Rookies ready for prime time?

GREEN BAY – The Packer's two highest-regarded rookies might see their first NFL action in the Monday Night Football spotlight.<p> Defensive end Jamal Reynolds and wide receiver Robert Ferguson – Green Bay's first and second round picks in the 2001 NFL draft – could be active Monday when the Packers face the Jacksonville Jaguars.<p>

Neither has played, or been active, for a regular season game yet. Reynolds was the 10th pick in the draft from Florida State, while Ferguson was chosen in the second round from Texas A and M.

Both players got more practice time this week, said Packers head coach Mike Sherman, and could be activated Monday.

"It will still come down to the top 45 players who can help us win this game," Sherman said. "Both had more reps in practice, and we'll have to see what happens on Monday."

Sherman has until an hour and half before Monday night's game to decide who will be active and inactive.

Ferguson could field punts and kickoffs Monday in place of injured return specialist Allen Rossum, who is out with an injured knee. Wide receiver Antonio Freeman is slated to handle punts, but Ferguson could get kickoffs, Sherman said.

Ferguson caught 15 passes in the preseason for 62 yards, with a long for 40 yards. But he was slow to pick up the Packer's complicated offense, and slowed further by a knee injury.

Sherman said Ferguson has improved radically since he came to camp. "I have seen the light come on in him," Sherman said. "His whole demeanor has changed. He's getting very, very close to being on the field."

Reynolds, a speedy pass rusher, also got hurt in camp. He also was slow to get up to NFL speed. Plus second-year defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila has charged on to the scene, and has 11 sacks this season.


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