When Benson initially injured the foot in Week 5 in Indianapolis, he was placed on IR with the designation to return. But that return now won’t happen. Benson said as recently as two weeks ago that he was going to be able to avoid surgery, but in the end, it was necessary.
That leaves the Packers with three healthy running backs in James Starks, Alex Green and John Kuhn.
“I feel we have a good rotation,” McCarthy said. “It’s really just finding the things they all do well, and playing to that and having them in sync with the run-blocking unit. I thought the way we started last game, and Arizona was a good game. If we can find that rhythm, it will definitely benefit us.”
Last week against the Giants, the aforementioned trio plus Randall Cobb combined for 40 rushing yards on 10 carries in the first half, a solid 4.0 average. But trailing 31-10 at halftime, the Packers were forced to get away from the run. Against Arizona before the bye, Starks and Green combined for 114 yards on 28 carries (4.1 avg.).
“We just need to pick up our end now,” Kuhn said. “I don’t think there’s just one in particular key. I think everybody just needs to detail their job – the line, the running backs, the wide receivers. The running game isn’t just the running back position. Every position falls into it.”
Tags: alex green, cedric benson, james starks, john kuhn, randall cobb
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 47 Comments »
Packers LB Clay Matthews (hamstring) sat out practice once again on Wednesday, but Head Coach Mike McCarthy said he watched Matthews go through his rehab workout and the medical staff is planning to re-evaluate the star pass rusher on Friday.
Matthews has missed the last two games due to a hamstring injury sustained against Arizona on Nov. 4.
“He wants the opportunity to talk again on Friday,” McCarthy said. “He’s getting close. I think it’ll be a stretch for him to play in the game, but we’ll have him evaluated again on Friday and see how the week of rehab goes.”
In other injury news, DE C.J. Wilson (knee) has all but been ruled out by McCarthy for this week, a tough blow for the run defense with Vikings RB Adrian Peterson coming to town. Fellow DE Ryan Pickett (quad) also missed practice, but McCarthy said Pickett should be back at practice either Thursday or Friday and the coach isn’t concerned about his availability for the game.
“We’re going to miss C.J. He’s a real good run player,” said Pickett, who characterized his own injury as a bruise and reiterated McCarthy’s confidence that he would play on Sunday. “I think he gets overlooked. A lot of times he doesn’t get the credit he deserves. He can play the run real good.”
LT Marshall Newhouse was added to the injury report with a wrist injury, and he was limited in practice, but as with Pickett, McCarthy didn’t express a high level of concern for Newhouse’s availability for the game.
McCarthy also said that T Derek Sherrod was “not close enough” to being ready to play for the Packers to move him from the physically unable to perform list to the 53-man roster this week, so Sherrod will miss the entire season.
As for RB Cedric Benson, he was going through an evaluation on his injured foot during McCarthy’s press conference and the results were not yet known. Benson has been on injured reserve/designated for return since hurting his foot in Week 5. He was eligible to return to practice last week but has not yet done so.
Tags: cedric benson, clay matthews
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 30 Comments »
Only one was with the team the first and only time the Packers played at Reliant Stadium in 2004, and that was WR Donald Driver. Coincidentally, that was also a prime-time Sunday night game.
The other three are veterans who played in Houston while employed by other teams.
C Jeff Saturday has the most experience in the stadium, having played several years for the Indianapolis Colts, an AFC South rival of Houston’s who would travel to Reliant Stadium every season.
Also, CB Charles Woodson played against the Texans in Houston in 2004 as a member of the Raiders, and DL Ryan Pickett did the same in ’05 while with the Rams.
RB Cedric Benson played in Houston as a member of the Bengals in 2008 and in the AFC playoffs last season, but Benson is now on injured reserve.
Tags: cedric benson, charles woodson, donald driver, jeff saturday, reliant stadium, ryan pickett
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 10 Comments »
Mike McCarthy announced on Wednesday that RB Cedric Benson has been placed on injured reserve with the designation to possibly return this season.
That’s a new rule in 2012, and each team gets one such IR designation. Benson must sit out a minimum of six weeks of practice and eight weeks of games before he’s eligible to return.
McCarthy said the Packers were targeting Benson to possibly return from his foot sprain for the final four weeks of the season, though that’s a premature projection.
McCarthy also said regarding TE Jermichael Finley, DL B.J. Raji and WR Greg Jennings that all three would rehab their injuries this week, and the earliest any of them would return to practice would be Friday. With all three players, McCarthy said he might take it all the way up until game time to see if they’re able to play.
Tags: cedric benson, injured reserve
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 23 Comments »
LB Desmond Bishop, who injured his hamstring in the preseason opener against San Diego and is out for the season, spoke to reporters on Tuesday and admitted it’s difficult to have to sit out the entire year.
“I’m coping,” he said. “There’s nothing I can do about it. It is what it is. I’m trying to adapt to the adage that everything happens for a reason. I’m coming along pretty good with that. I’m just hoping the guys do good and I’m with them in spirit.”
Bishop had surgery on the hamstring performed by team physician Dr. Pat McKenzie, and McKenzie told him it went well. There was talk before the roster was finalized of Bishop possibly going on injured reserve with the new designation to possibly return by season’s end, but Bishop said Dr. McKenzie didn’t think that was realistic.
“I thought I possibly could have (come back), but whether or not it would have been smart to risk it is a whole different conversation,” Bishop said. He added that it was difficult to watch his teammates lose to San Francisco in Week 1, particularly with the defense struggling to stop the run. Niners RB Frank Gore rushed for 112 yards on just 16 carries.
“Yeah, it was (tough),” he said. “Our guys were out there fighting, and I really wish I could be out there fighting the battle with them. They came up short, but it’s just one game.”
On Thursday night, RB Cedric Benson will be facing the team that drafted him No. 4 overall in 2005, the Chicago Bears. Back in 2009 while playing for Cincinnati, Benson rushed 37 times for 189 yards and a TD the first time he got a crack at his former team. The Bengals crushed the Bears that day, 45-10.
Benson said he feels no extra motivation facing the Bears again this week, saying his years in Chicago were a long time ago and he holds no personal grudges.
“It’s extra incentive every weekend for me,” he said. “The fact that they’re a former team, you always want to do great against those guys, but that’s not the driving force here. Every week is always extra incentive to get the job done.”
That’s especially true coming off his disappointing nine-carry, 18-yard Packers debut last Sunday. Benson was hoping to get more carries in that game, but he understood the game plan and the way the game unfolded didn’t call for that.
“There’s some work to be done,” he said. “I’ve got to set guys up to create some explosiveness in the run game. And we can’t get behind, because we have to play catch-up then and we don’t get to run as much. For me personally, I have to be patient and also be explosive.”
For more of Tuesday’s coverage, click here.
Tags: cedric benson, chicago bears, desmond bishop
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 13 Comments »
Coming off of reconstructive knee surgery, Green has been on a snap count throughout training camp but has managed it well with no setbacks to speak of. He got three carries in the preseason opener in San Diego and then four in last week’s game vs. Cleveland, averaging 4 yards per tote in the second game. He had one 5-yard run that nearly ruptured into a longer gain, but Green was tripped up.
With the status of James Starks (turf toe) uncertain at this point for the start of the regular season, the starting job for Sept. 9 could come down to Green or Benson. Green is getting closer to being able to handle a larger load, according to his position coach, Alex Van Pelt, and he looks to continue making progress.
“I think he’s getting stronger every day,” Van Pelt said. “As he feels more confident in his knee and the work he’s getting out there, I think you can see the explosiveness and the pad level and what he brings as a runner. You can see it in practice, and hopefully it will translate over this week to the game.”
Tags: alex green, alex van pelt, cedric benson
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp | 19 Comments »
GM Ted Thompson said Tuesday morning that the 53-man roster for Week 1 is a long way from being decided with three preseason games still remaining. The Packers won’t make any cuts until after the third game, when the roster is reduced from 90 to 75 players. It comes down to 53 after the fourth preseason game.
“I don’t try to prejudge it,” Thompson said during his weekly training camp meeting with the media. “I let it go its course. Too many times you think, ‘This is probably going to happen,’ and all of a sudden somebody has a dynamite game and it’s completely different. So I let it run its course. We told these guys they have a chance to make our team and they still have a chance to make our team.”
Thompson also dismissed the notion that the signings of 31-year-old Reggie Wells on the offensive line and 29-year-old Cedric Benson, a running back with a checkered past, have signaled any shift in philosophy with how he goes about building a team. He emphasized that those signings were out of necessity due to injuries and questions about depth at those positions.
“A team is ever-evolving, and we felt like those were good moves at this particular time,” Thompson said. “We were very, very young at a couple of positions, like in the case of Reggie Wells, we’re very young in the backup roles (on the offensive line). Adding a guy with experience, we’ll take a look at him and see how he fits in, see if it’s a good fit. I don’t know if there’s any cosmic change in the way we like to do business.”
Particularly at running back, the injuries have piled up. When John Kuhn sustained an ankle injury Monday, the Packers were down to two healthy tailbacks (Alex Green, who’s on a snap count, and rookie Marc Tyler) and one fullback (undrafted rookie Nic Cooper).
“As we went further into training camp, we realized you never have enough horses,” Thompson said. “It’s a tough position to play. It’s a tough position durability-wise to stay out there. We think he can help that group out. What that means, whether he’s a starter, all that will be determined down the road.”
As for Benson’s off-the-field incidents over the years, Thompson said he spoke with Benson about them and came away confident that Benson is more mature now.
“I don’t want to talk about Cedric’s private affairs, but we had a conversation and I was comfortable he understands that maybe he made some mistakes in the past and maybe he’s more mature and farther down the road in terms of developing in that regard,” Thompson said. “We felt comfortable after that.”
Tags: cedric benson, reggie wells, ted thompson
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp | 33 Comments »
Cedric Benson dressed in shells and was a limited participant in Monday’s practice, but he won’t play in Thursday’s preseason home opener against the Browns, and that’s causing Mike McCarthy to continue feeling the pinch at running back.
“We’re down to three running backs, Alex Green being one of them,” McCarthy told reporters following a practice that was cut short by 20 minutes on Monday after fullback/running back John Kuhn sustained a sprained ankle. “We’ll see where John is. I’d like to have four (running backs) going into the game.”
Benson spent the majority of practice watching Kuhn, Green and rookie Marc Tyler share reps. James Starks (toe) and Brandon Saine (hamstring) stood off to the side. Green, of course, is less than a year removed from knee reconstruction.
Injuries have created a desperate situation at running back for the Packers, and Benson was signed on Sunday to help ease the crunch. He’s rushed for more than a thousand yards in each of the last three seasons, but he’s more of a runner than he is a receiver and a pass-blocker, which has caused some to question Benson as a fit in the Packers offense.
“We have an idea of the kind of player we’re bringing in. We’ll teach him like we teach the rest of the guys,” McCarthy said. “Cedric Benson is a good fit for us. He’s been a very productive running back.”
McCarthy cited the Packers’ transition to a one-back type of offense as being an especially good fit for Benson.
Injuries are causing practice targets difficult for McCarthy to reach. It would seem to be his greatest concern as training camp heads into its latter stages.
“We’re not where we wanted to be. Today’s practice was supposed to be (two hours, 21 minutes long). When John went down, I didn’t think it was worth the risk to try to get through the last period,” McCarthy said.
Benson will be a welcomed addition to the backfield after he completes the initiation processes and is cleared for full participation.
In other injury news, tackle Marshall Newhouse and wide receiver Tori Gurley returned to practice on Monday. Gurley turned in one of the highlight plays of practice when he bowled over cornerback Dion Turner following a reception.
Defensive lineman Ryan Pickett and safety M.D. Jennings were excused from practice due to personal reasons. Jermichael Finley continues to be sidelined by a quad injury.
For more on new RB Cedric Benson, who spoke with reporters in the locker room on Monday, click here.
Tags: cedric benson, injuries, john kuhn, mike mccarthy
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp | 35 Comments »