Marshall makes a move

Torrance Marshall has made a statement in the Packers' June minicamp. The third-year linebacker, who was unable to catch on to Green Bay's scheme since he was drafted two years ago, has given coaches hope that he can contribute this season on defense, maybe as a starter.<p>

Marshall began the minicamp last week playing on the second-string defense at middle linebacker behind Paris Lenon. After two practices, he was moved to the first string and has remained there ever since. While first-round pick Nick Barnett has been unable to practice with the team due to an NFL rule that prohibits rookies from participating in a second minicamp, it is possible that Marshall could push for a starting job in the middle when training camp opens in mid-July.

Blessed with size and speed, Marshall played all three linebacker positions this off-season in Green Bay's two minicamps and "opportunity sessions." After getting demoted to third string last year at the middle and weakside positions, Marshall hit the playbook a little harder this off-season and has a better understanding of what the Packers' defensive scheme.

"The light kind of came on where he knows all the spots now," said defensive coordinator Ed Donatell. "We cross-trained him this off-season. He's got a deeper understanding just how our whole program works. He's a multi-talented guy. Now he can play all the spots."

With a strong performance in training camp, Marshall could create a good problem for the Packers. Barnett will likely begin playing in the middle with veteran Na'il Diggs at weakside and free agent Hannibal Navies on the strong side. Depending on how Barnett performs in preseason games and practices, Marshall may be competing against Navies for a starting spot on the strong side, or possibly push Barnett to the second string.

"He's had a good off-season, he really has," said Donatell. "He has been working with (linebackers) coach (Mark Duffner). He has had some good sessions. We're waiting for training camp and we're looking for him to increase his performance."

Marshall had an interception in practice today as the team practiced again in helmets and shorts. He also has knocked down a number of passes in scrimmage sessions.

"He's making plays. He's impressive," said Mark Hatley, the team's vice president of football operations.


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