Packers closely monitoring forecast for Sunday

Posted by Wes Hodkiewicz on December 9, 2016 – 10:00 am

161209-snow-950GREEN BAY — Winter is coming. Maybe.

Weather projections continue to shift for Sunday’s game between the Packers and the Seattle Seahawks with the current forecast calling for temperatures around freezing and anywhere from 1 to 5 inches of snow.

Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said he and football administration coordinator Matt Klein are monitoring the forecast, though McCarthy won’t address it directly with the team until Saturday’s team meeting.

The Packers already endured their first snow game of the last Sunday during their 21-13 win over Houston. It snowed continually throughout the game, creating slick field conditions with temperatures hovering around 32 degrees.

“We watch the weather. Rain, wind, you definitely look at those elements and you adjust accordingly,” said McCarthy during his Friday morning news conference. “It’s always built into your winter plan. I don’t really talk about the weather until the team meeting tomorrow. It could change.

“I think when we get to tomorrow, Matt Klein, is our weather man. It’s kind of like your weather man. It changes every day. We try to get him as close to 24 hours as we can to the game.”

Linebacker Clay Matthews (shoulder) practiced on a limited basis Thursday. McCarthy said on Wednesday that he didn’t expect the Pro Bowl linebacker to work until Saturday’s final practice, but Matthews’ shoulder responded well enough to treatment to enable him to get on the field earlier than expected.

“He’s making progress,” McCarthy said. “He’s just working on his strength. He’s getting better. He did all the individual stuff, hit the sleds. He’s improving.”

McCarthy said offensive linemen T.J. Lang (foot) and JC Tretter (knee) continue to make progress with their respective injuries. While their status for Sunday is uncertain, neither player suffered a setback during practice this week.

Cornerback Damarious Randall was largely limited in practice on Thursday due to an illness. McCarthy was optimistic it won’t affect his availability for Sunday’s game.


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Russell Wilson ‘the engine that makes everything go’ for Seahawks

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 8, 2016 – 5:03 pm

161208-wilson-coor-950GREEN BAY — The Packers’ coordinators and defensive assistant coaches spoke with the media on Thursday afternoon. Here’s a summary of their key comments:

Special teams coordinator Ron Zook
(on Seattle PR/KR Tyler Lockett)

“He’s got elite speed. He knows how to run the football. He knows how to follow his blockers. They get on you, and we have to get off them.”

(on the weather’s impact on special teams)

“The biggest difference you have in weather like this, the ball doesn’t carry as far, go as high. It’s harder to place the ball on kickoffs and punts, so you have to cover more field.”

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers
(on Seahawks QB Russell Wilson)

“He’s kind of the engine that makes everything go. Had a chance to be around him a couple times at the Pro Bowl, and you can see his leadership. He has a great feel for people. Guys rally around him and respond to him. He’s a guy that makes plays at key times. He extends plays probably as well as anybody in the league.”

(on having to be careful when rushing him)

“You do. He’s got savvy to him that if you’re four-man rushing and get too aggressive up the field, one of best things he does is he sees the crease, steps up in the crease, and that’s when he’s really effective throwing the ball. He’s good throwing is on the move. He’s very accurate.”

(on TE Jimmy Graham and WR Doug Baldwin)

“Graham is a matchup guy. You could consider both of them, the way they play, as difference-makers. I think Baldwin is one of the underrated receivers in the league. He’s good after the catch, really strong with the ball in his hands.”

(on LB Clay Matthews and his recovery)

“You always like to have Clay at full speed. Last week, I give him credit, he wasn’t full-go, but he gave it everything he had. Our hope is he’s heading in the right direction, getting some strength back in that shoulder. You’d like to have a healthy Clay out there.”

Offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett
(on Seattle’s defense without S Earl Thomas)

“Thomas without a doubt is an impact player. He’s been one of the top safeties playing the game. I’m sure they’ll make some adjustments, but at the end of the day, they’ll stay true to who they are.”

(on CB Richard Sherman, will he stay to one side or shadow)

“He’s done it all. One of the top corners in the game. Very sound, very savvy, very smart.”

Associate head coach/linebackers Winston Moss
(on whether Matthews still influences a game, despite not being healthy)

“To some extent. Go back and look at the film, for a guy they knew was coming off an injury, they still committed a back to him, to chip. They still paid attention to him.”

(on the opportunity now for DE/LB Datone Jones)

“We count on Datone. Datone got after it pretty good (last week). I feel pretty good that if he’s in there and doing his thing, it should help us out.”

Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac
(on Mike Pennel)

“Mike’s a good person. I saw what Coach McCarthy’s comments were on him. I really don’t have anything to add on him. Obviously, he’s a big man, I’d like to have him, but there’s bigger things than football.”

(on Dean Lowry)

“I’ve told you guys all along, I think Dean is a really good football player. He’s been getting better and better and better. When Dean was at Northwestern, he was an outside end for them. We thought he had the ability to come inside from the 5 (technique) to the 3 and do some things inside. He’s extremely smart and he’s been coming on in practice.”

Safeties coach Darren Perry
(on matching up with Graham)

“I think our size helps us. When you get a big tight end like that, you put linebackers on him, he can outrun them. We feel like we match up well. He’s a challenge, but when you’ve got some size you can negate some of that ability to separate a little bit.”

(on defending Wilson)

“He’s going to test your patience and your discipline. You have to be conscious of that. You have to make sure you hold your coverage. Until he gets across the line of scrimmage, you have to stay true. We can’t afford to get nosy and lose our discipline. We know we’re going to see it.”

Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr.
(on Makinton Dorleant)

“He’s quick. He’s a little guy, but he plays bigger than what he is. He has really good feet, good vertical speed. The things that interest us, you could see those things before he got hurt.”

(on LaDarius Gunter and his press technique)

“He gets his hands on at the line of scrimmage and tries to ride from there. That’s his game. It’s a technique a lot of guys use around the league. He’s getting better at it. He’s a hands-on type player. Each week he’s playing more aggressively. He has mentally what it takes to be a very good player in this league.”

(on Baldwin)

“He’s an above-the-shoulder type player who plays with grit. He’s an underrated player who deserves a lot more credit than he’s been given.”

Assistant linebackers coach Scott McCurley
(on the injuries to Jake Ryan and Blake Martinez)

“We’ll try to get them to the game and try to play through them. It’s not easy, but I appreciate their effort and what they’ve done.

“It’s hard in practice. As much as you’d like it to be a simulation of the game, there’s only so much padded work overall. You trust the feedback from them, the medical opinion, the work on the field, and you make your best decision and go with it. We’re at a point right now where you’re not going to get a full 95, 100 percent recovery anyway. We’re working through it together.”

 


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Seattle’s Tyler Lockett a potential game-changer

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 8, 2016 – 11:03 am

161208-lockett-950GREEN BAY — Two weeks ago, the Packers faced an explosive Philadelphia return unit that had returned two kickoffs for touchdowns on the season, and Green Bay held the Eagles in check.

The Packers have to deal with an even more dangerous challenge on Sunday with Seattle return specialist Tyler Lockett coming to town. A speedy, shifty, breakaway player, Lockett is a home-run threat anytime he gets his hands on the football. Lockett plays receiver on offense for the Seahawks as well.

“Against the Eagles, we were outstanding that night in our coverage units, and that’s the type of game we’re going to need this week,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said prior to Thursday’s practice. “Lockett brings a whole new dimension to this game, in this weather, and he’s the focus. We need to win that part of the game. It will obviously affect field position, which will be very important in this game for us.

“They do a good job staying on blocks, and we can’t let them grab us and execute those blocks in the return game. That’s something we’re really emphasizing this week.”

On the injury front, McCarthy said inside LBs Jake Ryan and Blake Martinez are on different practice schedules, with Ryan having returned from his ankle injury last week, but Martinez not back yet from his knee injury. Both are expected to work on Thursday in the padded practice, the longest of the week.

Outside LB Julius Peppers rested on Wednesday but will practice Thursday, and McCarthy suggested that would be the plan with the veteran pass-rusher going forward, even though Peppers would prefer to practice every day.

“He has an old-school approach to that. He does not want to come off the field,” McCarthy said. “He’s a tremendous example for your younger players and a tremendous asset to our program.”

Regarding the suspension of DT Mike Pennel, the second four-game substance-abuse suspension of the season for the third-year pro, and McCarthy said the team wants to help him get past his “issue.”

“It’s disappointing. Mike’s one of our guys, a part of our D-line rotation, a rotation that’s been very healthy, especially since he’s come back,” McCarthy said. “It really creates other opportunities for other players, and that’s the way we’ll go.”

One of those other players would be rookie Dean Lowry, who recorded his first NFL sack and deflected a pass at the line of scrimmage last week, but McCarthy said Lowry was on pace to play more anyway.

“It really has nothing to do with Mike Pennel’s situation,” McCarthy said. “Dean Lowry, based on the way he’s performed deserves more opportunities.”

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


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Packers LB Nick Perry out this week with hand injury

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 7, 2016 – 1:54 pm

161207-perry-950GREEN BAY — Packers outside LB Nick Perry tried to play a few snaps last week with a huge club on his injured hand, but he has to take some time off now.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy announced prior to Wednesday’s practice that Perry would be out this week, unavailable for Sunday’s game vs. Seattle, and the team will be re-evaluating his status next Monday.

“I feel terrible for Nick. He’s having a great season, clearly his best season,” McCarthy said of Perry, who leads the Packers with eight sacks. “He’s had a setback.

“I don’t know the specifics of how long it’s going to be. Talking to Nick, he wants to go. That’s why we’re going to look at it Monday and see where it is.”

McCarthy also said LB Clay Matthews would not practice either Wednesday or Thursday and would try to have his injured shoulder stronger for Sunday’s game than it was last week, when it was a struggle to play.

“He was extremely limited in the game,” McCarthy said. “Each week it’s going to get better. That’s the hope. As far as having a setback, it didn’t help him playing in the game, but I think it speaks volumes about Clay and gutting it out.

“We’ll get to Saturday and see where we are. He wants to try to get some strength back in the shoulder.”

On the plus side of the injury report, offensive linemen T.J. Lang (foot) and JC Tretter (knee) are both expected to begin transitioning from rehab work into practice drills this week. McCarthy did not say their return was imminent, but they continue to make progress.

QB Aaron Rodgers (hamstring) was expected to be limited in Wednesday’s practice, much like he was last week.

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

 


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