Plot twist in punting battle

The Packers' punting battle took another turn Wednesday when the Packers waived Nathan Chapman.<p>

Poised to challenge struggling third-round draft pick B.J. Sander, Chapman averaged just 38 yards on three punts in Saturday's win over the Saints at Lambeau. It was his only playing time of the preseason for the 29-year-old Aussie, who signed with the Packers as a free agent back in March.

That must have been enough for Mike Sherman and the Packers, who signed veteran Bryan Barker two days later.

The move didn't surprise Chapman, a NFL rookie but a veteran of Australian Rules Football who knows how professional sports works.

"Once they got that guy the other day, the alarm bells started to ring," he told The Green Bay News-Chronicle. Barker fired his first competitive shots in Tuesday's practice as he and Sander participated in special teams practice. Results were mixed for both punters, and Sherman said he wouldn't base his decision on practice sessions.

"No, because I don't think you really learn anything about them until (game time)," Sherman said. "We've had pretty good practices with our punters. It's when the lights are on and the fans area screaming the live rush is coming that you really get a better evaluation of the punters."

So far, that evaluation hasn't been positive. Sander has averaged 36 yards on his 15 preseason punts.

Still, the 40-year-old Barker will have a tough time toppling Sander.

"I haven't written Sander off," Sherman said. "I think Sander is a good punter and will be a good punter," Sherman said. "I have a lot of confidence in the kid. He's a good kid. He's as frustrated as I am about it and wants to do well."


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