The Green Bay Packers start their most critical week of practice on Sunday, Aug. 13, according to head coach Mike Sherman.
"This week is the most important of the preseason," Sherman said. "I look at this week as a key week for our football team in evaluation."
This week represents the last full week of training camp practices. Games versus the New England Patritos on Friday, Aug. 26 and the Tennessee Titans on Thursday, Sept. 1 will shorten those weeks.
Because of the significance of this week's practice, Sherman cancelled Saturday afternoon's session.
"I want to get them healthy and prepare them for a long and difficult week of practice," he said.
Sherman has not determined the starting guards. Although he expressed disappointment in the running game, he felt the mistakes could be fixed.
The Packers running game often doesn't become very effective until the third and fourth quarter. The line also faced an unfamiliar scheme, the Chargers' 3-4 defense.
"I thought the guards did well. I don't think that's a reason we were ineffective at times in the run game," he said. "Most situations we were just one block away from making something happen, which is typical of this time of year."
Sherman has not yet decided who will occupy the starting safety positions for the opening day game on Sept. 13. Mark Roman and rookie Nick Collins started against the Chargers on Thursday.
Second-year cornerback Ahmad Carroll started and drew a holding penalty versus the Chargers. Carroll struggled with those penalties last year, but Sherman does not feel that play was indicative of a repeat of last year.
"In practice he's 10 times better than he was," Sherman said. "I didn't feel like it was like a blatant grab like he had in the past."
Aaron Rodgers appears to be on the inside track for the No. 2 quarterback position behind Brett Favre. His play versus the Chargers impressed Sherman despite completing 2-of-6 passes for seven yards. Rodgers played amidst difficult circumstances. He took snaps during the peak of the rainstorm and lost audio in his helmet.
"I thought he showed good composure," Sherman said.
Craig Nall entered the game when Rodgers' audio malfunctioned. In a regular season game, the Packers would have had him rely on a wristband loaded with plays.
In addition to Rodgers, Sherman praised defensive end Michael Montgomery among the rookies.
"He showed some good effort," he said.
Injury Notes: Sherman on Chicago Bears QB Rex Grossman, who broke his ankle on Friday night. "Anytime you lose a player whether it's a minicamp or a preseason practice or a game, you have tremendous angst." ...Fullback Vonta Leach injured his MCL. He is doubtful for this week, but his injury is less serious than initially thought. ... Linebacker Kurt Campbell tore his ACL and is likely out for the year. ... Offensive tackle Brad Bedell (hamstring) should miss another week. ... Sherman hopes linebacker Na'il Diggs (knee) will return for the Patriots game on Aug. 26. ... Defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt (shoulder) could return this week. Linebacker Brady Poppinga (hamstring) may practice on Sunday. ... Cornerback Chris Johnson will test his shin on Saturday. If he appears healthy, the Packers will take him off the Physically-Unable-To-Perform List. "Before he got hurt, he was the surprise of camp," Sherman said. ... The goal for defensive tackle Grady Jackson is to return for the Patriots game.