The Green Bay Packers were back together as a team for the first time in a month, as they kicked off their June mini-camp, Wednesday. But, unfortunately, they weren't out for fans to see.
Although the weather in Green Bay was a sunny 64 degrees, heavy rains over the past month have left Clarke Hinkle Field so wet that Packers fields manager Allen Johnson said the team may be forced to hold practices indoors for the rest of the week.
Of course, even though the team was pushed inside the Don Hutson Center, that didn't alter the Packers' work schedule.
Wednesday, the team looked to install much of its two-back offensive sets, with Ahman Green and Najeh Davenport taking the majority of the reps at running back, while William Henderson and Nick Luchey shared the load at fullback.
Meanwhile, the Packers spread the quarterback duties among Brett Favre, Doug Pederson, Craig Nall and Scott McBrien.
In the post-draft mini-camp in late April/early May, Favre didn't do any passing in team drills, but he was back working with the first unit, Wednesday.
Twice Favre perfectly lofted passes down the right sideline for 25-yard gains, first to Javon Walker and then to Donald Driver. But on both occasions it seemed that converging safety Darren Sharper may have been in position to break up the play with a big hit, had the team been playing in pads with full contact.
Working alongside Sharper in the defensive secondary was Marques Anderson, while Mark Roman and Bhawoh Jue worked as the safeties with the second unit.
Michael Hawthorne and Al Harris stood in as cornerbacks with the first team, but when Harris tweaked his right ankle, veteran Chris Watson stepped in, in his place. Rookies Ahmad Carroll and Joey Thomas often rotated into the same backfield with the second and third units.
Meanwhile, the absence of Cletidus Hunt and Grady Jackson's ongoing rehabilitation meant that Larry Smith and Kenny Peterson worked at the tackle positions with the first-team defense.
Among the defensive highlights was an outstanding deflection by Sharper on a Favre pass to Driver that was almost snared in midair by Thomas.
Offensively, Carl Ford broke free on a comeback route to the right sideline to catch a 20-yard pass from Favre, and rookie tight end Keith Lewis made a nice snare of a Pederson pass across the middle.
Overall, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said that some of the rookies looked to be a step behind Wednesday, but wasn't alarmed.
"Today we installed a lot of our offense and defense and there's a tremendous volume (to learn), so it slows them down just a little bit," Sherman said. "I noticed they were a little bit slower in reacting because they were thinking so much. And that's usually what happens and that is expected. But if they do it justice and they get in their playbooks and study, they'll get up to speed here as we progress."
Along those lines, several players who sat out the post-draft mini-camp due to injuries are starting to get up to speed.
Cornerback Chris Johnson was held out of team drills, but enjoyed the most practice action he'd seen since he injured his knee last August. Meanwhile, Scottie Vines (knee) took part in all but team drills, while Aaron Kampman (knee), Marco Rivera (knee) and Mark Tauscher (hamstring) were back in full action.
The Packers have two more practices scheduled this week, one Thursday and one Friday. Then they'll take the weekend off before returning to the practice field Monday. All practices are scheduled for 11 a.m.
While the Packers are unlikely to practice outdoors this week, those plans could change. If the weather cooperates, the Packers hope to return to Clarke Hinkle Field next Monday (June 7).
Today At A Glance...
Where: Don Hutson Center (indoors)
Weather: 64 degrees, partly cloudy
Did Not Participate: Kevin Barry (hamstring), Grady Jackson (knee), Devin Lewis (knee)
Did Not Attend: Cletidus Hunt (unexcused), Joe Johnson (excused), Mike McKenzie (unexcused)