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Packers-Lions Notebook


No Sweat

After running back Ahman Green committed a pair of fumbles in the Packers' hot and humid season opener against the Atlanta Falcons, both player and GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman suggested that Green's profuse sweating might have contributed to the mishandlings.

But after Green suffered another costly fumble within the air-conditioned confines of the Louisiana Superdome last weekend, Sherman removed bodily fluids from the list of viable excuses.

"Let's be honest about it," Sherman told reporters Wednesday, "we've used the sweat thing, we're done with that one."

In other words, the Packers can't afford to consider Green's fumbles a fluke any longer. Whatever the cause, the problem must stop here and now.

"He needs to secure the football like it's his first-born son, that's what he needs to do," Sherman said.

Sherman believes one of the reasons behind Green's fumbles is his hard running style, which creates collisions that can be as costly for Green as for his would-be tacklers. He's also confident that Green will be able to turn things around simply by making a more conscious effort.

As evidence of that he pointed to the way Green responded to his second-quarter fumble in New Orleans, a play in which the running back correctly moved his off-arm to the football, but incorrectly positioned it below the ball.

"He tried to protect the football," Sherman said. "The extra hand was down low, it needed to be up high, and it was for the rest of the game. It's something that we have to fix and he knows that. He's very concerned about it, as are we . . .

"If this was a bad kid or wasn't conscientious (I'd be concerned). This is a great kid who is extremely conscientious and feels terrible about it and wants to fix it."

It's unknown whether Green will get a chance to focus on his ball handling in practice this week. Having strained a quadriceps tendon last weekend, Green is listed as questionable for Sunday's game against Detroit.

Reactions, Retractions

Lions wide receiver Bill Schroeder is listed as doubtful for this weekend's game, but that doesn't mean the former Packer isn't a topic of interest.

In recent weeks, Schroeder has not only endured a hit to his injured ribs, but has also taken shots about his route running, most notably from Lions Head Coach Marty Mornhinweg.

Following the Lions' season-opening game against the Miami Dolphins, Mornhinweg criticized Schroeder for a play in which the receiver seemed to give up on a Mike McMahon pass.

"It's obvious he pulled up," Mornhinweg was quoted as saying in the Detroit Free Press. "There's no question about that, and it won't happen again. I'm not going to talk about specific plays and neither should the player.

"Quite frankly, we had a little discussion about that. The very best thing to do when you screw something up, the first thing you have to do is admit you're wrong, No. 1, and then move on -- get it corrected and move on."

As frustrated as those words seemed, Mornhinweg was singing a different tune when he spoke with members of the Green Bay media via teleconference Wednesday.

"I must have said something, apparently, that the media took the wrong way; (Schroeder) pulled off the route, he didn't pull off the ball," he said. "I've seen some of the best receivers in this league do similar things on certain routes.

"Really, it was a miscommunication rather than him pulling off of the football. A guy jumped inside of him and he started to break his route off right as the ball was thrown. It looked much worse than really it was. So I was not angry or upset. We corrected it and we moved on."

New Targets

Throughout the preseason, much was made of the Packers' decision not to re-sign receivers Antonio Freeman, Bill Schroeder and Corey Bradford.

Yet while it's too soon to suggest that the Packers won't experience any growing pains at the position, its current trio of receivers has looked up to the task through the opening two games.

Thus far, Terry Glenn, Donald Driver and Javon Walker have combined to make 27 catches for 353 yards and 3 touchdowns. In terms of yardage, that's 41.9 percent of the Packers' offensive output this season.

"Everyone was down on the receivers that we weren't going to come in here and produce," Driver said. "So far, through the first two games, we have shown that we can play this game. We have 14 games left, we have to keep making plays."

If GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman has any concern about his receivers, it might be regarding the ability of Glenn and Driver to stay healthy. Both are smaller receivers who have had injury problems throughout their careers.

Both are healthy at the moment, but it's enough to make Sherman nervous each time Glenn and Driver sacrifice their bodies to make a catch.

"No one hits the ground harder than (Glenn) and Donald Driver," Sherman said. "Those guys, they go up like gazelles, but they come down like elephants."

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