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Casey Hayward missing “very important reps” with hamstring injury

Casey Hayward, Devin Hester

Green Bay Packers cornerback Casey Hayward (29) runs after intercepting a pass from Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler in the first half of an NFL football game in Chicago, Sunday, Dec. 16, 2012. Chasing Hayward is Bears wide receiver Devin Hester (23). (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

AP

As a rookie, Packers cornerback Casey Hayward showed that he could handle the responsibilities of covering receivers from the slot.

He had six interceptions and 21 pass break-ups in 2012, which made him an essential part of the Green Bay defense and seemed to give him a shot at winning an even bigger role in 2012. A hamstring injury suffered early in camp has gotten in the way of that, however, and he doesn’t appear to be close to returning to action. Coach Mike McCarthy said Tuesday that he’d have an idea about Hayward’s timeline next week while also saying that Hayward’s missing a lot while on the sideline.

“Casey is a very instinctive player, really smart player, obviously played very well as a rookie,” McCarthy said, via Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “But there’s a big-time battle going on in the secondary, particularly at the corner position, so I think that’s probably his biggest concern. The reps that he’s missing, these are very important reps, not only for just him individually but the ability to play in-sync with the guy next to you, play both inside and outside, because he definitely has a dual-role in our defense.”

Hayward’s not the only one who should have concerns. With Tramon Williams also out because of a knee injury, the Packers have been stretched a little thinner than they’d like at corner this summer and the first preseason game wasn’t a strong showing for the group. No matter how far behind Hayward might be, getting him on the field will qualify as a positive for the Pack.