Notebook: Camp Practice No. 4

Clay Matthews III moves into the starting lineup ahead of Jeremy Thompson; plus more from Monday's only practice.

While one of the Packers' first-round draft picks is without a contract, the other momentarily moved into the starting lineup.

Defensive lineman B.J. Raji, the ninth overall pick, missed his fourth practice on Monday.

"It's not something you want to do. I don't think it's ideal for anyone," said running back Ryan Grant, who missed the first few practices last year while negotiating a new contract. "It comes with our job. It is a business aspect of it. You try your hardest to not let it fall into the actual game aspect, but sometimes that happens. B.J., I'm sure that he's taking care of his business and not letting it distract him from what he needs to do physically, so when he does come in, he's ready to go. We expect big things out of him."

The Packers also expect big things out of Clay Matthews III. The 26th pick of the draft jumped ahead of Jeremy Thompson — at least for a day — in the battle to be the starting right outside linebacker.

"He's definitely missing a few things but B.J., when he came here in OTAs, he did a fantastic job of picking up the defense and jumping in with the 1s," Matthews said. "I don't think it will be a problem when he comes in. He'll definitely have a day or two of getting back into the groove of things with pads. At the same time, he's a terrific player."

Matthews was signed in time to take part in the first practice when training camp began on Saturday. Considering his battle with Thompson, Matthews knows he's fortunate to be signed. Ten first-round picks remain without a contract.

"For me personally, yeah, I've got a great player in Jeremy Thompson who's right there. Definitely, I'd be behind the 8-ball," Matthews said. "But as far as learning, it's ultimately up to you and getting into that playbook."

Matthews didn't know he'd be working with the starters until earlier in the day. He also knows that at this early stage of camp, the battle is far from over. More likely than not, his ascenion into the starting lineup was just part of a rotation.

"No, they didn't say much," he said. "They just said, you know, they're going to give me an opportunity today to show what I have. They brought me in here for a reason and that's to show what I've got. It's a good competition and we'll go back and forth."

Thompson exited practice for a little while after suffering a stinger during a three-on-three run-blocking drill. He wasn't out for long, though, and he made his presence felt by beating Chad Clifton and Jamon Meredith during one-on-one pass-rushing drills.

"It's just competition. Whoever's the best player will play," Thompson said. "We're trying to push each other and be the best that we can be."

Barnett's timeline

Inside linebacker Nick Barnett's return from a torn ACL remains on hold.

Coach Mike McCarthy said he doesn't anticipate Barnett being tested this week. For his part, Barnett says he feels "great" and "would love to be out there playing."

"I don't even think we have a target date, but I'm sure by the third preseason game, I should be seeing some action," Barnett said. "But I don't know. That's up to the doctors."

The third preseason game is Aug. 28 at Arizona.

Other injury updates

Starting left guard Daryn Colledge watched the end of practice with a huge ice pack wrapped around his right thigh.

"I'm not hurt at all. I'm fine," he said. "I took a knee — it was one of those things where it locked up and the trainers wanted to take care of me. I'll be back out there in the a.m., so no worries."

— Defensive end Johnny Jolly, who was injured on Sunday night, spent Monday on the sideline with a walking boot on his right foot. The team hopes to have him back within a week.

— Safety Jarrett Bush missed a second consecutive practice with an abdominal strain.

— Rookie cornerback Brandon Underwood is out after straining his back while lifting weights.

— Rookie linebacker Brad Jones, who was placed on the physically unable to perform list after straining his back during Friday's conditioning test, is day to day, McCarthy said.

— Nose tackle Ryan Pickett, who was given Sunday night off, was back with the No. 1 defense.

Extra points

— The offense scored a touchdown during the two-minute drill. A 33-yard completion from Aaron Rodgers to Jermichael Finley — a pass deflected by A.J. Hawk — set up a fourth-and-goal touchdown pass from Rodgers to Donald Lee, who beat Brandon Chillar.

— The No. 2 offense failed to get a first down, with cornerback Joe Porter and linebacker Brady Poppinga making plays in coverage.

— After a horrible Sunday night, Mason Crosby made 2-of-3 field goals from 40 yards early in practice and all four from between 30 and 40 yards later. In the second session, one kick bounced off of an electrical post and another off of the camera tower. His three misses on Sunday night all went wide right; his miss on Monday went far to the left.

— Offensive tackle Breno Giacomini and defensive end Alfred Malone exchanged wild swings during a scuffle. Remember, kids: Don't aim for the head when your opponent is wearing a football helmet.

— The Packers and the Wisconsin Lottery reached an agreement, which will be announced on Wednesday. In exchange for using the name Packers and the team logo on scratch-off tickets, the Packers will receive licensing money.

Tuesday's schedule

The Packers will practice twice on Tuesday: at 8:45 a.m. in shells and 6:30 p.m. in pads. There is no practice on Wednesday.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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