The Word: Training Camp Day 11

Alcorn deals with aching feet; offensive and defensive plays of day; Jolly steps up

Zac Alcorn is attacking his blistered feet harder than a defensive back. But caking them with gauze, rolling them in tape and adding rubber padding is only half the battle.

The future is brightening for the second-year pro fighting for a roster spot at an injury-riddled position. And his feet are healing.

"They're starting to get callused over," Alcorn said. "I've had everything on them. I've made patches, tape, toe glides, tape over the top of that, two socks on, I cut the end of my shoes out and put a cast over the end of them. I've had everything on my feet. They're like ten pounds.

"I'm feeling better now."

Alcorn put together solid morning and evening practices Tuesday, and he appears to be solidifying a roster spot behind Donald Lee and Bubba Franks. In the morning Alcorn caught several passes from Aaron Rodgers, and then snagged a laser from Brett Favre in the nightcap during red zone work.

"It feels really good to develop chemistry," he said. "It's good to develop chemistry with the first team guys when I'm out there."

Last season Alcorn was on the team's practice squad before making the team's active roster in Week 11. Now his knowledge of the game matches his talent - a satisfying development.

"I can't even tell you how much of a difference my knowledge is of the offense compared to last year," he said. "Last year at this time I was having a really hard time just lining up as the Y tight end, which is the strong side tight end. Now I know the Y, the U and the V positions. I know them and I know them well. Sometimes you get out in the heat of the battle and get all of those positions scrambled together. But now I'm really comfortable. I can't even tell you the difference."

In Tuesday night's practice during the red zone segment, Alcorn replaced Franks as the number-one tight end most of the time. Lee was given a day off after not missing a practice throughout camp.

He may know all three tight end positions as well as verses from the Bible (which he reads regularly), but Alcorn also realizes his strength.

"I will probably be playing a lot of the U tight end," said Alcorn. "It's the backside tight end when we're in double tight. That is the tight end that is usually involved in the passing game."

Several other players sat out of practice Tuesday night. Chad Clifton was in shorts due to sore knees, Greg Jennings is still reeling from a hip flexor, and four players dropped out of the night practice: Justin Harrell (groin), DeShawn Wynn (quadriceps), Clark Harris (hip flexor) and Ryan Pickett (knee) each bowed out at some point. McCarthy is hopeful that Clifton will return Thursday, after Wednesday's day off.

Here are some more notes from Tuesday's practice:

Offensive Play of the Day
They've done it 34 times. But it never gets old.

On his very last pass of the night, Favre fired a bullet to the right side of the end zone. It appeared like a sure overthrow, but receiver Donald Driver got past Charles Woodson and hauled in the pass with one hand.

While Favre is set to shatter some major NFL records this season, Driver could make his mark on team history this year in multiple categories.

With eight touchdowns, he'll pass Sterling Sharpe on Favre's all-time TD connection list. Antonio Freeman has a comfortable lead with 57 scores. With another 1,000-yard season, Driver will tie James Lofton and Sharpe as the Packer receiver with the most 1,000-yard campaigns. With his career peaking, Driver may also flirt with Robert Brooks' 1995 record of 1,497 receiving yards.

After signing a contract extension Monday, Driver is set to be a Packer for life and continue to make his mark on the franchise. A healthy Jennings and an emerging James Jones will definitely delay his aging process.

Defensive Play of the Day
Early during practice, Favre rolled to his left and threw a pass to wide receiver Ruvell Martin, which was tipped and intercepted by safety Nick Collins.

Collins is quietly having a very productive training camp. At Family Night he read Favre in the red zone perfectly, picked off a pass, and returned it 60 yards and during practice he has taken command of the defensive secondary. That's a good sign considering the coverage problems Green Bay's secondary had early on last season.

Stock is Rising
Johnny Jolly showed up at training camp out of shape and failed the running portion of his physical. But now that's irrelevant.

Jolly has lined up on the starting defensive unit next to Pickett on several occasions this past week and he has taken full advantage of the valuable reps. Tuesday, Jolly knocked down a Rodgers pass and routinely showed a strong push at the point of attack. Jolly leverages his 6-3, 312-pound frame properly, coming up and through offensive lineman.

If the season started today, Jolly would easily play ahead of top pick Justin Harrell, who is still struggling. Keep an eye on Jolly Saturday at Pittsburgh. He could be another draft gem uncovered by general manager Ted Thompson.

Stock is Falling
It could be hard for P.J. Pope to re-enter the running back sweepstakes when he returns in 2-4 weeks from arthroscopic knee surgery. Pope has had his moments at training camp, flashing potential as a goal line back. But unless two backs out of Brandon Jackson, Noah Herron, DeShawn Wynn, and Corey White totally bomb in the preseason, Pope could be the odd man out.

Remember, the Packers will be getting Vernand Morency back too. Pope's chances are slim.

He Said It
"I suppose, if that happened. I don't know if I've ever gotten to the end of a training camp and felt like I had too many defensive linemen that were of that caliber. But we like our group. We've got a long way to go before we get to having to make those kind of decisions. You're always looking at where you might have some strengths and where other teams might have some weaknesses, and then maybe two teams could get together. But we're not really anticipating anything."
- General Manager Ted Thompson when asked if he'd consider trading one of team's defensive tackles, considering you can only keep a certain amount

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