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Notebook: Another WR May Be Needed


The Packers may have to sign one of their wide receivers from the practice squad if Ruvell Martin is unable to play on Sunday.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy said on Friday that Martin is still being held out for precautionary reasons related to the chest bruise he sustained last Sunday in San Francisco. If he's unable to play, Chris Francies is a likely candidate for the the No. 4 receiver spot, with newcomer Carlyle Holiday moving into Martin's role at No. 3.

Francies was on the active roster for seven games before being released and re-signed to the practice squad prior to last week's game.

Martin remains questionable on the injury report, and he's done some pool workouts and some running this week, but the fact that he didn't practice at all doesn't bode well for his chances of playing.

"He wants to go," McCarthy said. "But it's more a medical issue and how much time you have to let that thing heal. It's more precautionary than anything, but if you talk to him, he's ready to go."

Martin said the doctors have told him the injury is internal, which is why they're being so cautious.

"It's one of those deals -- it's weird because I feel great, but the doctors say there's still stuff going on and I can't play," Martin said. "The only way they can tell is to take a scan, which hasn't been done, so we're just kind of waiting around."

Martin was especially looking forward to this week's game against Detroit for two reasons. He's coming off his first NFL touchdown pass last week at San Francisco, and as a Michigan native he wants to play against his home-state team. The first time the Packers and Lions met this year, Martin was de-activated on game day.

"I want to be out there, I want to play," he said. "Hopefully I'll get the green light soon."

Tauscher could be backup

McCarthy said that if offensive tackle Mark Tauscher is healthy enough to be active on Sunday, it will most likely be as a backup, but he still appears on track to return to the starting lineup on Thursday against Minnesota.

Tauscher practiced on Friday but took most of his reps with the scout team rather than the starters, so it's likely that Tony Moll will start his fifth straight game at right tackle. Tauscher remains questionable on the injury report with his groin injury.

"He wasn't sore this morning, and I think that's obviously a positive sign," McCarthy said. "He just felt a little sluggish, knocking the rust off.

"I'm hopeful that he'll go Sunday but I don't know if he's going to make it."

Also on the offensive line, center Scott Wells was removed from the injury report. Wells was sick earlier in the week but has fully recovered.

Curved club

Linebacker Nick Barnett has practiced this week with a slightly modified club cast on his broken right hand. The club has been narrowed down and given a slight curve to more naturally fit the positioning of Barnett's hand.

Barnett said he believes the new cast will be OK with the officials, but he won't know until he gets into live game action whether it will function any better than the larger, round club he has played with the past two games.

Pro Bowl hopefuls

Players and coaches cast their votes for the Pro Bowl this week, and the members of the NFC squad will be announced next week.

{sportsad300}Receiver Donald Driver is a potential candidate, ranking second in the NFC in receiving yards to Detroit's Roy Williams. With 73 catches for 1,103 yards and seven touchdowns, Driver is just 13 catches and 118 yards from matching his career highs in those categories, set last year, and two TDs from his career high of nine in 2004 and 2002.

Driver was named to the Pro Bowl in 2002 but felt jaded when he didn't make it either of the last two seasons despite putting up more than 1,200 yards each year. In 2004, then-teammate Javon Walker went to the Pro Bowl with five catches, 174 yards and two TDs more than Driver.

"I don't know why I don't get it," Driver said. "Does it bother me? I have a grudge, and that's just me proving week in and week out that I'm one of the best."

Driver feels he's been proving himself ever since joining the Packers as a seventh-round draft pick 7 1/2 years ago.

"I'm going to play with a chip on my shoulder every year," he said. "When I came here in 1999, I was mad because every team left me sit on the table besides the Packers and I went seven rounds. That's been a chip as well. I'll have chips until I'm retired."

On defense, the Packers with the best chance are likely defensive end Aaron Kampman, who's tied for second in the NFC with 101/2 sacks, and cornerbacks Al Harris and Charles Woodson.

Earlier in the week, Harris said he felt his counterpart was having a Pro Bowl year, and on Friday Woodson reciprocated the sentiment. Woodson has five interceptions this season to Harris' two, but Harris more often has drawn the assignment of the opponent's top receiver.

"I feel the same way about him," Woodson said. "If you look at the way me and him have performed throughout the season, and you look at other corners around the league, there isn't a better tandem of corners."

Woodson credits Harris in part for his five picks, which ties his career high, because quarterbacks are reluctant to challenge Harris. Woodson said he went through that after snagging five interceptions as a rookie with Oakland in 1998.

"The quarterback has to throw it somewhere," Woodson said with a smile.

"Playing on the opposite side of Al, I've been able to get a lot more looks than in the past. I know what he's going through here now, not getting a lot of balls thrown his way, so playing on the other side of him, I get a lot of opportunities."

Woodson has had his chances for more interceptions. Earlier this season against the Rams, Seahawks and Jets, he got his hands on balls but wasn't able to bring in what would have been tough catches. Then last week at San Francisco, he dove to break up a pass in the end zone, and he said on Friday he would have been able to intercept the ball had his reach not been limited by the harness he wears to protect his injured shoulder.

"When I first started putting it on, I could barely breathe in it, but right now that's the only way I can do it," Woodson said. "I have to keep my arm limited from getting full extension, so it's kind of tough."

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