Pregame warmup: Burnett’s absence will have trickle-down effect

Posted by Mike Spofford on September 13, 2015 – 10:48 am

CHICAGO — With Packers starting safety Morgan Burnett (calf) unable to play today, the key question becomes who will enter the game as Green Bay’s nickel cornerback.

Micah Hyde, who has played plenty of nickel, will be starting at safety in Burnett’s place, so that could turn the nickel job over to rookie CB Damarious Randall. If indeed Randall comes into the game as the third corner, it will be worth watching to see if he lines up outside, moving Casey Hayward into the slot, where Hayward has played a lot in his first three years in the league.

The trickle-down effect then extends to the dime package when four corners are utilized. That fourth one now might be rookie Quinten Rollins, if Hyde is playing safety the entire game. Another option would be to move Hyde down into the slot for the dime and insert Sean Richardson at safety.

The personnel packages will be worth monitoring in Burnett’s absence.

Bears WRs to play: Chicago receivers Alshon Jeffery (calf) and Eddie Royal(hip) were both listed as questionable on the injury report, but both are active and expected to play.

Streaky: Mike McCarthy’s head-coaching career began with a 26-0 loss in the 2006 opener. After that, the Packers won five straight opening games (2007-11), including one against the Bears in 2009, but now Green Bay is on a three-game losing streak in openers, having fallen twice to San Francisco (2012-13) and once to Seattle (2014).

Of greater import is the fact that in losing their opener the past three years, the Packers have gone on to start 1-2 through three games. A win today would go a long way toward potentially avoiding another 1-2 start, particularly with Green Bay’s next two games at home.

Rivalry opener: Today will mark the 22nd time the Packers will open their season against the Bears, with the two teams tied at 10-10-1 in the previous meetings. The Packers haven’t opened a season in Chicago since 1981.

For more on the history of the Packers-Bears rivalry as it pertains to opening day, check out this week’s “One Last Look.”

New addition: Packers WR James Jones returned to the team this week after a year away, and former teammates Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb weren’t the only receivers he already knew. Turns out Jones met Davante Adams back when Adams was in high school.

If you missed the feature story earlier this week on the two receivers’ connection, click here.

TV map: Here’s the TV map for Sunday’s game, courtesy of 506sports.com.


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