The Green Bay Packers began the final week of their training camp practices Monday, with the two practices marking their last double session of 2004. The morning workout was moved inside the Don Hutson Center to due wet grass on Clarke Hinkle Field after the early morning rain shower. The team took to the FieldTurf wearing helmets and shorts.
Nearly all of the 45-minute a.m. practice consisted of full-team drills and featured the entire starting offensive line together for the first time during camp. Pro Bowl center Mike Flanagan, who had been held out of the workouts since the start of training camp due to knee tendinitis, returned to the field to anchor the line.
Brett Favre rested during the morning session, allowing Doug Pederson, Tim Couch and Craig Nall each to see some reps with the first offensive unit. Couch said that his arm felt strong
Pederson opened up under center and hit Antonio Chatman for a completion as the receiver came back nicely to grab the ball in traffic.
Cornerback Joey Thomas showed off his coverage skills as he blanketed Scottie Vines on a deep ball thrown down the left sideline by Scott McBrien. The ball fell incomplete after both men reached up and got a hand on the pass.
Nall provided the morning's highlight-reel play as he unleashed a bomb that spiraled more than 50 yards in the air before landing in the hands of Donald Driver, who had created just enough separation from Darren Sharper to make the grab.
Punters Bryan Barker and B.J. Sander alternated kicking from the opponents' 40-yard line, attempting to drop the punts inside the 10. Sander displayed good form in skying the balls high into the air, giving the coverage ample time to corral them before skipping into the end zone.
Running back Tony Fisher had a tough time with the defense in the next drill. Nick Barnett blew through the line to stop Fisher for a loss on a running attempt. A few plays later, Kenny Peterson snuffed out a screen pass, stopping Fisher for no gain.
Toward the end of the morning, the team made use of the two fields inside the Hutson Center, running drills on both of the adjacent grids.
Couch went to work with the first team in the last minutes of the practice, running a two-minute drill. The sixth-year signal-caller ran the drill effectively, moving the ball down the field with a series of short passes.
Practice ended on a defensive highlight, though, as Marques Anderson leapt into the air to snare an interception on a deflected ball in the end zone.
Clear skies and warm temperatures brought the Packers outside onto Hinkle Field for their afternoon workout. The p.m. session began with 30 minutes dedicated to special teams.
Highlighting the special teams session was a big hit fullback Vonta Leach put on linebacker Jermaine Taylor in a kickoff coverage drill.
Sander had a good afternoon, booting punts with good distance and excellent hang time both with and into the wind.
In the full-team portion of the afternoon, Sharper got things underway with a leaping pass deflection.
Peterson was all over another screen pass, smothering Fisher just as he had done in the morning, but this time with help from fellow defensive lineman James Lee.
In one-on-one linemen drills, Flanagan showed signs of his time off and was bested by Grady Jackson in their first head-to-head duel. Jackson fired off the ball and sped by the center.
"Grady's very good at (the drill). I was banking on a bull rush, and I was just rusty."
GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman was glad just to see his All-Pro out on the field again.
"It was good to see him out here," Sherman said following the afternoon practice. "Obviously, he was a little winded because playing with pads is a little different than what we do conditioning in the Hutson Center. He seemed to fare pretty well."
The rest of the day belonged to Favre, who was back in full action after watching his understudies handle the morning's proceedings.
The veteran gunslinger let loose with a few big throws, connecting on multiple touchdown passes to Javon Walker. Whether an intermediate slant route or a fly pattern down the sideline, 4 to 84 was the hot connection of the day.
In injury news, Ahman Green was held out of practice after bruising his kneecap Friday night in Jacksonville. Sherman said it was a precautionary measure, but was not sure whether or not the Pro Bowler would see action in the upcoming preseason finale at Tennessee. Cornerback Michael Hawthorne was also on the sidelines for Monday's workouts with a strained back. Rookie Ahmad Carroll worked in his place with the starting defensive unit.
The Packers are scheduled for one practice Tuesday, set to run from 1:00-3:30 p.m. The players are expected to be in pads for the workout, which will be held at Clarke Hinkle Field, weather permitting.
Where: Don Hutson Center (a.m.) Clarke Hinkle Field (p.m.)
Weather: Indoors (a.m.) 77°, sunny (p.m.)
Did Not Participate: Shockmain Davis (leg), Ahman Green (knee), Michael Hawthorne (back), David Martin (knee), Chukie Nwokorie (hamstring), Larry Smith (quad), Donnell Washington (arch) and Chris Watson (hamstring).
Physically Unable to Perform List: Chris Johnson (stress fracture).
Reserve/Did Not Report List: Mike McKenzie