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Training Camp Report - July 20, 2003


Crowds of around 350 watched Packers rookies and first-year players take part in a pair of training camp practices Sunday.

The workouts at Clarke Hinkle Field were the final in-shorts tune-ups before veterans join the fray in conjunction with the start of two-a-days, Tuesday, July 22.

A day after signing his contract, first-round draft pick Nick Barnett was on the practice field for the first time since May, having missed the June mini-camp due to an NFL rule that limits rookie participation until the end of their college term.

Barnett didn't waste time before making an impact, batting down a Craig Nall pass intended for tight end Joey Knapp in 7-on-7 drills.

Nall had better success later on, hitting Knapp on a 7-yard route across the middle.

Akili Smith and Carl Ford connected on a 25-yard slant route that drew cheers from the railbirds. Then Ford showed off his footwork to bring in a 15-yard pass from Eric Crouch along the left sideline.

The defense was so shorthanded in 7-on-7 drills that assistant head coach/defensive backs coach Bob Slowik filled one of the safety slots.

After once almost tipping a pass, Slowik later intercepted a Crouch throw that sailed over the head of its intended target.

The pick drew high-fives from Packers players, but a more critical review from GM/head coach Mike Sherman.

"I told him he needs to follow his blockers better up the sidelines," Sherman joked after practice. "He was supposed to go up the numbers and use his blockers. He kind of quit on the play a little."

Not that Slowik's performance was all bad.

"He actually looked pretty quick to me for a guy that's 49 years-old," Sherman said. "But I'd rather see (Pro Bowl safety Darren) Sharper with that ball in his hands than Bob Slowik."

After 7-on-7 drills, quarterbacks Nall and Smith refined their throwing technique with quarterbacks coach Darrel Bevell by firing passes into a three-target net.

Meanwhile, Crouch joined Antonio Chatman, Ford, Brian McDonald and Kamau Peterson in the north end zone to receive punts.

In the afternoon practice, Eric Crouch fired a bullet past cornerback Keith Burnell during 7-on 7 drills, to hit the outstretched Kamau Peterson along the left sideline for a 20-yard gain.

The Packers wrapped up the day with more special teams work as cornerbacks and linebackers worked on punt blocking drills and punt return coverage. Ford again showed great quickness in the return drill, making a couple of moves to get by Barnett and Tommy Collins and who were pursuing Ford in the 2-on-1 drill.

The Packers don't practice again until Tuesday, when the veterans make their 2003 training camp debuts. Tuesday practices are scheduled for 8:45-11:15 a.m. and 2:45-4:40 p.m. The Packers will don pads for both workouts.

Where: Clarke Hinkle Field

Weather: 82 degrees, sunny

Did Not Participate: Jorg Heckenbach (exhaustion), Bobby Jackson (groin), Jermaine Petty (hamstring), DeAndrew Rubin (hamstring), Gari Scott (knee).

Click here for the training camp schedule.

Click here for information on Packers training camp, including a visitor's guide.

  • -- Jeff Harding contributed to this report.*
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