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Hill is camp surprise for Packers

Green Bay Packers quarterback Taysom Hill (8) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Washington Redskins during the second half Aug. 19 at FedEx Field. (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)

Howard Balzer

The Sports Xchange

Taysom Hill, the Green Bay Packers’ No. 4 quarterback was expected to be just a camp body, but the former BYU standout has become a real contender to make the 53-man roster.

In Green Bay’s first preseason game, Hill had a perfect passer rating of 158.3. In the Packers’ win over Washington, Hill had a 23-yard touchdown run with 6:16 left that provided the winning points in Green Bay’s 21-17 victory.

“Taysom played very well,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “I feel like I’ve said that seven times already, but he played very well. We had to go to a four-wide-receiver personnel there at the end just because we were short in the tight-end position, so I give those young guys a lot of credit because we ran base concepts and they were able to handle it, and the most responsibility falls on the quarterback and he did a very good job managing that particular drive and obviously versus the pressure defense there, the five-man pressure, he came out and made the big run for a touchdown.”

Hill took a two-year church mission coming out of high school, and redshirted in 2015 after suffering a Lisfranc fracture. Therefore, Hill will turn 27 later this week. Hill’s age — and inability to throw with accuracy downfield — turned off many scouts and were major reasons he went undrafted in April. But Hill is a terrific athlete with 4.44 speed in the 40-yard dash and has thrown the ball better than expected this summer.

“I think playing quarterback here just allowed me a great opportunity to develop under Aaron (Rodgers) and learn from him and it’s a great system,” Hill said. “These guys know what they’re doing, they know how to develop quarterbacks. I think coach McCarthy has been deemed that — a guy who develops quarterbacks — so I was really excited about that opportunity.”

Green Bay has rarely kept three quarterbacks under McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson. And even if the Packers keep three this season, Joe Callahan remains ahead of Hill for the time being. But if Hill continues to shine, he’s optimistic things will work out just fine.

“I’ve been in quarterback competitions before and I would say at the end of the day, whether this sounds cliche or not, the competition is with yourself,” Hill said. “You go out and try to be as good as you possibly can and if it doesn’t work out in Green Bay the hope is that you get good tape out there that other teams see and you have an opportunity to play other places as well. But that being said, I’ve loved my experience here and I want to do everything I can to stick around this organization.”

Bulaga ruled out

Packers offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga will sit out Saturday’s preseason game against the Denver Broncos with an ankle injury.

Bulaga injured his ankle during a 9-on-7 run drill in practice Wednesday.

“We’re actually still doing some testing, so I do not have a timeline,” McCarthy said. “But he’s feeling better today than he was yesterday.”

The 28-year-old Bulaga is coming off a season in which he played 16 games for the first time since his rookie campaign in 2010.

Jason Spriggs, who was a second-round selection of the 2016 draft, and Kyle Murphy are expected to play at right tackle in Bulaga’s absence.

Green pleads not guilty

Former Green Bay running back Ahman Green pleaded not guilty on Thursday to child abuse charges stemming from an incident with his daughter.

Green is accused of striking his 15-year-old daughter in the head in a dispute over household chores in June.

The 40-year-old is charged with felony child abuse and misdemeanor disorderly conduct. If convicted on both charges, Green faces up to seven years in jail.

Green entered his not guilty plea in Brown County Circuit Court. A trial date was not immediately scheduled.

Green is the Packers’ all-time leading rusher and a four-time Pro Bowl selection. He was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 2014.