A new football season is underway for the Green Bay Packers.
The team took to Ray Nitschke Field on Thursday morning in front of a fired-up crowd for their first practice of training camp,
Following that 15-1 season a year ago, expectations remain sky-high for the Green and Gold in 2012, but there are still plenty of question marks surrounding certain parts of the roster, most notably in the secondary. The team released safety Charlie Peprah on the eve of camp Wednesday, and when the defense lined up in their base set on Thursday morning, Charles Woodson was playing strong safety. While Mike McCarthy downplayed the move, saying it isn't anything Woodson hasn't done before, Thursday's practice could be an indicator as to what McCarthy and defensive coordinator Dom Capers have in store for the secondary.
With Woodson playing safety, Jarrett Bush was running with the number one defense at cornerback, with Sam Shields also seeing time. It could signal an opportunity for Bush, who has been a core special teams player for the Packers, but has never been a starter full-time in the defensive backfield.
Second year running back Alex Green, who suffered a torn ACL last October, returned to the practice field for the first time on Thursday. If Green stays healthy, he, along with Brandon Saine, will be fighting for carries behind starter James Starks in the Green Bay backfield.
The seven players who failed physicals Wednesday did not practice Thursday. Those players include starting linebacker Desmond Bishop, who is battling a calf strain, McCarthy said. Also out are fullback John Kuhn, tight end Andrew Quarless, and linebacker Frank Zombo.
The Packers return to the practice field at 8:15 Friday morning.