As Packers.com’s Mike Spofford mentioned in his Friday story, Evan Dietrich-Smith is taking over at center for Jeff Saturday for Sunday’s game against Tennessee. Ryan Grant will also get the start at running back in place of Alex Green, who is still recovering from a concussion. The following players have been declared as inactive for today’s Green Bay Packers-Tennessee Titans game at Lambeau Field.
Green Bay Packers
20 RB Alex Green
21 DB Charles Woodson
44 RB James Starks
83 TE Tom Crabtree
87 WR Jordy Nelson
98 DE C.J. Wilson
99 DE Jerel Worthy
Starting lineup changes: On offense, #89 James Jones will start at wide receiver for #87 Jordy Nelson. #25 Ryan Grant will start at running back for #20 Alex Green. #62 Evan Dietrich-Smith will start at center for #63 Jeff Saturday. On defense, #96 Mike Neal will start in place of #98 C.J. Wilson at right defensive end.
11 QB Rusty Smith
13 WR Kendall Wright
29 CB Ryan Mouton
52 LB Colin McCarthy
60 C Kevin Matthews
66 T Mike Otto
90 DE Scott Solomon
Starting lineup changes: On offense, #67 Mitch Petrus will start at LG for #61 Fernando Velasco. Velasco will start at C for #62 Kyle DeVan. #68 Byron Stingily will start at RT for #66 Mike Otto. On defense, #59 Tim Shaw will start at MLB for #52 Colin McCarthy.
Tags: #TENvsGB, evan dietrich-smith, inactives, tennessee titans
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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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The Packers’ coaching staff has awarded game balls from Sunday night’s victory over Detroit to the following three players:
Defense — CB Tramon Williams
Offense — G Evan Dietrich-Smith
Special teams — LB Frank Zombo
Williams drew the assignment of guarding Lions WR Calvin Johnson for most of the game, getting safety help over the top much of the time. Johnson had 10 receptions for 118 yards, but when none of those receptions was longer than 20 yards and he didn’t find the end zone, that’s a strong night’s work against the league’s leading receiver.
Dietrich-Smith was a key blocker in the Packers’ surging ground attack. He pancaked Detroit’s Nick Fairley on a draw play to RB Alex Green that converted a third-and-2 on the go-ahead TD drive in the fourth quarter. He then threw the key block on LB Justin Durant, pulling around from his left guard spot to undercut Durant at the point of attack as RB DuJuan Harris scooted through the huge hole for a 14-yard TD.
Zombo wasn’t credited for any tackles on special teams, but it’s worth noting that the Lions averaged just 20.3 yards on four kickoff returns and the special teams overall had another solid game. The only hiccup was K Mason Crosby’s miss from 51 yards in the second half, which barely hooked left.
Tags: #DETvsGB, evan dietrich-smith, frank zombo, game balls, tramon williams
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Coming off of their first loss of the season last week, the GREEN BAY PACKERS were able to get back on track by beating a long time rival in the Chicago Bears and clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Packers offensive line allowed AARON RODGERS (California) enough time to have a personal best five touchdown passes while allowing only one sack. This impressive performance by the injury plagued offensive line establishes the Green Bay Packers as a contender for the third annual Madden Protectors Award. The award honors the NFL’s best offensive line and will be presented during the week of Super Bowl XLVI, which will be played on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis. Past Madden Protectors Award recipients include the NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (2010) and the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (2009).
The Madden Protectors Award recognizes the fundamental role offensive linemen play in their teams’ success by providing consistent and powerful protection day in and day out.
The Packers continued their dominance throughout this season as they notched their 14th win of the year and can now rest easy until the second round of the playoffs. The offensive line was missing three of their four top tackles and still managed to only allow one sack and only two hits on Rodgers. The offensive line starts in the middle with center SCOTT WELLS (Tennessee), who is flanked by guards EVAN DIETRICH-SMITH (Idaho State) and JOSH SITTON (Central Florida). Providing powerful protection on the outside are tackles MARSHALL NEWHOUSE (Texas Christian) and T.J. LANG (Eastern Michigan). Offensive line coach JAMES CAMPEN is in his fifth season with the Packers and in each of his first four years, the Packers have finished in the top 10 in the NFL in total offense. The offensive line allowed for Rodgers to throw for 283 yards and 5 touchdowns. With the combination of RYAN GRANT (Notre Dame) and JAMES STARKS (Buffalo), the Packers were able to rush for 81 yards on the day.
“The Packers offensive line played a great game against Chicago on Sunday night,” said Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach JOHN MADDEN.
Other offensive lines from around the league delivering powerful protection during Week 16 were the NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (463 total yards, 307 passing yards, 164 rushing yards, 1 sack allowed, 2 QB hits allowed) the BUFFALO BILLS (351 total yards, 191 passing yards, 160 rushing yards, 1 sack allowed, 2 QB hits allowed), the BALTIMORE RAVENS (284 total yards, 122 passing yards, 162 rushing yards, 1 sack allowed, 2 QB hits allowed), the CAROLINA PANTHERS (433 total yards, 163 passing yards, 270 rushing yards, 1 sack allowed, 1 QB hit allowed), and the PITTSBURGH STEELERS 377 (total yards, 208 passing yards, 169 rushing yards, 0 sacks allowed, 1 QB hit allowed).
Tags: evan dietrich-smith, james campen, john madden, josh sitton, madden protectors award, marshall newhouse, offensive line, scott wells, t.j. lang
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