- Rob Demovsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Before anyone could even ask, Aaron Rodgers looked at the group of reporters standing in front of his locker on Wednesday and said, “I’m fine” after missing the previous day’s practice because of a head cold.
Rodgers’ return was one of the few things Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy was happy about. After the only padded practice of the week, McCarthy ripped his team’s performance.
“When the pads are on, we practice a certain way,” McCarthy said. “When the shells are on, we practice a certain way, and we didn’t accomplish that today.”
McCarthy put the team on a regular-season schedule this week, so with a Friday preseason game against Seattle, Wednesday simulated an in-season practice that would take place two days before the game.
“Today was the final practice to get ready for the Seahawks,” McCarthy said. “We were in shells yesterday for a reason. We were in pads today for a reason. We didn’t take full advantage of the opportunity to get ready to play.”
Without another practice before Friday’s game against the Seahawks at Lambeau Field, McCarthy was asked how he will get his message across to the players. He offered a one-word answer: “Communicate.”
McCarthy’s anger apparently was directed at the offense, because after practice, defensive coordinator Dom Capers didn’t seem anywhere near as upset about the workout.
“You now, we had a couple of errors, but I thought the guys were tuned in and feeling pretty good,” Capers said.
In other developments from Wednesday’s practice:
Rookie receiver Charles Johnson practiced for the first time since the second day of training camp on July 27, when he dropped out because of a knee injury. It leaves little time for the seventh-round draft pick to make an impression. He also missed most of the offseason program because of an unspecified injury. The Packers like Johnson because of his size (6-foot-2) and athleticism, but he came from small-college football at Grand Valley State and is raw. Said McCarthy: “You just want to see him play, play fast, play with confidence and try to do the best he can. He definitely has a lot of ability. That’s why we drafted him, and hopefully he can go.”
Randall Cobb started the practice in pads, but by the end he was in a T-shirt and playing catch off to the side with fellow receiver Jordy Nelson, who remains sidelined because of a knee injury. However, Cobb said he did not have a setback with his strained biceps. “That was the plan, limited practice,” Cobb said. He said he wasn’t sure whether he would play against the Seahawks.
Given the way last year’s Week 3 game at Seattle ended, it was perhaps fitting that the Packers practiced their Hail Mary play in preparation for the Seahawks. Tight end D.J. Williams caught the bomb for a touchdown during a period the Packers call “Last eight plays.”
Medical report: Rookie first-round draft pick Datone Jones dropped out of Wednesday’s practice after he re-injured his sprained left ankle, suffered in the Aug. 9 preseason opener against Arizona. Jones had returned to practice on Monday.
Jones walked off under his own power and did not appear to be walking with more than a slight limp, but his status for Friday’s game is unknown. The defensive end has played only one snap so far in preseason game action.
“We’ve had Datone for one play in the preseason,” Capers said. “That’s just the way it is. Once he’s back and ready to go, we’re going to have to really put him on a crash course. We know what kind of ability he has, but if a young guy’s not out there practicing, it’s hard for him to make improvement.”
The only other new injury was to rookie outside linebacker Andy Mulumba, who was making a strong push for a roster spot. McCarthy said Mulumba had a knee that swelled up.
Cornerback Loyce Means returned to practice after missing one day because of an ankle injury.
The full list of players who did not suit up for practice was down to 10. They were CB James Nixon (knee, ankle), S Sean Richardson (neck), CB Tramon Williams (knee), OL J.C. Tretter (ankle), T Bryan Bulaga (knee), T Derek Sherrod (leg), TE Matthew Mulligan (elbow), WR Nelson (knee), DE Jerel Worthy (knee) and Mulumba (knee).