Training Camp Report: Rodgers Clicking With Receivers; Favre To Miss Three Practices

Continuing a variation on the traditional training camp begun last year, the Green Bay Packers on Sunday held the first of eight night practices. Training Camp Report: Rodgers Clicking With Receivers; Favre To Miss Three Practices Whether it was Aaron Rodgers’ precise throws or some great catches by the wide receivers, or a little bit of both, the offense had a dynamite team period with Rodgers at the helm on Sunday morning.


Whether it was Aaron Rodgers' precise throws or some great catches by the wide receivers, or a little bit of both, the offense had a dynamite team period with Rodgers at the helm on Sunday morning.

Brett Favre missed the practice due to a death in the family, so Rodgers took the snaps with the No. 1 offense and showed the poise with his feet and the zip with his arm he displayed during OTAs in June.

During one impressive team (11-on-11) period, Rodgers rolled to his right and threw an intentionally low ball in traffic to James Jones, who made a nice sliding catch. Moments later Rodgers fired a quick slant to Shaun Bodiford, who laid out in full extension to haul it in. Then Rodgers found Carlyle Holiday when he got a step on Jarrett Bush on a deep seam route and hit him in stride for a big play.

"I thought Aaron made some very good decisions and throws, particularly in the blitz drill," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "I thought he had two big plays. He had total command of the huddle. I think his arm has gotten stronger."

Rodgers focused on the physical aspects of his game the entire offseason. He needed extensive rehabilitation on the broken foot he sustained last November, but he also worked on strengthening his arm and improving his conditioning. He said his body fat is down, and he weighed in before training camp at 217 pounds, the lightest he's been since his sophomore year in college at Cal.

"My goal this camp is to just be a consistent player, day in and day out, practice in and practice out, because guys will follow consistency," Rodgers said. "It's not always what you say, it's how you play. I want to be a consistent player in this league, and it starts in practice.

"I want to string together days like this, have practices like this, have a good preseason and see what happens."

Rodgers continued his solid play in the evening practice. During team snaps, he threaded a pass down the seam to Holiday against tight coverage from Jarrett Bush, zipped a slant to Carlton Brewster, who made a nice diving catch, and he delivered a low, tight spiral on a crossing route to Jones just out of the reach of a couple defenders.

Rodgers did have one pass picked off Sunday night, by Bush in a seven-on-seven period, but that was one of his only blemishes on an otherwise strong day.

McCarthy has praised the high tempo of practice the first two days, and as the quarterback who has taken the most snaps, Rodgers has been a key part of that.

"My biggest thing, besides trying to be as accurate as possible, is just trying to keep the tempo as high as it is when Brett is in there," Rodgers said. "Just keeping the energy level, the enthusiasm level and the tempo high so we're in and out of plays, getting a lot of reps."

Defense does its share, too

Right after the morning team period when Rodgers and the receivers picked apart the defense a bit, the other side of the ball came back in a seven-on-seven period.

Patrick Dendy broke up a slant pass from Paul Thompson intended for Greg Jennings, Frank Walker did the same on a seam route to Holiday, and linebacker Tracy White nearly intercepted Rodgers on a slant pass intended for Jones.

In the evening practice, Dendy also had a nice breakup on a comeback route, and he ran stride-for-stride with Brewster on a deep ball from Favre, resulting in an incompletion.

Favre heading home

Favre missed Sunday morning's workout due to a death in the family and then returned to practice in the evening. His stepfather-in-law from Mississippi passed away, and according to McCarthy, Favre planned to leave Green Bay on Monday and return Wednesday evening, meaning he'll miss the next three practices (one on Monday, two on Tuesday).

Favre didn't have his sharpest practice on Sunday evening, with several ups and downs. He was intercepted twice by Charles Woodson during team periods. On one sequence of plays in a different team period, he was intercepted by Antonio Malone when he overthrew Bubba Franks on a short pass, then came back the next play to beat Malone with a soft touch on a fade route to Jones. Then on the next snap, Favre and Bodiford didn't appear on the same page with the route and Malone got another interception.

"It clearly wasn't his best practice, but he has a lot on his mind," McCarthy said. "He spoke about it throughout the night, throughout the day. It's heavy on his heart. Family first, and that's where his focus is."

{sportsad300}Injury, participation update

McCarthy noted that five players are on a one-a-day schedule due to their ongoing recovery from previous injuries. Tight end Bubba Franks (knee), defensive end Aaron Kampman (knee), safety Marviel Underwood (knee), receiver Robert Ferguson (foot) and offensive tackle Chad Clifton (knee) all sat out Sunday's morning practice but returned for the evening workout.

Junius Coston and Orrin Thompson shared reps with the No. 1 offense at left tackle in Clifton's spot, while Michael Montgomery filled Kampman's spot with the No. 1 defense during the morning practice.

Receiver Donald Driver (shoulder) remained out, as did defensive tackles Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly (conditioning).

Rookie running back DeShawn Wynn, who missed Saturday's practice with a stomach virus, returned for the morning practice but dropped out with cramps and did not practice in the evening.

Linebacker Juwan Simpson (shoulder) and punter David Lonie (ankle) missed both practices, as did running back Vernand Morency, who banged his knee during Saturday's workout.

Linebacker Abdul Hodge (knee) didn't make it all the way through the morning workout and sat out in the evening. McCarthy said Hodge would likely be put on a one-a-day schedule as well.

Reeling it in

The offensive linemen continued working on a fumble recovery drill they began during June OTAs, a drill no doubt inspired by the red zone fumble in the waning moments against the St. Louis Rams last season. Then-rookie Daryn Colledge had a clear shot to recover the fumble and keep the potential game-tying or game-winning drive alive, but the ball squirted from his grasp and the Rams recovered.

During the drill, the ball is rolled on the ground and the linemen work on sliding to the side of the ball and then corralling it with both hands, rather than just trying to pounce on the ball, which makes it easier for the ball to get away.

Nearly perfect

The first two days of the kicking competition between Dave Rayner and Mason Crosby have resulted in just one missed field goal attempt.

Both kickers made all their field goals on Saturday, a total of nine kicks inside 40 yards, with punter Jon Ryan holding for Rayner and receiver Ruvell Martin holding for Crosby.

On Sunday night, they switched holders, and on a series of kicks from five different distances starting at 25 yards and moving out to 43, Rayner was perfect and Crosby missed just one, wide right from 30 yards.

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