For those Railbirds curious about the massive net-on-wheels adorned with three colored pockets that sits against the Don Hutson Center at Clarke Hinkle Field, their questions were answered Thursday.
The equipment, used as a tool for passing accuracy drills, was included in one of many exercises quarterbacks Doug Pederson, Craig Nall and Marcus Brady went through during practice.
With more than a full week of two-a-day workouts and a team scrimmage under their collective belt, the team took the pads off for Thursday's practices, but removing the 'thud' contact didn't reduce the pace of play. With Friday's morning practice to serve as a game walkthrough inside Lambeau Field, the majority of Thursday's reps went to non-starters.
"When I took the pads off this morning, I hoped we wouldn't have a downer practice," GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said. "I thought we did a good job. The defense came alive a little bit today and made some turnovers."
Just one of many defensive highlights was rookie cornerback Erwin Swiney's interception during 11-on-11 team drills. Swiney quickly read and closed in on a Pederson pass intended for third-year receiver Karsten Bailey, arriving just in time to snag the ball and run it back for a 'touchdown.'
Hardy Nickerson made his presence known, coming over from his middle linebacker position to knock down a short pass from Brett Favre intended for tight end Bubba Franks.
The offense was not to be outdone however, with encouraging moments from the receiving corps. Wide receiver Javon Green pulled in a 15-yard pass from Craig Nall despite cornerback Hurley Tarver's aggressive defensive effort, which brought both first-year players to the ground.
And it was Robert Ferguson, breaking free of Marques Anderson, who chased down Favre's picture-perfect 55-yard 'touchdown' pass, just one of many trademark Favre-fireballs that received a congratulatory cheer from the Railbirds.
The two-minute drills in the morning practice gave the offense a chance at pressure game situations with offensive coordinator Tom Rossley calling the plays for both 9-on-7 and 7-on-7 drills.
"Our offense did a good job in the two-minute (drill)," Sherman said. "We had to score a field goal and we executed that crisp and flawlessly in the two-minute offense. I thought our 9-on-7 work was good, 7-on-7 was a little sloppy offensively, but our defense I thought did a nice job. So I thought they worked hard, I thought we got a lot out of them today."
Both the afternoon and morning practices included an emphasis on special teams, specifically working on onsides kick situations.
The Packers face the Philadelphia Eagles Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. CT. The game is covered statewide. The Packers' next practice will be Monday, August 12, 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