WR injuries hurt in more ways than one

The Lambeau Field boo birds began late in the third quarter as the Vikings built a convincing 27-3 lead over the Packers. Sunday's regular season opener for the Packers was supposed to be a celebration of a newly rededicated Lambeau Field, but instead fans were sent home on a sour note, ending an otherwise festive week.<p>

The reason for the boos was elicited largely by the Packers' decision not to go with a "hurry-up" offense in what seemed like an otherwise urgent part of the game. With the Packers needing a nearly insurmountable comeback, a 14-play, 78-yard drive in the third quarter resulted in a touchdown, but took 7:17 of game time to do so. Ahman Green's eight-yard touchdown run and a successful two-point conversion pulled the Packers to 27-11 deficit with 1:30 left in the third quarter.

The Packers, however, continued to huddle on their next series (in the fourth quarter) when they lost wide receivers Donald Driver and Robert Ferguson for the rest of the game with injuries. Karsten Bailey had suffered a hamstring injury earlier in the game, thus the Packers were down to only two receivers, Javon Walker and Antonio Chatman. This directly affected what they could do on offense for the remainder of the game, according to head coach Mike Sherman.

"We were hampered, obviously, with personnel," he said. "Karsten Bailey had a hamstring, he was out. Donald was out. Ferguson was out. We were playing with the ‘Tiger' personnel grouping which is two tight ends, so (tight end) David Martin had to assume the third receiver spot, and Chatman had to assume the second receiver spot. So we were a little bit limited. I thought it would be better if they just heard the play in the huddle."

In addition to the injuries at the wide receiver position, tight end Wesley Walls was inactive after straining his hamstring on Thursday.

Of the injuries that occurred during the game, Driver's appeared to be the most serious. He leapt high for a pass in the fourth quarter before landing on his head. After lying on the field for some 10 minutes, he was taken off on a stretcher and sent immediately to the hospital. Sherman reported afterwards that his No. 1 receiver was conscious and had movement in his limbs. He knew only that Driver had a sore neck and that the doctors were taking all the necessary precautions because of the potential severity of the injury.

Four plays after Driver's misfortune, Ferguson was tackled at the Vikings one-yard line, spraining his MCL and twisting his ankle. The ankle was what Sherman was more concerned about and could force Ferguson to miss action.

As for how his receiver corps shapes up for next Sunday's game against the Lions at Lambeau Field, Sherman was uncertain.

"I'm concerned about any injury that any player has today at this point," he said. "We've had, again, our share of injuries obviously... at the receiver position with Driver and Ferguson, there's added concern as well because of the depth factor."

Walker is third on the depth chart at wide receiver and Chatman is fifth. Chatman made the team this preseason primarily as a return man, but may be expected to see more action at wide receiver in the coming week.


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