Training Camp Report: Jennings Taking Advantage Of Opportunity

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Wide receiver and second-round draft pick Greg Jennings may have been drafted by the Packers at the perfect time.

Not only is he joining a team with only one wide receiver spot set in stone, that of No. 1 Donald Driver, but he's making the transition to an offensive system in the pros that resembles the one he learned at Western Michigan.

"I've picked up this scheme pretty quickly," Jennings said. "I had great coaches in college, especially this past year. They threw a new scheme out there, and it's almost identical to this one, so that has helped me a lot and really prepared me for this time. I'm just trying to take what I learned in college and progress and keep learning."

Jennings has made a strong impression early with his athletic ability and good hands. During Saturday's practice, quarterback Brett Favre hooked up with Jennings on a couple of crossing routes and the connections looked smooth.

"He has a nice feel for that, which for a receiver that young is exciting to see," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "We're very pleased with Greg to this point. That's what training camp is all about - quarterback and receivers getting on the same page with spacing and timing in the passing game."

Jennings said he and Favre aren't all the way there, though. At least not yet.

"Not really, not quite," he said. "I'm just trying to be in the right spot and run my route to the best of my ability, and hopefully he hits me. If he doesn't, then I have to turn upfield and get a block for the guy he did hit."

Up-tempo

Players have noticed in the first two practices the up-tempo pace to the drills and team periods. With the focus of training camp on players' performance and execution, which will be the basis for evaluation, McCarthy has emphasized taking the team's practices to a higher gear than they were in the spring.

"It's like a game situation," Driver said. "He wanted us in and out of the huddle, and we fed off that."

Missing out

Safety Marquand Manuel, a free-agent pickup from defending NFC Champion Seattle, said the worst thing about sitting out training camp practices is missing what he calls "blood time" with his teammates, "when everybody sees what you're made of."

Manuel strained his calf about a week ago and doesn't know for sure when he'll be cleared to practice. He said it's feeling better every day but he wants to be safe with it.

"I'm itching to get back out there with the guys," Manuel said. "I'm just trying to make sure I'm ready to go the whole full season, not just the first week of training camp."

More on injuries

Wide receiver Leo Bookman and cornerback Patrick Dendy did not practice Saturday after sustaining right ankle injuries on Friday night. Offensive tackle Adrian Klemm left the practice field with his ankle wrapped, an injury McCarthy said is probably an Achilles', though the severity is unknown.

Defensive tackle Ryan Pickett missed practice after getting into a car accident around noon when pulling out of the Lambeau Field parking lot. McCarthy classified Pickett's injuries as minor. He was taken back into the team facility to be looked at by the medical staff.

Wide receiver Robert Ferguson returned to practice after missing the opening workout and was working with the No. 1 offense opposite Driver.

Adding depth on the line

The veteran offensive guard the Packers brought in late this week is a player General Manager Ted Thompson had seen before in Seattle.

Siitupe Peko, a 6-foot-4, 310-pound guard, is in his fourth year out of Michigan State and spent the 2002 preseason on the Seahawks' roster when Thompson was there. Originally a seventh-round draft choice of the New York Jets in 2001, Peko started half a season for the Indianapolis Colts in 2004.

"Tupe is a sharp guy, a football guy," Thompson said. "He's kind of quiet, and he gets along with our offensive linemen well. He's been around training camps and he understands the pro game. We felt a little more experience would be a good thing to have."

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