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All 'Four' One: Packers' Receivers Stand Out


On Tuesday night, wide receivers coach James Franklin commanded his receivers to set the tone for practice. He directed the veteran foursome of Donald Driver, Javon Walker, Robert Ferguson and Antonio Chatman to make plays.

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During Wednesday's fourth quarter drill, the Packers first team took the ball, trailing 24-14 with just over six minutes to play. Quarterback Brett Favre threw two touchdowns, an eight yard pass to Walker and a laser to Driver, who beat Chris Johnson for the second score.

The Packers' first team offense won that drill, and the wide receivers dominated Wednesday's practice.

"We've got four wide receivers that are the best in the division and the best in the league. We'll go against any corners," Driver said.

"We" is the key word. The Packers have a strong running game and only one football to spread around, but each wide receiver knows they will contribute.

Walker and Driver combined for 173 catches, 2,590 yards and 21 touchdowns last year. On Monday Ferguson declared himself the No. 1 receiver and said anything less than 1000 yards or 70 catches would disappoint him.

Walker agreed Ferguson was a No. 1 receiver.

"All of us are," he said. "The sky's the limit for us."

The receivers displayed that camaraderie after Driver scored the final touchdown in practice. Walker pretended to snap a picture as Driver struck various poses.

"Training Camp is hard," Walker said. "The little camera thing is just something to keep it fun."

Camp has become difficult because the wide receivers give their greatest effort each and every day.

"Of all our groups on this team," Favre said, "that's the hardest working group we got."

Driver, who has emerged from a seventh-round draft pick trying to make a roster to a Pro Bowl performer, epitomizes that work ethic. Two weeks ago, Sports Illustrated profiled his offseason conditioning work as one of the NFL's most demanding.

Driver is 30-years-old, an age when many receivers begin to lose a step, but he played well throughout Wednesday's practice and training camp. He said he is just approaching his prime.

"I haven't reached it yet," he said. "Now it's time for me to take this old body and continue to roll."

On the opposite spectrum, 22-year-old wide receiver Terrence Murphy was looking to push his way onto the third or fourth-string. Throughout the organized team activities and the early part of training camp before suffering a hip flexor, Murphy ran crisp routes and caught nearly everything thrown his way.

During Wednesday's practice, however, he strained the medial collateral ligament in his knee. Knee injuries always unnerve a coaching staff, but Murphy walked off on his own power before the training staff wrapped his knee with bandages and ice. The injury should not sideline him for too long.

"It was more scary to him because it had never happened to him before than ultimately dangerous," head coach Mike Sherman said.

Because of the depth at wide receivers, the Packers can better afford injuries at that position.

Walker, a four-year-veteran, continues to excel as a deep threat. Cornerback Chris Johnson, considered the fastest player in the 2003 draft, has run the 40 in less than 4.2 seconds and said Walker runs with him stride for stride on the football field.

Combine that speed with Walker's 6-3, 215-pound frame and remarkable body control, and one begins to understand his ability.

Said Walker: "I'd be scared if I had to face myself."

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