|Rookie RB Jackson shows ability in Packers scrimmage|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 04 August 2007 18:03|
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) -With the Lambeau Field grandstands packed and his closest competitor sidelined by an injury, Saturday's ``Family Night'' scrimmage was a chance for rookie running back Brandon Jackson to show fans what the Green Bay Packers saw in him on draft day.|
Jackson certainly wasn't the star of the show on Saturday night - those roles, as always, went to Brett Favre and his top receiver, Donald Driver - but Jackson did show a few signs that he has the ability to become a viable running back for the Packers.
And he just might have to be.
The Packers lost veteran Ahman Green to the Houston Texans in free agency over the offseason, and were without projected starter Vernand Morency on Saturday because of an injury.
Morency, who was obtained in a trade with the Texans last season, hurt his knee in the Packers' first training camp practice a week ago.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said earlier in the week that Morency's injury was worse than originally expected and that the team would be without him for ``a couple'' of weeks, meaning he would likely miss the Packers first preseason game, Aug. 11 at Pittsburgh.
With Morency on the sideline, Jackson took the field as the starting running back in front of 59,362 fans on Saturday.
He did his first ``Lambeau Leap'' into the stands after a 1-yard touchdown run, but his flashiest play came during a 2-minute drill simulation.
Lining up behind backup quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers' second-string offense with the ball at the 35-yard line and 41 seconds on the clock, Jackson caught a pass in the flat and accelerated down the sideline - then nearly pulled off a spectacular spin move to get away from cornerback Tramon Williams.
Of course, given the same clock crunch in a real game, it's entirely possible that McCarthy would have preferred to see the rookie simply run out of bounds.
Favre appeared to be in midseason form during his first drive despite missing several practices earlier this week because he had to go home to Mississippi for the funeral of his father-in-law.
Favre threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Donald Driver on his first possession, then marched the Packers down the field to set up Jackson's touchdown on his second possession.
With the Packers' top two cornerbacks, Al Harris and Charles Woodson, sitting out the scrimmage under orders from McCarthy, Favre picked on cornerback Frank Walker for two long passes to Driver down the right sideline.
Walker was the Packers' only free-agent acquisition during the offseason, and is battling for the No. 3 cornerback job with second-year player Will Blackmon - but Blackmon, a fourth-round pick in 2006 who missed most of last season because of a broken foot, seemed to emerge from the scrimmage with a leg up on the job.
Rodgers and the No. 2 offense looked much rustier than Favre, but Rodgers gradually found his rhythm and led the Packers' second-string team to a field goal after a potential touchdown pass to Ruvell Martin was batted away by Jarrett Bush.
Neither quarterback looked particularly sharp during 2-minute drill simulations, with both Favre and Rodgers failing to lead the Packers to a touchdown and both throwing interceptions in the end zone. Favre was picked off by Nick Collins on third-and-1 from the 12-yard line, and Rodgers was intercepted on second-and-27 after a potential touchdown to Martin was waved off because of an offensive pass interference call.
Williams, a member of the Packers' practice squad last season, later unloaded a big hit on wide receiver Chris Francies after a pass over the middle from Ingle Martin.
Rookie wide receiver David Clowney, a fifth-round pick out of Virginia Tech, added some spice to what was a lackluster return game last season with a kickoff return for a touchdown.
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