Minicamp a real eye-opener

The Green Bay Packers opened their second weekend of minicamps on Friday, and Saturday's practices (not Sunday's, because of the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon) will be open to the public, should Mother Nature cooperate. Here are a few things you'll see, and a few more you won't.

You will see defensive tackle Donnell Washington, and not just because he's the biggest body in Green Bay other than "The Receiver" statue. Washington, who was banished to the workout room by coach Mike McCarthy during the post-draft minicamp two weeks ago, says he's lost seven pounds in an attempt to shape up before the Packers ship him out.

"This offseason, I was thinking about trying to play a little bit heavier so I can be a little more productive on the field," Washington said. "Yes, I did put on some muscle mass, but from a conditioning standpoint, my conditioning really wasn't where it needed to be."

That'll happen when you skip the offseason conditioning program to hang out on the couch, and your only heavy lifting is the remote control.

You won't see Brett Favre, who either is skipping this voluntary camp or was told to stay home by McCarthy, depending on which week's version of the story you accept. Either way, Aaron Rodgers will get the majority of the snaps. He looked terrific during camp two weeks ago, but couldn't dial up a long-distance connection Friday without a cell phone and his own tower.

You will see safety Mark Roman, who decided to show up even though the Packers hurt his little ole feelings by acquiring Marquand Manuel this offseason. During the last camp, Roman said he might not show up, since Packers GM Ted Thompson had the audacity not to inform he was going to sign Manuel.

Hearing the criticism, Thompson no doubt thought to himself: "Look, Mark, if you had played better your first two seasons in Green Bay, we wouldn't have signed Manuel in the first place."

Maybe Roman figured that out.

"I just didn't want to miss it," Roman said. "This is an opportunity for me to get better, and I didn't want to miss a chance to get better."

You won't see linebacker and top pick A.J. Hawk, who remains at Ohio State to complete his fourth-quarter studies. By a mutual NFL-NCAA agreement, players can only participate in one minicamp while class is in session. It seems like a silly rule, but if players like Hawk are that close to finishing the school year, why not let them finish without their new employers pressuring them to play hooky?

You will see rookie lineman Daryn Colledge playing with the first-team offense. The collegiate left tackle for now is the Packers' starting left guard. He looks great ... in shorts.

You won't see Colledge doing anything to get a gauge on how good he's going to be. Linemen playing football in jerseys and shorts is a lot like playing baseball without a ball and bat.

Likewise, you will see the Packers' new zone-blocking scheme.

Likewise, you won't have the slightest inkling whether that scheme will work.

You will see Donald Driver and Bubba Franks, who are among the starters who are taking this voluntary minicamp seriously. Driver is perhaps the NFL's most underrated wide receiver and the offense's only consistent playmaker. Franks is entrenched as the starting tight end. They could have taken the weekend off, but both are consummate pros who take their jobs seriously. Franks, in particular, doesn't want to miss any time. Offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski is a former tight ends coach, and he's promised Franks a much bigger role in the offense.

You won't see any big plays by the cornerback duo who promises to make a lot of big plays this season. Neither Al Harris nor newcomer Charles Woodson are at this camp. Also absent is Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. Running backs Ahman Green and Najeh Davenport aren't practicing, either, as they recover from their season-ending injuries.

You will see football. Yeah, it's in shorts and the pads are several hundred yards away in the locker room. But for us diehard Packers fans, shirts-and-shorts football is better than no football at all.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to Send comments to

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