Weak Side LB Spot Up For Grabs

Rookie Torrance Marshall started as the Green Bay Packers weak side linebacker last Sunday against Tennessee, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he will get the nod again Sunday against Cleveland.<p>

For the second straight week, starting linebacker Nate Wayne is not expected to play. Wayne is recovering while a small bone in his lower back heals. He could return Dec. 30 against the Minnesota Vikings in the Packers' final regular season home game.

Meanwhile, Marshall and recently acquired Rob Holmberg have been working at the weak side linebacker position. Chris Gizzi, who was scheduled to start for Wayne against the Titans was unable to play because of back spasms just before game time Sunday. Gizzi underwent surgery Wednesday to repair a herniated disk and was placed on injured reserve.

Packers coach Mike Sherman indicated on a radio talk show this morning that he was uncertain at this time who will start at weak side linebacker, either Marshall or Holmberg.

Marshall, the team's second of two third round picks this year in the NFL draft, had seven tackles and one pass defensed against the Titans.

"I think he did a great job," said Packers defensive coordinator Ed Donatell. "I really commend the kid for his attitude. He has a get-it-done attitude. That's probably the most important thing in a situation like that. He has great focus and I thought did a really good job in the game."

Holmberg, 6-foot-3, 240 pounds, has played in 108 games, with six starts, over his eight-year NFL career. The 30-year-old from Penn State has played with six different teams, most recently with New England before signing with the Packers last week.

Marshall has been a backup behind Bernardo Harris at middle linebacker for most of this season. He began learning more about weak side assignments during the week leading up to the Titans game as a backup to Gizzi.

"He's been in the room all year, hearing the concept and overall big picture," said Donatell. "But, sure, he hasn't been through all those movements. So we'll practice. It's better than knowing 10 minutes before the game."

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