Over 150 fans got their first glimpse of the Packers' draft class of 2004 Saturday as the team's rookies and selected veterans took the afternoon practice outdoors to Clarke Hinkle Field.
Quarterback Craig Nall connected with wide receiver Carl Ford on two occasions, first along the right sideline over the outstretched hands of cornerback Jason Horton. Later, Nall split defenders Chris Watson and Bhawoh Jue to connect with Ford for a gain of nearly 40 yards.
In addition to team drills, the Packers took advantage of the sunny afternoon weather to work on special teams drills, including 2-on-1 punt coverage drills, with Ford, Antonio Chatman and Eric Crouch fielding the kicks.
In the morning session inside the Don Hutson Center, quarterback Brett Favre took the entire practice off, leaving Nall, Doug Pederson and Scott McBrien to split the snaps.
After logging work at position drills and special teams, the Packers moved to 7-on-7 drills, where safety Darren Sharper slipped around wide receiver Javon Walker to knock down a Pederson pass. Cornerback Al Harris also got into the action, batting a pass intended for wide receiver Sam Breeden.
In the trenches, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila beat offensive lineman Steve Morley to get to Nall for a would-be sack, while Larry Smith bullied his way into the backfield to flush Pederson out of the pocket. Later, defensive tackle Kenny Peterson blew past guard Joe Hayes to knock the ball out of Nall's hands.
GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman released most of the veterans after nearly an hour of work in the morning session, leaving the remaining practices of the April mini-camp to the rookies and a few selected veterans.
In team drills, McBrien split defenders with a pass to connect with Chatman for a 15-yard gain, while Horton made a diving interception on a pass intended for Breeden.
For the fourth day in a row, several Packers players were held out of team drills: Aaron Kampman (knee), Grady Jackson (knee), Marco Rivera (knee) and Mark Tauscher (hamstring). Defensive end Earl Cochran sat out both practices with a quadriceps injury.
Linebacker Maurice Jones was excused from the final three mini-camp practices (Saturday and Sunday) to receive his degree in Communications at the University of South Florida.
The Packers will return to the practice field Sunday (rookies & selected vets) at 9:30 a.m. Weather and field conditions permitting, practice will be held outside at Clarke Hinkle Field (open to the public), but otherwise will be held inside the Don Hutson Center (closed to the public).
Today At A Glance ...
Where: Don Hutson Center (a.m.); Clarke Hinkle Field (p.m.)
Weather: 55 degrees, sunny
Did Not Practice: Earl Cochran (quad), Na'il Diggs (shoulder), Chris Johnson (knee), Scottie Vines (knee), Bryant Westbrook (Achilles).
Did Not Attend: Joe Johnson (excused), Maurice Jones (excused), Mike McKenzie.