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Notebook: Perfectionist Murphy Reflects On First NFL Game


Auspicious Debut

Given a day to break down film of his first NFL game, rookie wide receiver Terrence Murphy remained critical of his performance despite catching three passes for 23 yards

"I did alright for my first game," Murphy said. "I didn't go out there and just blow it, but I still have mistakes I made."

He cited the need to improve his work in the red zone and his overall understanding of the offense.

"Everything's moving so fast for me right now," Murphy said.

Wide receiver Robert Ferguson, who Murphy considers a mentor, approached Murphy before the game and told him to relax. After the game he praised the performance from the second-round draft pick he affectionately calls his "nephew."

"His effort was great," Ferguson said. "You definitely see the talent. He just needs to fine tune some things."

Murphy's three catches came during two fourth quarter scoring drives, setting up touchdown passes to Ferguson and running back Tony Fisher.

"I was proud of him," Ferguson said.


Big Whit Goes Through Big Learning Process

Rookie William Whitticker has displayed potential but continues to learn on the job as he starts at right guard.

"He's getting better. He played a pretty decent game at guard," head coach Mike Sherman said. "He's a physical player."

The seventh-round draft has shown great command of the playbook and an ability to use his 338-pound frame, but he allowed a sack of Brett Favre to Cleveland Browns defensive end Orpheus Roye during the second quarter on Sunday.

On that play he had Roye blocked but did not finish. He needed to shift his weight to protect the inside gap. Whitticker also admitted he must keep his hands inside.

"Part of that is a result of his youth," Sherman said. "He'll be better at that."

For advice the 23-year-old can turn to veteran linemen such as Mike Flanagan, Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton.

"Everybody on the line keeps helping me out," Whitticker said.

Whitticker may need help in avoiding penalties. He has committed three false start penalties -- two of them on Sunday.

"That's three too many," Sherman said.

On one of Sunday's false starts, most of the line jumped, but the officials decided to call it on Whitticker. Sherman said vaunted linemen like Clifton and former Packers guard Marco Rivera went through spells where they committed false starts.

"That doesn't mean we're going to stay with him if this persists," Sherman said. "We can't accept offensive penalties."

That pressure does not faze the composed Whitticker, and he will continue working hard whatever happens.

"If I'm starting I'm starting, if I'm not, I'm not," he said. "I'm going to go out there and work my butt off."


Wanted: Turnovers

The Packers' inability to create turnovers is a major reason for their 0-2 start. They have not caused one this season.

The coaching staff continues to stress takeaways. Head coach Mike Sherman preaches the necessity of forcing turnovers during meetings and on the practice field.

"I don't know if you can emphasize turnovers any more than we do in practice," he said.

The Packers did cause two fumbles on Sunday -- one by Browns running back Reuben Droughns and another by Browns quarterback Trent Dilfer, but Dilfer recovered both.

Sherman said turnovers will come once they apply heat to the quarterback. The Packers did not sack Dilfer once, and he often had time to step up in the pocket and go through all of his reads.

"We did not generate enough pass rush on Trent Dilfer to cause him any stress and have to make a panic type of throw," Sherman said.

Turnovers can become infectious and will snowball once they snare their first one.

"Once they come, they come in bunches," defensive lineman Kenny Peterson said. "We'll get it. We've got the guys who can make plays."

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