One day after a frenzied atmosphere that culminated in coach Mike McCarthy all but saying Brett Favre's career with the Green Bay Packers was over, and perhaps hours before the iconic quarterback is traded, the team look fresh and worry-free during Wednesday morning's practice.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers — one interception notwithstanding — was sharp, the receivers caught practically everything thrown their direction, the defense continued to show flashes of becoming a superb unit and the practice field was free of "Bring Brett back!" chants.
Perhaps a Favre-free morning improved the players' focus.
"I think it's human nature," coach Mike McCarthy said. "It's about having a direction and a plan, and everybody working towards that plan and trying not to be distracted. This job is hard enough. I think sometimes it goes unnoticed, the stress, the anxiety an NFL player goes through in training camp. This is a very difficult time for every member of our 80-man roster. That's what they need to focus on. Every time you spend an extra half an hour doing this or doing that, it's taking away from what you're supposed to be focusing on. It really taps into your energy base."
While many players, especially the veterans, would prefer Favre be their quarterback, the end of the ordeal has to be a relief for all of them. Perhaps Favre's best friend on the team, Donald Driver, was his usual happy-go-lucky self, frequently coaxing cheers out of the railbirds, and Rodgers seemed to be joking with his teammates a bit more than usual.
"The players want a resolution. They want what everybody wants," McCarthy said. "To come out here every day and talk about somebody who's not here and then shows up, it's gone on too long. And understandably so, they want to play football, they want to be recognized for playing football."
McCarthy said he spoke again with Favre on Tuesday night, but hinted nothing substantive was accomplished.
"It was just very general. How he was doing, where he was with the process. Things like that," McCarthy said.
For the record, McCarthy said Favre was excused from practice. While still on the roster, Favre flew out of Green Bay early this afternoon.
Haste makes no waste
The Packers breezed through a snappy 93-minute practice. McCarthy credited the players.
"I think it was quickest practice I've seen in quite some time," he said. "That's a tribute to the players coming out with the urgency and doing things right. We didn't have many repeats. We were 23 minutes ahead of schedule. I don't recall ever going that fast."
Several players watched the morning workout: left tackle Chad Clifton, center Scott Wells, tight end Tory Humphrey, receiver Jake Allen, defensive linemen Ryan Pickett, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila and Justin Harrell, guard/center Junius Coston and safety Aaron Rouse.
McCarthy said Wells was "day to day." In his place was Jason Spitz, with Josh Sitton working as the No. 1 right guard in place of Spitz. McCarthy said Sitton, a rookie fourth-round pick, will be given a shot to win that job. (Note: A story on that will be posted later.) Daryn Colledge was the left tackle in place of Clifton, with Allen Barbre at left guard.
Rouse limped off the field late in Tuesday's practice but was in good spirits in the locker room. Johnny Jolly, who sat out Tuesday's practice, was back with the No. 1 defensive line.
Meanwhile, McCarthy said running back Ryan Grant looks good. This was his second practice since signing a four-year contract.
"He got a little more work yesterday than we anticipated with Brandon Jackson going out of practice," McCarthy said. "He's off to a good start. He was here throughout the whole offseason, so he's really up to date with everything that we've done. He looks in great shape. He's got fresh legs."
— Rodgers went 7-for-9 in an 11-on-11, no-huddle drill, capping the 70-yard drive with a touchdown pass to James Jones. Ruvell Martin made a superb one-handed catch on a crossing route. Crowd noise was pumped onto the field.
Rodgers was intercepted in a third-down drill, though it looked like he and Driver were not on the same page.
— Brian Brohm had a tough morning. He took just three snaps in the no-huddle and third-down periods, and was intercepted by Jarrett Bush, sacked by Jason Hunter and had a pass deflected by Jolly at the line of scrimmage and almost intercepted.
— The Packers return to the field tonight for a 6:30 p.m., full-pads workout.
Bill Huber writes for Packer Report. E-mail him at email@example.com