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Training Camp Notebook: Healthy Thurman Seeks Titan-ic Performance


Thumbs Up

Wide receiver Andrae Thurman knows he needs to perform well against the Tennessee Titans to improve his chances of making the roster.

"I know the situation I'm in," he said. "It's hard not to press, but I'm just going to make sure and let the game come to me."

The Packers carried only four wide receivers on their active roster in 2004. Javon Walker and Donald Driver definitely will make the roster. Rookie Terrence Murphy (knee) and Antonio Chatman (neck) have looked impressive during organized team activities and training camp, but injuries will sideline them against the Titans, and Thurman will have ample opportunity to showcase his skills.

Thurman has played well too, especially considering a broken thumb which has hindered his pass catching abilities. He broke it while losing a ball in the sun during drills with a JUGS machine. The football landed squarely on his thumb.

"I thought it was a sprain," he said. "And they went to X-Ray it, and it was broke."

Although his thumb is still bandaged, Thurman said it's at 85 to 90 percent.

"Now I can squeeze the ball and carry it in my left hand," he said, "and be the player I can be."

Thurman played in two games in 2004. The Packers elevated him to the active roster from the practice squad after wide receiver Robert Ferguson suffered a head and neck injury.

He caught two passes for 12 yards last year but seeks greater production this year.

"Before, I wasn't at full go. Now it's no more excuses," he said. "My thumb's healed."


Roy's The Man

Roy Manning continues to serve as the sleeper of training camp. The undrafted rookie free agent started at weakside outside linebacker during the majority of Monday and Tuesday's practices.

"He's certainly done well enough where he should have been picked somewhere," general manager Ted Thompson said. "He has done a nice job."

No team drafted Manning partly because he was a late bloomer. He did not start until his senior year, and many scouting services weigh the junior year performance very heavily.

The coaching staff likes his speed, range and dependability. He has missed one practice during training camp despite receiving extensive action on defense and special teams.

"He goes out there everyday," Thompson said. "That helps your cause when it comes down to who's going to be on your team. A lot of times that's underrated in the public's eyes."


Iron Man

After coming aboard as an undrafted free agent from Southern Methodist University, Ted Thompson battled to make the Houston Oilers' roster in 1975. Oilers rookies started training camp in Huntsville, Texas before July 4 and practiced twice-a-day for several weeks before the veterans arrived.

Thompson remembers his disappointment when a thunderstorm forced the cancellation of a training camp practice.

"I'm sitting there thinking, 'Oh, I missed a chance here,'" he said. "You wanted to do something everyday to get in the coaches' minds."

As a result, Thompson has a low tolerance for players lacking toughness or missing excessive time because of lingering injuries. An assortment of injuries has sidelined a number of Packers players during 2005's training camp.

"Injuries are injuries," Thompson said. "But it's frustrating."

Thompson went on to play 146 of 147 games during his player career, which lasted until 1984.


Quick Hits: One day after Grey Ruegamer received most of the repetitions with the first unit, William Whitticker started at right guard during Tuesday's practice. ... Starting safety Mark Roman missed practice because his wife gave birth to a boy. Earl Little started in Roman's place. Roman should play during Thursday's game. ... Ted Thompson will review a DVD of the Packers-Titans game on his laptop during his flight home from Nashville. ... Head Coach Mike Sherman said the starters will not play into the second half. ... Defensive tackles Grady Jackson and Cletidus Hunt showed few signs of soreness after participating in their first full practice together. "They were no worse for the wear from yesterday," Sherman said. "They seemed to do okay." ... After dropping a few passes on Monday, tight end Bubba Franks rebounded with a strong performance on Tuesday. "He looked like he's in midseason form," Sherman said. "His conditioning is excellent, and he's catching all the balls thrown to him."... Thompson on free agent defensive tackle Corey Simon: "We're doing our homework," he said. "I wouldn't say anything is imminent there."... Sherman praised the depth of the offensive line. "This is the healthiest we've been on the offensive line. We've really survived this preseason without injury, and that's been a first for us."

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