bay career. So, missing practices and games is strange. Brandon Chillar started for him at San Francisco.

"Oh, it definitely is, yeah," Hawk said. "It's not something I plan on. I don't plan on ever getting hurt, and I've never really had to miss any time in practice or games. It's definitely different. But I guess with the timeframe of this happening, that's the only positive thing I can look to. It happened now and not in the middle of the season or something."

Bush not so bad

Defensive back Jarrett Bush by all accounts played poorly at San Francisco. Well, by all accounts except for the one that matters.

"The coverage things that I think everybody reacted to, he was actually playing to his leverage," McCarthy explained. "The breakdown really in the two balls was the leverage that he was playing to was not in proper position, and the one we just felt was a good throw and catch in a competitive nature. So' I thought Jarrett's performance was fine."

Tramon Williams replaced Harris with the starters on Monday, Will Blackmon moved into the nickel role and Bush was the No. 4 corner.

Play of the night

We won't reveal the details of the blitz package, but defensive end Aaron Kampman dropped back into coverage and intercepted a pass by Brian Brohm. The pass hit him right between the 7 and the 4. The next play, defensive tackle Johnny Jolly almost got into the act with a diving breakup of a screen to Kregg Lumpkin.

Extra points

— McCarthy wouldn't go as far as to say Jordy Nelson will join his No. 1 kickoff-return unit, but he did say the rookie "helped himself" with a pair of huge returns against San Francisco. "I thought he showed a lot of athletic ability, the ability to break tackles, had the ball high and tight and did a really good job," McCarthy said. "He put us in excellent field position on both his returns."

Mason Crosby was 5-for-5 on field goals, all from 30 or 35 yards.

— Dropped balls remain a problem, including an easy one by James Jones from Rodgers early in practice.

— Safety Aaron Rouse continued to make his presence felt. He almost intercepted Brohm on one play, then picked off Matt Flynn after rookie Jake Allen dropped a slant.

— The No. 1 offense spent a blitz period working on quick passes, with Rodgers hitting Ruvell Martin, Joey Haynos and Jones in succession on one- or three-step drops.

— McCarthy said Brohm remains ahead of Flynn as the No. 2 quarterback.

— Former general manager Ron Wolf joined the current GM, Ted Thompson, at practice.

Bill Huber is editor of Packer Report and PackerReport.com. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com


Packer Report Top Stories