Notebook: Camp Practice No. 18

B.J. Raji is looking forward to his preseason debut; last day of two-a-day practices; injury report; and more from Thursday morning.

B.J. Raji will make his Packers debut on Saturday night against Buffalo.

Raji, who ended a lengthy holdout by signing too late to participate in last week's game against Cleveland, is looking forward to facing the Bills.

"I had a great time last week and I wasn't even suited up. Saturday, it will be a great experience," said Raji, who said his goals for the game were to play good technique, stay healthy and make plays when he gets an opportunity.

Raji's crash course continued during Thursday morning's practice in The Don Hutson Center. During a lengthy kickoff drill, Raji worked on the side with defensive line coach Mike Trgovac.

"Just working on my steps," Raji said. "Coach Trgo works on the technical part of things, so he's working on my steps, my get-offs, approaching the offensive linemen, when to do what and just using what I do and helping me along through it. He doesn't want to make me a robot. He just wants to perfect what I'm used to doing."

Other than the typical aches and pains, Raji says he feels good. Coach Mike McCarthy and the defensive coaches have worked him in slowly, with Raji saying he expects his heaviest workload on Thursday night.

"He's done OK. He looks like a young man that hasn't been to camp," McCarthy said. "He's rusty. He's in pretty good shape. That's why you have training camp. He needs the work of the interior play of a defensive lineman. We're trying to be smart with him and tried to find a happy medium of getting him ready to play games."

On Tuesday night, a fan hollered, "Let's see what you've got, Raji!" All eyes no doubt will be on No. 90 on Saturday night, be Raji says he doesn't feel the pressure to produce.

"Not at all," he said. "Coming into my senior football season, a lot of eyes were on me, so I'm kind of used to it from that standpoint. I'm just going to use my talents and the coaches' help."

Last day of camp

Thursday night's practice is the final two-a-day workout, and the players move out of the dorms at St. Norbert College on Friday.

"I think the quality of work has been very good," McCarthy said. "The volume, I think I've hit the right number. That's something I think every coach goes through as far as getting the volume of work and the quality of work. The extra padded practices I think definitely helped us. You've heard me talk about before the full seven-day schedule between scrimmage and games is vital, keeping your team on a smart, healthy schedule during the week. The fatigue injuries are really about the same, but I think that shows you how hard they're working even with that Wednesday day of rest and recovery. I think that's where we are."

Safety Nick Collins was one of a few veterans who said he appreciated the Wednesdays off, and Jason Spitz was one of the linemen happy to have a more physical camp.

"I think we put in a lot of hard work," Spitz said. "I think we improved in certain areas, specifically the run game. I think we have a long way to go to get where we want to get. Other than that, it was camp as usual. I'm glad this is the last two-a-day."

Will he miss dorm life?

"Absolutely not," Spitz said.

Injury report

A whopping 20 players were either sidelined or got Thursday morning off.

The only new injury was to safety Anthony Smith, who aggravated a groin injury that held him out briefly earlier in camp. Also out with injuries were cornerback Pat Lee (back), outside linebackers Clay Matthews III (hamstring) and Jeremy Thompson (stingers/groin), receivers JaRon Harris (groin) and James Jones (hamstring) and defensive ends Justin Harrell (back) and Johnny Jolly (ankle).

Getting the morning off were veterans Al Harris, Charles Woodson, Aaron Kampman, Donald Driver and Donald Lee. Still on a one-a-day schedule were safety Atari Bigby, inside linebacker Nick Barnett (knee), outside linebacker Brad Jones (back), center Scott Wells, left tackle Chad Clifton, defensive end Cullen Jenkins and nose tackle Ryan Pickett.

McCarthy said Jolly might practice tonight and play on Saturday. Thompson and Matthews will not play, though both were very limited participants at practice for a change.

Running back Kregg Lumpkin (shoulder) was back on the field but questionable for Saturday.

Extra points

— During a ball-security drill in which a defender tugs on a rope attached to a ball, kicker Mason Crosby was one of the ball-carriers.

— Right tackle Allen Barbre was beat by Cyril Obiozor during a Hail Mary drill. His last-second push of Obiozor pushed the rookie linebacker into McCarthy. Barbre continues to get the first rep at right tackle ahead of Breno Giacomini.

— The morning practice was shorts and helmets and held inside the Hutson Center because of rain. There was no full contact and no starters-vs.-starters drills.

— Fullback Quinn Johnson and linebacker (today) Spencer Havner exchanged a couple of punches after Tyrell Sutton broke off a nice run.

— Weather permitting, tonight's practice will be the second-to-last night practice on Ray Nitschke Field. The final night practice is set for Monday. There is no public practice on Friday, with the game on Saturday and no practice on Sunday.


Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.


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.


Packer Report Top Stories