Training Camp Notebook: Like A Fine Wine ...


Favre Watch

Donald Driver likely will have a bruise after trying to haul in a Brett Favre pass with his chest instead of his hands on Thursday morning.

"He tried to kill me," he said. "I was trying to figure out how to catch it."

Favre's 9-of-10, 91-yard passing performance against the San Diego Chargers may have been the sign of things to come. He has looked crisp during training camp -- even by his Pro Bowl standards.

"He's been very sharp -- great decision making, accuracy, arm, everything," Sherman said.

Favre shredded the defense during 7-on-7 and 9-on-7 drills. He hit Robert Ferguson, Javon Walker and Ben Steele for touchdowns. The Walker pass traveled 40 yards while Favre placed the ball between linebacker Hannibal Navies and safety Earl Little to reach Steele.

"He's not afraid to rifle it in there - that's for sure," Steele said. "He fired one in there the other day that I kind of caught on the side of his helmet. He put it on me pretty quick."

An observer can tell Favre's increasing age by the number of grey hairs on his head but not by his passes, which whip off his hands like they did 10 years ago.

"He's been tremendous," Driver said. "He's been throwing some great balls."


Safety Flies Around The Field

Rookie Nick Collins ended his first set of two-a-days on a high note.

"He had a strong day," defensive coordinator Jim Bates said. "He seemed to be everywhere. He's starting to get the fits well, and he's starting to show his range. He's already shown his hitting ability."

While in man coverage, the safety broke on the ball to intercept a pass as Driver ran a crossing route during 9-on-7 drills. Later in the morning practice, he wrestled away a ball from Driver in the end zone.

"Nick has put some back-to-back practices together and done a good job," head coach Mike Sherman said.

Along with his playmaking ability, Collins has displayed his toughness. He continued to practice Wednesday despite tweaking his hamstring. On Thursday he wore a neoprene sleeve on his leg.

"I don't like to miss practice," he said. "I know I've got to learn a lot. So I try to be out there as much as possible."

The Packers have good depth at safety with veterans Mark Roman and Earl Little and rookies Collins and Marviel Underwood. After the Bills game, Coach Sherman and his staff plan to determine whether Collins will start, but he seems like a good bet to do so.

"I'm pretty sure 36 has already got it on lock down," Little said.

With Mark Roman (hamstring) not practicing, Collins teamed with safety Earl Little on the first-string defense. Having a new partner did not fluster the rookie or hinder their communication.

"I'm comfortable with everybody," he said. "Whoever's out there on the field I'm comfortable with. It doesn't matter."


Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers

Cornerback Mike Hawkins filled the role of ballhawking cornerback during Thursday's practice and forced the turnovers his coaches have been seeking.

"That's emphasized every day. They want turnovers, turnovers, turnovers," Hawkins said. "A turnover will change the game."

In outside coverage against wide receiver Chad Lucas, Hawkins jumped the route and intercepted the Aaron Rodgers pass.

"If I see a quarterback make that movement with their body than I'm going to take it," he said. " I'm going to get it full speed."

The rookie cornerback has shown a skill for beating the wide receiver to his spot during camp. He, however, has let a few would-be-interceptions drop through his hands.

"That's just being too anxious," he said.

Hawkins' anxiousness is understandable as the rookie has taken a circuitous route to the NFL. He attended The University of Oklahoma for one year in 2002 before assuming a variety of odd jobs. He then spent the next two years with the Arena League's Dallas Desperados.

Despite having never started a game for the Desperados, Hawkins has shined throughout training camp. His uneven Arena League career can be attributed to playing opposite men in their late twenties while still a teenager.

"I was 19 when I signed with the Arena," he said. "Some of the guys I started behind were already in the NFL. It's kind of hard to come in at 19 and take their jobs."

Currently the No. 3 cornerback with Joey Thomas (hip, calf) injured, Hawkins came very close to becoming the starting cornerback versus the Buffalo Bills this weekend.

During the special teams portion of practice, cornerback Ahmad Carroll, who has consistently run with the first team during camp, crumpled to the turf after getting kicked.

Carroll injured his ankle but later returned to practice. The coaching staff feared the worst.

"My heart just about dropped into my shoes," Bates said.

Now Bates can exhale and focus on coaching his precocious rookie.


Quick Hits: The Packers went inside the Don Hutson Center for the last 30 minutes of the afternoon practice in an effort to sharpen their mental focus. ... Cornerback Jason Horton broke up two passes intended for wide receiver Andrae Thurman during the afternoon practice. ... Milwaukee Bucks general manager Larry Harris attended Thursday morning's practice. ... The Packers wore shorts in the morning session after four straight days of wearing full pads. ... Carroll sported an old-school Mohawk hairstyle. ...Defensive tackles Cletidus Hunt (knee, shoulder) and Grady Jackson (knee) did not practice, but they hit a tackling sled. Bates barked orders as they worked on their hand technique. ...The defensive line did a good job of obstructing the passing lanes. Defensive lineman Kenny Peterson tipped a Craig Nall pass, which resulted in an interception for defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins. Defensive tackle Colin Cole picked off a J.T. O'Sullivan throw, which Donnell Washington tipped.

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