Inside linebacker Nick Barnett has not been cleared to participate in the first practice of training camp, coach Mike McCarthy said during his day-before-training camp press conference on Friday afternoon.
Barnett, who is coming off reconstructive surgery on his right knee after tearing the ACL in a midseason game at Minnesota, did not pass his physical and will be placed on the physically unable to perform list. PUP is different this time of year than it will be at the end of training camp, so he can be activated at any time rather than be forced to sit out the first six weeks of the regular season.
"Definitely," McCarthy said when asked if Barnett is on pace to practice during training camp. "Nick Barnett has had a very good rehab process throughout the spring and over the summer. He looks good. I know the training staff is very positive of his testing results. Not to get into specifics and everything about Nick Barnett, but he's definitely headed in the right direction. But it was a significant injury, November, the first week of November as I recall. He's definitely on time."
McCarthy didn't have a timetable for Barnett, and said the next step is for Barnett to participate in linebacker drills with inside linebackers coach Winston Moss.
The rest of the group of players who were held out of offseason practices appear to be ready to go, at least on a limited basis. McCarthy said safety Atari Bigby (ankle surgery) is "fine." Left tackle Chad Clifton (arthroscopic surgery on both knees) will be limited to one practice per day, as was the case last year. Ditto for center Scott Wells (shoulder). The coaches will be "smart" with defensive end Cullen Jenkins (ankle), and Breno Giacomini (ankle) should be "full go."
Quick hits from McCarthy
-- With camp set to open at 2 p.m. Saturday, first-round draft pick B.J. Raji remains unsigned. "You don't ever want to see a young player miss snaps. They are important, no doubt.".
-- Last year's 6-10 season was prefaced by the Brett Favre fiasco. "I think last year is an outstanding opportunity to look back on and learn from, and that's really how we've addressed it as a football team. You have to deal with distractions and you have to keep it on the road, keep moving forward. Because one thing that happens in this business, it's so competitive and it's such a challenge every single day, that you're either improving or you're stepping backwards."
-- The battle between Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn to be the No. 2 quarterback will be one to watch. "Both of our young quarterbacks, Brian and Matt, they are both fundamentally better today than they were when they started in March. They both have a complete understanding of the offense, much better than when they started, so that is going to help them a lot. You get the timing and all of the things that are so important in training camp, and that comes with reps. Every young quarterback in the National Football League fights for those reps, and they'll be doing the same as they fight for that No. 2 spot. I definitely am excited about the progress that they have made and the time that they have put in, and I think we'll definitely see the dividends in training camp."
-- Everything was installed during organized team activities. Training camp will be used to perfect what they've learned – for the most part. "Well, yes, but we're all human nature. You go away for four weeks and you're sitting wherever you sit on vacation and you start thinking well, I might need this in Week 1 or Week 4. But conceptually, we're not putting in anything new. We may do a variation of a concept. I know talking with Dom on Wednesday morning, there were three pressures in the sub packages that he added. You have time to go back and reflect and make sure your menu has everything on it that you need."
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