Rookie quarterback shines

Rookie QB Craig Nall turned a few question marks into exclamation points Friday in Green Bay's 21-20 victory over Tennessee at Lambeau Field.<p>

The final chance to show his wares in preseason, the fifth-round draft pick demonstrated both his arm and his leadership in engineering two touchdown drives. He finished with an impressive 12-of-19 for 182 yards and no interceptions, playing all but the first series of the second half.

"I felt great," Nall said. "I was able to build on some things from last week."

After his training camp and first preseason game did little to establish the idea that Nall could be the Packers' No. 3 QB. Like a student who knows he has to pull an "A" on the final to pass the course, Nall came up with two outstanding performances to end the exhibition run.

"I thought Craig Nall stepped up," Packers head coach Mike Sherman said. "I thought he did a marvelous job, he was every efficient, had a coujple blocked at the line of scrimmage, had a drop, threw one out of bounds, but I thought he played extremely well."

Nall's well-placed 16-yard TD pass to receiver Charles Lee may have been his best single play, but it was the entire early fourth-quarter drive which impressed his coach. Nall found his rhythm going to Ferguson then Karsten Bailey before hitting Lee for the TD.

Nall opened the next series with a smash - a 44-yard pass to Javon Walker. From there, he hit Tony Fisher, then went to Lee for another touchdown, this time from 25 yards.

He did it all under pressure. Tennessee kept after Nall, using their second-string D against mostly third-teamers for Green Bay. A brutal sack for an eight-yard loss opened his second series, but he didn't let it throw him.

"It kept me on my toes. Sometimes you can sit back there and get lulled to sleep. Our guys did a great job of picking up blitzes and the running backs blocked really well. The offensive line gave me plenty of time to sit back there and analyze what was going on down the field."

Grateful for the opportunity in the second half of preseason, Nall credits some good advice with pulling him through.

"I've really got to credit coach (Darrell) Bevell," Nall said. "He stuck with me, really preaching confidence. They knew I could play and I know I can play. It's just a matter of getting out there and doing it. Some of the other guys like Nate Wayne and Darren Sharper have talked to me on the sidelines, you know, 'You go out there and do it. Complete some balls. We know you can play.

"I learned not to take things lightly," Nall said. "I think I came in and did a good job at mini-camp and thought I made the team so at training camp I kinda relaxed and it showed. I've improved my accuracy and execution."

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