"They had me in there running the whole time. I ran half the practice, basically," Pickett said of how he spent his time while his teammates practiced during camp. "Doing all kind of training and stuff trying to get my leg right. They make sure they conditioned me pretty good. I'm probably in better shape than I've been in a long time."
Pickett practiced on Tuesday — his second practice in as many days — as the Packers prepare for Monday's season-opening showdown against Minnesota at Lambeau Field.
"My body feels great," Pickett said. "I'm a little sore. This is my first time having contact since January. Besides that, I feel great."
With the Packers short-handed at defensive tackle — fellow starter Johnny Jolly and reserve Colin Cole are the only true tackles on the roster — Pickett doesn't have the luxury of being eased into the swing of things. Both he and coach Mike McCarthy said he's up to that challenge.
"Ryan Pickett, I think, is definitely ready to play," McCarthy said. "His feedback after (Monday's) practice was very positive, so he'll definitely be in there on first and second down, and we'll see how much more he can handle."
Being short-handed at defensive tackle is a gamble. If Pickett, Jolly or Cole are injured, then it's up to starting defensive end Cullen Jenkins and reserve ends Mike Montgomery and 260-pound Jason Hunter to fill in. Pickett, however, isn't about to complain about the added workload.
"As far as rotation, a lot of us would rather have it this way, because you have more plays to play," Pickett said. "I think it's set up perfect for us. We can roll in and roll out. We don't have any problem with it."