Training Camp Report: With Pope's Injury, Wynn To Get Extended Look

Rookie running back DeShawn Wynn is getting back to full strength at just the right time. P.J. Pope’s knee injury from last Saturday’s scrimmage required arthroscopic surgery on Monday, and Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Pope would be out at least a couple of weeks. - More | Audio | Video Training Camp Photos | www.PackersTrainingCamp.com

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Rookie running back DeShawn Wynn is getting back to full strength at just the right time.

P.J. Pope's knee injury from last Saturday's scrimmage required arthroscopic surgery on Monday, and Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Pope would be out at least a couple of weeks. That leaves the Packers with three tailbacks in Brandon Jackson, Noah Herron and Wynn, plus an extra candidate in combo back Corey White, for Saturday's preseason opener at Pittsburgh.

While Jackson already was getting the lion's share of the carries on the No. 1 offense with Vernand Morency (knee) still out, Wynn spent the past week recovering from a stomach virus that dehydrated him just before training camp began.

He was in and out of practice at times but was starting to feel better toward the end of last week. He carried four times for 12 yards in the Family Night scrimmage and is finally feeling like he's up to speed.

"It was rough, being a first training camp and seeing everybody out there, busting their tail with the pads on, and I was kind of sitting to the side still watching plays," said Wynn, a seventh-round draft pick from the national champion Florida Gators. "It was something where I had to get my body back together before I could get out there, and I'm starting to feel more comfortable now."

He's starting to get noticed as well. McCarthy said Wynn's ability has exceeded his draft position, and it appears he'll get every chance to show what he can do in the preseason.

"Wynn is a good football player," McCarthy said. "He's picked up the scheme rapidly. His blitz pickup is very good for a young player. I think he has exceptional feet in and out of the hole. He's been impressive in the number of opportunities that he's had."

Herron has had a solid camp as well. A third-year pro, Herron is the "veteran" of the bunch and will shoulder part of the workload in Pittsburgh as well. But McCarthy said at this time there are no plans to bring in any more backs, so there will be a lot of attention on the rookies.

"For the younger guys, it will be kind of baptism by fire, getting out there and playing a lot in your first game," Herron said. "Who knows how the rotation and what not is going to go, but it's going to be good for everybody. Everybody is going to get quite a bit of work out there."

Just rewards

Donald Driver has signed a contract extension and told reporters he's thankful the organization and agreed to re-work his deal after his Pro Bowl season in 2006.

As for how long the 32-year-old receiver plans to play, Driver said he's far from done and has his eye on the Packers' all-time records for receiving yards (James Lofton with 9,656) and receptions (Sterling Sharpe, 595). Driver currently has 5,929 yards on 421 receptions.

"I would like to play until I'm 38, 39," Driver said. "That's my goal. Another six, seven years, that will be 16, 17 years. I'll probably hang it up before the old man (quarterback Brett Favre) over there."

Getting his hands dirty

Second-year cornerback Will Blackmon nearly caused a turnover during last Saturday's scrimmage when he stripped the ball from Driver after a reception, but Driver recovered the fumble.

On Monday, Blackmon was at it again, popping the ball out of tight end Zac Alcorn's hands after a catch. This fumble was picked out of the air by linebacker Spencer Havner for a turnover.

Going the distance?

Unlike last year, when Dave Rayner won the kicking job early in camp and Billy Cundiff was released, this year the kicking competition appears it will last the entire preseason.

Both kickers continued their solid work on Monday. During the first field-goal session on kicks from 48, 51, 50 and 53 yards, both went 3-for-4. Rayner missed wide left from 48, while Crosby missed wide right from 50.

Later in practice, on a series of kicks ranging from 19 to 46 yards, Rayner was 6-for-7, missing wide left from 28, and Crosby was 7-for-7. Backup quarterback Aaron Rodgers handled some of the holding duties for Crosby in place of Ruvell Martin, who had been serving as the backup holder.

"I think we're both kicking well, and it's going to come down to that last preseason game," Rayner said. "The practice obviously is important but at the same time, it's not games. When we get to the preseason, I'm sure they're going to put a lot more weight on each kick there, field goals, kickoffs, everything. So I'm excited for this coming week."

{sportsad300}Beating the blitz

The offense was especially sharp beating the defense's array of blitzes on Monday.

On one sequence of three plays, Favre hit Chris Francies on a deep sideline route, releasing the throw just before linebacker A.J. Hawk got to him. (The play was quick redemption for Francies, who moments earlier had just missed hauling in a tough catch from Rodgers on a post route.)

On the next snap, Favre calmly hit Ruvell Martin over the middle to beat a blitz by safety Marquand Manuel. Rodgers followed with a well-timed scramble to the right, sprung by a good block from Jackson on a blitzing Brady Poppinga, and a strong throw over the middle to Driver.

Later in practice, Favre just missed connecting on a deep route to Martin, but came back on the next play to find Driver over the middle when both Nick Barnett and Hawk had blitzed. Favre and Martin hooked up on a deep route near the end of the workout.

Injury, participation update

Left guard Daryn Colledge missed practice with a mid-back sprain but is expected to return on Tuesday. Allen Barbre took Colledge's spot with the starters, and the feisty rookie ended up getting into a post-whistle scrum with Barnett. The two players were separated without incident.

Fullback Brandon Miree (stinger) and linebackers Abdul Hodge (finger) and Desmond Bishop (finger) were all injured in last Saturday's scrimmage, but all were back at practice.

Tight end Bubba Franks (eye) also returned to practice.

Receiver Greg Jennings dropped out of practice with a hip flexor, and offensive lineman Tony Moll also dropped out with a stinger. Defensive end DeVon Hicks missed practice with an unspecified injury.

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