Legendary coach and television personality John Madden observed practice Saturday in preparation for the Packers' preseason home opener against the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football. Madden's presence was accompanied by a drive-by courtesy of the Outback Cruiser, the enormous bus the announcer takes from stadium to stadium.
Although the Packers do little game planning for preseason games, defensive coordinator Ed Donatell had to like what he saw of his defense against the mock Cleveland offense, with Darren Sharper coming up with two interceptions, and rookie safety Marques Anderson adding another.
GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman is looking forward to Monday night's game against the Browns, and expects his defense to be tested.
"They have shown in practice and in those (preseason) games that they're playing at a high level," Sherman said of the defense. "(Cleveland has) a good offense, it's the No. 2 offense in preseason, their quarterback rating collectively is No. 2 also.
"This will be a great challenge for them with (quarterback Tim) Couch and (wide receiver) Kevin Johnson. Their running back, Jamal White had 131 yards against us last year, so we're looking forward to this game, it will be a real test."
Rookie quarterback Marcus Brady took a lot of reps Saturday, in an attempt to rest the arms of the other quarterbacks. Included in Brady's plays was a 40-yard throw to wide receiver Karsten Bailey on a post pattern.
Brett Favre managed to squeeze in some big plays of his own, including a 45-yard pass to Robert Ferguson, and a 15-yard touchdown pass to a diving Javon Walker in the back of the end zone.
Recently-added cornerback Jason Suttle had an apparent interception of a Brady pass, but determined wide receiver Brian Haugabrook stole it right out of Suttle's grip.
After practice, Ferguson donated his time to assistant head coach/secondary coach Bob Slowik, who walked cornerback Bhawoh Jue through his defensive technique.
In a statement following the morning practice, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said that the Packers starters would see more playing time on Monday night than they have in the first two preseason games.
"I'd like to see us come out of the locker room and have a series in the second half," Sherman said. "We'll just play it by ear though, that's not something that's set in stone. If they get a bunch of work in the first half and I think it's sufficient, then maybe we'll keep it at that."
The Packers will practice Sunday, August 25 in Lambeau Field. The next open practice will be Wednesday, August 28, from 8:45-11:25 a.m., and 2:45-4:10 p.m., at Clarke Hinkle Field, weather and field conditions permitting.
-- by Leslie Ricker