The Packers lost two starters on the offensive line to injury in last week’s game, but there appears to be a chance for the starting unit to remain intact for the road trip to play the Giants.
C Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee) was back at practice on Wednesday on a limited basis, while RT Don Barclay (knee) did not practice. Mike McCarthy said, however, that Barclay was waiting for a brace to arrive and he could try to practice on Thursday.
“He’s getting better,” McCarthy said of Barclay. “Better than we thought.”
Dietrich-Smith said the scans done on his knee were “encouraging,” and he sounded optimistic about being able to play.
“I’d like to think of myself as a very durable player,” Dietrich-Smith said. “I don’t miss too many games, and for me, it’s important to be out there with the guys. I was out there today and I felt like practicing the whole time, but I knew I have to be smart, and you can’t push those kinds of things. I’m hoping for the weekend, and we’ll see how it goes.”
In other injury news, DE Mike Neal (abdomen) is “beat up,” according to McCarthy, and may not practice all week.
DE Johnny Jolly (groin), LB Nick Perry (foot/ankle) and CB Casey Hayward (hamstring) also did not practice. LB Andy Mulumba (ankle) and DE Ryan Pickett (knee) were limited, while LB Clay Matthews (thumb) was listed as a full participant.
Tags: casey hayward, clay matthews, don barclay, evan dietrich-smith, johnny jolly, mike neal, nick perry, ryan pickett
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The chances are looking better that the Packers will get a pair of outside linebackers back in the lineup this week, with Clay Matthews listed as probable and Nick Perry questionable on the final injury report Friday.
With rookie Andy Mulumba (ankle) doubtful, Mike Neal and rookie Nate Palmer are the only other outside linebackers available, so the reinforcements are coming none too soon.
Matthews has been practicing all week with a club on his right hand to protect his surgically repaired broken thumb. Perry is trying to come back from a foot injury that has kept him out the past three games, and even though it’s not as certain he’ll play, Mike McCarthy said he feels “good about what he’s done this week” to get ready.
Matthews is virtually certain to play, but there are a couple of questions. First is how many snaps he can play against the Eagles after missing the past four games.
“You have to watch all these players that haven’t played, Nick Perry, Clay Matthews, when they’re coming back,” McCarthy said. “You have another component to this, too. You have an offense that doesn’t huddle. We’ll see how that goes.”
The second question is how much the club might limit him, since he’ll be unable to grab anything with his right hand.
“There’s certain things you have to do differently,” McCarthy said. “He’s spent some individual time with Kevin Greene going through those specifics.
“The obvious is the inability to grab and use your hands. He’s an excellent hands player. He does a very good job with his placement and second reaction. He’s going to have to do something different.”
Tags: clay matthews, nick perry
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Packers starting OLBs Clay Matthews and Nick Perry returned to the practice field on Wednesday on a limited basis, and Mike McCarthy is hopeful both can be back in the lineup this week.
Matthews has missed the last four games with a broken thumb but is trying to practice this week with a club cast on his hand. Perry has missed the last three games with a foot injury.
Wednesday’s practice was short and at a slower-than-normal pace, so Thursday’s workout will be a better indicator of where both players stand.
“I just spent a couple minutes with Clay,” McCarthy said. “It’s his first time wearing a club. There needs to be adjustments that’ll occur during the week. I’m curious to see him practice with it.”
Right guard T.J. Lang missed practice due to his concussion, but he hasn’t been ruled out for Sunday’s game. McCarthy described Lang as “confident” he could get medically cleared this week.
Tags: clay matthews, nick perry, t.j. lang
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Packers LB Clay Matthews, who missed the second half of the Week 3 game in Cincinnati due to a hamstring injury, returned to practice on Wednesday but only on a limited basis. His availability for Sunday’s home game against Detroit remains in question.
“I think Clay is getting better,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. “He’s made a lot of progress since coming off the field in Cincinnati. I’m hopeful he’ll be able to do more tomorrow. That’s the plan.”
Elsewhere on the injury report, CB Casey Hayward (hamstring) has been ruled out for the fourth straight game. Since re-aggravating his hamstring injury in the third preseason game, Hayward has now been out for six weeks.
RB James Starks (knee) is also out and will be sidelined “a couple weeks,” McCarthy said. Also, backup offensive lineman Greg Van Roten sprained a foot in Monday’s practice and will be out multiple weeks.
The other six players on the injury report were full participants in Wednesday’s practice. They included S Morgan Burnett (hamstring), CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring), TE Jermichael Finley (concussion), RBs Eddie Lacy (concussion) and Johnathan Franklin (foot) and FB John Kuhn (hamstring).
In speaking to reporters for the first time since his concussion, which occurred on the first offensive series in Cincinnati, Finley called it a “long process” to get medical clearance, but he said he understands the reasons for the protocol and the protection of players’ health. He said it took a couple of days before he felt mostly normal again.
“Jermichael looks good. The bye week has helped him,” McCarthy said. “He looked like Jermichael. He’s in a good place. He practices very hard. It was good to have him back.”
To see Wednesday’s feature story on the Packers running game, click here.
Tags: casey hayward, clay matthews, injury, james starks, Jermichael Finley, john kuhn, morgan burnett
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 19 Comments »
–Defense makes high-impact plays, but at a cost: Seattle QB Russell Wilson isn’t easy to get to, but the Packers defense made several big plays against him, recording three sacks and two interceptions of Wilson, who played the entire first half and the first series of the second half.
Unfortunately, some of those players making the big plays also left the game with injuries.
Wilson started hot, converting a pair of third downs with long pass plays on the opening drive, but LB Clay Matthews sacked him for a 12-yard loss in the red zone, leading to a field goal.
“He’s going to make his plays, but for the most part, we got after him, got our hands on him and got him down,” Matthews said of Wilson.
The defense opened the second drive with another sack, this one by LB Brad Jones, before getting a pair of interceptions on the Seahawks’ last two drives of the first half. The first was by CB Casey Hayward, who was making his preseason debut, off a double deflection by LBs Nick Perry and Robert Francois.
“Obviously he’s continuing his playmaking ability from last year,” Matthews said of Hayward, who led all NFL rookies in 2012 with six interceptions. “It was good to have him back out there, good to see what he’s capable of, and we’re going to need it this year.”
Hayward may have come back from his hamstring injury too soon, however. He re-aggravated the hamstring in the game. Jones and S Morgan Burnett also were mentioned by Mike McCarthy after the game as having hamstring injuries.
The second interception came from S Jerron McMillian, who made a diving grab of an overthrown ball at midfield.
The defense got one more sack of Wilson on the opening drive of the second half, as backup DL Jordan Miller brought him down. Another sack by DE C.J. Wilson three plays later was negated by an offensive holding penalty, which the Packers accepted for the additional lost yardage.
Rookie LB Nate Palmer added a sack of backup QB Brady Quinn in the second half, and another sack of Quinn by DL Mike Daniels was nullified by an offsides call on linemate Datone Jones.
“From what I understand, our sack numbers jumped dramatically from 2011 to 2012, so I think we were pretty good last year, and I think we’re improving this year,” Daniels said.
–Harris limps off: Another notable injury was to RB DuJuan Harris, who got his first preseason action and had three carries for two yards, plus one reception for 11 yards. But after the 11-yard catch, Harris was slow to get up and said afterward his knee was bothering him, the same knee that kept him out of the first two weeks of training camp.
“I’m all right,” he said. “I walked off. Everything will be good.
“It felt like it’s been forever since I took a carry. I feel like I could have done a little more on some of those, but we’ll see when we look at the film.”
–Crosby makes it count: K Mason Crosby bounced back from his three-miss practice on Wednesday to convert his only FG try on the night, from 38 yards in the first quarter.
“Whatever happens during the week, I need to have a good game,” Crosby said. “I felt good on that field goal.”
–Finding daylight: In what could be shaping up as a battle for the last RB spot on the roster, third-year pro Alex Green found some daylight on a wide toss play, cutting upfield for 31 yards, more than double the longest rush by a Packers back in this preseason.
“It’s very important to go out and show at least a little bit of what you can do,” Green said. “Hopefully it’s enough for the coaches to like.”
Assuming Harris plus draft picks Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin make the team, a final RB spot could come down to Green or James Starks, who didn’t get any carries Friday night and was unable to make up for a fumble in last week’s game in St. Louis that led to his removal from the contest.
Tags: alex green, brad jones, c.j. wilson, casey hayward, clay matthews, dujuan harris, interceptions, james starks, jordan miller, mason crosby, mike daniels, nate palmer, russell wilson, sacks
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 46 Comments »
GREEN BAY PACKERS vs. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS, Aug. 23, 2013, at Green Bay, Wis.
LINEBACKER CLAY MATTHEWS
(on how it felt to keep the Seahawks’ running game in check) “Obviously it feels good. That’s what we pride ourselves on, especially the front seven. To be able to go out there and shut them down, especially on first and second down, to create favorable down and distances on third down, which I thought we did for the most part. A few runs here and there, but for the most part I thought we did well. We got after the quarterback, kept him in the pocket and overall I thought we did a good job minimizing their big-play ability.”
(on his sack of Russell Wilson) “Obviously that was a big emphasis for us last year and even more so this year, is limiting his ability to create plays by running out of the pocket. He’s going to make his plays, but I felt for the most part, not only myself, but as a rushing unit, we did a good job of keeping him bottled up in the pocket, forcing some errant throws and getting after him.”
(on how he feels coming out of tonight’s game in preparation for the season) “I feel real good about where I’m at. Obviously tonight is a great tune-up and we will continue to do so over the next week getting ready for the San Francisco opener.”
LINEBACKER NICK PERRY
(on the defense’s performance overall in the first half) “We’re just doing our job out there. We’re just playing football. We’re doing a pretty good job of containing him (Russell Wilson) and we’ve just got to continue to focus on that and make plays.”
(on his tipped pass) “I knew he was coming to my side to throw the ball. My reaction was to just throw my hands up and keep him contained. It played out well. I was able to get my hand on it and we got the interception.”
Tags: #SEAvsGB, clay matthews, halftime quotes, seattle seahawks
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For a look at potential playing time and the Packers’ current injury situation heading into Friday night’s preseason opener vs. Arizona, check out today’s feature story (to be posted soon). Here are some other news & notes:
Matthews remembers: In a rather lighthearted moment in the locker room after Thursday’s practice, LB Clay Matthews was asked if he remembered his first preseason game.
He did. It was back in 2009, and Matthews had been injured in training camp, so he didn’t take the field for a preseason game until the fourth and final contest, at Tennessee.
“I was going up against that guy,” Matthews said, pointing toward another locker near his now occupied by a new teammate. “Vince Young, like a 12-play drive, no huddle, I was gassed, I didn’t think I was going to make it very long in this league.”
Lacy doubtful: RB Eddie Lacy didn’t practice for a second straight day due to a hamstring injury, making it unlikely he’ll play on Friday night. With RB DuJuan Harris still out, that will leave the running back duties to be shared amongst Alex Green, James Starks, Johnathan Franklin and Angelo Pease.
Like many of the rookies, Franklin claimed he’ll be more excited than nervous when he gets out there.
“It’s football,” he said. “When you’re doing something you love and you have a big opportunity like this, you look forward to something like this.
“The priority is to get better and take advantage of the opportunity.”
Kickers to alternate: Head Coach Mike McCarthy didn’t delve into specifics, but he said the coaching staff would come up with a plan to rotate or alternate kickers Mason Crosby and Giorgio Tavecchio so their competition can continue throughout the preseason.
“Exactly how we’ll alternate the kickers, that hasn’t been finalized, but we’re going to try to keep the competition as far as opportunities as balanced as possible,” McCarthy said.
Tags: clay matthews, eddie lacy, johnathan franklin, mike mccarthy, preseason, vince young
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp | 3 Comments »
–No update: McCarthy didn’t have any further update on the leg injuries that knocked WRs Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey out of practice on Saturday. Neither practiced on Sunday. McCarthy did say he’s been told neither injury is serious.
In other injury news, CB Tramon Williams was held out towards the end of practice because his knee was bothering him, McCarthy said.
–Strong finish on offense: The offense looked sharp in the no-huddle period that ended practice. QB Aaron Rodgers completed deep crossing routes to WRs Randall Cobb and Ross to get in position to score, and then WR Jarrett Boykin hauled in a high fade in the corner of the end zone, outjumping the solid coverage of CB James Nixon for the TD. That was the final play of practice.
–Ups and downs: That final play of practice capped an up-and-down day for Nixon, a holdover from last year’s practice squad. Early in the workout, Nixon muffed a kickoff return. Later, he made a nice play breaking up a slant pass to rookie WR Alex Gillett, and then he made his big splash, intercepting a Rodgers pass intended for rookie WR Tyrone Walker. Had he been able to break up that last pass to Boykin, he would have been heralded as the star of the day, despite the early kickoff fumble.
–Better hands: Safety Morgan Burnett, who received a multi-year contract extension prior to the start of camp, said he’s already put his payday behind him and he’s working on improving in his fourth season, particularly with his hands.
“A couple times last year I had my hand on the ball, but it was either a tip or it went through my hands,” he said. “Now I’m getting to where I’m putting myself in the right position to make those plays, and when the ball hits my hand, try to catch it, and make sure I’m good with my technique, and my tackling.”
–Familiar face: Former Packers RB Ahman Green is in camp as a coaching intern, working with RB coach Alex Van Pelt.
–Active first day: LB Jamari Lattimore missed the first two days of practice with an illness, but he wasted no time getting involved on Sunday. In full pads from the get-go, Lattimore laid a hit on RB Johnathan Franklin that broke up a dumpoff pass in the first team (11-on-11) period of practice. Later, in the half-line drill that pits a portion of the offensive line against a portion of the defense to work on inside runs, Lattimore knocked RB Eddie Lacy to the ground with a big hit from the side.
McCarthy said after practice that Lattimore probably “did too much” for his first day, as he was dealing with cramps toward the end of the workout.
–Strong push: LB Nick Perry was best as a bull-rusher as a rookie, and there’s no denying his strength. In a blocking drill between OLBs and TEs, Perry got underneath TE Ryan Taylor’s pads and shoved him backwards, drawing a notable cheer from the Ray Nitschke Field crowd.
–Doing it all: Never let it be said LB Clay Matthews isn’t a complete player. Known for his tough run defense and pass rush, Matthews on Sunday dropped well off the line of scrimmage into coverage, read the quarterback and then got a hand on a slant pass to WR Jeremy Ross, tipping it just enough to break it up.
Tags: aaron rodgers, clay matthews, mike mccarthy, nick perry, randall cobb
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp | 11 Comments »
The NFL Network’s “Top 100 Players of 2013″ is down to the top 40, and a Packers player will be profiled in the Nos. 40-31 segment scheduled to air at 7 p.m. CT on Thursday.
That player’s name and his ranking will be revealed during the show. Through the first 60 players, so far only one player who played for the Packers last season has been profiled. DB Charles Woodson, who played for Green Bay from 2006-12 and recently signed as a free agent with Oakland, was ranked No. 85.
The weekly series will continue each Thursday until only the top 10 remain. Back-to-back episodes at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. CT on June 27 will profile the top 10 players.
Update: The Packers player profiled on Thursday was LB Clay Matthews, who was ranked No. 31. To see the video of his profile, click here.
Tags: charles woodson, clay matthews, top 100
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 14 Comments »