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Notebook: Moll Has Busy Day


As a rookie who needs as much game experience as he can get, rookie right guard Tony Moll knew he was going to stay in beyond the one offensive series for the starters on Friday against Tennessee.

But he had no idea he was going to play the whole game.

After playing the first half at right guard, while fellow rookie Jason Spitz was at left guard, Moll was inserted at right tackle for the second half and kept plugging along.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy said it was simply a "numbers game" that forced Moll to stay in with the No. 2 offensive line, but it wasn't a big deal to Moll, who played right tackle his final year in college at Nevada.

"It went well," he said. "It took a couple plays to get back into the old swing, but once I was able to get in there and get confident, things started rolling."

From a conditioning standpoint, Moll said he held up fine playing a full game. That part of his game won't be tested nearly as much as his skills against the Chicago Bears' front four next week, but he's looking forward to the challenge.

"I think I've definitely progressed," he said. "There's still millions of things I need to work on, and that will be for the rest of my career. But the only thing I can hope for is that I get better every week.

"The (regular) season games mean a lot more, so I definitely can't wait for next week to get rolling."

D-ends battle for spots

Two hopefuls at defensive end stated their case for a roster spot while a veteran saw his injury-plaged preseason continue.

Fourth-year player Kenny Peterson, who had missed the first three preseason games with an ankle sprain, reinjured the ankle late in the first quarter and did not return. Peterson entered the preseason finale fighting for a roster spot, and his future is very much up in the air after only playing two defensive series.

Meanwhile undrafted free agent Jason Hunter and seventh-round pick Dave Tollefson both had productive games, which will make the final decisions difficult on the coaching and personnel staff.

Hunter and Tollefson combined on a sack of Kerry Collins in the second quarter, and Hunter had a clear shot at Vince Young for a sack in the red zone late in the third quarter, but the elusive first-round draft pick escaped to convert a critical third-and-10.

Hunter, whose pass rush forced an interception against Atlanta two weeks ago, finished with three total tackles (two solo) against Tennessee and will be keeping his fingers crossed overnight.

"My gut tells me right now that hopefully when they look at the film they'll see there's potential, potential to keep growing and keep getting better," Hunter said. "So we'll see how that goes."

Tollefson, mentioned in several media reports as a practice squad candidate, played what he called his best game thus far. In addition to sharing one sack with Hunter, he sacked Collins by himself to help thwart a potential scoring drive at the end of the first half.

He finished with six total tackles (four solo) plus two more (one solo) on special teams.

"Whether it helps me make the team or not, that's not my decision," he said. "I went out there and I busted my butt, that's all I can do."

Tollefson said even if he is cut and brought back to the practice squad, he's going to view that as a great opportunity as well.

"Last year look what happened, ...they had a lot of guys that played on the practice squad," he said. "If I'm on the practice squad, I'm going to practice really hard. If I'm on the 53-man roster, I'm going to practice hard and play hard. I'm just going to give them 100 percent wherever I'm at."

Feeling rather secure

Both kicker Dave Rayner and punter Jon Ryan felt they performed well enough Friday and throughout camp to hold onto their jobs.

Rayner did not attempt a field goal but hit all three of his PATs, and all four of his kickoffs came down inside the 10-yard line, including three at the 5.

Perhaps an even stronger sign for Rayner was that the coaching staff never inserted newcomer E.J. Cochrane, signed earlier this week, into the game.

"I think I deserved to hit all the kicks, and that was a vote of confidence from them," Rayner said. "I haven't done anything negative to hurt my chances, I don't think, since I've been here."

Ryan showed a strong leg all game, averaging 53.6 yards on eight punts, including a long of 69, his best game showing as far as distance is concerned.

The only downside to the punt game was that the Titans' return men - Pacman Jones, Cortland Finnegan and Bobby Wade - all had good returns, including one long 41-yarder by Finnegan. Their average of 20.6 yards, behind good blocking and some missed tackles, gave the Packers' punt team a net average of 33.6 for the game.

"It is frustrating a bit," Ryan said. "You don't like to give up 20-yard returns. I take that a little personally too. I could hit the ball a little closer to the sideline, hit it with a little more hang time, so I'm not going to sit here and say to the guys in front of me it was their fault. I have to take a little responsibility as well."

Still struggling

Rookie punt returner Cory Rodgers has struggled throughout training camp to field punts cleanly, and he had troubles again.

On his first return attempt early in the second quarter, Rodgers dropped the ball near his own 20-yard line, but fortunately for the Packers teammate Ben Taylor recovered.

Given another try, Rodgers called for a fair catch in traffic near his own 15-yard line and then dangerously backed away at the last second. He was lucky the bouncing ball didn't hit him and become live, but the Titans still downed it on the 10.

"I had a bad game, I have no excuses for it," said Rodgers, a fourth-round draft pick who knows his future is uncertain. "I just think I put too much pressure on myself.

"Hopefully this organization sees some potential in me and I'm still around here."

Next on the depth chart, Carlton Brewster, didn't fare much better. Brewster fumbled a punt late in the third quarter that the Titans recovered at the Green Bay 17, setting up a touchdown.

Finally his time?

Receiver Ruvell Martin lost out in the final roster reduction the past two years with the San Diego Chargers.

He's hoping that streak ends now.

In battling for one of the final receiver spots, Martin capped off a strong training camp with a solid game, catching three passes for 26 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown catch on a lob pass from Aaron Rodgers early in the fourth quarter. He also added a tackle in special teams.

"This is by far the best camp I've had, my third year going through it," Martin said. "Hopefully it works out for the best.

"It would mean the world to me. It's something I've been working for for a long time. I've been playing football for as long as I can imagine, and to make my first NFL roster would be unbelievable."

Martin flashed his underrated speed on a deep route in the second quarter, getting a step on his defender but just missing making a diving catch. He also got a surprise in the fourth quarter, when the punt return team's troubles prompted special teams coach Mike Stock to send Martin out for a fourth-quarter punt return.

Martin said he's worked on catching punts before practice during camp, but that was the extent of his work on it this year. He fielded it cleanly and recorded a 3-yard return.

"I was shocked," he said. "Not a little surprised, I was shocked. But it's one of those things, what am I going to tell them, no? I just had to go out there and catch the ball. I've caught punts before, never in an NFL game, but I've caught them before, so I went out there and did it."

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