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Defense Could Have Different Look Monday


When the Packers line up to play the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football at Lambeau Field, there could be a different composition on the defensive side of the ball for the home team.

One change is likely to be in effect in the secondary, as first round draft choice Ahmad Carroll should be healthy enough to contribute. GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said Saturday that there is a good chance that Carroll will at least see some time in the dime (six defensive backs) package.

The speedster out of the University of Arkansas has been out of action and unavailable for each of the past two games after suffering a groin injury in a practice collision prior to the Packers visit to Indianapolis a few weeks back.

Carroll returned to practice this week and Sherman is hopeful that he will be able to add depth to the secondary, but isn't sure how much to expect out of the rookie Monday.

"He's still a little sore," Sherman said. "He hasn't played in quite a while and he's still exhibiting some rustiness. He's been sore after practice, so to what extent he'll play remains to be seen."

The player feels that having the extra day of preparation of playing on Monday instead of Sunday increases his chance of being productive against the Titans. He hopes to make good in his return and start to accomplish some of what he set out for himself after being drafted in April.

"I'm feeling good right now," said Carroll. "I had a good week of practice. I worked out good and I tested good, so I've just got to make sure I don't get re-injured.

"I haven't accomplished any of my goals yet. I have to get out on the field and start making some plays."

Another possible change in the lineup for the defense of the Green and Gold comes in the linebacking corps. Sherman said later in his post-practice press conference that he is considering holding starting strong-side or "buck" linebacker Hannibal Navies out of the game.

The sixth-year pro and second-year Packer has been battling an injured left shoulder since the season-opening win at Carolina nearly a month ago. Playing with the shoulder in a harness, Navies has been limited and was only able to play about 20 snaps against the Giants last Sunday before having to come out of the game.

"He can play, but it might benefit him more to not play and rest him for a week in hopes that he comes back stronger," Sherman reasoned. "He's wearing a strap - he's pretty much limited in what he's able to do because of the shoulder strap, so there's a possibility that we may rest him and hope that he's better in future weeks. We haven't come to that decision just yet. I want to talk to him again and see how he's feeling tomorrow."

The linebacker said that he would hate to miss such a crucial game, but acknowledged his long-term benefit to the team could outweigh his desire to be on the field Monday.

"It's a possibility only because instead of playing on Monday and taking a step back, we're talking about resting me and coming back as close to 100% as possible," Navies said. "This is an important game - I'd hate to miss this one - but it's something we might have to do."

Being forced to watch from the sideline can sometimes hurt just as much as playing through the pain, as he experienced last week, but Navies is prepared to do what's best for the team.

"I was disappointed that I couldn't finish the game, but it was one of those things where I would have hurt the team more by being in there than by being out," he explained.

"It's frustrating because I feel like I could do so much more than what I'm doing. It is a combination of pain and not being able to do my normal linebacker things because I can't use my left arm the way I want to. It's frustrating, but hopefully after this week if I do decide not to play, it will be something that I can get behind me and come back healthy."

If the decision is made to hold Navies out of the game, the coaching staff has a number of options as to who fill the vacancy. All three reserve linebackers on the roster, Paris Lenon, Torrance Marshall and Nick Rogers, have experience at Navies' position.

"We've worked two players there," Sherman said. "Paris Lenon has worked there this week. Marshall has worked there this week and Nick Rogers also is a buck linebacker, so we're well-staffed at that position."

If Navies is held out of the game, it would mark the first time his 21-game tenure with Green Bay that he has not been in the starting lineup.

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