Live from the Combine: Friday

Packer Report is reporting live from Lucas Oil Stadium on the second day of the Scouting Combine. Among the highlights are comments by Mike McCarthy, Ted Thompson, Mike Mayock and several prospects who have spoken to the Packers.

4:05 p.m.: Hill tips the scales

Backtracking a bit after about an hour listening to and writing about Mike McCarthy (see below).

Since many Packers fans are also Wisconsin Badgers fans, bruising halfback P.J. Hill tipped the scales at a svelte 222 pounds, which is down from the approximately 238 Hill said he weighed at the end of the season.

Hill said he surprised some teams with his weight, saying he figured some teams expected him to come in out of shape because he's considered "lazy."

Hill doesn't fit the mold of a running back here, but keep an eye on Michigan State's Javon Ringer and Nebraska's Marlon Lucky, both of whom are good receivers. They'd bring something that Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson have failed to do.

3:54 p.m.: Even more McCarthy

Here's some more from coach Mike McCarthy.

- Talking linebackers, A.J. Hawk and Nick Barnett will play the inside with Aaron Kampman and, perhaps, Brady Poppinga on the outside. Brandon Chillar and Desmond Bishop could play inside and outside. Jeremy Thompson and Jason Hunter are in the outside mix, too. McCarthy sounded intrigued to see what Bishop, Thompson and Hunter can do. We'll have a full story on the linebackers later.

- Speaking of Barnett, McCarthy wants to avoid the temptation of rushing Barnett back into the lineup to learn the defense. The June minicamp is a possibility, but more likely, the start of training camp in early August.

- Justin Harrell will not require more back surgery. Rehab on his ailing back is going well, and not having the pressure of having to rush back in the lineup has been a bonus. "More time is better than less time" when dealing with back injuries, McCarthy noted.

3:45: McCarthy speaks

Some highlights from coach Mike McCarthy, who spent more than 30 minutes during a pair of interview sessions:

- The change to a 3-4 defense was a focal point of his talk, but as he's stated several times before, the scheme is only a starting point. He estimated a defense lines up in its base defense in only 150 or 200 snaps per season, so that means lots of nickel and short-yardage and even some four-man fronts.

- McCarthy said Dom Capers and his staff are well into the process of preparing lesson plans to teach the scheme for when players arrive in mid-March for offseason practices.

- Speaking of practice, quarterback school begins in early March.

- McCarthy said he'd prefer a more consistent combination on his offensive line. That means at practice, too, where Daryn Colledge played a lot of left tackle in place of Chad Clifton during the week but moved to left guard on game days. Clifton had both knees scoped, and McCarthy says Clifton feels confident he'll be healthier for 2009.

- Guard Josh Sitton, guard Allen Barbre and tackle Breno Giacomini all could challenge for starting spots or playing time. Barbre could be in the mix at left and right tackle, too.

- As long as he's healthy, right tackle Mark Tauscher remains "part of our plans." Tauscher, a free agent, is coming off of a torn ACL.

2:20: Running backs to the podium

It's been a quiet day, but it's been a parade of running backs lately.

Of interest to Packers fans, Iowa halfback Shonn Green measured 5-foot-10 and 227 pounds. He rushed for 100 yards in every game last season, his only season as the starter in Iowa. He has only one year of tape, but Green pointed out that he faced the same competition as Ohio State's highly touted Chris Wells. He figures to be a second-round prospect.

Boise State halfback Ian Johnson - you remember the Fiesta Bowl touchdown and marriage proposal - said the Packers were one of the teams he's talked to. He helped himself last season by working himself on special teams and as a pass receiver and blocker. He's a late-round prospect, at best.

Also, LSU fullback Quinn Johnson,'s No. 2-ranked fullback, said he's talked to the Packers. He loves to block and says his hands rate "9.5 out of 10."

1:55: Cecil takes over Titans' defense

Titans coach Jeff Fisher was asked about his new defensive coordinator, former Packers safety Chuck Cecil, who replaces new Lions coach Jim Schwartz.

"He worked his way up," Fisher said. "He started as defensive quality control and soon after that, I elevated him to assistant secondary. He's been the secondary coach for a number of years now, and last year, he had three players in the Pro Bowl. He just did a great job. He's been ready."

1:25 p.m.: Who's the third QB?

If USC's Mark Sanchez and Georgia's Matthew Stafford, in no particular order, are the top two quarterbacks, who is No. 3?

That would be Kansas State's Josh Freeman, who's a whopping 6-foot-6 and 248 pounds. Freeman will take part in all the drills this week in hopes of moving into the first round. His arm strength is superb, and he's not a bad athlete, either.

"A lot of people assume a 6-6 guy is a going to be a lumbering guy," he said.

Meanwhile, a couple of rungs down the quarterback ladder is John Parker Wilson, the No. 1 passer in Alabama history. He's the 12th-ranked quarterback by Scout. com

"Some pretty good names have come to Alabama, so to be the leader is pretty special," he said of his passing record.

1:11 p.m.: Green can still play

Houston Texans coach Gary Kubiak said running back Ahman Green, who ranks second in Packers history in rushing, has a little tread left on his tires.

"Ahman's just at the point where he's had some injuries and his body has had a hard time holding up, but when he has been healthy, he's done some good things," said Kubiak, whose Texans released Green last week. "I wouldn't be surprised if he comes back and helps somebody. I talked to him the other day, and he clearly expects to play more football."

Meanwhile, Kubiak had no comment on reports his team conducted illegal offseason practices.

12:46 p.m.: Best punters off the market

The two best punters have been taken off the market, diminishing the chances the Packers upgrade a position of need.

Atlanta recently named its punter, Michael Koenen, its franchise player. On Friday, the Raiders signed Shane Lechler, who boasts the best career average in NFL history, to a four-year contract. Lechler had some intrigue becaues he was recruited to Texas A&M by the Packers' special teams coordinator, Shawn Slocum.

12:45 p.m.: Thompson goes into OT

An extra nugget from Ted Thompson. During his time at the podium, he was asked about overtime rules. Thompson says he's not in love with how overtime is conducted but "I don't know what the alternative is."

12:35 p.m.: Packers interest

Receivers Demetrius Byrd of LSU and Jarett Dillard of Rice have met wtih the Packers, our sources say. Dillard is's 14th-ranked receiver while Byrd is No. 21.

Now, what that means is hard to say. As general manager Ted Thompson said, there's some subterfuge in the alloted 60 interviews teams conduct.

12:33 p.m.: QB jokes

With Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford at the podium, USC quarterback Mark Sanchez posed as a reporter and asked Stafford for his thoughts on the USC quarterback. Either could be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

11:15 a.m.: Lots of Ted

Packers general manager Ted Thompson talked for 15 minutes in a hallway before he headed to the podum for 15 minutes, then talked for another 15 minutes in a hallway. I felt like a "chatty Cathy" after 45 minutes of interviews.

He covered a lot of ground but, in typical Thompson fashion, offered few specifics, especially on draft and free agent plans. Among the highlights (we'll have stories later):

- The Packers will have formal talks with the maximum-allowed 60 players during the Combine, plus some informal talks. Many of them will be juniors, because the team knows less about them.

- Thompson spends a lot of time observing players to see how they interact with others. Because they're coached by their scouts, "Most of them aren't going to be jerks."

- Veteran players like Chad Clifton, Mark Tauscher and Al Harris remain in the Packers' plans. He prefers to keep Tauscher, but said that will be a medical decision based on his recovery from a torn ACL.

- Thompson still sees A.J. Hawk as a Pro Bowl talent, and said the linebacker played through some "pretty signficant" health problems.

- Thompson said the new defense will be good for Hawk, Nick Barnett and Aaron Kampman. He said he talked to Kampman, who's excited about the move to outside linebacker.

- While the defensive change will have obvious ramifications on his draft preparations, "football players are football players."

- Thompson had nothing to say when asked about Brett Favre's comments. "I've done a pretty good job staying away from that."

10 a.m.: Mayock leads it off

Mike Mayock, NFL Network's draft expert, led off the proceedings on Friday. Among the highlights:

- B.J. Raji is the top nose tackle, and Mayock thinks he'll go somewhere between No. 8 and No. 15 (the Packers pick ninth). After that, Mayock said while reading off of his list, it's Ron Brace of Boston College, Sen'Derrick Marks of Auburn, Jarron Gilbert of San Jose State, Terrence Knighton of Temple and Terrance Taylor Michigan. It's "not a bunch of high-level kids," he said.

- For 3-4 defensive ends, LSU's Tyson Jackson stands out. Mayock said he'll go somewhere between 15 and 20. After that, he said, it's a bunch of smaller-school kids who are third-, fourth- or fifth-round prospects.

- He likes Georgia's Knowshon Moreno among the running backs. He's "never seen a kid who finishes runs" like Moreno, plus he loves his lateral quickness. Ohio State's Chris Wells will be "fun" to watch at 230 pounds. Some teams, Mayock said, have Connecticut's Donald Brown listed as the No. 1 running back.

- Many mock drafts have Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins going to Green Bay at No. 9. Mayock isn't sure if Jenkins is a cornerback or safety, and Jenkins' times here this week will play a role in determining that.

Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at

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