Skip to main content

Notebook: Martin Gets The Call For Sunday

A week that started for Derrick Martin with the birth of his second child on Monday will end on Sunday at St. Louis with him making the first start of his NFL career as a safety. - More Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Sept. 25

A week that started for Derrick Martin with the birth of his second child on Monday will end on Sunday at St. Louis with him making the first start of his NFL career as a safety.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Friday that he expects free safety Nick Collins, who sustained a chest injury last Sunday vs. Cincinnati, to start against the Rams, and Martin will open up opposite him at strong safety.

Martin was acquired in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens a little more than a week before the season opener against Chicago, and is tied for second on the team with three tackles on special teams in the first two games. Sunday will mark his first-ever start at safety and the first start since he opened up at right cornerback for the Ravens in 2007 in Week 14 vs. Indianapolis.

"He's done a good job," McCarthy said. "You could see that right away, back in Week 1, his instincts and particularly his range in the back end. I'm impressed with him physically, what he's done on special teams. Very bright, a lot of carry-over from our language to his experience in Baltimore. So he is ready to go."

When Collins left the Bengals game in the second quarter with the injury, Jarrett Bush took over at the free-safety spot for the remainder of the game next to Aaron Rouse, who started at strong safety in place of an injured Atari Bigby.

After Martin's wife, Alexa, gave birth to a baby girl, Harlow, on Monday, he arrived at Lambeau Field on Wednesday to hear the news that Rouse had been released, creating an opportunity for the fourth-year safety.

"He's come in and he's been a pretty quick learner," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. "We thought he picked things up well last week, and he's done nice job this week making all of the calls.

"He's got excellent quickness. I think he is an aware guy. Obviously he is not a big stature guy, but I think he has pretty good strength for a guy his size. I like his quickness and his ability to move around. He's one of those guys that is kind of a cross between a corner and a safety. (He's a) good athlete for a safety."

Bush and Matt Giordano, who signed with the team Wednesday as a free agent, will be the backups on Sunday.

The 5-foot-10, 202-pound Martin played cornerback his first three seasons in Baltimore, but made the switch to safety this offseason. The Ravens also run the 3-4 defense, but he did have to learn some different terminology in Green Bay's scheme.

"Probably the beginning of last week I really understood what was going on," Martin said. "Now this week, with the pressure on, with the heat, it just started turning up a little bit.

"I was able to communicate more. I am out there actually with the players. They know what I am saying and I know what they are saying."

With a newcomer alongside him, Collins will likely be expected to be even more of a vocal communicator in the defense, a responsibility he said he is comfortable with.

"I don't have a problem with that role, but every guy here knows how to play football," Collins said. "(Derrick) wouldn't be in the NFL if he didn't know how to play football. He comes from a team that runs a 3-4, so he pretty much knows the basics of things. It is just knowing the terminology that we use, but everything else is the same.

"Every guy out here trusts him, so that's the only thing that matters right now. Everybody has that trust in him that he's going to get the job done."

Lead the way

After last Sunday's disappointing loss at home to the Bengals, quarterback Aaron Rodgers said the team would be well served if they followed the example of veteran cornerback Charles Woodson.

"That just lets me know that somebody recognizes that it means something to me, and it does," Woodson said. "I want to win at all costs, so whatever I've got to do to get ready and perform at a high level, that's what I'm going to do. I've always been a guy that tries to just go out and play hard, and let that be an example."

Woodson's performance against the Bengals was one of the few bright spots as he posted the fourth multi-interception of his career and third with the Packers. He returned the first pick of quarterback Carson Palmer 22 yards to the Cincinnati 11 to set up a Ryan Grant touchdown run late in the first quarter, and took the second interception 37 yards for a touchdown midway through the second quarter in the 31-24 defeat.

"We've got to bounce back," Woodson said. "It's not very hard. It ain't rocket science. We looked bad as a whole team. It has to mean something to the individual. Whatever it takes, whatever they've got to do to correct whatever mistake, and we've got to get it done. Every week you've got a chance to get back on the right track, and this is just a good test for this team to go out there and get it done.

"The thing is I think we have a pretty good team. It's just a matter of going out there and being that team that we all think we are."

{sportsad300}Ready to go

McCarthy said fullback Korey Hall will be a game-time decision Sunday with a concussion/shoulder injury, and if Hall is unable to play, rookie fullback Quinn Johnson is expected to be active for the first time as a pro.

"(Johnson) is ready to play all the normal down-and-distance stuff," McCarthy said. "Third down, I don't foresee him being in there. But we expect him to go and contribute in the base offense and some of the situation offense, and also play some of the special teams segments."

Drafted in the fifth round out of Louisiana State, the 255-pound Johnson was best known for his blocking ability, which could help a running attack that is looking to get back on track Sunday after limited production in the first two games.

"That's my type of game, basically going straight downhill," Johnson said. "The run game is basically my type of offense, so I definitely can go in there and produce."

Change of scenery

For the first time this week, the Packers practiced inside The Don Hutson Center in preparation for Sunday's game at the Edward Jones Dome.

"Went inside for a number of different reasons," McCarthy said. "The field turf, the crowd noise, it's different inside than outside. And also the fact that we're playing in a dome."

Injury/participation update

Bigby (knee), tackle Chad Clifton (ankle) and running back Brandon Jackson (ankle) are all out for Sunday.

Hall and nose tackle B.J. Raji (ankle) are both questionable. Raji practiced fully for the third straight day, but did tweak his ankle toward the end of Thursday's practice.

"It's clearly a medical decision," McCarthy said. "If he's ready from a medical standpoint, he'll play. If not, it will be another week."

Collins, Bush and linebacker Aaron Kampman (hand) all were full participants in Friday's practice and are probable.

Kicker Mason Crosby (abdomen) did not participate on Friday but is probable.

Linebacker Jeremy Thompson (knee) was added to the injury report and is questionable for Sunday.

For the Rams, tackle Jason Smith (knee) did not participate all week and is doubtful. Center Jason Brown (knee) was a full participant on Friday and is probable.

Safety Craig Dahl (hamstring), guard John Greco (wrist) and safety David Roach were taken off the injury report on Friday.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content