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Notebook: Martin Will Back Up Henderson At FB


David Martin has successfully learned yet another position as an NFL player.

A wide receiver at Tennessee six years ago, Martin made the switch to tight end immediately when the Packers drafted him in the sixth round in 2001.

He's been a backup tight end ever since, and now he's added backup fullback to his duties as well.

With the expected return of William Henderson from injury this week and the release of Vonta Leach, Martin will be the No. 2 option at fullback to go along with his tight end responsibilities.

It's been an interesting and ongoing transition from a 220-pound receiver out of college to a 265-pound multi-position player in the pros. But the extra weight, and work, is fine with him, so long as it helps get him on the field.

"You want to be as versatile to your team and give them as much as you can, and that's what I'm trying to do," Martin said.

With Henderson out last week against Chicago, Martin took a handful of snaps at fullback as Leach's backup. The coaching staff worked backup tight ends Martin and Tory Humphrey at fullback at times during training camp, with the idea they could be used as blockers or pass-catchers in that role.

"We really triple-train the tight ends," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "We train them on the line, off the line and in the backfield. It's a smart way to go.

"Unfortunately, injuries are a part of our game, and it gives us flexibility in game-planning. It really keeps us on track to being a one-back or two-back offense. David is a very flexible, valuable player in our scheme."

Learning curve

New receiver Koren Robinson isn't going to predict how much he'll play Sunday or what impact he might have. For now he's simply focused on learning the offense, which is similar to the systems he played in at Seattle and Minnesota, but he said the terminology and some of the formations are different.

"I just need to learn the offense like the back of my hand, so I can go out there and be comfortable, and go out there and play football so I don't have to feel like I'm a rookie," Robinson said Thursday, the first time he's spoken with reporters in the locker room. "My true rookie year when I came in, I was thinking too much and couldn't go out there and just play. I'd really like to learn the offense across the board, across the whole spectrum, so I can just go out there and play ball."

Robinson has been bothered this week by a slightly balky knee, but he doesn't consider it a problem and he expects it to straighten out the more he continues to practice. He was added to the injury report on Thursday and is listed as questionable for Sunday's game.

"I think it's just from me not cutting and stuff the last few weeks," he said. "I've been working out and everything, keeping my wind up, but no matter how much you work out, you can't simulate what you do when you get on the practice field.

"It got kind of aggravated, but I (practiced) today, did more than I did yesterday. I'm learning the plays more and in the training room, trying to knock it out, so I'm not worried about it."

First NFL start?

Rookie offensive lineman Daryn Colledge will get his first NFL start on Sunday at left guard if fellow rookie and good friend Jason Spitz isn't able to play.

Spitz sustained a thigh bruise in last Sunday's game and did not practice Wednesday or Thursday.

McCarthy, who called the bruise "significant," said Spitz is hopeful he can be ready, but said he'll have to practice on Friday in order to play. Otherwise, the job goes to Colledge, a second-round draft pick as a left tackle out of Boise State. He began training camp as the starting left guard but was demoted after the preseason opener and has been working as the backup left guard and left tackle since.

"I'm past that," Colledge said of the early demotion. "Right now I think I'm a different player than I was back then. I think I was ready to go the day after that game. I knew what corrections I needed to make, and I've made them, and hopefully it will show against New Orleans."

Colledge said he knows the offense better now, and the comfort level allows him to playing by feel and instinct like he did in college, rather than being timid and afraid of making mistakes.

"For me it was just playing faster," he said. "I was sitting back there and being a rookie and trying to over-think stuff. I didn't want to be the guy that screwed up and I realized I just had to get back to playing football and running around at full speed."

McCarthy said Colledge has handled the position changes and struggles very professionally and is a much better player now than he was a month ago.

"I thought he has worked hard," McCarthy said. "I think he's definitely improved. He's had the opportunity to move around and play a number of different positions, so this would be a good week for him to anchor down and get ready to play a game.

"He's a young player that's improving, and I think his mindset and the way he's gone about it, I thought he's handled it properly."

History sinking in

New running back Vernand Morency said finding out Wednesday he had been traded to the Packers came out of the blue. But upon arriving in Green Bay, he had the jitters just waiting to hit the practice field.

"It's just the whole atmosphere, the rich tradition," Morency said. "I walk in the building, and it's a different aura. Legends walked through this building, and I'm excited to go out there and contribute."

Morency said he's plenty comfortable in the Packers' zone-blocking scheme because he ran in a similar scheme in college at Oklahoma State. To him it's a simple concept.

"As a running back you run with your eyes - see the hole, hit the hole," he said. "That's what you try to do."

Recovery setback

Rookie cornerback Will Blackmon, who had returned to practice last week for the first time since breaking his foot in May, did not practice Wednesday or Thursday and has experienced some complications with his injury.

McCarthy said Blackmon is still day-to-day and did not specify when he might be able to play in a game.

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