The Packers continued to get in the training camp routine Tuesday with two practices at Clarke Hinkle Field. Approximately 1200 people lined the fences in a cloudy, but comfortable day.
Each day the team does many of the same drills, but there also seems to be an added twist with each workout. Whether it is installing more plays or adding more team oriented drills, there usually is something fresh on the schedule. On Tuesday, the linebackers worked extensively with the tight ends while the coaches stressed the importance of proper hand placement as well as footwork.
In 7-on-7 drills, defensive coordinator Bob Slowik and defensive backs coach Kurt Schottenheimer reiterated the importance of bump and run coverage. It appears that the Packers will take an aggressive approach this season in slowing receivers down at the line of scrimmage in order to disrupt their timing.
During this particular passing drill the defenders had a difficult time staying with the wide receivers. However, that is to be expected considering that there is no pass rush from a defense and the quarterbacks can sit back as long as they want before deciding where to unload the ball.
Although it's in the early stages of camp, Brett Favre and Javon Walker seem as if they have been with each other all offseason. It's not a stretch to say that Walker makes the best plays of each practice. If he isn't leaping over a defender to snag a ball above James Whitley's head, as he did today, he is outrunning defenders to the ball. On one particular play, Walker jumped over both Darren Sharper and Michael Hawthorne to grab what appeared to be an overthrown pass, much to the crowd's delight.
The biggest applause of the morning came when Carl Ford ran a deep fly pattern along the right sideline and made a diving catch of an overthrown Favre pass. Also for the second straight day, Ahman Green and Najeh Davenport had no problems breaking off long runs. This time though, Dahrran Diedrick, the first-year player out of Nebraska, also squirted outside of the defense's range in 11-on-11 drills.
It wasn't a bad day for the defense though.
After Marques Anderson worked with the number one defense yesterday, offseason acquisition Mark Roman lined up today with the starting unit. According to Schottenheimer, those two will rotate throughout camp in working with the starters. The former Cincinnati Bengal intercepted Favre and walked into the end zone in the afternoon practice, while backup linebacker Paris Lenon also intercepted a Couch pass in the day's final session.
Bhawoh Jue, also expected to see time at safety after primarily serving as a cornerback last season, slashed through the offense and stopped running back Tony Fisher at the line of scrimmage.
The Packers are looking to generate a steady pass rush this season and that may include sending more linebackers on blitzes or running stunts with numerous defensive linemen. Hannibal Navies and Aaron Kampman each showed they may fit the bill of what the team needs. On a blitz, Navies came around the corner and nearly blindsided Favre before letting up.
In 1-on-1 drills, which consist of a dummy placed five yards behind the line of scrimmage, linemen battle one another until the defender gets to the dummy or until the offensive linemen take the defender to the ground. Kampman, who is stepping into a starting role this season, continually abused whoever tried to block him. Both he and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, in the first two days of camp, have normally gotten the best of whoever tries to slow them down.
For the second straight day, the team finished practice with special teams work. Special teams coach John Bonamego had reason to be excited as Darren Sharper and Larry Smith both had blocks on separate Ryan Longwell field goal attempts. B.J. Sander continued to show off his leg and Antonio Chapman, Shockmain Davis, Robert Ferguson, Ford and Sharper all fielded their share of punts. In the afternoon, Davis and Ford took kickoffs from Longwell.
Davis, who made the All-NFL Europe team this spring as a special teams player, led the league in kick returns with 10 runbacks for 571 yards (30.1 avg.) and two touchdowns. If he proves capable of taking over the returning duties, he will increase his chances of taking up a roster spot as a fifth wide receiver.
In injury news, Brennan Curtin (thigh boil), Mike Flanagan (knee tendonitis) and Mike Wahle (knee contusion) missed practice for the second consecutive day and were placed on the physically unable to perform list (PUP).
Cornerback Chris Johnson, who also is on the list due to a stress fracture, remains unable to practice, while defensive tackle Eric Powell (knee), guard Forrest Vance (knee), and quarterback Craig Nall, who tweaked a hamstring yesterday, were all held out of both workouts on Tuesday. Frank Rice missed the afternoon session with soreness in his left knee.
The team also avoided a scare in the morning session when guard Mark Tauscher rolled his ankle and limped off the field. The trainers taped him up, however, and he returned to practice. Grey Ruegamer filled in for Flanagan and Steve Morley took Wahle's spot in the lineup.
Where: Clarke Hinkle Field
Weather: 78 degrees, cloudy
Did Not Participate: Brennan Curtin (groin boil), Mike Flanagan (knee tendonitis), Chris Johnson (stress fracture), Mike McKenzie (reserve/did not report list), Craig Nall (hamstring), Eric Powell (knee), Frank Rice (knee), Forrest Vance (knee), and Mike Wahle (knee contusion)