The Packers coaching staff has awarded game balls to four players for their performances in the 22-21 victory over Atlanta on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
TE Andrew Quarless was honored on offense as he posted career highs with six receptions for 66 yards. Quarless also caught a 2-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter — his first touchdown since his rookie season of 2010 — that provided the winning points.
On defense, DE Johnny Jolly and CB Jarrett Bush were the recipients. Jolly was credited with a handful of tackles, including one for loss, plus a fumble recovery and a batted pass. Bush, who played the dime defensive back spot, made two huge plays down the stretch. He broke up a fourth-down pass to TE Tony Gonzalez with the Falcons on the edge of field-goal range with just under two minutes left, and then he intercepted QB Matt Ryan with four seconds left to seal the win.
S Sean Richardson received the game ball on special teams. Richardson, who got his most extensive action of the season on defense, taking over at safety for M.D. Jennings, was credited with one coverage tackle, and he was part of a solid day for the return units, as CB Micah Hyde averaged 25.3 yards on three kickoff returns and added a 12-yard punt return.
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RB Alex Green and TE Andrew Quarless were not participating in practice on Friday during the portion open to the media. Quarless sat out practice on Thursday and appears headed to inactive status for Sunday’s game.
Green, however, was not on the injury report this week, so he’ll have to be added. Coming off ACL surgery last year, it could be that Green is just getting a day off and he hasn’t had any sort of flare-up or setback, but either way, Mike McCarthy will address it following practice.
CB Charles Woodson, WR Greg Jennings and LB Clay Matthews already have been ruled out of Sunday’s game. If Quarless is also inactive, that will leave only three more inactive decisions to make.
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DE Mike Neal was back at practice on Thursday after sitting out Monday’s and Wednesday’s workouts dealing with an ongoing ankle problem. Neal played through the ankle injury in the Arizona game before the bye but then rested until Thursday, which was a padded practice.
TE Andrew Quarless did not practice on Thursday. He was listed as limited in practice on Wednesday on the injury report with his knee injury, which forced him to begin this season on the PUP list. Quarless was just activated to the 53-man roster from PUP during the bye week.
Also, backup RB Johnny White was not at practice. He was not listed on the injury report on Wednesday.
Tags: andrew quarless, mike neal
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QB Aaron Rodgers took all the snaps in Thursday’s practice after getting very limited work on Wednesday due to a calf injury. With Thursday’s practice in pads, Rodgers’ making it all the way through is a strong indication he’ll be fine come Sunday in St. Louis.
“Just talking to Aaron this morning, he wanted to go today,” Mike McCarthy said. “He thought it was important to get on it (the calf) and see where he was. Then once we started practicing, he felt like he needed to take all the reps, and he did.”
NT B.J. Raji also returned to practice for the first time in two weeks, but on a limited basis. Raji missed last week’s game with an ankle injury, but McCarthy was encouraged by what he saw from Raji on Thursday.
“B.J. definitely took a step today,” McCarthy said. “As always, when a player does come back for the first day, the examination tomorrow will obviously be very important. But it was good to have him out there.”
The only other change to the injury report from Wednesday was that TE D.J. Williams (hamstring) was a full participant in practice. He missed last Sunday’s Houston game but appears well on the comeback trail.
Meanwhile, fellow TE Andrew Quarless practiced for just the second time this season, having come off the PUP list on Wednesday. Quarless said the medical staff is easing him back into practice with a limited number of reps, but he’s felt no discomfort or setbacks after his first two days.
“Every day if I could just get a little better, just kind of get my step back — I don’t want to say ‘swag,’ but to be out there moving around and feeling good about it,” Quarless saisd. “It’s coming. I feel it. I felt great today in practice. I just have to get it back.”
Quarless had been out since tearing the ACL in his knee in Week 13 last season against the Giants. He said the long, arduous process of rehab gave him an appreciation for all the players he’s seen previously who missed long stretches due to injuries.
“A lot of guys come off this injury better than they were,” he said. “I don’t feel like (number) 81 yet, but I feel good. Right there. I’m happy about it. Real excited.”
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LB Frank Zombo and TE Andrew Quarless came off the physically unable to perform list and practiced on Wednesday for the first time this season.
That begins a three-week window during which they can practice without counting on the 53-man active roster. By the end of the next three weeks, the Packers will have to decide whether to activate them to the 53, release them, or put them on injured reserve.
The other player on PUP, T Derek Sherrod, is still not practicing.
Also sitting out Wednesday’s workout during the portion open to the media were CB Sam Shields (shin), LB Nick Perry (knee), WR Greg Jennings (groin) and DL B.J. Raji (ankle). Shields and Perry were hurt during Sunday’s game in Houston, while Jennings and Raji both missed that game.
Meanwhile, S Sean Richardson (hamstring) returned to practice after being out for several weeks.
Update: After practice, Mike McCarthy said Zombo and Quarless would work primarily on the “look” or scout teams in practice this week and then possibly move into special teams work as time goes on.
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That timeline would be awfully aggressive and might be wishful thinking on his part. Speaking with reporters on Saturday, Quarless said he’s not quite seven months removed from his surgery, which became necessary when his 2011 season ended in Week 13 with a knee injury on kickoff coverage. He has been on the physically unable to perform list throughout training camp and hasn’t practiced. It’s still entirely possible, if not likely, that Quarless will remain on PUP at the start of the regular season, which would keep him off the practice field and out of games for at least the first six weeks.
But the third-year tight end isn’t thinking in those terms, at least not right now. He said he began cutting on his knee a few weeks ago, and he likens his rehab regimen now to “training for the combine,” with running cone drills and dragging weighted sleds. He’s aiming to feel “90 percent” as soon as possible, knowing it will be closer to a full year after his surgery before he’s truly 100 percent.
“Right now we’re shooting for Game 1, and when Week 1 comes, we’re going to see the status of my knee,” he said, calling it a week-by-week thing. If Quarless remains on PUP throughout training camp, the decision on his roster status will come when final cuts are made Friday, Aug. 31. At that point, the Packers would have to decide whether to include him on the 53-man active roster, or keep him on PUP for at least the first six weeks of the regular season.
“I’m not going to lie, I don’t like to watch,” Quarless said of his current role at practice, which also includes being a “cheerleader” of sorts for the other tight ends. “But that’s why I’m trying to encourage, and I’m taking a lot of mental reps also.”
On an unrelated note, Quarless also discussed his feelings of the fallout from the scandal at Penn State, his alma mater. He admitted to having mixed emotions, because he credited Penn State head coach Joe Paterno for giving him a second chance at football after some off-the-field incidents early in his college career, yet the investigation into the scandal revealed that Paterno was among the individuals at the university who knew of the sexual abuse allegations involving then-defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky more than a decade earlier.
Having given the situation a lot of thought, Quarless said the reverence with which Paterno was viewed at Penn State contributed to what unfolded. More than once, he used the phrase, “There’s only one God.” Yet, he didn’t want to speak ill of the deceased Paterno, particularly because he played such an integral role in Quarless straightening out his life and making it to the NFL.
“You should never put people … above who they really are. That’s one of the things I took out of it,” he said. “He’s one of the reasons I went there to play, and my feelings haven’t changed, but it’s a tough situation. I feel like he could have done more … there’s more that could have been done as a whole, from the athletic director, the president. Definitely a lot.
“I really felt he was put to a high standard in State College, to where he couldn’t do any wrong. I know how they looked at him out there at Penn State. People are not perfect at the end of the day.”
Quarless actually chuckled at the notion that all of his collegiate victories have been wiped from the record books, per the NCAA’s punishment of the school, but he’s not going to let that bother him. Everything about the scandal is — or should have been — bigger than football.
“It’s a sad day in Happy Valley, starting with the victims,” he said. “They weren’t helped. There could have been less victims.”
Tags: andrew quarless, penn state
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