Falcons will face a remodeled Packer lineup

The Atlanta Falcons are return visitors to Lambeau Field this season, but they might not recognize their hosts. The Green Bay Packers have been through some changes since week one, putting a new spin on this all-important rematch.<P>

And the picture changed even more today. Coach Mike Sherman said that the Packers could be without the services of two of the team's biggest playmakers, wide receiver Donald Driver and safety Darren Sharper, both listed as questionable on the team's injury report.

"If they're able to play and help us win this game, and contribute and not hurt the football team by playing, or themselves, I will play them," Sherman said.

"Both of those men are very competitive and want to be a part of the game this weekend, so I don't anticipate that to be a problem. It's just how functional they're going to be with their injuries. That's really what the decision comes down to."

Driver suffered a bruised right shoulder during a run in the second quarter. X-rays Sunday were negative, and Driver received an MRI Monday morning.

"Obviously he'll be out for a while anyways," Sherman said. "I don't know how he's going to feel later in the week. He's pretty sore right now, but I will not rule him out of the game just yet."

If Driver were unable to play, he would be replaced in the starting lineup by second-year receiver Robert Ferguson, who has 23 catches on the season and 11 over the past four games.

"Obviously to lose Donald Driver, who has been our leading receiver for this year, is a concern, just like when you lose Darren Sharper on defense that's a concern," Sherman said. "But the job of the next guy is to step up and assume that role, and I'm sure Robert will do a great job of that."

Sharper, who was inactive against the Jets, is still recovering from a sprained medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his right knee, which he sustained at the end of his 19-yard interception return against the Buffalo Bills, Dec. 22. Sharper is wearing a brace and continues to experience swelling in the knee, but may benefit from having sat out of the Packers-Jets game.

"I thought he might be back this week," Sherman said. "I can't honestly say one way or the other at this point.

"I'm certainly hopeful that he can get well enough to play, but I can't guarantee anything at this juncture."

As in last weekend's game, Sharper would be replaced by third-year pro Matt Bowen.

More injury news, Sherman said he was "concerned" about the availability of cornerback Tod McBride, who aggravated a groin injury Sunday ... Gilbert Brown may miss some practice time this week with various injuries, but is expected to play ... Tony Fisher was unable to finish Sunday's game with a stiff neck, but will be listed as either questionable or probable this week ... Earl Dotson (back) will take practice reps this week with hopes of playing Sunday ... Keith McKenzie (hamstring) has missed the last two weeks but may be able to return ... Tony Carter has experienced improvement in his injured shoulder ... William Henderson (ankle), Paris Lenon (foot) and Rod Walker (pulled muscle in his side), all experienced minor injuries against the Jets.

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