Receivers Among The Leaders


A year ago, questions surrounded the Green Bay Packers' receiving corps heading into the season opener.

In 2003 it's sort of the same, except that now the question isn't so much if Donald Driver, Robert Ferguson and Javon Walker can produce, but just how productive can they be?

Coming off a Pro Bowl season in which he increased his career receptions total from 37 to 107, Driver is the undisputed leader of the group.

With Terry Glenn departed to Dallas, Ferguson is slated to assume the other starting role, with Walker featured heavily as well. Karsten Bailey assumes the fourth receiver spot, followed by Antonio Chatman.

Although Driver is the elder of the group approaching his fifth season, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman predicts that the receiving corps will be one of the team's greatest strengths in 2003.

"They're young, but I'm excited about them because of the talent level that we have there," Sherman said. "I believe they're just going to keep getting better and better ...

"Are they going to catch every single ball? Probably not. But they're going to catch more than they drop, and they're going to make something happen when they catch the ball, I believe that."

The development of Ferguson, who went pro after his junior year at Texas A&M, is one of the reasons Sherman is so optimistic.

Coming off a 22-catch season, Ferguson reported to training camp stronger and faster than ever before.

"I'm very confident in Robert Ferguson," Sherman said. "Very confident.

"He's strong, he's fast, he's determined, he's competitive. He's everything he wasn't when he first got here, to be honest with you. The guy has really flipped the switch and I'm excited about him."

Ferguson insists that he's always been a confident player, but said his improved understanding of the offense and increased playing time have helped him progress.

For Ferguson, 2003 feels a heck of a lot different than 2002, when he entered the year without a single NFL catch to his name.

"I know I'm an important part of this team right now," Ferguson said. "Any time you're an important part of something, it feels different ... I feel like a bit more is placed upon me to make some plays."

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