Notebook: Top Two QBs Limited, But In Great Shape

As expected, both Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers were limited in their participation in the first minicamp practice on Friday, performing individual and seven-on-seven drills but being held out of the team (11-on-11) periods. Both quarterbacks said they feel fine, but with Favre recovering from offseason ankle surgery and Rodgers coming back from a broken foot, the coaching staff is simply being cautious as they complete the final stages of rehab. - More McCarthy Press Conference Transcript

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As expected, both Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers were limited in their participation in the first minicamp practice on Friday, performing individual and seven-on-seven drills but being held out of the team (11-on-11) periods.

Both quarterbacks said they feel fine, but with Favre recovering from offseason ankle surgery and Rodgers coming back from a broken foot, the coaching staff is simply being cautious as they complete the final stages of rehab.

Favre said he hadn't picked up a football since the season finale last year, and he was clearly taking it easy on most of his throws. He's been working out back home in Mississippi, and Rodgers said Favre was down under 220 pounds.

Meanwhile Rodgers was putting noticeable zip on the ball and spent the offseason getting himself in prime shape as well.

"He's had a lot of progress in the offseason program and the conditioning," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "I think his arm looks stronger than ever."

Rodgers, who broke his foot last Nov. 19 against New England, said a few weeks ago he was talking with the team doctors about doing more in McCarthy's quarterback school workouts, rolling out and turning things loose a bit.

The plan was to shut him down if he felt any pain, but Rodgers said he's been pain-free and could be cleared to practice more during organized team activities next month.

"I'm not sure yet," Rodgers said. "It will still be June. I'd like to do as much as possible, but maybe not right away. Maybe two or three into it, they'll let me go."

With Favre and Rodgers limited, that left all the team period reps to quarterbacks Ingle Martin, Jerry Babb and Paul Thompson, with mixed results. The starting defense picked off a couple of passes and deflected some others, though Thompson did connect on a deep ball to Greg Jennings, as Jennings made a nice catch off a deflection by cornerback Tramon Williams.

"They're all good reps," McCarthy said. "Anytime you make a mistake, you obviously don't want to make it again. Once again, as a quarterback developing in the NFL, anytime you get in 11-on-11 reps, they're critical. All the footwork drills, all the seven-on-seven drills, all the things you do on air or just with the perimeter, it's a whole different world when you have bodies all around you."

Building camaraderie

Perhaps no position group on a football team needs better cohesion than an offensive line, and the Packers' linemen spent a lot of time this offseason building some camaraderie.

Center Scott Wells said over the last few months the linemen have been getting together two or three times per week to go bowling, watch movies, play cards or enjoy other fun activities.

It may seem like small steps but they add up in the larger picture.

{sportsad300}"There's a huge bond with us," Wells said. "I'd have to say we're all friends, which is huge. If you can be friends off the field, you can be friends on the field, you trust one another. You trust they're going to do their job and you have more confidence in one another. There's no questions."

Wells said the linemen also help to coach one another during practice as another way to foster communication.

"That's built through spending as much time together as we can," he said.

Other injuries

Defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (thigh) and offensive guard Jason Spitz (back) both missed portions of practice, as did first-round draft pick Justin Harrell (arm).

Wide receiver Robert Ferguson is still recovering from last season's foot injury and did not practice, nor did defensive end Aaron Kampman, who had arthroscopic knee surgery in the offseason.

McCarthy said he expected Ferguson to be ready for the June OTAs, while with Kampman the target is the start of training camp. Same goes for safety Marviel Underwood, who had reconstructive knee surgery after tearing an ACL in the preseason opener last summer.

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