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 Packers coaching staff on Monday awarded five games balls to players for their performances in the 22-9 victory over the Lions at Lambeau Field.
On offense, guards T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton were awarded game balls for their blocking against Detroit DTs Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.
On defense, outside linebackers Nick Perry and Mike Neal were the recipients. Perry had the first two-sack game of his career, while Neal added a sack and two other tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
On special teams, kicker Mason Crosby was awarded a game ball for his 5-for-5 effort on field goals. Crosby made kicks from 26, 52, 31, 42 and 45 yards, tying the franchise record for made field goals in a game.
Tags: detroit, game balls, josh sitton, mason crosby, mike neal, nick perry, t.j. lang
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For the rundown on QB Aaron Rodgers’ chat with reporters at his locker, in which he talked about his lighter workload and the “vibe” of the team, check out today’s feature story. Here are some more news & notes from Wednesday:
–Neal flashes in new role: He missed time early in camp due to an abdominal injury and sat out the first preseason game, but DE Mike Neal is starting to look more comfortable in his new hybrid lineman-outside linebacker role.
On Wednesday, Neal was showing up in a number of drills, including the OLB-RB blitz pick-up and the one-on-one pass rush, where he worked from both inside and outside. He also stuffed one running play in team (11-on-11) work and was a factor at the line of scrimmage on a number of other snaps.
“Today was probably the first time we felt what we hope he’s about — his ability to be a difference-maker, the ability to put him in one-on-one situations and for him to win and to win consistently,” Mike McCarthy said. “I think Mike had his best practice today of training camp.”
Neal is taking a liking to the hybrid role now that he’s had more time to absorb the responsibilities of the OLB position, a process that began in OTAs. The next step will be to carry the kind of impact he had on the practice field on Wednesday into the preseason game in St. Louis on Saturday, which he said he’s definitely looking forward to.
“I think it best suits me. Just using my athleticism is probably the biggest thing,” Neal said. “The learning part of it is what they wanted me to (accomplish) so I can put myself in those positions.”
–Young to get more plays: McCarthy said he’s seen a lot of progress in QB Vince Young now that he’s been in camp for a week, and he plans to get Young more snaps with a larger play selection in Saturday’s game.
Young took a number of snaps in the team drills on Wednesday and appeared to be getting the ball out of his hand faster on pass plays, an indication he’s understanding the scheme more and more.
“It’s important for Vince to be able to call it, see it in his mind and be able to execute,” Rodgers said. “Seven days after he’s been here he’s definitely improved with the verbiage and he’s making some plays.”
–Injury update: WR Randall Cobb (bicep) and RB James Starks (illness) sat out practice, while G T.J. Lang (back) returned and TE Ryan Taylor (knee) was back on the field for the first time since the Family Night scrimmage. DE Ryan Pickett also returned after missing a day for personal reasons.
RBs Eddie Lacy and DuJuan Harris were cleared for more contact, with Lacy doing more in the team drills than Harris did. Lacy didn’t appear to have any issues with his hamstring, but he stopped short of saying he would for sure have clearance to play on Saturday in St. Louis. Both Lacy and Harris missed the first preseason game last week.
“Most likely they’re going to make the decision, but you have to look at the bigger picture,” Lacy said. “Preseason is a time for you to go out there and showcase what you can do and get a taste of how it is, how it’s going to be when the season gets here. But if you’re not 100 percent or don’t feel you can go, then don’t risk it.”
–Plays of the day: Two of the rookie stars thus far in camp have been undrafted WR Tyrone Walker and fifth-round CB Micah Hyde, and the pair made two of the highlight plays in practice again on Wednesday.
Walker made a nifty tip-toe catch right at the front pylon of the end zone on a throw from QB Graham Harrell after Harrell scrambled to his left to buy extra time.
Then, moments later, Hyde was in coverage on a fade to the corner of the end zone to WR Myles White. With his back to the ball, Hyde turned his head at just the right time to see it and deflect it. As he fell to the turf, the ball then hung on Hyde’s hip and he was able to tip it back to himself, make the interception and get up to run.
The grab looked similar to Antonio Freeman’s “Monday Night Miracle” against the Vikings in 2000, only it was a great defensive play rather than an offensive one.
“I knew it didn’t hit the ground,” Hyde said. “Luckily I was able to tip it back into my hands.”
Tags: aaron rodgers, dujuan harris, eddie lacy, graham harrell, micah hyde, mike mccarthy, mike neal, tyrone walker, vince young
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Mike McCarthy confirmed after Wednesday’s practice that offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga will have season-ending knee surgery, probably next week.
Bulaga injured the knee in the Family Night scrimmage but continued to play. He sought a second medical opinion on the injury to see if there was any chance he play this season without surgery, but he has opted to have the reconstructive operation.
“It’s definitely the right decision,” McCarthy said. “If you look at the history of the way we’ve treated players, we’ve never advised a player to take the harder road. At the end of the day, it is the player’s decision.”
What made Bulaga’s case so unusual is that the day after his injury, he was doing one-legged squats and moving around as though there was nothing wrong.
On Tuesday, fellow linemate Josh Sitton complimented Bulaga on his toughness during the scrimmage but said he would be “stupid” to try to play this season with the injury, because he has a career to protect. Bulaga, a first-round draft pick in 2010 who is still just 24 years old, has decided to take the prudent path.
“You see him walking down the hall, he doesn’t look like a man that’s getting ready to have knee surgery,” McCarthy said. “I think there was just some hope that it wasn’t as bad as the initial opinion, and you never ultimately know until you go in there, but all indications look that he needs to have the surgery.”
The Packers continued to have rookie David Bakhtiari work in Bulaga’s place at left tackle with the No. 1 offensive line on Wednesday.
In other injury news, RB Eddie Lacy missed practice with a hamstring injury. McCarthy said he had been given no information to make him concerned long-term. Meanwhile, WR Randall Cobb (bicep) was suited up for practice but was very limited in his activities. He mostly did sprints along the sideline.
RB Alex Green (knee), DE Datone Jones (illness) and DE Johnny Jolly (cramps) all returned to practice.
DE Mike Neal (abdominal) practiced for the first time in camp on a very limited basis, doing mostly individual and one-on-one drills.
Tags: bryan bulaga, eddie lacy, injuries, knee surgery, mike neal
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp | 8 Comments »
Here are a few news items and notes from Day 1 of training camp:
–Runnin’ with the ones: No real surprises as far as the depth chart goes. In the battle for the starting safety spot alongside Morgan Burnett, M.D. Jennings took the majority of the snaps with the first unit, but Jerron McMillian was rotated in as well. Same arrangement at right tackle, starting with Marshall Newhouse and followed by Don Barclay.
Sam Shields was the starter at cornerback opposite Tramon Williams, and he could hold down that spot for awhile with Casey Hayward (hamstring) and Davon House (illness) missing practice. At running back, there was a steady rotation of work amongst Alex Green, James Starks, Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin and Angelo Pease.
–No first-day jitters: The Packers’ three highest-profile draft picks said they didn’t have any first-day nerves to deal with on the practice field. Neither Datone Jones, Lacy nor Franklin did anything particularly eye-catching, but their enthusiasm for their first pro training camp was evident.
“It was exciting,” Franklin said. “We went through OTAs, so the nervousness got out then, and in rookie minicamp. Today was just learning and understanding the scheme of things, putting things together.”
Jones brushed off even the idea of being nervous.
“I prepare very hard, so I’m very confident in myself,” he said. “I believe in myself that I can get the job done. I’m able to play fast because I know my assignments. I study a lot.”
Friday’s practice was in shells, and Saturday’s will be, too. The first day in full pads will be Sunday.
“Practice without pads is always tough,” Lacy said. “You can’t really run through them, they’re just tagging off. When we get the pads on, it’ll be different. I think I’ll do pretty good with the pads on.”
–Sherrod hopeful: Former first-round pick Derek Sherrod says he feels “a heck of a lot better than at this point last year” in his recovery from a surgically repaired broken leg that cost him all of last season. He reiterated Head Coach Mike McCarthy’s hope that he can return to the field soon, but he’s not putting a timetable on it.
“Just taking it a day at a time,” said Sherrod, who is thought to be a contender in the battle for the right tackle job should he return soon. “It could be tomorrow, it could be whenever, but I’m working very hard and making sure that I am doing everything I can to get out there as soon as possible with my teammates.”
–Neal lighter, but waiting: Defensive end Mike Neal has been dogged by injuries throughout his career, but he called this latest abdomen injury that is keeping him out of training camp a “minor setback.”
Neal worked extensively at outside linebacker during OTAs and has slimmed down to help make the transition. He said he now weighs 275 pounds, down nearly 20 from his playing weight of a year ago.
“It’s more natural for me to be at this weight,” said Neal, a stalwart in the weight room throughout his football life. “I feel better at this weight.”
Neal said the coaches didn’t ask him to lose any weight but left the issue up to him. When he gets on the field, which McCarthy said could be a couple of weeks, it will be interesting to see if the Packers employ him more as an inside or outside pass rusher. Neal had 4 1/2 sacks last season as an inside rusher.
Tags: datone jones, derek sherrod, eddie lacy, johnathan franklin, mike neal, training camp
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp | 15 Comments »
With DE C.J. Wilson still out with a knee injury and DE Mike Neal added to the injury report on Wednesday with a shoulder injury, the Packers’ defensive line could be a bit thin come Sunday against the Lions.
Mike McCarthy said he didn’t have a lot of information on Neal’s shoulder, but he didn’t “feel real good about what the medical staff told” him about Neal. That would indicate Neal’s chances of playing this week are slim, and if Wilson remains out, that would leave the Packers with only four healthy defensive linemen — B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and rookies Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels.
In other injury news, it sounds like rookie Don Barclay could get his first NFL start at right tackle in place of T.J. Lang, whose injured ankle is “not progressing the way he’d like,” according to McCarthy. Lang sat out practice on Wednesday.
WR Jordy Nelson also sat out practice, as did LB Clay Matthews. Both have hamstring injuries, and McCarthy said he didn’t know if either would be ready to play this week and didn’t get into specifics. “I’m about timelined out,” McCarthy said.
Veteran C Jeff Saturday was also added to the injury report with a foot injury. He was limited in practice, but McCarthy said he expects Saturday to be able to play against the Lions.
In summary, the injury list doesn’t seem to be getting any shorter for the Packers, but they’re so used to dealing with it by now that the typical response is a shrug of the shoulders.
“Self-pity is a waste of time, a waste of emotion,” McCarthy said. “I think it’s part of the National Football League. I don’t think we’ve created any secret formula how we go about it, we just stay focused on what’s in front of us, and you have to, especially these division games. They’re so important.”
The positive injury news came in the form of Charles Woodson’s return to practice from a broken collarbone. He was listed as limited on the injury report, the first time he has participated in practice since the injury, which occurred on Oct. 21 at St. Louis.
The Packers will practice in pads on Thursday, and McCarthy didn’t say whether Woodson would go in pads, which would be the next step to returning to game action.
“He’s getting close,” McCarthy said. “It’s a good start.”
Tags: c.j. wilson, charles woodson, clay matthews, injury report, jeff saturday, jordy nelson, mike neal
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 44 Comments »
DE Mike Neal was back at practice on Thursday after sitting out Monday’s and Wednesday’s workouts dealing with an ongoing ankle problem. Neal played through the ankle injury in the Arizona game before the bye but then rested until Thursday, which was a padded practice.
TE Andrew Quarless did not practice on Thursday. He was listed as limited in practice on Wednesday on the injury report with his knee injury, which forced him to begin this season on the PUP list. Quarless was just activated to the 53-man roster from PUP during the bye week.
Also, backup RB Johnny White was not at practice. He was not listed on the injury report on Wednesday.
Tags: andrew quarless, mike neal
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Packers DE Mike Neal, who left last Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and missed Wednesday’s practice, was back on the practice field in pads on Thursday during the portion of the workout open to reporters.
Other than that, no other changes injury-wise appeared to be forthcoming. Mike McCarthy said on Wednesday that both FB John Kuhn and WR Jordy Nelson, who have hamstring injuries, would possibly practice on Friday at the earliest.
Tags: mike neal
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The Packers have already ruled WR Greg Jennings out for Sunday’s game in Indianapolis. He will miss his second game in four weeks with a groin injury.
Mike McCarthy said he spoke with Jennings before practice on Thursday and they felt with his groin injury — which he originally sustained in Week 1 against San Francisco — “we were going around in a circle.” So Jennings is being shut down this week and will only do rehab.
As for G T.J. Lang, he was excused from practice for a personal matter and is expected back on Friday. He is listed on the injury report for missing practice, but the absence is not injury related.
DE Mike Neal practiced in pads for the first time in the regular season, and McCarthy said the coaching staff would take the full week to decide the next step with Neal. If he’s going to play in Sunday’s game, he’ll have to be added to the 53-man roster by 3 p.m. Saturday. Otherwise, he’ll have to be activated by 3 p.m. on Monday, when the one-week roster exemption expires.
Tags: greg jennings, mike neal, t.j. lang
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 13 Comments »
As expected, WR Greg Jennings was not practicing on Wednesday during the portion of the workout open to the media. Jennings left last Sunday’s game with a groin injury, the second time this season he has injured the groin. He missed one game, in Week 2 vs. Chicago, the first time he hurt it, and Mike McCarthy said earlier this week that shutting Jennings down for a period of time might be an option.
The other Jennings, safety M.D., was practicing despite leaving the Saints game with a shoulder injury.
The only other player on the active roster not practicing was rookie S Sean Richardson, who remains out with a hamstring injury.
DE Mike Neal was also practicing for the first time in the regular season. Neal just finished serving a four-game suspension, and the Packers now have a one-week roster exemption to let him practice. After missing so much time, it would seem unlikely Neal would be activated for Sunday’s game in Indianapolis, but McCarthy will be addressing the media after practice with an update.
Tags: greg jennings, mike neal
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