Packers Resume Organized Team Activities


Although the Packers offense ranked third in the NFL last year, the defense stole the show during Monday's organized team activities at Ray Nitschke Field.

With quarterback Brett Favre absent from the OTA, the young quarterbacks must learn on the job and threw several interceptions.

"We're throwing a ton at them," head coach Mike Sherman said. "You have to understand, everything Brett knows, they have to know. These guys are getting thrown the book, Football 404. It's a little heavy and takes a while to absorb."

By the end of the week, Sherman said the Packers will have installed 80 to 85 percent of the offense.

About 200 fans looked on as the defense made several key plays, including cornerback Joey Thomas' interception off quarterback Craig Nall during a red zone drill. Thomas and also tipped a pass intended for Donald Driver, which rookie cornerback Leigh Torrence picked off.

On a pass intended for Driver, cornerback Patrick Denby, an undrafted free agent, intercepted Nall, perhaps giving him a leg up in making the squad.

"He's done a nice job," Sherman said.

Torrence also picked off quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan on a pass intended for Antonio Chatman, and defensive tackle Donnell Washington tipped one of Aaron Rodgers' passes at the line of scrimage.

"He's done some nice things in the (OTAs)," Sherman said, complimenting Washington's performance. "But he still has to do it with the pads on as they all do."

That includes first-round draft pick Aaron Rodgers, a possible heir apparent to Favre, who is trying to master the difficult transition from Pac-10 football to the NFL.

"I'm sure there's some frustration, it goes with the territory. He's a smart kid," Sherman said. "In the first (OTA), we threw a little bit at him, and he was exceptional. Now that we've thrown a lot at him, there's obviously a lot more to learn."

The 21-year-old quarterback is working hard to understand the offense. After practice, he sat at his locker and conscientiously poured over his plays.

"I feel like I keep getting better each day," Rodgers said. "From a mental standpoint, that's where I really want to improve. Coaches are putting a little bit more extensive plays on me, and not really having to baby me as far as calling the plays. I'm not 100 percent confident in my reads and in my progressions yet."

Sherman cited the strong wind blowing in from the West as a major reason for the troubles.

"I think they did a pretty good job considering the conditions," he said.

Indeed the offense did have some bright moments of their own. Rodgers threw a 40-yard-pass, which Driver caught at its highest point.

Tight end Ben Steele rebounded from a tough first week of the OTA with three receptions, including a short touchdown catch off a Nall pass.

"I just focused on catching the ball," Steele said. "You only get so many chances in this league."

During the intersquad portion of practice, running back Tony Fisher and fullback William Henderson each caught touchdown passes from Nall as well.

Sherman also devoted a significant portion of practice to special teams. Several players including Chatman, wide receiver Andrae Thurman, running back Najeh Davenport and even running back Ahman Green took turns returning kicks.

Green worked on that duty in case a game-ending situation arises where they need a touchdown to win.

"He was pretty good in the past, and if we need to use him an emergency, he'd be available," Sherman said. "We worked on all the unique stuff that sometimes you don't have a chance to get to during the season."

The Packers will continue the voluntary organized team activities Tuesday (veterans and rookies) at 11 a.m. Weather and field conditions permitting, practice will be held outside at Ray Nitschke Field (open to the public), but otherwise will be held inside the Don Hutson Center (closed to the public).

For more player/coach insight on Monday's workout, check out the Audio section.

Today At A Glance ...

Where: Ray Nitschke Field (outdoors)

Weather: partly cloudy and windy, 78 degrees

Did Not Practice: Craig Bragg, Garrett Cross, Brennan Curtin, Mike Hawkins, Jason Horton, Grady Jackson, Chris Johnson, James Lee, A.J. Lindsay, Mark Roman, Corey Williams

Did Not Attend: Brett Favre, Bubba Franks, Cletidus Hunt, Javon Walker

Here's a look at the remaining June practice schedule:

Tuesday, June 7

11 a.m.

Wednesday, June 8

11 a.m.

Thursday, June 9

8:45 a.m.

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