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Training Camp Notebook: Corey Williams Anchors Defensive Line


Look Who's Starting

With Grady Jackson having not passed his physical and Cletidus Hunt hampered by a sore shoulder and knee, second-year defensive tackle Corey Williams has entered the starting lineup ahead of more experienced veteran James Lee and Donnell Washington, who was more highly regarded coming out of college.

Much of Williams' improvement is mental. As a rookie, the schemes and adjustment to the pro game overwhelmed him.

"Last year I really didn't know what to expect," he said. "This year I was a little more confident. I knew a little bit more about what was going to go on."

Although he rises too high out of his stance when fatigued, he has improved his leverage by maintaining a low pad level.

For Williams, the maturation process started during last year's final regular season game versus the Chicago Bears on Jan.2. He recorded five tackles, including a sack that dropped Bears quarterback Chad Hutchinson for a six-yard loss.

That end-of-the-season-progress carried over through this year's offseason program and thus far in training camp.

"He showed a lot of good things," head coach Mike Sherman said. "He's continued that through the minicamps and also in the preseason practices."


Walker Plans To Suit Up Against Chargers

Wide receiver Javon Walker missed both of Monday practices but vowed to return for Thursday's preseason game versus the San Diego Chargers.

"I'm definitely playing," he said.

On Sunday Walker ran a deep pattern against rookie cornerback Mike Hawkins. After the ball extended just past his reach, he lay on the turf with a sore hamstring before heading inside the Don Hutson Center.

His hamstring has already started to heal.

"It's feeling a little better," he said. "I'm going to get treatment all today.'

The grind of training camp with the heat, the extra repetitions of two-a-day practices and few rest days makes such injuries common place.

"It's more fatigue settling into muscles you're consistently working," he said. "The body is not made to go through what you go through every day."

Walked moved around well along the sidelines on Monday. Had it been a regular season game, he likely would have likely played, but the Packers did not want to risk further injury.

"From a precautionary measure the doctor suggested he sit out today," Sherman said.


Horton Launches Second Comeback

Cornerback Jason Horton returned to practice on Monday after missing every practice since the opening day of training camp with a shoulder injury.

"It feels wonderful just to get back out there on the field, back out there with my teammates," he said. "I'm ready to help contribute."

Horton does not know if he will play in Thursday's game versus San Diego, but with cornerbacks, Joey Thomas (calf) and Al Harris (quadriceps) ailing, his return came at an opportune time. And he received a lot of repetitions for his first day back.

"Coaches know how I am. They know they can depend on me," he said. "If they call my number, I'm going to be ready to produce."

Horton estimates his strength to be at around 90 percent, but his shoulder still bothers him when lifting weights. He, however, surprised himself with his overall conditioning.

The second-year cornerback has endured a difficult offseason. A lung infection called sarcoidosis required March surgery to remove a lymph node, forcing him to miss all of the offseason activities.

"Things don't go the way you plan all the time," he said. "It's all about how you react."


NFL Network To Offer Live Look-Ins

Can't get enough football action?

The NFL Network might have the answer, offering a whip-around show, which allows fans to watch snippets of as many as nine simultaneous games.

The show called "NFL Total Access: No Huddle" will televise about 10 minutes of one game and key plays before jumping to another. Paul Burmeister and Mike Mayock will host and analyze the fast-paced show.

In addition, the network will carry 55 preseason games in their entirety during a 25-day span this summer.


Quick Hits Tight end David Martin (groin) returned to practice during the afternoon session. ... Offensive line coach Larry Beightol responded to criticism of his unit that surrendered eight sacks during the Family Night scrimmage against the Buffalo Bills: "Don't panic," he said. "We'll be damn good. Mark that down." ... The afternoon practice, played in humid 90-degree temperatures, lasted only an hour and ten minutes. ... Quarterback Brett Favre looked very sharp throughout practice, connecting on three straight touchdown passes during 7-on-7 drills. He threw the first two to wide receiver Robert Ferguson and the third to wide receiver Donald Driver. ... Linebacker Na'il Diggs sprained his knee during the morning practice and did not return. ... Safety Nick Collins returned to practice for the afternoon session after suffering a headache and sore neck as a result of Sunday's collision with safety Mark Roman. ... Coach Sherman talked to Bubba Franks on Friday over the telephone. "We had a good talk. He's doing fine," Sherman said. "He's hopeful as am I that things will happen shortly." ... Al Harris returned to action during the afternoon.

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