Packers pre-game notes

Green Bay's final preseason game will long be forgotten by fans and the team about 5 minutes after it ends early Friday evening. It's safe to say that the Packers are more worried right now about the Chicago Bears in the regular opener on Sept. 10 than the Tennessee Titans Friday afternoon at Lambeau Field.

For a few Packers, however, the game will be their Super Bowl of sorts. A handful of players who entered training camp as longshots will have a chance of making the roster if they can make a big play or two against the Titans.

Those "bubble" players, either late-round draft picks or free agents signed by the Packers this past off-season, are not exactly household names among Packers fans. But with a break here or there they could eventually make a name for themselves in the NFL world. They include defensive ends Jason Hunter and Dave Tollefson, safeties Atari Bigby, Tra Boger and Jeremy Modkins, linebacker Trace White, wide receiver Carlton Brewster, tight end Zac Alcorn, and running back Arliss Beach.

Some of the forementioned players may make the team, but most probably won't. Friday's preseason finale may be the determining factor.

Fortunately for the borderline players, they'll have ample time against the Titans to prove that they belong with the Packers this season.

"We're definitely looking at the second guys and giving them an opportunity to win a job," McCarthy said. "We're going to need everybody through the course of the year. We will pretty much stay the plan as far as number of reps with our number ones, and not everybody will play, too, for health reasons. But I think it's important for Aaron Rodgers and all the way down, for them guys to play. This is a big opportunity for those guys."

McCarthy said Brett Favre and the first unit offense and defense will play a series, but then the door will be open for the second and third-string players.

Injury update
Bigby, who sustained a broken hand on Aug. 5, returned to practice on Wednesday with his right hand and forearm in a cast. He is one of those borderline players that has a shot at the fourth spot at safety but not if Tra Boger and Jeremy Modkins have their way.

Defensive lineman Kenny Peterson, who has missed a considerable number of practices with an ankle injury, practiced on Wednesday. Though he is entering his fourth season, Peterson's job is on the line, especially if Hunter or Tollefson have solid games on Friday. Peterson has been hampered by injuries for most of his time in Green Bay and has yet to meet the expectations the Packers have had of him when they selected him in the third round of the 2003 NFL draft.

Those who were unable to practice because of injuries Wednesday, included: running back Arliss Beach (ankle), cornerback Will Blackmon (foot), offensive tackle Josh Bourke (calf), offensive lineman Will Whitticker (hamstring) and Mookie Moore (shoulder), and fullback William Henderson (knee).

McCarthy is optimistic that Henderson, who sustained a knee injury during an exhibition game Aug. 19 against Atlanta, will be ready to play in the season opener Sept. 10 against the Chicago Bears.

"He's off the charts," McCarthy said. "As far as rehab for his injury, he's way ahead of schedule. All indications are that he'll be ready for Chicago."

McCarthy said he is unsure how long Beach will be out with his ankle injury. The free agent running back, who has been impressive, when healthy, in camp, turned his ankle on Monday night in Green Bay's 48-17 loss to Cincinnati.

"We'd like to get him back and get him in the mix, because obviously we've got a cut date right around the corner here," McCarthy said.

Packers-Titans connections
Here are some notable connections between the Green Bay Packers and Tennessee Titans, according to the Packers public relations department:

Packers General Manager Ted Thompson played 10 years (1975-84) as a linebacker for the Houston Oilers.

Titans assistant Chuck Cecil entered the NFL as a fourth-round choice of the Packers in the 1988 draft. He played in Green Bay's secondary from 1998-92.

Titans wide receivers coach Ray Sherman held the same position with the Packers from 2000-04.

Punter Craig Hentrich played for the Packers from 1994-97.

Titans WR Jonathan Orr played collegiately at the University of Wisconsin.

Linebackers Rob Reynolds and A.J. Hawk started alongside one another at Ohio State in 2003, when Reynolds was a senior and Hawk a sophomore.

Fullback Troy Fleming and center Scott Wells played together at Tennessee and were both drafted in 2004, Fleming in the sixth round and Wells in the seventh.

Packers offensive tackle Chad Clifton and tight end David Martin, as well as director of pro personnel Reggie McKenzie, also are University of Tennessee products.

Defensive tackles Colin Cole and Jared Clauss played on the defensive line together at Iowa.

Rookie fifth-round draft choice Ingle Martin was considered one of the nation's top prep quarterbacks in 2000, coming out of Nashville's Montgomery Bell Academy; a native of Memphis, Martin makes his home in Brentwood, Tenn.

Green Bay wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson launched his coaching career as an assistant with the USFL's Memphis Showboats in 1984, when the franchise's roster included DE Reggie White.

Green Bay's equipment manager, Red Batty, worked in a similar capacity for the Oilers for 13 years (1981-93) before joining the Packers.


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