GREEN BAY — One day after it was sounding like bygones were going to be bygones for Josh Jones after his offseason of discontent, the Green Bay Packers third-year safety might’ve squandered that goodwill by getting kicked out of practice by coach Matt LaFleur Wednesday.
It happened on a play during an 11-on-11 drill about 75 minutes into practice. Running back Tra Carson lowered his shoulder pads and ran through cornerback Tony Brown. Jones took exception to the collision and went after Carson, resulting in the first minor fight of camp.
“I just said, I told him to 'get out' at that particular moment. That’s not what we want to be about. We’ve got to take care of our teammates,” LaFleur explained when asked about the incident after practice. “We are a team. We need everybody and, so, that’s just kind of how we operate.
“I don’t want to tackle. We’re in a ‘thud’ situation. It’s one thing if a guy knows he’s about to get tackled. It’s another thing when a guy gets tackled and he’s not necessarily expecting it. I think that leads to injuries. Like I told you guys before, we want to stay off the ground. So, it’s unfortunate, but it happened.”
LaFleur acknowledged he didn’t have a great view of the play and he wanted to see the play on video.
“You guys probably had a better vantage point than I did,” he told reporters. “I mean, I’m well behind the play and sometimes your vision gets a little cloudy just with all those bodies in there.”
That said, LaFleur emphasized it was simply the enforcement of what he called a “zero-tolerance policy” that he instituted from the beginning.
The incident came after general manager Brian Gutekunst publicly praised Jones, who skipped the team’s voluntary offseason workouts to demonstrate his unhappiness with his role on the team in hopes of being traded or released so he could get a fresh start elsewhere.
“I think Josh has had a really good beginning to camp. In four days, he’s shown up and made some plays,” Gutekunst said Tuesday morning. “Obviously the physical gifts are all there and he’s getting a lot of opportunities and I think there are some really positive signs that he can really help our football team.
“We’ve got a long way to go and a lot of competition in that back end right now, but yeah, it’s been really positive to see him out there doing what he’s doing.”
Aaron Jones sits
Running back Aaron Jones was held out of practice after experiencing what the team termed “hamstring tightness” after Tuesday’s practice, but LaFleur did not believe it was reason for concern.
“It was definitely precautionary with him. He had some tightness,” LaFleur said. “He’s going to be an important part of our football team, so we need him to be fresh and healthy and so we were a little cautious with him.”
With Jones and Jamaal Williams (hamstring) both out, rookie Dexter Williams and Carson, as well as recent running-back pick-ups Corey Grant and Darrin Hall, got additional snaps.
“We’re trying to evaluate those guys and see what they’re all about. It’s such a great opportunity, especially when you’ve got some younger backs to throw into the mix,” LaFleur said. “Some of those looks that they’re getting from a defensive perspective are challenging — especially when you’re talking about the pass protection — are really good for them.”
Savage unleashed — partially
Rookie first-round pick Darnell Savage, slated to start at safety alongside veteran free agent pick-up Adrian Amos, made his training camp debut after missing the first five practices following a wisdom tooth extraction just before camp. Savage was in pads and did line up with the No. 1 defense in the half-speed 11-on-11 period at the start of practice but was not in for full-speed team periods.
“We’re not going to throw him back in there. We’re just going to incrementally load him up as we go,” LaFleur said. “Today he did individual, he’ll be a part of our walk throughs — which are very minimal intensity — but he’ll get a little bit more each and every day.”
The Packers claimed outside linebacker Markus Jones from the Baltimore Ravens on waivers. The team waived/injured cornerback Javien Hamilton (hamstring) to make room for Jones, the Division II defensive players of the year last year at Angelo State. Jones signed with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in the spring. … After the offense struggled on Tuesday, the group was better — but not outstanding — on Wednesday. The No. 1 offense finished practice with a 34-yard Aaron Rodgers-to-Marquez Valdes-Scantling touchdown in the 2-minute drill. LaFleur said cornerback Jaire Alexander thought Valdes-Scantling had committed offensive pass interference on the TD. “I will be interested to see the tape of that because of course the defense is saying it was OPI,” LaFleur said. “But hey, I guess it’ll all be reviewed anyways.” Pass interference, of course, is subject to replay review this season. … Kicker Mason Crosby (calf), backup right tackle Jason Spriggs (trapezius), defensive lineman Fadol Brown (calf), cornerback Josh Jackson (foot), linebacker Kendall Donnerson (hamstring) and linebacker Greg Roberts (core muscle injury) all remained sidelined.