GREEN BAY — Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy emphasized on Wednesday before practice that no one individual will be asked to replace WR Jordy Nelson this season, particularly not fellow star Randall Cobb, who had a 90-catch, 1,200-yard, double-digit TD season already last year.
McCarthy doesn’t want players trying to extend themselves too much or take on roles they aren’t fully capable of handling in Nelson’s absence. That would potentially do more harm to the offense than Nelson’s injury itself.
“I think it’s very important for everyone, Randall, the coaches, just to stay focused on what we need to do and that’s not try to ask or put pressure on any individual to try to do more,” McCarthy said. “That’s something we’re focused on. Every player on offense has a distinct role, has things we feel they do best, and we’ll stay the course in developing and driving our game plans toward that.
“We all understand the type of player Jordy is, but we’re not going to ask any of our receivers or any offensive players now to try to replace Jordy Nelson. That’s not the plan.”
The plan for playing time in the third preseason game on Saturday is to be determined. McCarthy said he wants to get through the full week of practice, which concludes on Friday, before making final decisions. In Tuesday’s practice, three starting offensive linemen were out in guards T.J. Lang (concussion) and Josh Sitton (ankle), along with left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee). McCarthy said it’s possible Bakhtiari could return to practice on Wednesday, or before the end of the week, and that will factor into the decision on how much starting QB Aaron Rodgers will play against the Eagles.
“We’ll take a look at practice and assess everything and see where we’re at,” McCarthy said.
Defensive end Datone Jones is out with a knee injury, and McCarthy doesn’t see it as “major,” he doesn’t expect him to play on Saturday. Backup QB Scott Tolzien is still going through the concussion protocol and is likely out for Saturday, making the Eagles game a potential showcase for rookie QB Brett Hundley and Matt Blanchard.
“I think this is going to be a big night for both of those guys,” McCarthy said. “I think Brett and Matt will have a lot of reps.”
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