Packers-Browns: Pre-game notes

Two of oldest starting quarterbacks in league face each other

Here are some notes and quotes from the Green Bay Packers and Cleveland Browns:

Rookie pressed into action
In the wake of Javon Walker's season-ending knee injury, head coach Mike Sherman said this week that there's "a sense of urgency" to get rookie receiver Terrence Murphy on the field for game action.

Murphy was deactivated for Sunday's opener at Detroit because he's not 100 percent recovered from a torn medial-collateral ligament in his right knee, an injury sustained Aug. 17. Murphy returned to practice last week. Sherman is hopeful another week of practice will have Murphy ready for the home opener against Cleveland this Sunday.

The second-round draft pick from Texas A&M would be the No. 4 receiver behind Donald Driver, Robert Ferguson and Antonio Chatman.

Sherman believes the speedy Murphy can be a threat running after the catch. "I like everything about him. He hasn't done anything to make me nervous about him yet," Sherman said. "But he hasn't played a whole lot (because of the injury). So, we'll see."

Carroll benched
Sherman said he had "a heart-to-heart" meeting with embattled cornerback Ahmad Carroll on Monday morning.

Carroll, whose penchant for excessively grabbing receivers tainted his rookie season last year, was penalized four times Sunday for either illegal hands to the face or holding. Three of the infractions were enforced.

After watching game tape, Sherman called two of the penalties against Carroll "ticky-tacky." However, the coach acknowledged that Carroll's aggressive reputation is costing him in bump-and-run coverage.

"I don't want to say they're targeting him," Sherman said of the officials. "But, obviously, they're aware of him, and I'm sure any head coach that we play makes the crew aware of him, as well.

"As I said to him, he has a history and that history lives with him. There is no excuse."

Diggs on way back
LB Na'il Diggs has been practicing this week and is slated to play Sunday against the Browns. He continues to recover from a torn MCL in his left knee, sustained Aug. 8. Diggs didn't play in the opener.

"I've been working out forever, it feels like," Diggs said. "Mentally I feel ready."

Great start
S Mark Roman had his best performance in his second season as a Packer with a game-high 10 tackles Sunday, two short of his career high in 2003, when he was with Cincinnati.

Oldie but goodie
QB Brett Favre is the oldest starting quarterback in the league at the age of 35. Age has not been a factor for Favre, as the NFL's only three-time MVP ranks in the league's top three in four major statistical categories (touchdowns, completions, attempts and yards). Favre has started 206 consecutive regular season games; however, he has faced the Browns on only three occasions, bolstering a 2-1 record.

Rare visit for Browns
The Browns are not very familiar with Lambeau Field, either. Of the seven road games (six regular season and one playoff), Cleveland has made only two appearances at Lambeau. The first came in the 1965 Championship game where the Browns were defeated 23-12. The more recent visit came in 2001 when Cleveland lost 30-7. The other five road games were held in Milwaukee, Wis.

Dilfer vs. Favre
Browns QB Trent Dilfer will start against Packers QB Brett Favre for the 10th time in his career. Dilfer, the fifth oldest quarterback in the league at the age of 33, has posted two wins against Favre's Packers in 1995 and 1998 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Dilfer's 325 career pass attempts against Green Bay are the most against an opponent he has faced in his tenure as an NFL player. Favre defeated Tampa Bay eight times with Dilfer as the starting quarterback. In those eight games, five of the eight losses Dilfer endured were decided by six points or less.

Browns' brick wall
The Browns offensive line did not give up a sack last week vs. Cincinnati (on 43 pass attempts). The last time a Browns offensive unit did not allow a sack in a game was Dec. 28, 2003 at Cincinnati.

Last season, the Browns OL gave up 41 sacks for 252 yards - an average of 2.56 sacks per game. But, the overhauled unit consisting of RT Ryan Tucker, RG Cosey Coleman, C Jeff Faine, LG Joe Andruzzi and LT L.J. Shelton was one of only five teams (Indianapolis, New England, Pittsburgh and Miami) in the league not to allow a sack on opening weekend. If the Browns offensive line blanks the Packers on Sunday, it will mark the first time a Cleveland offensive line has not allowed a sack in back-to-back games since 1992 (Sept. 20 at Los Angeles Raiders and Sept. 27 vs. Denver Broncos).

A return specialist
Browns DB Antonio Perkins was not drafted solely for his skills in the secondary. The 5-11, 188 lb. rookie from Oklahoma is sensational when returning kicks. Last year, Perkins returned a punt for 41 yards and a TD, tying Wes Welker of Texas Tech (2000-03) for the NCAA career-record with eight punt returns for a TD. In 2003, he was a first-team All-American selection as a return specialist. Perkins will be filling the role of returning kicks this week with the knee injury to KR/WR Josh Cribbs.

Russell gets his picks
Cleveland S Brian Russell has 12 career INTs (including playoffs), two of which have come against Favre. As a member of the Minnesota Vikings last season, Russell picked off Favre in the Vikings' 31-17 NFC Wild Card Playoff victory at Green Bay at Lambeu Field.


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