GREEN BAY — On the defensive side of the ball, the Packers are listing safety Morgan Burnett (calf) as questionable, cornerback Sam Shields (knee) as doubtful and defensive end Datone Jones (ankle) as out for Sunday night’s game in New Orleans.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy said on Friday that Burnett’s availability will likely come down to what he’s able to do during Saturday’s practice before the team boards its flight south.
“Just get out there and move around better,” McCarthy said of what he’d like to see. “Morgan was in here bright and early going through treatments and he’s going through the Friday routine defensively with the walk-throughs and classroom. He’s making progress.”
If Burnett can’t play, rookie Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Micah Hyde would likely take the bulk of the snaps at safety, while Sean Richardson could work more into the rotation as well. Richardson was in on a couple of short-yardage snaps against Carolina last week.
“He deserves an opportunity,” said McCarthy, who recently tabbed Richardson the team’s MVP on special teams so far this season. “That’s what you’re looking for, players to keep battling and take advantage of the plays they are in.”
Up front, Jones will miss his third straight game due to his bum ankle. He practiced in pads on Thursday on a limited basis.
“He went for it yesterday, and I appreciate him being out there pushing through it,” McCarthy said. “But watching the individual work with Mike Trgovac, our defensive line coach, you can clearly see he’s not ready. He’s not going to make it.”
Shields will likely miss his second straight game. The Packers have a bye after playing the Saints.
On offense, running back James Starks (ankle) is probable after returning to practice on a limited basis Thursday.
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