Rookie on the rise

It won't be official until Mike Sherman gives the nod, but several players confirmed Wednesday that standout rookie safety Marques Anderson will start vs. the Dolphins next Monday night.<P>

"I feel like I've worked hard and I've had the opportunity to show what I can do," Anderson said. "I'm excited my teammates have confidnece in me and my coaches have confidence in me to deliver that position to me.

"Is it signed, sealed and locked? No. I have to prove myself week in and week out. I have to keep making plays," Anderson said.

The third-round draft pick out of UCLA would take the spot of Antuan Edwards, who just returned to practice this week, and start opposite Darren Sharper. The spot has been temporarily filled by Matt Bowen.

"I don't know if that's been finalized," defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said. "Antuan just returned to practice today and was out there with a pretty big cast. I have to wait until Mike says as much. When Mike says it's a go, it's a go."

So the news is not official, but the clues are all there: Andrson, who missed much of training camp with a pulled hamstring, has come on strong over the past several weeks. He has 21 tackles over the past two games and has earned a reputation as a "ball hawk."

"He has a knack for making plays and he's been pretty impressive,"Donatell said. "He's recovered a couple of fumbles, scored a touchdown, had a big interception against New England. He gets around the ball, so he could be one of those guys, a ball-hawker."

The shuffle would bump Anderson ahead of Bowen, who has filled in admirably as injury decimated the secondary. Bowen stqarted at free safety after Edwards got hurt and then was moved to strong safety when Sharper missed the last two games with a pulled hamstring.

"Well, Marques has been playing real well and he's a ball hawk and he fits that position I think the best," Bowen said."To be honest, when I think of me and him, he's better suited for that position than I am. Maybe I'm more of a middle of the field type of guy, kind of like Darrren, So I think what's best for this team is for him to play."

Bowen will return to backing up Sharper, and playing in the dime defense.

"I thought I played pretty well, but I think for us to make a run at this thing, I think it's better that Marques be out ther right now."

That might not be anytime soon. The Packers have been holding closed practice sessions for more than two weeks as one measure to protect the team's injury-induced changes.

"It doesn't seem to be hurting out progress as a football team, so we may keep it that way," Sherman said of the closed sessions.

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