Notebook: Little Rest For Rodgers

With the players getting five weeks off, after tomorrow, before the start of training camp, they're looking at their last real vacation during this calendar year.

While many will take advantage of the down time to rest, recuperate, spend time with family, and/or visit someplace exotic, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is among those who did that back in January and February. So his focus stays mostly on business in July.

"I've got a group I work out with down in San Diego," Rodgers said as he rattled off a list of NFL players he'll be training with over the next month, including New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson, Tampa Bay tight end Kellen Winslow Jr., and Chicago cornerback Charles Tillman, among others.

"We're all going to start working out together probably about the first of July, and go through about 3½ weeks of pretty intense training."

Granted, working out a few hours a day is nothing like training camp itself, with two-a-day practices at least a couple of times a week. But the break between the end of the offseason program and the start of training camp can be so long that if players aren't careful, they can lose some of the gains they made during all their strength and conditioning work that began back in March.

These days, players are expected to report to training camp in shape and be ready to work, not use training camp to get in shape for the regular season.

"It's a full-time job," Rodgers said. "You have to keep yourself in shape. I want to shave a couple more pounds off and get down to the weight I want to be at for the start of training camp."

Keeping his distance

Receiver Greg Jennings sounds as though he's watching the ongoing contract negotiations between the Packers and his agent from afar, not necessarily confirming, nor being very concerned with, whether a new deal is close to completion.

Heading into the final year of his rookie deal, Jennings has repeatedly said he will not hold out for a new contract. One media report this week indicated a deal was close, but Jennings wasn't entirely certain of that.

"I'm just trying to perform at a high level regardless if the deal is done or not," he said. "Honestly. That's me. Whether the deal is done, in the making, or not in the making, I'm going to be out here practicing, playing hard, trying to give our team the best chance to win. Period."

Jennings attended the vast majority of the voluntary offseason workouts and OTAs, spending some time with his family, which includes a new baby daughter. He has attended everything mandatory and said he'll continue to, including training camp, whether or not his new contract is signed.

Emerging as one of the top performers at his position in the NFC, Jennings said he does sense he's taking on more of a leadership role in the locker room than he has in the past, but he wants to keep himself in the proper place.

"I feel like the quarterback is the leader, but there are other guys that play leadership roles on the team," he said. "I want to be looked upon as a leader and a positive leader at that."

Running with the 1's

Third-year pro Allen Barbre has taken all the reps with the No. 1 offensive line at right tackle throughout OTAs and mini-camp, and although he says he continues to get more comfortable in that spot, he's not taking anything for granted as far as the competition for the starting job.

"I feel like it's a great opportunity for me to play, and that's how I look at it, that's how I approach it," Barbre said. "Just going out and working hard every day, seizing my opportunity.

"Just because I'm running with the 1's doesn't mean anything. I just want to work hard every day and give it all I've got."

Taking the first-team reps does have its advantages, though, and probably has Barbre more prepared for the upcoming training camp competition than he was last year at left guard.

"I get to go against great competition every day," Barbre said. "I go against Aaron Kampman, a great player. He's adjusting to a position as well, and we're sort of growing together.

"He's a two-time Pro Bowler, and I can learn a lot from him. Going against him, that's going to do nothing but make me a better player."

Plays of the day

Players on both sides of the ball made some big plays during team (11-on-11) periods on Tuesday. Here's a brief rundown.

*Morning practice: *Jennings hauled in a deep post route perfectly in stride from Rodgers, while rookie Kole Heckendorf had the catch of the workout, making a diving grab in the middle of the end zone against tight coverage from Tramon Williams.

Meanwhile Williams and Al Harris both snagged interceptions that likely would have gone for touchdowns the other way.

{sportsad300}*Afternoon practice: *Rodgers completed bullets over the middle to both tight end Donald Lee and receiver Donald Driver through tight coverage windows, while both Ruvell Martin and rookie JaRon Harris made similar leaping catches along the left sideline for big gains.

Then in the two-minute drill, the defense got the best of the offense. With the first units going head-to-head, linebacker Brandon Chillar made a diving interception on a sideline pass intended for Lee, and then with the second units on the field, Williams almost got another interception but batted away a fourth-down pass for Martin to end that drive.

Special teams even got in the playmaking act in the afternoon, as Jeremy Kapinos dropped a pooch punt just short of the goal line, and it was downed by the coverage unit inside the 2.

Injury/participation update

Limited due to injury or sitting out both practices entirely on Tuesday were receiver Jamarko Simmons (back), safeties Atari Bigby (ankle) and Anthony Smith (groin), tight end Carson Butler (knee), linebacker Nick Barnett (knee), center Scott Wells (shoulder), tackles Breno Giacomini (ankle) and Chad Clifton (knees/shoulder), and defensive end Cullen Jenkins (ankle).

Defensive ends Johnny Jolly and Justin Harrell (unspecified) dropped out of the morning practice and both sat out the afternoon workout. With both Jenkins, Jolly and Harrell out, Michael Montgomery took his place with the first defensive unit at end.

Rookie offensive tackle Jamon Meredith also dropped out of the afternoon practice. He appeared to have heat-related problems, as temperatures were in the low 90s for the first time this year.

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