Coming off a weekend in which four of their starters departed due to injury, the Green Bay Packers are shuffling their lineup and attempting to regroup in time for Sunday's contest against the undefeated Carolina Panthers.
Wednesday, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman announced that third-year safety Matt Bowen and rookie defensive end Aaron Kampman would start in place of the injured Antuan Edwards and Vonnie Holliday, respectfully.
He also said that fullback William Henderson and offensive guard Marco Rivera, both of whom sustained knee injuries against Detroit, might be able to play against Carolina. Both are listed as 'questionable' on the team's injury report, meaning that there is a 50-percent chance they will play.
Sherman's decision to go with Bowen over rookie Marques Anderson is not a surprise. While his primary position is free safety -- where Darren Sharper is the starter -- Bowen took the majority of his preseason reps at strong safety while Edwards nursed injuries.
On the other hand, Kampman's move into the starting lineup might raise a few eyebrows. Kampman saw significant playing time at 'power' end this preseason and was universally praised by the coaching staff, but through three regular season games he'd yet to be on the team's 45-man gameday roster.
"I have confidence in Aaron Kampman," Sherman said of the rookie Monday. "I really believe in that kid. He might not be as physically gifted as Vonnie, but he's a very strong, powerful man.
"He probably watches more tape than anybody in this building. He gets ready for each game even when he knows he might not play. If he prepares for games he's going to play in as well as he prepares for the ones he doesn't play in, it will be impressive.
"He'll do a fine job."
Sherman said two of his other options on the defensive line would be to shift Joe Johnson to 'power' end, while going with a tandem of Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila and Jamal Reynolds at 'elephant' end, or to use backup defensive tackle Billy Lyon at 'power' end.
"I considered Billy Lyon as a possibility, but Billy's so valuable being able to back up two positions," Sherman said. "He's really the only one we have who can do that . . . Billy will be more of a swing player for us, but will buffer us as well at that position."
The Packers are expected to be without Holliday for at least six weeks, if not the entire season. Holliday tore a pectoral muscle making a tackle against the Lions. Edwards, who broke his forearm, is expected to be sidelined three to four weeks.
Also Wednesday, the Packers announced the signing of veteran fullback Tony Carter. Most recently with the Denver Broncos, Carter could see significant playing time this weekend if Henderson can't go.
Rookie Najeh Davenport entered the season as the backup fullback, but with Ahman Green hampered by a quadriceps injury (he's listed as probable for Sunday), Sherman said he felt the need to protect Davenport as a backup halfback.
Davenport led the team in rushing against Detroit with 22 carries for 84 yards.