Notebook: Good Excuse For Williams

Tramon Williams said he stayed home to be with pregnant wife; plus much more from Day 1 of minicamp.

Tramon Williams says his belated signing of his restricted free agent tender had less to do with money and more to do with family.

Williams said he skipped the voluntary offseason workouts and organized team activities to stay in Houston to be with his wife, Shantrell, who is pregnant with their first child.

"It was a blessing for me to be off for the offseason to be there for my wife," Williams said after Monday's minicamp practice. "That was the main reason, to be there for her. She was going through sickness and all of that throughout the pregnancy, and I didn't feel comfortable leaving her home like that. That's why I was home."

Williams, who said he remained in regular contact with cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt and was kept up to speed through DVDs sent by the team, didn't look like he missed the four weeks of OTAs. Williams, who jumped right into the starting lineup, broke up a pass to James Jones early in practice and tackled Jordy Nelson after a reception later.

"I felt great," Williams said. "I felt better than I thought I was going to feel, so it was a good thing."

Coach Mike McCarthy said Williams was in "excellent shape" and should be ready to roll for the start of training camp on July 30.

"He's someone that I've personally enjoyed watch grow from his time here, the way he came into our program and the individual success that he's had, and really for the bright future that's in front of him," McCarthy said. "It's great to have Tramon back."

Roll call

The only players who were absent were safety Atari Bigby (unsigned) and defensive end Johnny Jolly (excused because of legal troubles).

Otherwise, the list of injuries was mostly unchanged from OTAs: receiver Brett Swain (knee), safety Will Blackmon (knee), safety Derrick Martin (ankle), cornerback Al Harris (knee), tight end Spencer Havner (scapula), linebacker Nick Barnett (knee), guard/tackle T.J. Lang (wrist), guard/center Jason Spitz (back), defensive lineman Ryan Pickett (shoulder), receiver Donald Driver (knee) and defensive end Ronald Talley (knee).

We have tons of observations from Monday's practice in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club Forum.

Of those, McCarthy mentioned only Harris as a player who might not be ready for the start of camp.

"I think Al is going to be definitely challenged to make it at the beginning of training camp," McCarthy said. "I'm sure Al may tell you something differently, but that's kind of my assessment of the information I've been given. But we're looking for everybody to pass their physical on that particular day. Now, time will answer that question. But I'm hopeful that all the players on that list will pass their physical."

Harris said he's right on target but wouldn't predict whether he'd be ready for camp.

Last hurrah

Minicamp lasts until Wednesday, but Tuesday's 10:45 a.m. practice is the only one open to fans.

What's the big secret?

"If I didn't want the public to know about it, why would I talk about it? But you'll be there, though. So you'll let them know," McCarthy joked.

Last man standing

The Packers started the offseason with Chris Pizzotti and undrafted Noah Shepard as their third and fourth quarterbacks. Then, it was Shepard and Graham Harrell. Now, it's just Harrell who will work behind Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn when training camp begins.

"Just sharing with Noah, I definitely feel he has the ability to play in the National Football League," McCarthy said. "Timing is never favorable at this time of year when you have to make those decisions. We just feel Graham is further ahead. But I think they're both two young, developing prospects I think any quarterback coach would like to develop."

Four-point stance

Mason Crosby hit 5-of-7 field goals from the holds of punters Tim Masthay (2-of-3) and Chris Bryan (3-of-4). The miss with Masthay came from 45 yards, and special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said he thought the kick was good. The other was a 53-yarder from the hold of Bryan that rocketed well off-target.

— Slocum acknowledged that Masthay has been punting better than Bryan, and that continued. On the only opportunity for a pooch punt, Bryan's landed at about the 7-yard line, Jarrett Bush dove headlong to keep the ball out of the end zone and James Jones grabbed the ball inside the 1.

— Not only did Cullen Jenkins work as an outside linebacker, so did inside linebacker Brandon Chillar. That was Chillar's first work on the outside, defensive coordinator Dom Capers said.

— While Quinn Porter and Sam Shields struggled catching "punts" fired from the JUGS machine, Jordy Nelson, Porter and Shields had no such problems during the live punting period. Muffed punts were a plague during OTAs.

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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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