The Packers appear to be getting some of their injured players back for the Thanksgiving showdown with the Lions.
CB Sam Shields (hamstring), LB Nick Perry (foot/ankle), DE Johnny Jolly (groin) and OT Don Barclay (knee) — all of whom have missed at least the last two games, except Jolly, who sat out only last Sunday vs. Minnesota — are all listed as probable on the injury report for Thursday’s game following their participation on practices on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“As far as the amount of work we were able to get done the last two days on the field, it has been in a limited fashion as far as the workload,” Mike McCarthy said. “I’m encouraged. I trust they feel good and they’re ready to go. Hopefully nothing changes between now and tomorrow.”
The return of Shields is particularly timely, with the defense going up against the league’s most explosive receiver in Calvin Johnson, who missed the first meeting with the Packers back on Oct. 6 due to a knee injury.
McCarthy wasn’t going to reveal the game plan against Johnson, but it’s a safe bet Shields will get a fair share of time against him.
“I’m just happy to have Sam Shields back on the field,” McCarthy said. “Obviously he was playing very well for us. Calvin Johnson is obviously a dynamic player and he’s a real focus for us defensively.”
For the Packers’ complete injury report, click here.
Tags: don barclay, johnny jolly, nick perry, sam shields
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The Packers’ starting right tackle could be Don Barclay or Marshall Newhouse on Sunday, as Barclay missed his third straight day of practice on Friday with a knee injury but continues to improve and still might play against the Giants.
“Don’s getting better,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. “He’s improving each day throughout the week. We’ll see if he’ll be available. We’ve got Marshall ready to play. He took the reps this week. Don will be close.”
Barclay is officially listed as questionable. C Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee) sat out practice on Friday as a precaution but is probable, so it appears one change up front would be the most facing the starting offensive line this week.
Barclay is in just his second season, and often with a young player, McCarthy is reluctant to have that player play if he doesn’t get to practice at all during the week. But he’s making a bit of an exception this week with Barclay, who has engendered confidence from the coaching staff by all of his off-the-field preparation.
“He’s very conscientious,” McCarthy said. “He’s on top of it. He’s here round the clock trying to get healthy. He hasn’t missed a meeting, he’s in the walk-throughs in the gymnasium and so forth. So I’d have no problem playing Don.”
QB Aaron Rodgers was officially ruled out on Friday for the second straight week with his broken collarbone, and McCarthy did not have an update on when he could potentially return to action. The team is still in wait-and-see mode.
“We’ll see how he is,” McCarthy said. “He’s on top of every inch of his rehab and he feels better. He’s definitely made a big improvement from last week to this week, but I don’t have a plan.”
Elsewhere on the injury report, LB Mike Neal (abdomen) and DE Johnny Jolly (groin) both returned to practice on Friday and are listed as probable, along with DE Ryan Pickett (knee).
CB Sam Shields sat out practice on Friday to rest a tender hamstring, but he is also probable.
LB Nick Perry (foot/ankle) is doubtful, while fellow outside LB Andy Mulumba (ankle) is questionable. CB Casey Hayward (hamstring) has been ruled out and will be out multiple weeks.
In other injury news, TE Jermichael Finley had surgery on his neck on Thursday in Pittsburgh and will be returning to Green Bay soon.
“I’m looking forward to hearing from Jermichael and seeing him,” McCarthy said. “My understanding is through our medical staff that it was a successful surgery.”
Tags: aaron rodgers, don barclay, marshall newhouse
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Packers starting RT Don Barclay missed his second straight practice on Thursday with a knee injury, but Head Coach Mike McCarthy said he was going to give Barclay every opportunity to get himself healthy enough to play on Sunday.
“He didn’t probably feel as good today as we had hoped,” McCarthy said, explaining Barclay did only rehab but did not practice. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow. I’m going to give him the full week to try to give it a go.”
If Barclay is unable to play, the Packers’ options would be to start Marshall Newhouse — who has filled in at RT in each of the last two games when Barclay had to shift over to RG — or to give Derek Sherrod his first game action since Dec. 2011.
Also on the offensive line, C Evan Dietrich-Smith was a limited participant in practice for the second straight day. Thursday’s practice was in pads and Dietrich-Smith was not held out, so that bodes well for his chances to play.
McCarthy also said CB Casey Hayward (hamstring) will be out “multiple weeks.” On the defensive line, Johnny Jolly (groin) sat out for the second straight day, and Ryan Pickett (knee) was limited.
Tags: casey hayward, don barclay, evan dietrich-smith, johnny jolly, ryan pickett
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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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For the latest on new backup QB Seneca Wallace and some thoughts from the undrafted rookies who made the 53-man roster, check out today’s feature story. Here are some other news & notes.
–Jolly took nothing for granted: From the outside looking in, it appeared Johnny Jolly was a sure bet to make the team after such a strong preseason, but Jolly confessed he wasn’t sure of anything on cutdown Saturday.
“I had my phone in my hand all day,” he said. “I was checking it. I was on my toes all day.
“I didn’t know. I was scared all the way up until the last minute. It’s a blessing that I’m here. I don’t have to worry about that now.”
Making the team after a three-year absence is impressive in itself, and now Jolly wants to contribute to the defense and add to this remarkable story. He hasn’t played in a real NFL game since 2009, when he was a key cog in the Packers’ top-rated run defense, and while he said the long wait was the hardest part, he doesn’t spend any energy looking back anymore at the opportunity he wasted.
“I might drive myself crazy thinking about how good I could have been, coming from 2009, which was a good season, up until this point,” he said. “If I worry about that, I won’t be able to focus on what I have going right now.
“It’s amazing that I’m even back in this situation. I have to take advantage of every chance I get.”
–Barclay starts at RT: It took a while for him to find a home in training camp, as the coaches were trying Don Barclay at backup center and guard, as well as the right tackle spot he played last year.
But once Barclay got to right tackle for good, he did his thing. By all appearances, he has won the starting job and will open the season at RT in San Francisco on Sunday, with rookie David Bakhtiari starting at LT and veteran Marshall Newhouse backing up both spots.
“As far as our tackles, I like all three tackles,” Mike McCarthy said. “Don started today at the right tackle. I wouldn’t be surprised if Marshall plays in the game. Don is very consistent. He’s physical, and he’s a young ascending player. We’re going to need all those guys.”
Barclay said he continues to get more and more comfortable working alongside RG T.J. Lang, after having played next to Josh Sitton last year as a rookie. He said it made a difference to be in his second year because he knew more about what to expect and how to watch film.
“It was a battle all camp, and it’s still being a battle,” Barclay said. “Every day you have to go out there and prove yourself, and solidify your spot every day.”
–Up in the air: McCarthy was non-committal about whom the Packers would use as their primary return man for Week 1, mentioning WR Jeremy Ross, CB Micah Hyde and RB Johnathan Franklin all as candidates. Ross has returned both punts and kicks, while Hyde has worked as a punt returner and Franklin as a kickoff returner.
“We’ve got some work to do in the return game,” McCarthy said. “We have some decisions to make.”
–Injury update: The first official injury report of the regular season will be released Wednesday, but it’s worth noting that two defensive starters who missed the final preseason game with hamstring injuries — LB Brad Jones and S Morgan Burnett — were back on the practice field on Monday.
CB Casey Hayward, who also has been out with a hamstring injury, did not practice, however.
–Fond memory: New practice-squad QB Scott Tolzien recalled a moment from his pro day workout in Madison, Wis., prior to the 2011 draft when McCarthy, unsolicited, came up to chat with him. Tolzien had just led the University of Wisconsin to its first Rose Bowl appearance in a little over a decade.
“Him coming over saying he appreciated what I did in my career there, basically what our team did, what our program did — for a guy like that to come over, he didn’t have to say that,” Tolzien said. “He went out of his way to. You’ll always remember that and appreciate those comments.”
Tags: don barclay, johnny jolly, mike mccarthy, scott tolzien
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For the rundown on RB DuJuan Harris’ return to the practice field and some increased reps for rookie WR Tyrone Walker and rookie CB Micah Hyde, check out today’s feature story. Here are some additional news & notes from Monday:
–One snap but good: Rookie DE Datone Jones lasted only one snap in Friday’s preseason opener before leaving with an ankle injury, but when his teammates viewed that snap on film, they were impressed.
Jones came in for the nickel package on the first third down of the game and was matched against Arizona G Jonathan Cooper, who like Jones was a first-round draft draft pick. In the words of fellow defensive lineman B.J. Raji, “He completely whipped the guy and had a chance to get a sack.”
“We all talked about how great of a move he had on the guy,” Raji said. “It was rookie on rookie, first-round pick on first-round pick, and Datone, he won that rep and his leg just got caught. The other guy kind of tripped him and got his ankle. But judging Datone off that one play, his future definitely looks bright.”
Mike McCarthy said Jones would be out of practice for at least a couple of days, and he wasn’t sure if he’d be available to play in St. Louis on Saturday night.
–More on injuries: WR Randall Cobb (bicep) was back at practice on Monday with a wrap on his upper right arm. G T.J. Lang (back) did not practice and was replaced at right guard with the No. 1 offensive line by Don Barclay. McCarthy called the holding out of Lang “precautionary” and suggested it could continue on Tuesday.
RB Eddie Lacy (hamstring) missed practice again and did some testing of his injury, but McCarthy said he didn’t know how the test went.
–New outlook: Two of the Packers’ backup offensive linemen who have received praise lately from the coaches and whose reps are increasing are second-year pro Greg Van Roten and undrafted rookie Lane Taylor.
Van Roten appears to be the top backup at center behind Evan Dietrich-Smith, and he also takes a fair share of snaps at guard. Taylor has worked both guard spots in camp and managed to play well in Friday’s game despite a lack of rest.
The day before the game, Taylor’s wife gave birth to the couple’s first child, a daughter. He missed practice on Thursday but slept at the hospital that night with his wife and newborn, who arrived just after 5 p.m. He returned to Lambeau Field on Friday to prepare for the game and performed rather well.
“I feel like I’m starting to really clean up my technique and get fundamentally sound. It’s starting to pay off,” Taylor said. “You’ll get beat, it’s the NFL, but I keep plugging away and I’m starting to see some results.”
Undrafted out of Oklahoma State, Taylor had a handful of free-agent offers after the draft and chose Green Bay, seeing it as a “good fit.” He has a legitimate shot at a roster spot, but he admitted there’s even more motivation now with a daughter on his hands.
“Most definitely,” he said. “Having a newborn makes you more motivated because you want to go out there and provide and bring the best life for her.”
Getting his kicks: K Giorgio Tavecchio won Monday’s head-to-head kicking competition by going 8-for-8 on field goals to Mason Crosby’s 7-for-8. Crosby’s lone miss was wide left from 46 yards. With neither kicker getting a chance in Friday’s game, they can expect more work in practice as the preseason continues.
“If they ask us for 30 kicks, we’ll give them as many as we can,” said Tavecchio, who continues to preach his one-day-at-a-time approach in his effort to take Crosby’s job.
“It was a warm day today, so the balls were flying,” he said. “I felt like myself, Tim (Masthay) and Brett (Goode) were in a good rhythm with the snap, hold and kick.
“I have to watch the film to really see and dissect everything, because right now I feel good. But I always take a good look at the film and be unbiased about it. Take the lessons, the good, bad and if there’s any ugly, take that too and keep moving forward.”
Tags: datone jones, don barclay, eddie lacy, giorgio tavecchio, greg van roten, lane taylor, mason crosby, randall cobb, t.j. lang
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But he admitted it was best for him not to push it on his sore ankle, and he was back at practice on Wednesday feeling pretty good about his chances to play on Sunday in Chicago.
“That was probably the best-case scenario to give me an extra gameday to heal up and not bang it up any more and be close to fully recovered this week,” Lang said. “Those guys who played in the game last week all played well, so it was probably the smartest decision to sit out.”
Mike McCarthy said after practice that Lang took most of his reps on Wednesday at his old spot, left guard, which could indicate the Packers are going to stick with undrafted rookie Don Barclay at right tackle, who made his first start last week. Then again, McCarthy reiterated that Evan Dietrich-Smith, who had been playing Lang’s LG spot while Lang was playing RT in place of Bryan Bulaga, earned an offensive game ball for his performance last week.
McCarthy said he wants to see how Lang looks in practice throughout the week before making a final decision, so the offensive line will be prepared for various scenarios.
“We want to make sure Don Barclay gets as many reps as he can outside (at tackle),” McCarthy said. “We’ll make sure we’re ready to go.”
Lang said he had no trouble moving back to LG after his roughly month-long stint at RT. The best guess for now is if Lang is healthy enough to play, he’ll be back at his old spot.
“Like riding a bike, man,” Lang said. “It’s something I’ve done a lot of and it’s where my comfort level is.”
In other injury news, McCarthy said WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring) would be a longshot to play this week. The same goes for DE C.J. Wilson, whose knee injury is more serious than initially thought, though McCarthy still sounded hopeful Wilson could be back by season’s end. He has missed the last two games.
Also on the defensive line, DE Mike Neal (shoulder) practiced on Wednesday somewhat unexpectedly. The Packers signed another D-lineman, Jordan Miller, to the active roster from the practice squad on Tuesday due to the injuries to Wilson and Neal, but Neal is “making progress.”
CB Davon House missed practice due to an illness.
Tags: don barclay, evan dietrich-smith, jordy nelson, mike mccarthy, offensive line, t.j. lang
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