Beware of the wall

GREEN BAY – Packers head coach Mike Sherman issued a warning to his rookie players Wednesday - beware of the wall.<p> Sherman said he has reminded his first-year players to stay focused, especially now, when most of them were finishing their seasons last year.

"I told them we still have a lot of football to play," Sherman said. "They can't hit the wall now. We will need them during the next six weeks."

Most of the rookies have been with the team since post-draft minicamp in April. They survived training camp, four preseason games and 11 games of the regular season. But there are still five games to go.

"Some of these guys were taking final exams last year and not playing," Sherman said. "It can be a tough thing."

During Monday's 28-21 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Packers had five of their six draft choices active. One, third-round pick safety Bhawoh Jue, started. First-round defensive end Jamal Reynolds and second-round wide receiver Robert Ferguson both were active for the first time this season. Third-round linebacker Torrance Marshall played on special teams, and sixth-round tight end David Martin had xx catches in the game.

Reynolds sacked Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell and forced him to fumble on the last play of the game to seal the win. Ferguson fielded punts and kickoffs without incident.

"I would think Jamal and Robert would be ready to jump off a wall to play at this point," Sherman said. "As long as Robert keeps improving, he'll be back there for punts."

Reynolds probably will see a larger role in Sunday's crucial matchup against the arch-rival Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Defensive end John Thierry sprained his right knee against Jacksonville and is expected to miss two games.

Jue will start again in place of LeRoy Butler, who was lost of the season with a broken shoulder blade against Atlanta on Nov. 18.

The Packers (8-3) will battle the Bears (9-2) for first place in the NFC Central Division Green Bay beat Chicago 20-12 at Soldier Field on Nov. 11. "I don't remember a game that hasn't been big this year," Sherman said. "They're all big games and they just keep getting bigger."

Packer Report Top Stories