Sherman Searching For Punt Returning Answer


One day after releasing 10-year veteran Darrien Gordon, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman indicated Wednesday that he might not be done tweaking the depth chart at the position of punt returner.

For now the job belongs to second-year wide receiver Robert Ferguson, but Sherman said that punt return specialist J.J. Moses, currently on the team's practice squad, is a candidate for the position as well.

"I have confidence in Moses," Sherman said. "I'm also very confident in Robert Ferguson. I think (after) the game he played the other day (vs. Minnesota), he's a more confident player, more aggressive player, believes in himself.

"I think he feels the confidence of the team in him, so I think he's at a different point of his career right now, where he might be able to assume a bigger role in our return game.

"I feel good either way I go."

Whichever way he does, Sherman will be calling on a player with limited NFL experience.

Ferguson competed with Gordon for the position this preseason, but has only one official NFL punt return to his name -- a 4-yard runback his rookie year -- along with two fair catches.

Moses, who also spent time with the Kansas City Chiefs, saw his most significant action with the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe, where he led the league with 25 returns for 280 yards (11.2 avg.).

But even though his new faces might have thin NFL resumes statistically, with the Packers averaging an NFL-low 4.9-yards per punt return this season, Sherman felt it was time to take a chance and make a change.

"There's always a risk," he said. "When I didn't re-sign the receivers from last year and went with the young guys this year, that was a risk. I think if you want to get to be a great football team, you have to take some risks.

"You can keep going along and no one says anything bad about you, but no one says anything good either ...

"I don't think there's a team that can get to the Super Bowl that hasn't taken risks. I think you have to."

In order to put Moses on the 53-man roster, Sherman said he would have to be confident that the 23-year-old would be on the 45-man roster come gameday.

Considering the Packers' tremendous talent at wide receiver, the 5-foot-6 Moses would likely be a one-position player, something Sherman attempts to avoid because it lessens the team's overall depth.

In a pinch, the Packers also have available to them safety Darren Shaper.

Although used primarily in fair-catch situations, Sharper has been on the receiving end of 17 punts over his pro career, and provides some sure-handed experience.

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