Bay Packers’ Tim Masthay signs autographs after NFL football
training camp Saturday, Aug. 1 , 2015, in Green Bay, Wis.
GREEN BAY — Tim
Masthay said nothing was out of the ordinary Monday morning, when the
veteran Green Bay Packers punter and his young challenger, Cody
Mandell, reported for work.
"He was in
meetings, and I lifted weights with him," Masthay said. "But
I did not see him after that."
shortly before practice started in the early afternoon, Masthay and
others learned Mandell was released by the team.
The decision came
less than two weeks into training camp and before Green Bay plays its
first preseason game, Thursday night at the Super Bowl champion New
But the move didn't
come as a surprise to Masthay, now the only punter on the roster.
kind of happen all of the time and at different times," Masthay
He recalled being cut
by the Indianapolis Colts a few days before their first preseason game
in 2009, when he was an undrafted rookie.
Why Mandell was let
go early in camp wasn't disclosed Monday. Coach Mike McCarthy met with
reporters before practice and before the team announced Mandell's
Masthay had little
reaction to the news, but he viewed it as a vote of confidence from
the likes of general manager Ted Thompson, McCarthy and first-year
special teams coordinator Ron Zook.
"But by no means
do I take it as a, 'Hey, you're guaranteed to be (here),'"
Masthay said. "I feel like I've still got about 25 days until
preseason is over. I've got 25 days to keep working to improve, to
keep working to perform. So that's my focus."
Masthay is looking
ahead to better days with the Packers, for whom he has been punting
since their Super Bowl-winning season in 2010. A subpar second half of
2014 shook Masthay's confidence and caused him to lose sleep at night.
"I was trying to
fight my way out of it and never completely did during the
season," Masthay said.
Masthay finished his
fifth NFL season with career-worst numbers for net punting average
(37.0 yards) and punts placed inside the opponent's 20-yard line (14).
me, the worst part of it, the most painful part of it, is feeling like
I was letting my teammates and coaches down," Masthay said.
"That's the part I didn't shake the whole time."
Saying he felt he was
rushing his kicks during his dismal stretch last season, Masthay has
refined his punting technique. He also isn't allowing negative
thoughts he says distracted him in those final months of the season to
"I feel very
good right now," Masthay said. "I feel confident going into
these games, and I expect to perform. Now, that doesn't guarantee
anything, so I've got to go out and make it happen. But I'm certainly
expecting to do well."
NOTES: LB Clay
Matthews returned to practice Monday after being out a week because of
knee soreness. McCarthy said Matthews' return to the field would be on
a trial-and-error basis. Matthews said after practice he felt good,
but he doesn't know if he will play Thursday. . LB Mike Neal practiced
for the first time in camp. Neal had been on the physically unable to
perform list after undergoing surgery in the offseason for what he
said Monday was a recurring sports hernia. . Notables out of practice
were defensive linemen Mike Daniels (ankle) and Letroy Guion
(hamstring) and LB Nick Perry (groin). McCarthy said undrafted rookie
WR Javess Blue suffered a shoulder injury in the Family Night practice
at Lambeau Field on Saturday.