Training camp: Rodgers tops must-watch list

With camp opening on July 28, here are three burning issues confronting the Packers.

The Green Bay Packers report to training camp July 27. Camp opens July 28 with the first of five scheduled two-a-days — all in the first 12 days. An intrasquad scrimmage will be held at Lambeau Field on Aug. 3.

Here are three training camp goals as the team builds toward the regular season and its defense of its NFC North Division title.

1. The Aaron Rodgers watch.

Once the story regarding Brett Favre finally plays out, this likely will be Aaron Rodgers' offense to run. Favre will be released, traded or stay retired. The Packers devoted their offseason to tailoring the offense to Rodgers, the team's 2005 first-round draft pick.

For his part, Rodgers has said pretty much all the right things. He claims not to be bothered by the ongoing saga with Favre, but he does need to get off to a strong start and take command of the offense early in training camp. That will quell a lot of concerns — at least until the start of the regular season.

What Rodgers brings to the table is more mobility. The Packers know they might lack the big-play flare Favre is legendary for, but that hopes runs both ways, with Rodgers also less prone to the costly turnovers that often plagued Favre.

2. Fortify the defensive line.

The strength of the defense for most of last season has a lot of question marks on the heels of an injury-depleted offseason.

Hulking tackles Johnny Jolly (shoulder) and Colin Cole (forearm) recovered from season-ending injuries sustained late last year and will be limited at the outset of camp. Jolly is an agile, disruptive player when healthy and will be needed in a starter's role after Corey Williams was traded to Cleveland.

Justin Harrell has an opportunity to contribute on the interior as well, but the 2007 first-round draft pick was out of commission for the second straight offseason.

The Packers' capable pass rush isn't the same without specialist Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila on the field. Gbaja-Biamila was on the mend this summer after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery, which provoked another set of rumors about the Packers' making a serious run at landing disgruntled Miami All-Pro Jason Taylor.

3. Establish a backup plan at running back.

Ryan Grant, the second-half sensation of 2007, is the lead dog, provided he and the team can reach agreement on a long-term contract.

Grant, an exclusive-rights free agent, expects to be on the field for Day 1 of camp. Still, after an offseason of not being able to practice, he's going to need time to get back into the flow of the game.

That sets up a spirited competition between a slew of contenders for the backup spots at halfback.

Brandon Jackson, who was run down as a rookie after taking the lion's share of reps in camp last year, drew raves in the spring workouts. DeShawn Wynn, whose propensity for injury opened the door for Grant at midseason, is determined to stay on the field. He's a load to bring down.

Noah Herron and Vernand Morency, also bit by the injury bug in '07, can't be counted out.

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