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Training Camp Report - August 15, 2002


The lives of the Railbirds are not easy. Yes, they've got the day off work to sit under a cloudless sky and watch their heroes in action from just a few yards away, but can you imagine the agony, the inner struggle these fans must endure? Who should they root for, the Packers' offense or the Packers' defense?

Sure, it's great when Donald Driver catches a perfect 20-yard pass from Brett Favre in the end zone, like he did Thursday. But it's equally superb when Mike McKenzie has an outstanding read on a play and intercepts Favre. Railbirds must have faced immense turmoil as they witnessed Thursday's practice, because it was full of big plays on both sides of the ball.

Backup quarterback Doug Pederson stole the spotlight Thursday morning, excelling in the Packers' red zone and seven-on-seven drills.

His two favorite targets were wide receiver Kerry Hood and running back Ki-Jana Carter. Pederson and Hood connected for a pair of 40-yard bombs, in addition to Hood's 30-yard reception from quarterback Craig Nall.

Carter continued to display his receiving ability, reaching out to make a couple of one-handed juggling catches.

Wide receiver Charles Lee caught a Favre sideline pass, twisting and turning around to make the grab, managing to stay in bounds for the extra five yards he needed to score.

Even though the team shed their pads today and practiced in shells, the defense played with aggression, led by linebacker Na'il Diggs' takedown of wide receiver Javon Walker while trying to strip the ball.

Cornerback Keith Thibodeaux intercepted Favre, and later broke up a pass from Pederson. Linebacker Nate Wayne also came up with a tipped pass. Defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila consistently put pressure on the quarterbacks, which helped prompt these big defensive plays.

Fifth-round draft choice Aaron Kampman dropped back from his position on the defensive line and swatted down Nall's pass to end the morning practice.

Before hitting the road for Phoenix Friday, the team will have a walkthrough practice inside Lambeau Field, which is closed to the public. Due to a change in the original schedule, practices at Clarke Hinkle Field will resume Tuesday, August 20, from 8:45-9:30 a.m., and 2:15-4:15 p.m., weather and field conditions permitting.

-- by Leslie Ricker

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