The Green Bay Packers wrapped up their brief slate of public practices for the week as they took to the grass of Clarke Hinkle Field for a single mid-day session on Thursday. A crowd of approximately 1,200 fans were on hand as the team took the field in helmets and shorts prior to Saturday night's home game against New Orleans.
On the injury front, wide receiver Robert Ferguson's hamstring continued to keep him out of the team portion of practice, but he did continue conditioning work and caught balls out of the JUGS machine to keep his hands active. Cornerback Ahmad Carroll encountered some hamstring tightness of his own Wednesday, and GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman decided to keep the rookie off the field Thursday. Lineman Scott Wells' biceps injury popped up again to keep him on the sidelines for the day's proceedings.
After practice, Sherman listed all three as questionable for Saturday's game against the Saints.
Thursday's practice started off with some highlight plays in the 1-on-1 receiver/defensive back drills. Once again, it was Darren Sharper leading things off as he jumped in front of a pass that Craig Nall had intended for Antonio Chatman. The crowd cheered loudly as the safety intercepted the ball and sprinted 20 yards in the opposite direction.
Chatman came out on top on his next go-round, as he leaped high into the air to grab a Nall offering just out of reach of cornerback Joey Thomas. Thomas victimized Nall later, though, as he flashed in front of Carl Ford for an interception of his own.
Full team activity was next on the agenda, and the order of the day was the 1st offense running against the 2nd defense, and vice versa.
Brett Favre unleashed a rocket that connected with Donald Driver on a 20-yard in pattern early in the drill.
Doug Pederson tried his luck on a deep ball for Wilson Thomas, but cornerback Michael Hawthorne had tight coverage and came away with an interception.
Defensive tackle Ken Kocher beat his man later in the drill and motored into the backfield for a sack of rookie southpaw Scott McBrien.
Favre opened up the 7-on-7 drills in brilliant fashion, firing a touchdown pass to Javon Walker, who jumped high to make the catch with his arms at full extension.
The veteran signal-caller later saw Ford lined up with linebacker Steve Josue in coverage. Favre takes advantage of every mismatch, even in practice, and floated a TD pass to Ford, who easily raced pass the coverage.
Scottie Vines made the catch of the day, making a one-handed snare as he was blanketed by Al Harris as they ran down the left sideline. Pederson's pass was lofted in the perfect spot and Vines reached out with his left hand to make the grab, drawing much applause from the audience.
Favre showed more of his all-around dedication to perfection as he led the blocking down the right sideline on a Chatman reverse. He gave Joey Thomas a tap on the helmet as he cleared the path and gave a warning to linebackers Nick Barnett and Na'il Diggs that he wouldn't be afraid to hit them either, if they had not been merely watching from the sideline.
The next play was a fake reverse, which sucked the defense in and allowed Driver to run free through the secondary as Favre hit him with a pass for a 40-yard TD.
Pederson put some extra mustard on a throw over the middle later in the drill, threading a pass between Barnett and Hannibal Navies into the hands of tight end Steve Bush.
In the final team period of the day, receiver Sam Breeden jumped high into the air along the sideline to make a fine grab on a deep ball thrown by Pederson.
Pass-rusher extraordinaire Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila flashed some versatility later in the team drill, as he dropped into coverage and batted down a pass 10 yards from the line of scrimmage.
When the two-minute drill began, Favre and the first-team offense wasted no time in getting into the end zone.
On the drive's first play, Favre looked for Driver and found him running a slant. The hard-thrown ball was behind the receiver, but Driver reached back and snared the pass with one hand and took off down the sideline. Barnett had an angle on him, but the speedster outran him and continued on to the fence beyond the end zone to give the fans a thrill.
The Packers will hold a closed practice inside of Lambeau Field Friday in advance of their preseason contest Saturday night. Their next public practice will take place Monday as the team will return for a double session at Clarke Hinkle Field, the morning practice scheduled for 8:45-11:00 a.m. (pads), followed by an afternoon session running from 2:45-4:00 p.m. (no pads).
Where: Clarke Hinkle Field
Weather: 66°, sunny
Did Not Participate: Ahmad Carroll (hamstring), Shockmain Davis (leg), Robert Ferguson (hamstring), Atlas Herrion (knee), Paris Lenon (hamstring), Chukie Nwokorie (hamstring), Donnell Washington (arch), Chris Watson (hamstring), Scott Wells (biceps) and James Whitley (head).
Physically Unable to Perform List: Mike Flanagan (knee tendinitis), Chris Johnson (stress fracture), Mike Wahle (knee contusion),
Reserve/Did Not Report List: Mike McKenzie