GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A few thoughts and observations after my first day with the Green Bay Packers:
The Packers went at it hard Monday morning: Nearly three hours in full pads in temperatures that quickly approached the high 80s. In case you're wondering, that isn't exactly standard in the NFL. Center Jeff Saturday, who played 13 seasons for the Indianapolis Colts, said: "In Indy, it was a much quicker on-and-off-the-field type tempo. You start earlier, you go through a lot more individual-type work. They go through a lot more fundamentals here, staying on top of that. It's the way they've won and you just fit in and do what you've got to do."
Monday was a red zone emphasis, and the Packers also worked on their two-minute drill. Plenty of action occurred, but what stood out to me was how many times cornerback Davon House showed up. He had a nice anticipatory interception of quarterback B.J. Coleman and also knocked away a pass intended for Tori Gurley in the end zone. I realize those plays came against players not expected to be front-line starters this season, but I can only tell you what I saw. Jarrett Bush continued to work with the first team at cornerback, and there are a number of other players competing for that job from Sam Shields to rookie Casey Hayward. But don't rule out House, who has held his own all camp and got some action in the dime defense Monday.
Receiver Greg Jennings (elbow) sat out practice, giving us an extended amount of time to watch receiver Randall Cobb in action. All I can say is that Cobb looks like a playmaker every time I see him, and I can't see how the Packers can avoid putting him in an elevated role this season. Watching Cobb run down the seam makes other defenders look like they're standing in sand.
Every year, the Packers seem to try new drills I've yet to see in other NFC North locales. Monday was no different. I watched offensive linemen catching footballs from a JUGS machine. The Packers also have a ball-security drill that requires a player to hold on to a ball that's attached to an elastic band and being pulled by a teammate.
Defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove re-joined the team after missing two days because of a personal issue. Asked whether he had any hope of his eight-game suspension being shortened or reversed, Hargrove paraphrased singer Wyclef Jean: "I'll be gone 'til November." Because of the suspension, Hargrove is working only in individual drills. "I think you have to be honest and just prioritize it," coach Mike McCarthy said. "[T]he priority is really to get the other guys ready and individuals who have the opportunity to compete for the 53 and be ready Week 1."