Notebook: Search On For New WR

Brett Swain needs season-ending knee injury; Jermichael Finley might not get another shot at the Vikings; plus more from the day after a blowout win at Cleveland.

With only three healthy wide receivers and perhaps without big-play tight end Jermichael Finley, the Packers are on the lookout for a wide receiver to add to the mix for Sunday's showdown against Minnesota.

Jordy Nelson remains out for at least a couple more weeks with a knee sprain, and Brett Swain is headed for surgery and season-ending injured reserve with a knee injury sustained at Cleveland on Sunday. Plus, Finley is a "long shot" to play this week with a knee sprain suffered early in the first quarter, according to coach Mike McCarthy said.

"That's what we're working through right now," McCarthy said of adding a receiver. "The personnel department is looking at their options, and we'll probably make a decision here in the next 24 hours."

A "definite possibility," McCarthy said, is Jake Allen, who's spending his second season on the Packers' practice squad and certainly knows the offense. The 6-foot-4 Allen caught two passes for 18 yards in the preseason. He was one of the most-improved players in training camp.

"From last year to this year, I feel like I'm recognizing things a little quicker, especially dealing with Al (Harris) and Charles (Woodson)," Allen told Packer Report last week for an upcoming magazine feature. "I'm able to understand the situations of the game. You comprehend more of it. I understand more of the playbook, so I'm a lot more comfortable."

Allen's agent, Bus Cook, said he did not know what the Packers were planning.

Another possibility — considering the Packers have been in "blast from the past" mode — is Robert Ferguson. Ferguson, one of the Falcons' final cuts in training camp, caught three passes for 25 yards in eight games last season for Minnesota and had 32 receptions for 391 yards and a touchdown in 2007 for the Vikings. Ferguson, who turns 30 in December, spent his first six seasons with the Packers. In 2003, he had career highs of 38 receptions, 520 yards and four touchdowns.

Another former Packer, Koren Robinson, is available, too. Others with familiarity with the West Coast Offense, according to Scout.com NFL insider Adam Caplan, include D.J. Jackett, Jerry Porter, Ronald Curry, David Patten and Joe Jurevicius.

Injury updates

While the Packers would dearly love to have Finley get another crack at the Vikings after his monster six-catch, 128-yard performance at Minnesota a few weeks ago, it appears they have dodged a bullet. Finley was hit hard on his left knee at the end of a 16-yard catch against the Browns. A knee sprain beats the alternative.

"It's always different with every player," McCarthy said about injury outlooks. "Sometimes it's clear-cut as far as what the doctor's opinion is of the seriousness of the injury, but sometimes you're dealing with a player that's never been hurt before. Sometimes you're dealing with a player that's been hurt numerous times and the medical staff has history with. Really, there's a lot of variance between every diagnosis and how the doctors feel after each game."

Veteran left tackle Chad Clifton, who missed the game with a sprained ankle, will rehab Wednesday and Thursday and, hopefully, practice on Friday.

Safety Derrick Martin suffered a hamstring strain. Losing Swain and Martin would be big blows for the special teams.

"We lose a guy who's been very productive in terms of his coverage and all of the things he's done," special-teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said of Swain. "He's done a good job blocking on the kickoff returns and been a heck of a kickoff cover guy. We miss quite a bit there."

Mark Tauscher has been cleared medically and will be a full participant at practice this week. That at least puts him in position to challenge Allen Barbre at right tackle.

Special-teams shortcomings

With Josh Cribbs lined up deep on kicks and basically serving as the Browns' only threat, the Packers' special teams played it conservatively. Two of Mason Crosby's kickoffs went out of bounds and two were for touchbacks. On the two others, Cribbs averaged 34.5 yards per return, including a 41-yarder in which Cribbs got around Nick Collins.

For returns, the Packers got little out of Brandon Jackson on kickoffs (18.0-yard average on two runbacks) and Tramon Williams on punts (2.0-yard average on three returns).

"He could have probably gotten north and south on one of them that he was going side to side on," Slocum said about Williams. "We looked at the tape of that today and I think that he'd agree with that. We've got to do a better job of getting him started because he's a hard guy to tackle. You saw when he ran across the field, you have to get him down. That's the exciting part as we move forward. If he can get started, like he did in Detroit, he's a got a chance to make a big play."

Four-point stance

— Voting is under way to select players for the 2010 Pro Bowl. To vote, click here.

Ryan Grant had his first big day of the season, a 148-yard effort in which he averaged 5.5 yards per carry with a long of 37.

"Ryan Grant broke a tackle," offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. "We've sat here, I've talked to you five times already (the day after a game) about explosive runs. Some of it's blocking, some of it's breaking a tackle. We saw good things on both of that, got to the second level."

— Crosby's opening kickoff, which hit the pylon, was deemed out of bounds, so the Browns took possession at the 40-yard line. Had it hit the pylon directly, it should have been ruled a touchback.

"No one had a better view than (the official) did, and he was decisive with the call," McCarthy said. "His explanation was the ball hit the turf and then the pylon, and I know it looked, because I thought the same thing, the pylon just popped out, you thought it was a touchback. But that was not the case."

— With supply low and demand high for Sunday's showdown, the Packers and police are warning, fans of ticket scams.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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