Minicamp notes: Rookie caught in whirlwind

Aaron Rodgers' head was spinning during practice, and his chin was down afterward. The rookie quarterback is trying to absorb as much of the Green Bay Packers' offense as possible, but that has been a challenge, especially today.

Rodgers, the Packers' No. 1 draft pick this season from the University of California, has had his ups and downs during his second minicamp with the team. Friday's practice, however, was one to forget, or better, use as a learning tool. Worse yet, his shaky performance in practice was in front of Brett Favre, who was visiting at Ray Nitschke Field.

Rodgers struggled, at times to complete passes, and other times he was intercepted. But he also showed that he can hit a receiver in stride, though, those highlights were few and far between on Friday. In short, he has been inconsistent, which is to be expected for a rookie quarterback.

"I think he's doing fine," said quarterbacks coach Darrell Bevell. "We've thrown a lot at him and he's got a lot to learn. He's doing a good job of picking it up in the meeting rooms, but it's another thing to take it to the field when the bullets are flying and it's going 100 mph. Now those decisions are a lot quicker."

As might be expected, Rodgers is having a tough time at this point just spitting the play out of his mouth in huddles.

"There's so many words," Rodgers said. "It's a foreign language right now. I'm translating it over from Cal. Lot of stuff on the quarterback in the offense and a lot of different reads, a lot of full field and a lot of check downs. We didn't have a lot of checkdowns in college, either. I'm getting used to going through my progression down the field one, two, three, and then the checkdowns."

"I'm not a 100 percent confident yet. When you're not 100 percent confident, you're going to hesitate and be late on some throws," Rodgers said.

The good part of Favre not practicing in this minicamp and the post-draft minicamp is Rodgers, along with Craig Nall and J.T. O'Sullivan, are receiving more reps than they would get with Favre in his practice uniform.

"He's a good guy and I can't wait to get to know him more," said Rodgers. "He's right next to me in the locker room and we'll spend a lot of time on the field together, so I'm excited about that."

In fairness to Rodgers, Nall and O'Sullivan also struggled as the team worked on third down situations. Afterward, offensive coordinator Tom Rossley gathered members of the offense and let them know that he wasn't pleased with their performance in practice.

"The quarterbacks weren't real good today, but neither were the receivers or the line or the backs or the tight ends or the coaches," said Rossley. "We all were not very good today."

Still missing: Defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt and wide receiver Javon Walker were absent from practice for the third straight day. Hunt has yet to contact the Packers an indicate if he will or will not attend the camp. Walker is skipping camp because he wants a better contract.

The minicamp is voluntary for players, but Hunt wasn't excused from attending and has irked Sherman and a number of others by not participating.

Defensive tackle Grady Jackson also was absent from practice for the third straight day. He was excused from the camp by head coach Mike Sherman to attend personal matters at his home in Mississippi.

Injury update: Defensive lineman Corey Williams (hip flexor), defensive tackle A.J. Lindsay (broken thumb), defensive end Michael Montgomery (broken thumb), cornerbacks Jason Horton (lungs), Chris Johnson (shin) and Mike Hawkins (knee), tight end Garrett Cross (ankle), wide receiver Craig Bragg (hamstring), and defensive tackle James Lee (knee) did not practice Friday.

Lindsay sustained a fracture in his right thumb during a pass-rush drill Wednesday.

Montgomery, a sixth-round draft pick this year, broke his right thumb in the post-draft minicamp and underwent surgery.

Montgomery and Lindsay are both wearing similarly sized casts on their right hands. They also have adjoining lockers at Lambeau Field, and they're roommates.

"People have been calling us 'The Twins,'" Lindsay said.

Next practice: The Packers will resume the minicamp Monday with an 11 a.m. practice at Ray Nitschke Field and open to the public. Practices are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, followed by an 8:45 a.m. practice Thursday.


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