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Training Camp Report: Woodson Getting Back Into Return Mode


Charles Woodson hasn't been a regular punt returner since his Heisman Trophy days at Michigan.

But he remains Head Coach Mike McCarthy's No. 1 choice to return punts for the Packers this season, and Woodson expects to get the feel for the role again very quickly.

"I'm looking forward to it," Woodson said. "It's been a while since I've been able to do it. Hopefully we'll get a chance.

"Last game I would have had a chance but we didn't get any punt situations in the first half. Hopefully we'll get off the field on third down and I'll be able to get out there and get some."

McCarthy said he'd like to give Woodson a couple of opportunities on Monday night in Cincinnati. After returning 44 punts in college, including 36 in 1997 when he won the Heisman, Woodson has just 12 returns for 77 yards (6.4 avg) in the pros, with all those chances coming between 2001 and 2005.

"I'm excited to see him do punt returns," McCarthy said. "I was at Kansas City when he came into the league and had a chance to watch him as a young player. He's definitely a talented guy with the ball in his hands. I think he'll be a real weapon for us back there."

Woodson has looked natural and comfortable returning punts in practice, as has rookie Greg Jennings. Fellow rookie Cory Rodgers has struggled with drops but continues to work on a new technique he didn't use in college at Texas Christian. Newcomer Carlton Brewster also has been worked into the mix this week.

"Greg looks very comfortable back there," McCarthy said. "We held him out earlier in the preseason because of his leg injury. Cory Rodgers continues to get better, and Brewster has done a nice job in the two days he's been there. So we feel like we've got a good group to pick from and work with."

Playing multiple spots

The Packers have been working their backup offensive linemen in various spots this week, presumably to find out which players have the versatility to back up multiple positions to fill out the depth chart.

Guard Siitupe Peko has also taken snaps at center and right tackle, center Chris White has seen time at left guard, and Pete Traynor has been at center and both guard spots.

Earlier in the week, Daryn Colledge added left tackle to his responsibilities as well as left guard, while McCarthy said Junius Coston would work at right guard as well as right tackle.

Scout star

Receivers Brewster and Calvin Russell wore yellow No. 85 jerseys for part of practice on Thursday to represent Cincinnati's top wideout, Chad Johnson, on the scout team.

As the preseason continues, the Packers have been spending more time game-planning for opponents and having practices resemble those of the regular season.

2-minute TD

Brett Favre led a touchdown drive in the lone two-minute drill on Thursday, which pitted the No. 1 offense against the No. 1 defense.

With the offense on its own 24-yard line and trailing 10-9 with 2 minutes, 25 seconds left, Favre got things started by hitting Jennings on a short crossing route that the rookie wideout turned into a 30-yard gain.

Two plays later, the defense almost ended the drive when Aaron Kampman nearly intercepted a quick slant, leaping from his defensive end position and batting the ball with both hands but failing to corral it for the turnover.

Favre then converted third-and-10 with an 11-yard screen pass to Samkon Gado. Moments later as Favre scrambled to his right, Donald Driver found an opening in the secondary, caught the pass and waltzed into the end zone untouched for a 32-yard TD.

"For the offense it was good, it wasn't very good for the defense," McCarthy said. "It's an area we need to get more reps at. I thought offensively we struggled earlier in training camp, really carrying over from the off-season, and I think now we're not starting to hit our stride more offensively."

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