The Packers moved a step closer to the culmination of training camp with a single practice Tuesday afternoon at Clarke Hinkle Field. It was also the last scheduled practice of camp with full pads.
In what has become a common occurrence, the Packers again devoted much of the first part of practice to special teams. Tuesday the team spent the first half hour of practice working on special teams coverage units as well as the field goal unit.
In an onside kick drill, the receiving team covered up Ryan Longwell's kickoff three consecutive times. Cornerback Jason Horton fell on the first kickoff and fullback Vonta Leach and wide receiver Javon Walker secured the next two attempts. All three players perhaps displayed enough ability to play on the "hands team," which is used when opponents line up for an onside kickoff.
The team resumed the regular portion of practice with 1-on-1 drills between the secondary and wide receivers. It's common for the offense to have the upper hand in this drill as there is no pass rush on the quarterback. That was also the case today when Donald Driver and Javon Walker beat Horton and Whitley, respectively on two deep passes into the end zone.
The team got a break from the normal routine when GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman allowed his players to remove their shoulder pads with an hour of practice time remaining. Although the team removed the pads, the intensity level remained high as the linemen moved to the 1-on-1 pass rush drill.
Defensive end Kenny Holmes, who has been a Packer for nearly a week, had perhaps his best day in the 1-on-1 drills. Rushing from the right side, he beat tackle Jason Jimenez on one of two attempts to "sack" the quarterback. Holmes continued to impress on the left side as this time he beat Joe Hayes in two of three attempts.
Also having success in the pass rushing drill was defensive end Corey Williams, who blew by fellow rookie Steve Morley. In his lone attempt, Aaron Kampman blazed past Mark Tauscher for the sack, which ended the drill.
The team moved to 11-on-11 team drills and the defense continued to leave its mark with big plays. Rookie cornerback Joey Thomas broke up three pass plays on the day, including a play in which he batted down a long Doug Pederson throw to Scottie Vines.
The offense did get revenge, however. Quarterback Brett Favre rolled right and, in his trademark style, stepped into a bomb that traveled over 50 yards in the air. On the receiving end was Walker, who continues to catch nearly every ball that is thrown to him in practice, particularly long passes like this one. The crowd enjoyed the play as well as the sunny skies that came over Clarke Hinkle Field, which made for a pleasant afternoon.
Practice concluded with a defensive highlight by Whitley, the third-year player from Michigan. The defensive back intercepted Pederson's pass and tiptoed along the sideline to get both feet in bounds as the final horn sounded to end practice.
On the injury front, Bhawoh Jue missed practice with a tight hamstring, while David Martin returned from a sore knee. Cornerback Ahmad Carroll continued to work with the starting unit as Michael Hawthorne sat out for the second consecutive day with a strained back.
The Packers are scheduled for one practice Wednesday, set to run from 11:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at Clarke Hinkle Field. The players are expected to be in shorts and helmets for the last practice, which is open to the public, weather permitting.
Where: Clarke Hinkle Field (p.m.)
Weather: Indoors 73°, sunny
Did Not Participate: Shockmain Davis (leg), Ahman Green (knee), Michael Hawthorne (back), Bhawoh Jue (hamstring), 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