Four players earn game balls for win vs. Atlanta

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 10, 2013 – 10:00 am

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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Shields, Perry, Jolly, Barclay all probable for Thursday

Posted by Mike Spofford on November 27, 2013 – 12:52 pm

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.

 


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Shields questionable, Hyde probable, Jolly doubtful for Sunday

Posted by Mike Spofford on November 22, 2013 – 2:28 pm

CB Sam Shields

CB Sam Shields

Packers CB Sam Shields missed his third straight practice on Friday with a hamstring injury and is listed as questionable on the injury report for Sunday’s game.

Shields was a last-minute scratch prior to last week’s game and his recovery has been slow, but Head Coach Mike McCarthy indicated the team will wait all the way up until Sunday morning to see if Shields can play.

“It’s been up and down,” McCarthy said after Friday’s practice. “We’ll see how it goes. We’ve got 48 hours is how we’re looking at it. We’ll obviously give Sam every chance to get ready.”

Another cornerback, rookie Micah Hyde, missed his second straight day of practice on Friday with a groin injury but is listed as probable. Hyde was the full-time nickel back last week against the Giants with Shields out and Davon House moving into the starting lineup opposite Tramon Williams.

“I feel pretty confident he’s going to go,” McCarthy said. “This is something that’s been bothering him throughout the week, so we were smart with him yesterday and today.”

Up front on defense, DE Johnny Jolly is doubtful with a groin injury after sitting out practice all week. Jolly has been a key run defender for the Packers this season, and his absence could be troubling against Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, particularly with DE Ryan Pickett playing at less than full strength with a knee injury.

McCarthy suggested that Jolly’s doubtful status is due in part to the quick turnaround coming next week, with the Packers traveling to Detroit to play the Lions on Thanksgiving.

On the offensive side, RT Don Barclay will miss his second straight game, with Marshall Newhouse starting in his place.


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Don Barclay misses second straight practice

Posted by Mike Spofford on November 14, 2013 – 4:18 pm

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.

RT Don Barclay

RT Don Barclay

“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.


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Offensive line trying to get healthy

Posted by Mike Spofford on November 13, 2013 – 4:56 pm

C Evan Dietrich-Smith

C Evan Dietrich-Smith

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.


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Dietrich-Smith, Jolly and Crosby are Sunday’s captains

Posted by Duke Bobber on October 27, 2013 – 3:30 pm

* Notes written by Packers public relations

131027-captain-MIN-600

As per team tradition, the Packers select game captains each week. Tonight’s captains will be C/G Evan Dietrich-Smith (offense), DT Johnny Jolly (defense) and K Mason Crosby (special teams).


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Johnny Jolly to be featured Sunday morning on NFL Network

Posted by Mike Spofford on October 10, 2013 – 12:34 pm

Packers DE Johnny Jolly and his codeine addiction are the subjects of an exclusive feature on “NFL GameDay Morning,” the NFL Network’s weekly pregame show, this Sunday. The show airs from 8 a.m. to noon CT.

The NFL Network’s Andrea Kremer interviewed Jolly while he was in prison in Texas and after he was released on shock probation. The story details his addiction, prison time, recovery and making the Packers’ 53-man roster this past summer after three years away from the game.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy, QB Aaron Rodgers and fellow defensive lineman Ryan Pickett were also interviewed for the segment.


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If necessary, McCarthy prepared to go with just two RBs

Posted by Mike Spofford on September 19, 2013 – 4:36 pm

With RB Eddie Lacy (concussion) and FB John Kuhn (hamstring) still not having practiced this week, Mike McCarthy said on Thursday he’s prepared to go into Sunday’s game at Cincinnati with just two running backs — James Starks and Johnathan Franklin — if he has to.

RB Johnathan Franklin

RB Johnathan Franklin

“I’m prepared. That’s my job,” McCarthy said. “The preference is not to go into the game with two running backs. We’ll be much better prepared than we were two years ago in Kansas City.”

McCarthy referred to that game as a “hard lesson,” as the Packers’ only healthy RBs for that contest were Ryan Grant and Kuhn, and Grant had bruised ribs coming in. McCarthy said the game got to a point in the second half where “it was time to run the ball,” but Grant had to sit out a series or two and the Packers didn’t have the firepower in the backfield to make it go.

The Packers do have one RB on the practice squad, rookie Michael Hill from Missouri Western, so if neither Lacy nor Kuhn can play, Hill would be a possible third back, but a player would have to be released in order for Hill to be signed to the 53-man roster.

An emergency option would be WR Randall Cobb, who has carried the ball out of the backfield at times the past two seasons, but McCarthy said he’d never put Cobb in a workhorse-type position.

“I don’t want to make a living running the ball with Randall Cobb, let’s be honest,” McCarthy said. “Randall is a dynamic player, but he doesn’t need to be lined up behind center carrying the ball 20 times. That’s not the plan.”

It’s also not the plan to automatically sit all of the Packers’ injured players because the bye week is coming up, though McCarthy did indicate S Morgan Burnett (hamstring) is a “longshot” to play this week.

In Thursday’s full-pads practice, CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring) joined Burnett, Lacy and Kuhn as a non-participant, while TE Jermichael Finley (toe) and DE Johnny Jolly (neck) practiced but were limited. G T.J. Lang (back) was added to the report as a limited participant, but McCarthy didn’t believe his injury was anything serious.


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News & notes: Johnny Jolly took nothing for granted

Posted by Mike Spofford on September 2, 2013 – 4:30 pm

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.

DE Johnny Jolly

DE Johnny Jolly

“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.

RT Don Barclay

RT Don Barclay

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.”


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News & notes: WR Jarrett Boykin continues to battle, kickers perfect

Posted by Mike Spofford on August 13, 2013 – 5:03 pm

WR Randall Cobb was playing through some obvious pain in Tuesday’s practice. For an update on that, check out today’s feature story. Here are some other news & notes:

–Boykin, Jolly stand out: Undrafted rookie WR Tyrone Walker has received a lot of attention lately, but second-year pro Jarrett Boykin isn’t about to give up his roster spot that easily.

WR Jarrett Boykin

WR Jarrett Boykin

Boykin had a strong practice on Tuesday, making several catches working with both the regular offense and scout-team offense.

Boykin made a nice grab on a comeback in traffic, a diving catch of a slant from QB Vince Young and later a spinning catch in the middle of the field. He nearly capped off his day by hauling in a deep ball from QB B.J. Coleman along the sideline, but the throw was just out of reach and bounced off his outstretched hand.

DE Johnny Jolly was another player who looked to be having a strong practice. In the one-on-one pass-rush drill, Jolly slipped by G Greg Van Roten with a quick spin, and then he beat C Patrick Lewis with a swim move.

It should be noted that Van Roten then bounced back with strong reps against DE B.J. Raji and DE Mike Neal.

–Kickers perfect: Both Mason Crosby and Giorgio Tavecchio were a perfect 8-for-8 on field goals in another head-to-head duel. The kickers kicked two series of four kicks, the first from 33, 43, 48 and 50 yards, and the second from 34, 39, 45 and 54 yards.

As has usually been the case, Crosby’s kicks have carried a longer distance, and it’s especially noticeable on the longer field goals.

“Right now I’m hitting the ball really well,” Crosby said. “I’m striking it solid, and I’ve put a few good days together here, and that’s positive. But definitely Giorgio is hitting great balls and it’s motivating for me. I’m focused in and making sure that I’m taking care of my business.”

The day prior, Crosby was 7-for-8 and Tavecchio was 8-for-8, meaning the two kickers have combined to go 31-for-32 over the last two practices.

“These last two days were good,” Crosby said. ” It was good to test our bodies and test our minds a little bit and get out there and hit two long sets in a sense. I think hitting that many balls really pushed me and got me into a rhythm and into a good spot.”

–Hayward still out: Mike McCarthy made it sound as though the return of CB Casey Hayward, who has not practiced all training camp due to a hamstring injury, was not imminent, though his medical reports have improved.

“Casey Hayward’s injury is going to take time,” McCarthy said. “He’s made a lot of progress in the last 5-6 days. As far as the timeline, we’ll have a better understanding next week how close he is.”

A defensive rookie of the year candidate last year, Hayward led all rookies in 2012 with six interceptions.

–Pickett misses practice: DE Ryan Pickett missed practice due to a personal matter. He indicated on his Twitter account that he had to take one of his children to the hospital, but everything is fine.

G T.J. Lang (back) continued to sit out, as did fellow lineman Andrew Datko (concussion). McCarthy said Datko is “getting close” to passing the tests that are part of the concussion protocol.


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