Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said on Thursday that he’s hopeful C Evan Dietrich-Smith can return to practice in some capacity on Friday, but he hasn’t made a final decision on the starting offensive line should Dietrich-Smith not be able to play.
Dietrich-Smith injured an ankle in practice on Wednesday and sat out Thursday. If he can’t play, he’d be replaced by RG T.J. Lang at center, the same move made in Detroit last week when Dietrich-Smith went down with a knee injury.
One of three other players would fill in from there. One option would be for ro0kie Lane Taylor to take Lang’s spot at RG. Another would be for Don Barclay to slide over from RT to RG, with Derek Sherrod starting at RT. Or Marshall Newhouse could start at either RG or RT, with Barclay playing the other spot.
“The opportunity needs to be earned and performance will drive it,” McCarthy said.
The Packers got no further clarity on QB Aaron Rodgers’ availability for Sunday. He practiced in pads and “made a little progress,” according to McCarthy, but there was nothing more to report.
“He’s a step closer, but how far away, time will answer that question,” McCarthy said.
In other news, CB Tramon Williams acknowledged that he was fined by the league for the contact he made with an official in the end zone in Detroit last Thursday. Williams said the fine was “in the 20s,” meaning thousands of dollars, but he maintained there was no intent behind the contact and that he didn’t know in the heat of the moment it was an official whose arm he swiped away.
“I’ll appeal,” he said. “Hopefully they give me some money back.”
Tags: aaron rodgers, evan dietrich-smith, mike mccarthy, tramon williams
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Head Coach Mike McCarthy officially ruled out QB Aaron Rodgers on the injury report for Thursday’s game in Detroit and declared Matt Flynn the starting QB.
“Matt Flynn will be the starter tomorrow,” McCarthy said following the team’s practice on Wednesday. “He’s taken all the starter reps this week, and he’s ready to go.
“We’re ready. We’ve got a full game plan in.”
As for G Josh Sitton’s disparaging comments about Detroit’s defensive line and coaching staff, which he made on a radio show Tuesday, McCarthy addressed them briefly.
“I’ll say this about Josh Sitton’s comments. They definitely don’t reflect how we go about our business here,” McCarthy said. “It was discussed with the football team.”
Tags: aaron rodgers, josh sitton, matt flynn, mike mccarthy
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The Packers are in a “week-to-week mindset” with QB Aaron Rodgers’ injury, according to Head Coach Mike McCarthy in a Tuesday afternoon press conference. Rodgers suffered a fracture to the clavicle in the first series of the game when his left shoulder was driven into the ground on a sack by Bears DE Shea McClellin.
McCarthy said the doctors felt much better about the situation on Tuesday, after gathering more information on the injury.
In Rodgers’ potential absence, Seneca Wallace figures to be the starter heading into Sunday’s Week 10 contest with the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field.
“We’re preparing Seneca Wallace and getting him ready to be the starter,” McCarthy said. “I have all the confidence in the world in Seneca.”
“This is a great opportunity for our football team to show its mettle.”
The Packers head back to the practice field Wednesday afternoon.
Tags: aaron rodgers, mike mccarthy, seneca wallace
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Packers LB Nick Perry may not be as close to returning to the field as his appearance at practice last Friday might have indicated.
Perry did not participate at all in Thursday’s practice and appears to be having more trouble with his injured foot.
“He’s just not ready,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. “Not moving along as everybody would hope.”
In other injury news, TE Ryan Taylor (knee) returned to practice on a limited basis for the first time since injuring his knee against Baltimore three weeks ago. WR James Jones (knee) was also listed as limited, though McCarthy said he was doing mostly rehab. LB Brad Jones (hamstring) was listed as a full participant and could be nearing his return.
There were also no new updates on TE Jermichael Finley, as the team is still gathering information and medical opinions on his neck injury. Finley was at the facility on Wednesday, however, for the team picture. His teammates appreciated another chance to see him, and QB Aaron Rodgers noted it always lifts an injured player’s spirits to come back and be around the team, even if only for a little while.
“There’s a comfort being back in this locker room,” Rodgers said. “He went through a difficult injury, is still dealing with it, but this is an escape I think for a lot of us. To be in this locker room with our brothers, be able to joke around and go to practice, sit in meetings. I’m sure it’s been great for J-Mike to come back in. It’s been great to see him and give him a big hug, and he looks great.”
Tags: aaron rodgers, brad jones, james jones, Jermichael Finley, mike mccarthy, nick perry, ryan taylor
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Amidst all the injuries the Packers are dealing with, they’re actually starting to get healthier at some spots, which “encouraged” Head Coach Mike McCarthy.
RB James Starks (knee) returned to practice on Wednesday and was listed as a full participant, though it was a non-padded practice. Starks has been out since injuring his knee in the first half at Cincinnati in Week 3.
“James Starks looked good,” McCarthy said. “Looks to be back. We didn’t do a whole lot of team (drills) today. We were in helmets. Did a lot of jog-through and a lot of teaching periods today. Based on the workload, I thought he looked fine.”
Also listed as full participants were three players with hamstring injuries — LB Brad Jones, CB Jarrett Bush and CB Casey Hayward.
McCarthy said Jones is being “eased” back into things, but this marks the second straight week Hayward has practiced on Wednesday and appears on track to work every day. Hayward has yet to play this season after missing all but three practices in training camp.
“When push came to shove, he was close last week,” McCarthy said. “It’s good for him to get his confidence back. I think he’ll be ready to go with a full week of work.”
McCarthy didn’t have anything new to report on TE Jermichael Finley, who is seeking opinions from multiple specialists regarding his neck injury and his future outlook. Finley remains in a local hospital but continues to improve.
“We’re going to wait until everything comes in,” McCarthy said, referring to the medical reports. “(Team physician) Pat McKenzie is collecting all the information, and we’ll do our due diligence. We will not be premature on anything, and we will do what’s in the best interest of Jermichael Finley. That’s where we are.”
For the full report from the Packers’ locker room on Wednesday, click here.
Tags: casey hayward, james starks, Jermichael Finley, mike mccarthy
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Former Packers QB Matt Flynn was released by the Oakland Raiders on Monday, prompting media speculation as to whether the Packers might pursue him as a backup to Aaron Rodgers, a job Flynn held for four seasons (2008-11).
Head Coach Mike McCarthy didn’t sound as though the Packers would be making any changes at the quarterback position at this point. Seneca Wallace is Rodgers’ current backup, with Scott Tolzien on the practice squad. Both players were signed following training camp this summer, after Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman were released.
“Personally, I’m very happy with the quarterback room, the way it looks, the people in it,” McCarthy said. “Obviously Matt was a Packer. I’m very fond of Matt and his time here. I do like Seneca Wallace. I like what he’s done since he’s been here.”
Flynn left Green Bay after the 2011 season — which he ended with a record-setting 480 yards passing and six TDs filling in for Rodgers against the Lions in Week 17 — and signed with Seattle in 2012, but he was beaten out for the starting job by Russell Wilson. This year, he went to the Raiders but was beaten out by Terrelle Pryor. When Pryor had to miss a game two weeks ago, Flynn got his lone start since leaving Green Bay but lost and was demoted to third string.
McCarthy admitted to being surprised that things haven’t worked out for Flynn elsewhere given how he performed in Green Bay. In his first NFL start, he nearly beat Tom Brady and the Patriots on the road in a prime-time game in 2010.
McCarthy suggested that perhaps Flynn simply hasn’t found the right “fit” with another team, though he said he couldn’t know for sure without having studied Flynn’s game tapes.
“Definitely I’m surprised, because when his opportunity came, I obviously gave him a very high recommendation,” McCarthy said. “I haven’t watched the film of Matt, so I can’t really give you an educated or informed opinion on exactly how he did play.
“On a personal level, as I said I’m very fond of Matt Flynn. He was excellent in his time here, and I wish him the best of luck.”
For today’s feature story, which gives the latest on Clay Matthews plus a review of other aspects from Sunday’s game, click here.
Tags: aaron rodgers, matt flynn, mike mccarthy
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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.
“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.
Tags: eddie lacy, james starks, jarrett bush, Jermichael Finley, john kuhn, johnathan franklin, johnny jolly, mike mccarthy, morgan burnett, running backs, t.j. lang
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 9 Comments »
Packers CB Casey Hayward has been ruled out for the third straight week to start the 2013 season with a hamstring injury, so the earliest Hayward could see the field this season will come after next week’s bye.
“He just tells me he’s making progress,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. “He had a similar injury. This one wasn’t supposed to be as bad as when he hurt it the first time, the day before he came back for training camp, so he’s making progress.”
Hayward missed the first three full weeks of training camp before returning to practice, but then he aggravated the hamstring when he tried to play in the third preseason game vs. Seattle, on Aug. 23. He has not practiced since.
Also missing practice on Wednesday were CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring), FB John Kuhn (hamstring), RB Eddie Lacy (concussion) and TE Jermichael Finley (toe). Finley was on the report last week and rested the toe at times and then still played in the game on Sunday.
S Morgan Burnett (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis, but in the portion of the workout open to reporters, he was doing jog-thru work on the scout team, so he may be held out until after the bye week as well.
DE Johnny Jolly is also listed on the injury report with a neck injury, but he was a full participant in practice.
Tags: casey hayward, injuries, Jermichael Finley, john kuhn, mike mccarthy, morgan burnett
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LG Josh Sitton (back) and TE Jermichael Finley (toe) both missed practice on Wednesday, leaving their status for Sunday’s game against Washington in doubt. Also, S Morgan Burnett (hamstring) returned to practice on a limited basis, but Head Coach Mike McCarthy said it would take the entire week to determine whether or not Burnett can play.
Sitton had his back flare up on him during the long flight to San Francisco, but he played the whole game. The long flight back didn’t help matters, though.
“It’s feeling better than it did Monday and Tuesday, but I don’t know, we’ll see,” Sitton said. “We’ll be able to gauge it more as the week goes on.
“It’s one of those things that comes and goes, and hopefully it’ll go away before Sunday.”
Sitton had a rough second quarter in San Francisco, getting called for three penalties — two holding and one illegal hands to the face — while trying to block All-Pro Justin Smith. Long story short, Sitton wasn’t crazy about the calls.
“You can’t really do anything about the officials,” he said. “I don’t necessarily agree with a couple of the calls, but you can’t do anything about it. Screaming and complaining about it isn’t going to get you anywhere. Old ‘94’ (Smith) out there is a pretty good actor. He likes to throw his hands up in the air a lot, pretend like he’s getting held. Nothing you can do about that.”
If Sitton is unable to play on Sunday, McCarthy said that Marshall Newhouse would be the next lineman in. Newhouse started primarily at tackle the past two years, so one possible lineup would put Newhouse at right tackle and move Don Barclay to Sitton’s left guard spot. Newhouse also could play guard, though he hasn’t done so in a regular-season game in his career.
“Things are kind of open,” Newhouse said. “We’ll be flipping a lot and taking a lot of reps and things are still up in the air as far as that’s concerned. I know the offense well.
“There shouldn’t be any dropoff. I’ve always prepared mentally like I’m a starter, and in 2011 when my number was called, I was ready.”
Finley will be “hard pressed” to practice on Thursday, according to McCarthy, but any decision on his game status would wait until at least Friday.
“I’ve got the mentality that I want to play,” said Finley, acknowledging that the best medicine for his sore toe is rest. “I don’t have it in my mind that I want to sit down Sunday. We have four days until Sunday, so if it’s up to me, I’m going to be out there.”
Tags: Jermichael Finley, josh sitton, marshall newhouse, mike mccarthy, morgan burnett
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 13 Comments »
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
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 14 Comments »