Lineup changes may be in order

Whitticker, Thomas on the bubble

Joey Thomas' first start at cornerback may be his last. Rookie Will Whitticker, who started at right guard in the first two games of the season for the Green Bay Packers, also might be headed for the bench.

Packers coach Mike Sherman said today that he is contemplating lineup changes as the Packers prepare to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday at Lambeau Field. Sherman declined to name any of the players or positions in which change might occur, but it wouldn't be a surprise if he shuffles the lineup in an effort to help the Packers get their first win of the season.

The Packers spun their wheels against a soft Browns run-defense Sunday. The Packers finished with 116 yards rushing, but 20 came on a Brett Favre scramble. Take away Favre's run, and the Packers averaged 3.6 yards per carry on 27 attempts.

Sherman feels that the Packers linemen, receivers and backs have to combine to improve the team's rushing attack.

"You get blocked yardage and you get yards on your own," Sherman said. "We need to get more than that. We are more than capable of doing that. There are things we can do better from a blocking perspective as far as sustaining blocks longer and creating those opportunities for the backs. I do believe there are some runs that we missed on, some potential cutbacks, that could have been longer runs than we had."

Whitticker gave up Cleveland's only sack and a pressure on Favre against Browns tackle Orpheus Roye. Both came on third down. Whitticker also committed two penalties, giving him three in the first two games.

"Obviously, that's three too many offensively," Sherman said. "You have to weigh production in what he's doing compared to what he's giving up. Three pretty important penalties, so I have to consider that."

The rookie, as expected, has been inconsistent.

"Part of that is a result of his youth and I'll think he'll be better at that," Sherman said of Whitticker.

Veteran offensive lineman Grey Ruegamer was not activated for Sunday's game, but that could change this Sunday against the 2-0 Buccaneers. Ruegamer would be the likely replacement for Whitticker in the starting lineup.

Thomas, who started his first game in place of Ahmad Carroll, could be back on the bench. Thomas gave up an 80-yard touchdown to wide receiver Braylon Edwards in the third quarter.

"I made a hard, outside move, he caught it and just blew past me," Thomas said. "I've got to makethat play. I'm going to be thinking about that play for a long time."

Possibly on the bench. Thomas showed no speed on the play, getting passed up by safety Nick Collins in an effort to catch Edwards.

Injury report
Tight end Bubba Franks sustained a knee bruise Sunday against the Browns. Franks underwent an MRI exam Monday morning, which was negative.

"We will know of his status for this Sunday until later in the week," said Sherman.

Franks was injured with 7 minutes, 46 seconds left in the fourth quarter after catching a 10-yard pass from Favre.

Sherman said Franks is not expected to practice Monday or Wednesday.

Franks' backup, David Martin, sustained a "stinger" during the second half of the game on Sunday. He sat out for a while before returning in the fourth quarter.

Defensive tackle Corey Williams suffered a calf bruise, but Sherman said, "he's going to be fine."


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