|Jennings returns to Green Bay's lineup|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 21 August 2008 15:25|
The Packers will welcome back their star wide receiver Friday in Denver after he missed the team's first two preseason games with a sore knee. Jennings had one of the best moments of his career against the Broncos last season, catching an 82-yard touchdown pass from Brett Favre on the first play of overtime to power the Packers to a memorable 19-13 win.
It was the second-longest TD pass in NFL overtime history. On Nov. 10, 1985, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski hit wide receiver Mike Quick on a 99-yard play.
``Last year was last year,'' Jennings said. ``I'm pretty sure they're probably thinking about that and don't want that to happen again. But it's preseason. It's time to get work. This is a time where we really perfect our craft, and this is a time to test yourself, especially for myself, this being my first preseason game.''
The Broncos (1-1) will be without Tom Nalen again. Their stalwart center has missed most of training camp and was scheduled for surgery on his left knee, his second in 2 1/2 months. His status for the season is up in the air, depending on what the surgeon finds.
If Nalen can't return quickly, the Broncos have a big decision to make about whether or not to add him to their 53-man roster. They're already planning to hold open a spot for rookie running back Ryan Torain, who will miss the first half of the season recovering from a broken elbow.
With Nalen out, not a single incumbent starter is back from last year. Still, Jay Cutler has yet to be sacked, and he's completed 24-of-30 passes for 237 yards and a TD.
Denver has some experience in the interior line with free agent Casey Wiegmann, who's entering his 13th NFL season, replacing Nalen, and Ben Hamilton and Chris Kuper at guard. At tackle, the Broncos are young, with first-rounder Ryan Clady protecting Cutler's blind side and second-year pro Ryan Harris on the right side. Harris was flagged four times in the exhibition opener.
``It's a learning experience. They're going to have some tough games. But they're excellent athletes. And they're great competitors. And they're learning every day on the job,'' Shanahan said.
Denver will get cornerback Champ Bailey (hamstring) back in the lineup for his preseason debut against Green Bay.
``Champ's in good shape. Champ's had a good week. There's been no setback and he's practiced every day. So, I'm sure he's looking forward to playing his first game,'' Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said.
Bailey's presence will surely provide more of a test for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who struggled at San Francisco last week after a fairly sharp outing in his debut against Cincinnati.
Rodgers took the blame for some mental mistakes, including holding on to the ball too long against a heavy pass rush, but he didn't get enough help from wide receivers who struggled to hang on to the ball and an offensive line that allowed four sacks.
``We're not putting extra pressure on ourselves, but we definitely want to get some momentum going into the season,'' Rodgers said. ``We realize the last game, a lot of times, is just polish for one or two series, maybe, stay healthy, get out of the game and let the younger guys play.''
AP Sports Writer Chris Jenkins contributed to this report from Green Bay, Wis.