Clay Matthews will practice in a limited capacity Wednesday

Posted by Wes Hodkiewicz on November 16, 2016 – 11:58 am

161116-matthews-950GREEN BAY — Packers linebacker Clay Matthews will practice on Wednesday in a limited capacity, according to Head Coach Mike McCarthy.

Matthews has missed the past three games due to a lingering hamstring injury. The six-time Pro Bowler was close to returning two weeks ago before suffering a setback leading up to the Packers’ Week 9 game against Indianapolis.

Matthews, who also missed the Packers’ Week 3 game against Detroit due to a hamstring issue, has 13 tackles and three sacks in five games this season.

Tight end Jared Cook (ankle) also continues to make progress after participating in his first padded practice last Thursday. He hasn’t played since Sept. 25 against Detroit.

“Jared Cook will practice today. Clay Matthews will practice today,” McCarthy said. “Those two guys will be limited. That’s the starting point and we’ll see how it goes from there.”

McCarthy said left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) will be limited in Wednesday’s practice and right guard T.J. Lang (ankle) is scheduled to be part of the rehab program. Both offensive linemen exited against the Titans on Sunday and didn’t return.

The Packers (4-5) are looking to turn things around Sunday against Washington, which is a rematch of January’s wild-card game at FedEx Stadium.

“You definitely always look at your past experiences,” said McCarthy when asked about dealing with the team’s three-game losing streak. “That’s a part of developing your awareness and instincts. With that, you have to make sure it applies to your current situation. I do that. I think everybody does that. No one walks through the NFL unscathed. This is a tough spot, but it brings you back to your foundation.”


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Packers declare Clay Matthews out against Titans

Posted by Wes Hodkiewicz on November 11, 2016 – 10:06 am

161111-matthews-950GREEN BAY — Clay Matthews will miss his third consecutive game against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday due a hamstring injury, Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy confirmed Friday morning.

While Matthews won’t be available, McCarthy said he doesn’t have any long-term concern regarding Matthews’ hamstring, which flared up again late last week.

“I had a chance to talk with Clay (on Thursday),” McCarthy said. “He’s making progress, (but) just won’t be available this week.”

Matthews’ hamstring issues began in Week 2 against Minnesota, causing him to sit out of the Packers’ home-opener against Detroit on Sept. 25.

He returned after the Packers’ Week 4 bye week to start the next three games before experiencing tightness near end of the Packers’ 26-10 win over Chicago on Oct. 20.

Matthews practiced last week and appeared to be nearing a return before experiencing a setback last Friday and sitting out of Sunday’s 31-26 loss to Indianapolis.

The six-time Pro Bowl linebacker has 13 tackles and three sacks in five games this season. With Matthews out, the Packers will again turn to Nick Perry and Julius Peppers to keep pressure on Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota.

McCarthy didn’t make any other declarations on the team’s injured players, but said tight end Jared Cook (ankle), and running back James Starks (knee) and cornerback Damarious Randall (groin) continue to make progress after participating in Thursday’s padded practice.

“James is very close and we’ll see how Jared is come Saturday,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy added that receiver Randall Cobb should be a full go Sunday against the Titans. Cobb played only in the second half against the Colts due to a hamstring injury that sidelined him a week earlier against Atlanta.


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On facing Titans QB Marcus Mariota: ‘We have to plaster our coverage’

Posted by Mike Spofford on November 10, 2016 – 5:53 pm

161110-mariota-950GREEN BAY — The Packers’ coordinators and defensive assistant coaches met with the media after practice late Thursday afternoon. Here’s a sampling of their comments.

Special teams coordinator Ron Zook
(on what FB Joe Kerridge could bring to the units)

“He’s an athletic guy.  He’s a sharp, intelligent guy. We’re trying to work him in there. The last couple days he’s done a nice job. You do so much in camp, and it’s hard to make that stuff up, but I’m looking forward to getting him on the field.”

(on changes with the Titans since they switched special teams coaches)

“Haven’t seen a whole lot of difference in terms of the things that they call. It’s hard in the middle of the season to change your philosophy.”

(on having the right personnel)

“We’ve had a couple bad plays, like anybody in the NFL has, but I don’t think it has anything to do with the size of our guys.

“Let’s take care of us. Let’s do the things we have to do. This is the time later in the year where your time gets cut back a little bit (in practice). You have to see the looks that you’re going to see in the game.”

Offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett
(on possibly getting TE Jared Cook back)

“He was explosive, provided some play-making abilities. He’s coming along.”

(on using so many different personnel groupings)

“You see a lot of new faces out there, and you see them have an opportunity. Each and every week, there could be a different personnel grouping, and guys are excited about that.”

(on tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga)

“You talk about being consistent, and those guys have done that. We have to continue to do that moving forward.”

(on FB Aaron Ripkowski)

“You see him playing with an attitude.”

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers
(on Tennessee’s ground game)

“They’ve got a strong commitment to the running game, and they’ve got good people blocking up front. They’re inside guys are all fighters, they’re maulers. They play with three tight ends at times.”

(on RB DeMarco Murray)

“Murray is a big, physical guy. He’ll take the ball anywhere. If things are clogged up inside, he’ll take it outside on the perimeter. They have a number of things they challenge you with to get the ball on the perimeter. They put a premium on you communicating, because you’re changing your calls.”

(on making a statement with run defense)

“I think we just want to go in and play well. We know it’s going to start with stopping the run. They’re very efficient at what they do. They’re very good on third down, because they have a lot of third-and-1, third-and-2, not a lot of third-and-longs.”

(on their play-action game)

“You’ve got a running back and a tight end who are your two leading receivers. A lot of that is the play-action game.”

Associate head coach/linebackers Winston Moss
(on Nick Perry’s season)

“We’ve always known Nick is a very intelligent, very tough-minded guy. Once we felt he got through the offseason OK and his mindset was in the right place, there was an anticipation. We’re halfway through the season. He’s been very steady, very solid, and we’re looking for him to stay healthy and finish strong.”

(on Clay Matthews’ absence)

“I think the defense misses Clay Matthews. Clay is a playmaker. Clay is disruptive in the run and the pass. We’re looking forward to him getting back. He’s part of the puzzle that helps this defense win.”

(on the run defense)

“We feel very good about our ability to stop the run. We feel we can line up and play anybody, but we have to play well.”

Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac
(on playing run defense vs. Tennessee)

“If you get too caught up in all the shifts and all the motions …. If you let that stuff get to you, you’ll see a steady dose of it. You just have to calm down and play football. You have to stay sound. Just settle down, stay poised, and play your techniques.”

Assistant linebackers coach Scott McCurley
(on run defense vs. Tennessee)

“They do a good job of presenting new problems every week, new looks for you. You have to make sure your checks are on point, your communication is on point, read your keys. Because if you’re behind … your eyes probably won’t be right and you’ll be behind on the play.”

(on RB Murray and TE Walker in the passing game)

“The quarterback does a great job getting to his checkdowns. You have to respect their ability in the pass game. It becomes more difficult when you get the run action and releases by tight ends. It’ll be a great challenge to stop the run and defend those two in the pass game.”

(on LB Jake Ryan)

“He’s playing faster.”

Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr.
(on facing QB Mariota and his running ability)

“We have to be able to plaster our coverage. He can create time with his legs. He has a rocket arm. He can throw on the run. We have to make sure when the down is extended we stay close to our coverage. I don’t know if we’ve seen a quarterback who can quite move like this guy. I don’t think we’ve faced this type of guy this year.”

(on Gunter’s season)

“I look at ‘Gunt’ and I think this. He’s a guy that came into the year as the 4. He’s been thrust into the role not only where he’s the 1 but we’ve matched him. You want to show you’re deserving of the role. He wants to show he can be the guy, but there’s some growing pains. It’s different being the 4 and being the 1. I think he’s learning from the mistakes he has made. He’s been targeted more. For the most part, I’ve been pleased with the way he’s handled the challenge, and I’m excited to see him play this week.”

Safeties coach Darren Perry
(on Clinton-Dix’s good plays, bad play vs. Colts)

“Just like most competitors, guys that play in this league, you have a tendency to remember the bad plays, and that’s normal. We’ll learn from it, and I think the next time we get an opportunity, the results will be different.”

(on Brice)

“He still has a ways to go. He does some good things, and he’s flashed, and I love his physicality, but he’s still a rookie. Every day is a learning experience for him. He’s working hard, not making excuses. We’re pushing him, he’s pushing himself. You see things that you like. We’ll keep coaching him up and keep grinding.”

(on Brice’s physicality)

“He’s got the ability to knock people back. That play in Atlanta, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that, the way he defied the law of gravity you could say. I’ve seen guys turn that play down. To me that was one of the most impressive plays I’ve seen in quite some time. Just the effort and the will. A lot of guys would concede that play.”

 


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Packers focus on getting Jared Cook healthy

Posted by Wes Hodkiewicz on November 10, 2016 – 11:02 am

161110-cook-950GREEN BAY — Tight end Jared Cook continues to make progress with the ankle injury that’s sidelined him for the past five games.

Cook returned to practice last Thursday, but sat out of Sunday’s game against Indianapolis. He had six catches for 53 yards to start the season before injuring his ankle against Detroit on Sept. 25.

While Cook’s status for Sunday’s game against Tennessee is still up in the air, Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy has been encouraged by what he’s seen from the eighth-year tight end in his first week back at practice.

“It’s to get to the point where he’s practicing and exercising the game plan,” McCarthy said. “Obviously, he played good football for us there early. It would be great to get him healthy is really the focus.”

McCarthy said the team plans to increase the workload of Cook and running back James Starks (knee) during Thursday morning’s padded practice at Clarke Hinkle Field.

Starks has missed the last four games after undergoing a procedure on his knee.

McCarthy also said linebacker Clay Matthews will be a part of the rehab program on Thursday. Matthews was making progress with his injured hamstring before suffering a setback on Friday and missing Sunday’s game against the Colts.

“Hopefully, he’ll do more today,” McCarthy said. “Today will tell us a lot based on how much he goes. He’s scheduled to be in the early prehab group.”


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Mike McCarthy: ‘Our guys will bring it’

Posted by Mike Spofford on November 9, 2016 – 11:57 am

161109-mccarthy-950GREEN BAY — Mike McCarthy doesn’t believe motivation will be a problem for the Packers on Sunday at Tennessee.

Before practice on Wednesday, McCarthy was asked about his team’s sense of urgency for this game at 4-4, and he reiterated that the lack of energy comments from last week’s loss to the Colts were not intended to be a “blanket statement” regarding his team’s effort.

“We’ll play with great energy Sunday. That’s not a concern of mine,” McCarthy said. “It’s a road game, so we have that challenge. Our guys will bring it.

“We’re just paying attention to what matters and it’s about improvement. We had a really good week of practice last week … but the first part is preparation and the last part is performance. We have to learn from last week.”

On the health front, McCarthy said both RB James Starks and TE Jared Cook would continue practicing on a limited basis, with Thursday’s upcoming padded work providing the true indicator of where they are. McCarthy did not have a read on LB Clay Matthews and his hamstring yet for this week.

The key matchup on Sunday could be the Titans’ running game against the Packers’ run defense. Tennessee is ranked No. 3 in the league in rushing, with RB DeMarco Murray second in rushing yards behind Dallas’ Exekiel Elliott. The Packers are ranked No. 1 in the league against the run.

“It’s going to be a hell of an afternoon,” McCarthy said. “We don’t play these guys (often), there’s a lot of newness. Our guys will hit the video harder than they ever have this week.”

Packers.com will have more following practice and locker room interviews.


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Captains named for Packers-Colts game

Posted by Duke Bobber on November 6, 2016 – 11:25 am

161106-captain-ind-950

As per team tradition, the Packers select game captains each week. Today’s captains will be WR Davante Adams (offense), LB Jake Ryan (defense) and LB Jayrone Elliott (special teams).


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Eddie Lacy staying connected in meetings

Posted by Wes Hodkiewicz on November 4, 2016 – 10:03 am

161104-lacy-950GREEN BAY — Eddie Lacy isn’t on the football field right now, but the Packers running back is still making his presence felt inside the meeting room.

Running backs coach Ben Sirmans told reporters on Thursday night that Lacy has been active in positional meetings when he’s not undergoing rehab for his injured foot.

Over the years, the Packers have encouraged players on injured reserve to stick around team facilities during their recovery to attend meetings and stay involved with the process.

There was no better example of that than Pro Bowl receiver Jordy Nelson, who remained with the team after undergoing knee surgery last summer that sidelined him for the season.

“I think it’s important for any player, especially Eddie Lacy,” said Head Coach Mike McCarthy on Friday morning. “When these players go on IR, that’s a tough spot to be. … I think it’s a natural reaction once a player gets hurt, they don’t feel they’re as involved in the locker room and all those things. We’ve always been proactive in keeping those guys part of the football team. I think that’s important for Eddie to feel that way and make sure we take care of him.”

The Packers still have the option available to return a player to the active roster from injured reserve, so there is a chance Lacy could be back this season if he’s cleared by the end of the season.

Like Nelson’s work with the receivers, Lacy’s presence provides the added benefit of helping assist the team’s two healthy running backs, Don Jackson and Aaron Ripkowski.

“Your best player in the room is injured, so you take him out of the room, it obviously changes the dynamics, but also the experience, the interaction and the communication,” McCarthy said.

“You look at what Jordy Nelson did last year for those receivers just to be there every day to be part of it. From a coaching perspective, you need to try to elevate those guys a little bit so they can contribute and help the younger players. Eddie Lacy has a lot to offer. He’s played a lot of football, he’s a very smart, instinctive football player and he’s a great asset for our young running backs.”

McCarthy said running back James Starks (knee) and tight end Jared Cook (ankle) are making progress after both participated in Thursday’s practice in limited fashion.

The Packers have been cautious with Ty Montgomery (illness) this week, but McCarthy said the second-year receiver is getting in “in-tune” with the offense and doing well after sitting out against Atlanta.

Receiver Randall Cobb (hamstring), linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring) and cornerback Quinten Rollins (groin) practiced this week, but their available for Sunday’s game against the Colts likely will be determined by how they come out of Saturday’s final practice.

“’Q’ is getting better. Randall is probably not as far along as he’d like to be,” McCarthy said. “Today’s an important day for their process to get back. Then, really post-practice and frankly all three of those guys we’ll see how they feel Sunday morning will be the (indicator) because they need to work Saturday also.”


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TV map: Where you can see Packers vs. Colts

Posted by Duke Bobber on November 4, 2016 – 8:00 am

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– If you’re looking for a Packers bar airing the game, try the search feature on Packers Everywhere.

– CBS will broadcast the game to a regional audience with play-by-play man Jim Nantz and analyst Phil Simms handling the call from the broadcast booth and Tracy Wolfson reporting from the sidelines.

– Milwaukee’s WTMJ (620 AM), airing Green Bay games since November 1929, heads up the Packers Radio Network that is made up of 50 stations in five states. Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play) and two-time Packers Pro Bowler Larry McCarren (analyst) call the action.

– Westwood One Sports will air the game on radio across the country. Tom McCarthy (play-by-play) and Ross Tucker (analyst) will call the action, with Scott Graham hosting the pregame and halftime shows.

– The broadcast is also available on Sirius Satellite Radio (WTMJ feed).

– DIRECTV subscribers can watch the game on Channel 713.

NFL Game Pass gives fans access to full replays of every NFL game on demand, in high definition.

TV map is courtesy of 506sports.com. View the full image.


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Defensive coaches working through ‘some interesting Tuesdays’

Posted by Wes Hodkiewicz on November 3, 2016 – 6:02 pm

161103-gunter-950GREEN BAY — The Packers’ coordinators and offensive coaches addressed the media late Thursday afternoon. Here’s a synopsis of some of their key comments.

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers

On Clay Matthews:

Obviously it’s good to have Clay working back in the right direction. We’ll see how he does tomorrow. It’s nice to have him back out on the field doing some work. As soon as Clay is healthy and ready to go, we’ll be able to use him.

On injuries at cornerback:

The first thing we do – Tuesday is our game plan day. We put together a depth chart and go through worst-case scenario and best-case scenario. Because before you even start to talk Xs and Os, you look at who is going to be available and who might not be available because it has a big influence on what your plan will be. You have to look at your opponent and how you matchup in certain areas. We’ve had some interesting Tuesdays.

Special-teams coordinator Ron Zook

On Indianapolis:

They have a great punter and kicker. Kicker (Adam Vinatieri) is probably as old as I am, but he does a great job. Hasn’t missed a kick in forever. The kickoff team, they do a good job. They don’t let you get set in their returns. They’re subject to onside at any time. They’re always moving around. You have to make sure to get your guys on the right guys.

On Mason Crosby:

With the way he’s kicking right now, he’s taking care of himself and doing the right things. When the season is over, he takes his time and comes back slow. It’s what allows him to extend his career.

On aftermath of Trevor Davis’ 55-yard return:

You have to be consistent in what you’re doing. We felt like Trevor has the ability to do those things. The guys do a really good job of protecting. They have to do their job, which was the case last week. Everybody did a nice job with what they were supposed to do. We’re just fortunate it worked out on that particular play.

Offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett

On Davante Adams:

The goal is to be consistent and stack successes, and preparation. He has a tremendous work ethic. He’s being consistent. That’s always the goal with all our guys on offense. … The more you do it at that consistent level, the confidence goes up and that plays an important role in it, as well.

Associate head coach/offense Tom Clements

On Aaron Rodgers’ performance the past two weeks:

I think he’s gotten into a rhythm and guys have made some plays. Individuals have made plays that boost their confidence. Anytime you’re successful, that boosts your confidence. He’s always made good decisions and knows where to go with the ball.

On Rodgers meeting with RB Don Jackson:

You get that a lot in the meetings because the quarterbacks meet with the tight ends and the wide receivers. I think that was probably a function of not having a lot of experience with Don. He was here in the spring and wasn’t here in training camp. He didn’t have a lot of reps and he was trying to get him comfortable. It was mutually beneficial.

Offensive line coach James Campen

On Corey Linsley:

He’s in very good shape. His wind is up. He’s been doing all those things. The trainers and the staff have done a great job. There’s no concern at this point.

On T.J. Lang getting used to playing next to Linsley again:

They’ve played together for a lot of games and have a lot of plays. It’s only common. You’ve rode a bike next to a guy for a while. It’s more of a confidence thing and a feel.

On offensive line’s increase in pass protection:

Whether you’re running the ball 50 times or throw it 50, no matter what the assignment is, you do your job. Every lineman likes to run the football, but there’s satisfaction in protecting the quarterback.

Quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt

On Rodgers leading team through injuries:

Aaron’s always a guy who loves a challenge. I haven’t felt any change in his attitude. I think it’s just more of a challenge to him personally. I think he looks forward to those kind of challenges.

On Rodgers’ scrambling ability:

You definitely have to account for it. That’s something you saw in Atlanta. They took one of their biggest pass-rushers and spied him. You’re going to have to account for it, for sure. That’s part of it and I’m sure defenses have to take into account.

Receivers coach Luke Getsy

On Jeff Janis:

When I got here, Jeff was getting here. It was a guy who didn’t have a lot of background on details of position. This year, I think confidence is starting to come. Anytime you know what you’re doing, you can play a little faster and a little more physical.

On Davante Adams’ improvement:

Anytime you’re healthy, that definitely helps. He’s a guy who’s always had confidence in himself and his ability. He’s getting more opportunities and taking advantage of them.

Tight ends coach Brian Angelichio

On Jared Cook’s work at practice:

He did a little individual. It’s good to see him out there. He’s been working hard with the trainers. It’s a good step. He’ll continue to progress hopefully.

On keeping Cook sharp when he isn’t playing:

He’s in every meeting. He’s taking notes as if he’s playing. His preparation has been good. He knows that. We’ve talked about that. He’ll look at it as if he’s playing. He’s taking part in all the walk-throughs and everything. He needs to stay up on all the adjustments that have taken place.

Running backs coach Ben Sirmans

On Aaron Ripkowski’s production:

It’s probably more of looking at our situation and understanding what the H-back does in our offense. That evolved into him getting more carries. … Sometimes it depends on some of the things you’re asking him to do, we’re not asking him to run outside-zone or something that’s unfair to his ability. I think with the plays we were running with him are more suited to him. I think he averaged like 5.7 yards per carry with that.

On James Starks:

He went through individual. He wanted to do more and I kind of held him back out of some of the drills we did. He didn’t do any team reps but he’s feeling pretty good. He moves around pretty good. We’ve been slow with him.

On Ty Montgomery learning the RB position:

He pretty much spends a lot of time with me in my meeting room. The thing that helps is he has a great grasp of what to do as a receiver. He did running back in high school and some at Stanford. He can do both positions at a pretty good level.


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James Starks to return to practice on limited basis

Posted by Mike Spofford on November 3, 2016 – 10:54 am

161103-starks-950GREEN BAY — Packers RB James Starks will return to practice on Thursday on a limited basis, Head Coach Mike McCarthy announced.

Starks has missed the last three games with a knee injury, and this is one step in his potential return to action. McCarthy did not address whether he could return to game action as soon as Sunday vs. Indianapolis, or if that is further down the road.

“We’ll see how it goes,” McCarthy said.

Also on the injury front, LB Clay Matthews (hamstring) and CB Quinten Rollins (groin) had “good days” on Wednesday and will be trying to do more on Thursday. WR Randall Cobb (hamstring) might back off on Thursday after a heavier workload on Wednesday.

“I’m hopeful they all can go but we just have to go through the whole week and see if we have any more hurdles to get over,” McCarthy said.

G T.J. Lang (hip) is being held out of practice, with the hope he can practice on Saturday, the last on-field workout of the week.

“Frankly, I’m holding T.J. back,” McCarthy said.

Packers.com will have more following practice and locker room interviews.


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