With the suspension of Koren Robinson and the injury to Robert Ferguson, the Packers are prepared to look to other receiving options to keep the league's second-ranked passing attack going strong.
Robinson was suspended on Tuesday for one year for a repeat violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. The suspension is related to an incident during training camp in Minnesota, when Robinson was a member of the Vikings.
Meanwhile Ferguson is expected to have more tests on his sprained foot to determine the extent of the injury, originally sustained on Oct. 2 in Philadelphia. He has not practiced or played since then.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy indicated Tuesday another receiver could be signed from the practice squad, and the offensive staff may have to look at getting the tight ends and fullbacks more involved in the passing game in the coming weeks. The Packers are averaging 252 yards passing per game, ranked No. 2 in the league.
"These are the types of things you prepare for," McCarthy said. "Once again, that goes back to planning for your season. We do have four tight ends on our roster, we have two fullbacks, so we'll go in another direction."
Currently, tight ends Bubba Franks and David Martin rank fourth and sixth on the team with 11 and nine receptions, respectively. Fellow tight end Donald Lee has just two catches but has averaged 28.5 yards per reception. Fullbacks Brandon Miree and William Henderson have combined for three receptions thus far.
At receiver, first-year player Ruvell Martin is now elevated into the No. 3 spot behind starters Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, and McCarthy is confident he's ready to contribute.
Calvin Russell and Chris Francies are the receivers on the practice squad, and McCarthy said it was possible one of them could be signed to the active roster.
"We have planned for this, and we will move accordingly as we get ready for Miami," McCarthy said.
Robinson, who is not allowed to work with the team or at the Packers facilities during his suspension, is no longer on the active roster and is eligible for reinstatement on Sept. 18, 2007. That's one year to the day after the NFL determined he violated the substance abuse policy.
Robinson appealed, and that appeal was heard and denied this week, but the length of the suspension is dated from the original finding, not from the appeal date.