Notebook: Camp Practice No. 15

Packers lose a top receiver and outside linebackers Matthews and Thompson are still out; punting battle continues; new battle on the offensive line; and more from Monday afternoon.

The Packers are a much healthier group than they were one week ago, but they're down one of their top receivers.

James Jones, who had surged past Jordy Nelson in the battle to be the third receiver, injured a hamstring during Saturday night's preseason game. Coach Mike McCarthy deemed Jones "day to day." At least it wasn't an injured right knee, which held him to 10 games last season.

Still out were the two players supposed to battle to be the starting right outside linebacker. Clay Matthews III (hamstring) and Jeremy Thompson (groin/stingers) are becoming distant memories with veteran Brady Poppinga settling into that position. Matthews hasn't practiced for two weeks while Thompson has been sidelined for 10 days.

"I'd say questionable (for this week) if you're looking to put a tag on it," McCarthy said. "It's not where they are, it's just that they're injuries that are reoccurring. The medical staff has to be cautious with both of those guys."

Joining inside linebacker Nick Barnett on the practice field for the first time of training camp was seventh-round outside linebacker Brad Jones. Jones, who strained his back during the pre-camp conditioning test, was surprisingly sharp, with position coach Kevin Greene shouting praise several times. On one play, Jones batted a pass from Brian Brohm, which Brohm caught and ran with for a few yards.

Jones is on a one-a-day schedule. He'll sit out Tuesday morning's practice but perform in that night's full-pads workout. Barnett is being held out of the contact parts of practice but could play the third preseason game, at Arizona.

Offensive line in flux

Right tackle is officially up for grabs.

Allen Barbre, who has held that position since the start of offseason practices, is now sharing first-team reps with Breno Giacomini. Giacomini was the early favorite to win the job but had to sit out of the offseason after ankle surgery.

"That's an adjustment we made for today's practice, coming off the film evaluation," McCarthy said.

Meanwhile, the battle at center continues, with McCarthy saying both Jason Spitz and Scott Wells had "winning performances" against Cleveland.

Punting battle

Punting into a pretty stiff wind, Jeremy Kapinos won the latest round in his punting battle against Durant Brooks. With superior hang time and consistency, Kapinos averaged 41.9 yards on his seven punts. He hit only one dud, a low, wobbling 35-yarder. His first four punts went at least 40 yards, and his final one was his best, a 47-yard blast.

Brooks averaged 41.3 yards on his seven kicks. When he's good, he's really good, uncorking a soaring 55-yard bomb. But he also had a couple of short, low punts. He also had one blocked, with running back Brandon Jackson feeling special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum's wrath for failing to block cornerback Joe Porter.

Meanwhile, Mason Crosby hit 6-of-6 field goals, starting from 36 yards and working back to 53.

Final thoughts on the Browns

McCarthy on Saturday's game after getting to watch the film: "The positives I felt were the tempo that our team played in Week 1. The game management was a positive pretty much all the way through. I thought the defense was excellent, especially for the first time taking the field as a staff and as a team as far as their substitutions and so forth. I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. There is always the little things, the technical aspect that we need to improve on. The pre-snap penalties were unacceptable, five pre-snap penalties, and too many mental errors were the negatives. That's what we worked on today. Today was pretty much a correction of Cleveland game in our jog-through and some of our pre-practice periods, so we're going to just keep cleaning that up and getting ready for Buffalo on Thursday."

Two-minute drives fail

Practice ended with a pair of two-minute drills. The starting offense moved into position with a 30-yard connection from Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings to the 22, but after a spike to kill the clock, Rodgers' pass to Donald Lee in the final seconds was intercepted in the end zone by Atari Bigby.

The second unit's drive lasted all of one play. Cornerback Brandon Underwood deflected Matt Flynn's pass to Brett Swain and rookie end Jarius Wynn picked it off.

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

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