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The crack of the pads

by Mark Daniels

Now that's football.   The Packers donned the pads for the first time at camp Sunday and it was a spirited, sometimes fesity two and a half hour workout.   Afterward's Mike McCarthy said the energy level was high, the discipline level was low.     There were a couple of borderline hits out of bounds and at least three scuffles.  The last was the worst.  It looked like Johnny Jolly and Andrew Datko got tangled up downfield and when a few more guys joined in, it took several players to pull the bodies apart, leaving guard Josh Sitton barking a few choice (unprintable) words for some defensive players and coaches.  Boys will be boys.

During individual and group drills, several coaches were at full, blue language throat.  If produced some big plays.   In what's called the short side offensive run drill, the O-line works against just a D-line and inside linebackers.  It leads to some pretty good collissions.   The best hits were delivered by free agent rookie Andy Mulamba and Jamari Lattimore who blew up running back Alex Green.   A teammate shouted out, "I thought he was sick!".  Lattimore missed the first two practices with an illness but he sure left Green feeling woozy.

It was an emotional day for Johnny Jolly.  The last time he wore football gear was January of 2010, the overtime playoff loss to the Cardinals in Arizona.  He ran afoul of the the law and the league thereafter and three years later, took a big step forward in his comeback.   Jolly is on a limited rep count because of the layoff and he understands.  He's just thankful the Packers are giving him a second chance.  Jolly talked at length after practice about his new opportunity and how he wants to make the most of it.   Married just last week, he feels his life is finally pointed in the right direction.  Johnny also was heartwarmed to get so much love from Packer fans via social media, many tweeting out good luck wishes.   He said he also saw a number 97 jersey in the stands and said that only wants to make him work harder.   He said right now, I'm just one of 90 guys trying to get better every day and find a way onto the final roster.  It's a journey worth watching.

These TV timeouts at practice are interesting.  Three times a day, the players get a two-minute break like this one above while music blares over the Ray Nitschke Field speakers.  Everyone is getting a kick out of the musical selections, everything from Bob Marley to Johnny Cash to a little U2 today.

On the medical front, Tramon Williams suffered a slight knee injury and had to quit halfway through but he should be OK.  McCarthy didn't have any firm updates on the two rookie receivers who got hurt this weekend, Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey.   Moments after Jamari Lattimore made a big defensive hit, he came up lame.  Lattimore is recovering from an illness and was dealing with cramps according to the coach.  

Aaron Rodgers threw a rare pick, to free agent James Nixon during one drill, but capped the practice in the no huddle period with a picture perfect fade route to Jarrett Boykin for a touchdown.

The players will get Monday off and return to the practice field Tuesday morning, leaving the kids bike brigade waiting to transport their favorite player until then.