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McCarthy mulling options if Dietrich-Smith can’t play

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 5, 2013 – 4:49 pm

Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said on Thursday that he’s hopeful C Evan Dietrich-Smith can return to practice in some capacity on Friday, but he hasn’t made a final decision on the starting offensive line should Dietrich-Smith not be able to play.

C Evan Dietrich-Smith

C Evan Dietrich-Smith

Dietrich-Smith injured an ankle in practice on Wednesday and sat out Thursday. If he can’t play, he’d be replaced by RG T.J. Lang at center, the same move made in Detroit last week when Dietrich-Smith went down with a knee injury.

One of three other players would fill in from there. One option would be for ro0kie Lane Taylor to take Lang’s spot at RG. Another would be for Don Barclay to slide over from RT to RG, with Derek Sherrod starting at RT. Or Marshall Newhouse could start at either RG or RT, with Barclay playing the other spot.

“The opportunity needs to be earned and performance will drive it,” McCarthy said.

The Packers got no further clarity on QB Aaron Rodgers’ availability for Sunday. He practiced in pads and “made a little progress,” according to McCarthy, but there was nothing more to report.

“He’s a step closer, but how far away, time will answer that question,” McCarthy said.

In other news, CB Tramon Williams acknowledged that he was fined by the league for the contact he made with an official in the end zone in Detroit last Thursday. Williams said the fine was “in the 20s,” meaning thousands of dollars, but he maintained there was no intent behind the contact and that he didn’t know in the heat of the moment it was an official whose arm he swiped away.

“I’ll appeal,” he said. “Hopefully they give me some money back.”

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