Door is open for fifth wide receiver

The Green Bay Packers have four wide receivers who are locks to make the team, but the fifth and final spot remains vacant. Injuries have prevented two major candidates from gaining the inside track during the current June minicamp, and no one else has stepped forward.<p>

Donald Driver is the undisputed "go-to guy" of the receivers. Driver claimed that title by finishing with 70 catches for more than 1,000 yards last year, and a gutty performance in Green Bay's playoff loss despite an injured shoulder. Third-year pro Robert Ferguson and second-year pro Javon Walker will be competing for the No. 2 spot opposite Driver. Fourth-year pro Karsten Bailey has looked solid this off-season and appears to have the No. 4 spot locked up.

That leaves the fifth spot. Thus far in minicamp there have been no takers, according to offensive coordinator Tom Rossley. The Packers were hoping to get a good look at free agent Gari Scott and seventh round draft pick DeAndrew Rubin but both have been bothered by injuries. Rubin injured him hamstring a few weeks ago during an "opportunity session" with the team. Scott, who was bothered by an ankle injury throughout the 2001 season with Philadelphia, participated in Monday and Tuesday's practices but did not practice today due to a knee injury.

"He needs to come out," said Rossley. "He needs to practice. We're looking for that fifth receiver to step up. He's got an opportunity that's in front of him. He just has to get out here and make plays."

The Packers are probably hoping the fifth receiver can also double as a punt or kickoff returner. Rubin and Scott have done that in college, and both likely will get a chance to prove their worth when the preseason begins. The winner likely will win the No. 5 spot.

Others in competition for the fifth spot include Devin Lewis, who was on the team's practice squad last year, Shockmain Davis and Travis Williams, when he returns from NFL Europe. The Packers like Lewis' size and speed, but he has had trouble catching on to the offensive scheme, according to Rossley.

While the top four receivers are relatively inexperienced, quarterback Brett Favre is comfortble with them and the progress they have made since last year.

"The jury is still out on some of the younger guys and they know that – Robert Ferguson and Javon Walker, who is young and looks great in camp," Favre said. "The big question: 'Who is going to be the guy?' is answered. Donald Driver stepped up to the plate and hit a home run every time. As usual nothing has changed with him. Those other guys, they know here's a model they can follow."

Karsten Bailey, I think, is a sleeper," quarterback Brett Favre said. "Extremely bright. Real quite but makes plays. Wasn't called upon a lot last year, but neither was Donald early in his career. I think we've got four real good guys there. A lot of inexperience, and that includes Donald. But I'll take the effort that they have given and their ability as opposed to any four that I've ever had before. Barring injury, they'll be fine. As long as they keep running full speed and preparing the way they are, we'll be fine.

"Who's going to step up as a fifth, and if we keep a sixth guy, I have no idea."


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