Who Needs Four Years Of College?
When Pro Bowl wide receiver Javon Walker lines up, one would expect to see a veteran defensive back in coverage. Instead the cornerback has a measly year of college football under his belt.
Mike Hawkins, a rookie drafted in the fifth round, attended the University of Oklahoma in 2002 before moving onto the Arena League in 2004 and 2005.
"My talent takes over the years I missed," Hawkins said. "I felt in the draft I should have gone higher."
He talked the talk and walked the walk. Matched up frequently against Walker in 7-on-7 drills, he read Walker's comeback route and jumped the Brett Favre pass. It would have been an interception had he held onto the ball. He intercepted Aaron Rodgers, breaking on a pass that caromed off of tight end Steve Fleming.
The cornerback has learned from the best. Hawkins, a Carrollton, Texas native, met Dallas resident and Ravens cornerback Deion Sanders in the Dallas airport. They talked for a while and ended up working out together, focusing on their technique and agility together.
Hawkins, however, admitted he still must improve that technique, and Sherman reminded reporters that the athletically gifted Hawkins remains a project.
"He's still a long ways away," he said. "There's so many things he hasn't experienced on this football field, one of them is getting beat deep for a touchdown and coming back with an interception on the next play."
Intense Practice In Intense Heat
Sherman ran the Green Bay Packers through a two-minute drill, where players had to call timeout and work against the clock during Tuesday morning's practice
"It was as much of a game-like scenario as you could get," he said of the morning session.
With just more than 20 seconds on the clock Favre led the team to a Ryan Longwell field goal to end a practice that took place in sweltering temperatures.
"Both mentally and physically," wide receiver Craig Bragg said, "it was definitely the hardest practice of camp.
In the afternoon session, Bragg caught a touchdown on an angle route toward the corner of the end zone. However, the intricacies of the morning's two-minute drill served as a difficult learning experience for the rookie sixth-round draft pick.
"My head was spinning, worrying about where to line up," he said.
Sherman had the team take several water breaks in order to prevent cramps and any players needing intravenous fluids.
"You have to push the fluids on a day like this," he said. "If you're not smart about the heat, it has a debilitating affect on your team.
Quarterbacks Gear Up for Family Night
Quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Brett Favre are looking forward to scrimmaging against the Buffalo Bills in Friday's "Family Night".
"I don't think you can really prepare for that until you hit the field," Rodgers said. "It's going to be an exciting feeling."
He also looks forward to observing another young quarterback, J.P. Losman, a second-year player with the Bills.
"I want to see what he's got," he said. "I'll definitely be watching him pretty close."
Training camp scrimmages between two different teams has sometimes erupted in heated skirmishes. Favre, in an impish mood, said he will look for trouble.
"I'm going to start a fight," he joked. "I've got to find out who their kicker is."
General Manager Ted Thompson said a pregame meal will keep tempers from flaring.
"We're all gonna make nice," he said.
Quick Hits: Safety Marviel Underwood forced a fumble from running back Najeh Davenport, making it the second practice in a row that a rookie safety has forced a fumble. Nick Collins did the deed on Monday ... Rodgers on why he shaved his beard: "Favre kept making fun of me". ... Rodgers ended the late practice by buying time with a scramble and then hitting wide receiver Donald Driver in the end zone. He excitedly pumped his fist. ... Sherman said running back Walt Williams (ankle) may be able to practice on Monday, but linebacker Brady Poppinga (hamstring) will not practice until at least the middle of next week. ... Cornerback Joey Thomas (calf) and running back Ahman Green (back) should scrimmage the Buffalo Bills. Cornerback Chris Day (Achilles), Collins (chest), linebacker Kurt Campbell (calf), linebacker Nick Barnett (ankle), wide receiver Terrence Murphy (hip flexor) and wide receiver Andrae Thurman (thumb) missed the afternoon practice... Defensive coordinator Jim Bates wore a jacket during the afternoon practice despite temperatures in the 90s.