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Notebook: Martin Focused On Getting Up To Speed

Newly acquired safety Derrick Martin has this week to learn as much as he can about the Packers’ 3-4 defense before Sunday’s season opener vs. Chicago, but he is hoping that his experience in Baltimore in a similar scheme and his special-teams abilities will enable him to contribute sooner rather than later. - More Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Sept. 7

Newly acquired safety Derrick Martin has this week to learn as much as he can about the Packers' 3-4 defense before Sunday's season opener vs. Chicago, but he is hoping that his experience in Baltimore in a similar scheme and his special-teams abilities will enable him to contribute sooner rather than later.

Martin came to the Packers on Saturday in a trade with Baltimore for offensive lineman Tony Moll, essentially taking the place of backup safety Anthony Smith, who was released by Green Bay in the final cutdown.

"A lot of positive reports on Derrick before he came in here and also had a chance to watch his special-teams tape," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "He's definitely gifted in that area. I think he'll do a good job for us at the safety position. He has played corner in the past. He is coming from a similar background as far as defensive philosophy.

"We just have to make a transition from a new language standpoint and that's always an adjustment for any player that is acquired at this point right before the first game."

Martin was on the field Monday morning for his first practice with the Packers and is listed on the depth chart as the No. 2 free safety behind Nick Collins. Green Bay's backup at strong safety, Aaron Rouse, practiced for the first time in over two weeks due to a hamstring injury. His status for Sunday is unknown, making it critical that Martin picks up the defense as quickly as possible.

"I was able to write a couple of things down in meetings and talked last night with (safeties) Coach (Darren) Perry, and it is all terminology," Martin said. "It's the same defense with a few things switched here and there. But everything is just terminology. After I learn that I think I'll be OK."

Martin played cornerback for three seasons in Baltimore's 3-4 scheme, appearing in 28 games with three starts. His best season came in 2007 when he posted 26 tackles, eight passes defensed and two interceptions.

This offseason, the team moved Martin to safety, and he said the move was a natural one.

"I don't think it could have been better for me," Martin said. "I am able to see everything out there on the field. I played quarterback in high school, so it's just like playing quarterback on defense. I can see everything and I can make the calls that I need to make.

"Moving from the corner where you were just guarding one guy to being back at safety where you can see everything, you are kind of in control of the defense and you can talk. I like to talk out there on the field, so it really works for me at the safety position."

Martin's best chance to make his mark right away in Green Bay will likely come on special teams, where he said he has experience in kickoff return and coverage as well as punt return and coverage. In 2007 he posted a career-high 17 tackles on special teams for the Ravens.

"We had a guy in Baltimore by the name of (Brendon) Ayanbadejo who has been around the league playing special teams," Martin said. "He made his career on special teams, and I feel like I've got a good opportunity to make a good statement out here on special teams or defense, so I'm just trying to play wherever I can play.

"I feel like I'll be able to play (Sunday), especially on special teams where all you have to do is run down there, block a couple of guys, make a couple of tackles. I'm just excited to be here really."

Ready to go

McCarthy said he expects linebacker Nick Barnett to play Sunday against Chicago but whether or not he will start is up in the air.

"We have more than 11 starters, so what does starting mean?" McCarthy said. "Does he play what personnel group? I definitely think Nick Barnett will run out of the tunnel and play like he always has in the past."

Barnett played at Tennessee in the preseason finale last Thursday for the first time since sustaining a torn ACL in his right knee at Minnesota in Week 10 last season. He took about 25 snaps at the weak inside linebacker position, which was around the same number that rookie outside linebacker Clay Matthews took against the Titans in his return after missing most of the preseason with a hamstring injury.

"I thought (Barnett) looked good in the Tennessee game," McCarthy said. "I thought he flew around, he was active like he always is, but we have to be smart with Nick and you've got to put Clay in the same category.

"They played 25 plays this past week and it's a long year. We factored that into our decision-making as far as our game planning."

Brandon Chillar started the first three games of the preseason at the Mack linebacker spot when Barnett was still sidelined by the injury, and Chillar would likely get the nod there against Chicago if Barnett does not start.

Coming back

Quarterback Brian Brohm said he gave himself a day to be upset about the team's decision to release him, but after he cleared waivers on Sunday he decided that signing back with the team to the practice squad was his best move.

"You step back and look at it, this is the best place for me to be right now," Brohm said. "I feel like I have been getting better each and every week. I want to continue to do that.

"I've been learning a lot from Coach (Tom) Clements and Coach McCarthy. When you really think about it, I'm not on the 53 but quarterback-wise, I'm probably in the same spot that I was last year."

{sportsad300}Brohm had his finest performance as a Packer in the preseason finale at Tennessee last Thursday, playing every series but one and completing 20-of-28 passes for 154 yards with no interceptions. He did struggle early in the preseason as he was intercepted three times in the opening two games.

Brohm said he did entertain offers from other teams to join their practice squad, but with only two quarterbacks on Green Bay's roster, starter Aaron Rodgers and backup Matt Flynn, he basically will be serving in the same role he was last year as the No. 3 quarterback.

"It's an offense that I am comfortable with, and if something was to happen and they needed me to come up, I'd be able to come in right away," Brohm said. "I definitely feel like I am much more prepared if I had to get into a game. I'm much more prepared and I feel much more comfortable than I did last year at this time."

Injury/participation update

Running back Brandon Jackson (ankle), cornerback/returner Will Blackmon (quad) and nose tackle B.J. Raji (ankle) did not practice on Monday.

McCarthy said all three players were making progress and that the team would have an update on their status Wednesday when the first official injury report is put out.

Wide receiver Greg Jennings (head), who missed the preseason finale at Tennessee with the injury sustained a week prior at Arizona, said he has been cleared to play vs. Chicago.

Flynn, who did not play quarterback in the final two preseason games because of an injured throwing shoulder, did practice and McCarthy said he expected Flynn would be ready to go on Sunday. He is the Packers' holder for extra points and field goals.

Rouse (hamstring) practiced Monday for the first time since sustaining the injury on Aug. 20.

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