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Pack back at it

by Mark Daniels

After a day of rest, the Packers went back to work Tuesday morning before another huge throng of railbrids at Ray Nitschke Field.  Mike McCarthy must be in the Festivus kind of mood because most of the individual drills were centered on feats of strength.  Pass pro for the offensive and defensive linemen, a testy wide receiver-defensive back period but the drill that got the crowd roaring the loudest was the running backs versus linebackers in blitz pick up.   To be fair, the defenders had a huge advantage in this drill and rightfully, dominated the matchups.  There were no other bodies to evade, just a backer coming free in open space and the running back stepping right, left or up to absorb the collission.  Mike McCarthy said there's a method to the madness.  Camp is time to find out who can dish it out and who can take it.   While football is the ultimate team sport, plays often boil to down to players winning or losing individual matchups.  "We've got to win the one on ones", McCarthy said.

Team periods were devoted to red zone work, including plenty of inside the 20 running plays.  Play side holes have been few and far between to this point in camp but both Eddie Lacy and James Starks found cracks to run through without making cuts.  Randall Cobb caught a touchdown off play action but it was a ball first tipped by D.J. Williams.  James Jones turned a short out into a score by hitting the brakes and spinning inside away from a fallen defender.

The final period was a two minute drill with Aaron Rodgers running the offense.  The situation was, 1:31 left in the game, two timeouts remaining, ball on your own 40 and you're down 28-24.  John Kuhn  found holes for gains of 10 and five yards and Rodgers scrambled for 10 more putting the ball at the 35 and the offense called time with :38 to play.  From there, the posession fizzled.  Jermichael Finley's 8 yard out route gain was wiped away by an offensive pass interference call against Jordy Nelson.  After an incompletion, Rodgers found Finley again for 15.  On third and fived with :21 to go, Rodgers took a shot up the left sideline for Jones but missed long and on fourth down, Aaron couldn't connect with Randall Cobb and the 4th practice of camp came to a close.

Visitors to practice included the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association.  High School and College coaches from around the state come every summer to watch the workout and have a luncheon inside the Atrium.  The WFCA has a hall of fame display just inside the stadium.   It was good to see a lot of great coaches and outstanding men, including a pair of my old high school coaches Ron Miller and Dick Heiptas.  Bill Collar, Phil Morgan, Mike Williquette and many more were on hand.

Jay Glazer of Fox Sports, a longtime friend of Mike McCarthy was in but only for a day.  I got to know Jay well during the legendary series of Brett Favre retirements, un-retirements and ultimate divorce from the Packers.

Speaking of that breakup, General Manager Ted Thompson met the media for the first time in camp and while he talked about the competition on the practice field, the re-signed of Johnny Jolly and his distatste for camp fights, he also hoped the gradual thawing of hurt feelings will end and the Packers can rightfully honor Brett for his unprecedented contribution to the franchise and the community.