Tuesday, Packers training camp was all about precaution with the morning practice reduced from a pads-practice to shells-only and Brett Favre taking an impromptu day off at the request of the coaching staff.
"The last two days had been very physical practices," GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said. "We are pretty sore as a football team, and I think that's part of my job is to recognize the time when you should back off a little bit. If we didn't have two very good physical practices the last two days, I probably wouldn't have opted to go this way."
Favre, who has battled elbow tendonitis in the past, said his elbow feels fine, but that the coaches wanted to reduce his reps, rather than risk enflaming an old injury unnecessarily. In his place stepped up veteran Doug Pederson, as well as rookies Craig Nall and Marcus Brady.
Pederson's increasingly sharp play on the field helped wide receivers Javon Walker and Terry Glenn to a drop-free morning during individual drills. Glenn continued to connect with Pederson through the afternoon with impressive snags on the right and left side of the south end zone during 7-on-7 drills.
While the morning practice was unusually cool, the pressure to make plays and secure roster spots kept things heated up, as seen in a pair of scuffles that broke out during the 1-on-1 drills between the offensive and defensive linemen.
First, second-year guard Bill Ferrario and rookie defensive tackle Ken Kocher broke into a minor scuffle, followed by rookie defensive end John Gilmore and first-year guard Chris Watton's fracas moments later.
Offensive Line Coach Larry Beightol seemed unconcerned by the skirmishes, dismissing them as a natural part of training camp.
"In my younger days I used to like to roll around with them, but I'm afraid they'd break something on me," Beightol said. "I don't care if the guys have a little piss and vinegar about them, the only thing is, I don't want them to take it off the field.
"Coach Sherman's deal is he is really big on the locker room. He wants to make sure that if there is a little scuffle or something here, if we have to have them kiss and make up we're going to do that because we're not going to let it fester and go in there.
"You know I kind of a like a little rolling around in the dirt, but we're here to play football not to wrestle and fight and what have you. In camp you like to see a little of that, but you don't want it to get carried away."
The defense saw a lot of contact during afternoon drills, specifically in 7-on-7, where the secondary battled in man-to-man coverage for the bulk of the drill. Among the highlights, four-year veteran Scott Frost stayed with Walker long enough to break up a pass from Pederson.
The Packers' next practice will be Wednesday, August 7, from 8:45-11:25 a.m., and 2:15-3:15 p.m., at Clarke Hinkle Field, weather and field conditions permitting.
-- by Sarah Sherman