One step forward, two steps back

Whether Brett Favre was in the batting cage warming up for his charity softball game on Sunday is unknown, but the star quarterback did not practice with the Packers as the team hit the halfway point of its Organized Team Activities practices today.

Aaron Rodgers stepped in for Favre and, for the second straight day, the defense came away with a handful of take-aways during team drills on the Clarke Hinkle practice field.

Head coach Mike McCarthy used today's practice as a review day for plays that were installed on Tuesday and Thursday. For the second straight day, the offense, which is trying to adapt to McCarthy's version of the West Coast scheme, struggled.

Rodgers was intercepted twice by defensive back Jason Horton, once during a two-minute drill and once during a red zone offense drill. Rodgers completed some passes, but many fell incomplete. Rookie Ingle Martin took the snaps for the second-team offense, and Tom Arth guide the third-team.

"Actually the installation days went fairly well," McCarthy said. "I thought Tuesday's practice was outstanding. Yesterday's practice was very good. The offense did a lot of good things, but with five turnovers, you can't win a lot of football games like that. I thought the defense had a very good day yesterday as well. The installation days were a lot more productive from a performance standpoint than our review days – Monday and Friday are the review days.

"We feel good with where we're at. We're at the halfway mark. We have seven more practices to go. We'll get five more installations in."

Rodgers wasn't so kind. The second-year quarterback was clearly frustrated as he spoke to reporters in front of his locker. He said that he was disappointed with the way that he practiced, but also frustrated because other players were missing assignments and committing other blunders. Worse, without Favre, Rodgers sensed that some got an early start on their weekend off.

"When Brett's not here, everyone can't take the day off," Rodgers said. "Sometimes I don't know if the effort level is the same. On Monday and Friday when Brett didn't practice, I felt it was the two worst practices of the week. Obviously, it reflects badly on myself, leading the No. 1 team. But we need to have the same kind of intensity level when Brett's not here."

It is uncertain when Favre will practice with the team next week. He was given the day off on Monday and presumably again today by McCarthy. Favre wasn't the only veteran not in attendance today. Cornerbacks Al Harris, who is unhappy with his current contract, and Charles Woodson were not practice. Same with defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, who has yet to attend an OTA practice. Rookie Abdul Hodge and fullback Vonta Leach were excused today for "personal" reasons, according to McCarthy. The coach did not address Favre's absence to reporters during his post-practice press conference.

First-round draft pick A.J. Hawk, who has been finishing school at Ohio State this week, is scheduled to join the team for practice on Monday.


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