Packers Battle Via Video


Terry Glenn's videogame image from Madden NFL 2003.

There was no early practice, yet Packers training camp wasn't without fierce intrasquad competition Saturday morning.

Instead of mixing it up on Clarke Hinkle Field, more than a dozen Packers players visited the new Packers Pro Shop in the northeast corner of Lambeau Field to sample some of the latest football video games from EA Sports, including the soon-to-be-released Madden NFL 2003.

In one corner, Tod McBride, who controlled the Oakland Raiders, matched up against Torrance Marshall, who played with the Packers.

With McBride out to a 7-0 lead and running back Jason Brookins looking on, Marshall mounted a comeback drive that ended with a touchdown scored by Brookins' videogame persona.

"See, that's proof of the pudding right there," Brookins said with pride. "Man, that No. 39, he's good!"

Trash-talking was an integral part of the videogame sampling and nowhere was that more evident than in the duel between Donald Driver and Rondell Mealey. Playing NCAA College Football 2003, each player controlled his alma mater, meaning that Mealey powered Louisiana State, while Driver attempted the upset with Alcorn State.

Despite a significant amount of boasting going into the contest -- "Let's show them how we do it, Alcorn!" -- Driver quickly found himself down 14-0 and whispers of a shutout began traveling amongst observing teammates.

Eventually, Driver and Alcorn State began moving the ball. Yet, after crossing into the red zone, an ill-advised deep drop by the quarterback led to a fumble near midfield and a turnover. One play later, Mealey and LSU found the end zone, moving it to 20-0 and causing Driver to surrender in disgust even before the point-after attempt.

"The colleges didn't match-up," Driver explained. "LSU is 15th in the nation, Alcorn State isn't even ranked. He just beat me, but that was only the videogame though, otherwise it's a whole different story."

Often, the games themselves provided a mere backdrop to the real entertainment.

Before subbing his videogame persona into the game, Marshall looked up his player rating, which is broken down into multiple categories from speed to awareness. Marshall was pleased to see his tackle-ability received a high grade, but his on-the-field awareness ranking left something to be desired.

"Torrance, at least you know you can tackle the guy if you ever figure out where the ball is going," joked Steve Warren. Of course, that was before Warren saw his own player rating.

"Who did this scouting report?" he said laughing. "Man, I'm stronger than an ox, but dumber than a box of rocks. I'm lucky if I can figure out where I'm supposed to line-up."

Other match-ups of the day included Tyrone Williams (playing with the Pittsburgh Steelers) setting the pace against Brookins (St. Louis Rams), Najeh Davenport (Miami Hurricanes) struggling to keep up with Charles Lee (Florida State Seminoles), Billy Lyon (Packers) jumping out early against Cletidus Hunt (Rams) and Driver (Packers) finally getting on the scoreboard against Gilbert Brown (Rams).

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