The Word: Training Camp Day 6

Favre much sharper in return; KGB still has it; Dendy struggles

On Sunday night, Brett Favre was visibly drained. The day before, his wife's stepfather, Rocky Byrd, suffered a heart attack and died. Favre and Byrd were close friends, and in some ways Favre said Byrd was closer to him than his own father.

The news hit Favre hard and it showed at Clarke Hinkle Field.

Favre threw four interceptions, including two to Antonio Malone, who just finished a stint in NFL Europa. Obviously, Favre wasn't totally focused on football during that practice.

While Favre got away from football earlier this week to attend Byrd's funeral, the veteran quarterback says he needs the game more than ever.

"People have often said, ‘I don't know how you focus or are able to kind of channel your energy and stuff into football during these times,'" Favre said. "Well, it can be difficult, but to me it's better than not having anything to focus on but the tragedy itself."

Thursday night the old Favre was back. The strenuous off-season work the 37-year old put in with trainer Ken Croner was evident. Favre moved in and out of the pocket quickly, completed throws on the run, and led an overall crisp practice for the Packers.

On one play during an 11-on-11 scrimmage, he barked a long count, causing Aaron Kampman to jump off-sides.

Twice, Favre threw a play-action flag pass to Donald Driver for a long gain. It's a go-to route the two rely on heavily during the season.

Favre threw several daring bullets into double-coverage, without any interceptions.

During the team's 7-on-7 drill, he went a near-perfect 9-for-10 passing.

And of course, Favre had to succeed under more adversity - a cut hand. The trainers wrapped Favre's hand after practice due to a cut he suffered while at home in Mississippi.

Favre's presence set the tone for what Mike McCarthy called, ‘one of our best practices in camp.' Offensively and defensively, the Packers were much sharper than they were on Tuesday night at Old City Stadium.

Here are some more notes:

Offensive Play of the Day
Aaron Rodgers displayed substantial progress in Favre's absence from camp the past three days. His mechanics, knowledge of the offense, and footwork show why he is ready to step in when Favre retires from football.

However, Favre supplied yet another rendition on why he is still starting by making a play that no other quarterback in the NFL might think about attempting.

On one play, Favre half-rolled to his left, peered to his right and fired the ball 25 yards to the middle of the field, through a tiny crease. The ball slid underneath Al Harris' closing arms and into Carlyle Holiday's stomach. If Favre would have waited a split second, Harris probably makes the interception.

It's clear that Favre put in countless hours of intensive training during the off-season. Favre's legs are spry, his shoulder is loose, and he is still brave enough to fit passes into tight spaces.

Defensive Play of the Day
Nobody on Green Bay's defensive line is faster than Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. But to keep his job, KGB has to prove that he can fill a crucial pass-rushing role with the Packers this season.

Even on running plays, sometimes Gbaja-Biamila's hustle simply takes over.

P.J. Pope took a sweep to the right side, only to be taken down from the backside by Gbaja-Biamila. On such plays, offensive coordinators rarely assign someone to block the opposite defensive end because it's virtually impossible for that DE to make up that much ground and make the tackle. But that's what KGB did to Pope.

At 29 years old, KGB still has good speed and quickness, and is a major asset to a possibly dominating defense.

Stock is Rising
Seventh round pick Clark Harris has been relatively quiet throughout training camp even as a huge opportunity arose after Tory Humphrey broke his leg.

Lately, Harris has stepped up.

The rookie from Rutgers caught five passes in 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 work, the most of any receiver. They weren't dinks and dunks, either. Harris operated smoothly in the middle of the field and Favre consistently found him.

Not much separates Donald Lee, Bubba Franks, Zac Alcorn, and Harris. More practices like Thursday night could solidify a roster spot for Harris, who caught 143 passes, 2,015 yards, and 11 touchdowns in Rutgers' run-based offense.

Harris also handled all long-snapping duties in Rob Davis' absence, which gives him further value.

Stock is Falling
McCarthy has allowed several veterans to sit out one practice on two-a-days, including cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Al Harris. Thursday morning Jarrett Bush and Patrick Dendy were given the first crack at cornerback in their place.

Dendy had a rough day and night. Last season he was called up from the practice squad after the team released Ahmad Carroll and Thursday night Dendy rekindled a few memories of the infamous first rounder. On one occasion Dendy mauled a wide receiver in a sure pass interference and in the same scrimmage the corner gave up three completions.

Dendy, however, didn't stick his tail between his legs. Later in practice he ripped the ball out of James Jones' hands for an incompletion.

Still, Dendy must maintain his scrappy play to earn a roster spot. Will Blackmon, Jarrett Bush, and Frank Walker also are pushing hard behind Woodson and Harris. The competition is heating up.

He Said It
"It was rough switching over and picking up all the plays. I'm still getting used to lining up in a stance. Fullback is a lot different than linebacker, but I'm just learning a lot from Brandon [Miree]. I want to help the team in any way I can, especially on special teams."
- Fullback Korey Hall on switching positions

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