Minicamp not all fun and games

The air of excitement surrounding the Packers' current minicamp is more than the typical summer joviality surrounding the numerous veterans' golf outings and team bowling party. <P> Players and coaches alike have noticed an early intensity that they believe will continue through camp and into the 2003 season.<P>

"If we're competitive in practice, it bodes well for us," said veteran free safety Darren Sharper. "I know the coaches want us to compete and get after one another."

Even without pads, the workouts are reaching an intensity level usually reserved for training camp, at least. According to reports, players have been eager to "mix it up."

"Guys are playing at a high speed and gtting after the ball more aggressively," Sharper said. "It makes us run our plays better."

The players should expect to rachet it up even more, however, because there is one area that coach Sherman says needs more work. He has expressed disappointment with the offseason conditioning of some players.

"That is frustrating, because it's hard to swallow sometimes when you've asked someone to contribute and they're not in the sahpe they said they'd be in," Sherman said. "That's a bugaboo of mine."

On the other hand, Sherman has noted the spirited mini-camp mood.

"I think you have to give credit where credit is due, and that's the assistant coaches," Sherman said. "They've come out and made it competitive.

"That transfers to our players. It's a good thing."

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