The Packers have voted for and selected their captains for the 2013 postseason.
Unlike some teams, Green Bay doesn’t have season-long captains but chooses captains during the regular season on a weekly basis to go out for the coin toss. For the postseason, these six players will serve as captains and wear a “C” patch on their jerseys for as long as the Packers season continues.
They are QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Jordy Nelson on offense, LB A.J. Hawk and S Morgan Burnett on defense, and K Mason Crosby and CB Jarrett Bush on special teams.
This is the first time for Nelson and Burnett to be chosen as playoff captains. Rodgers leads the way with five selections now, followed by Bush with four, and Hawk and Crosby with three apiece.
Nelson has set career highs this season in both receptions (85) and receiving yards (1,314). Hawk led the team in tackles with 153, the seventh time in eight seasons he has either finished first or second on the team in that category. Hawk also posted a career-high five sacks.
Burnett finished second on the team with 104 tackles despite missing the first three games due to injury. Bush had seven tackles and one forced fumble on the coverage units, while Crosby posted the highest field-goal percentage of his seven-year career at 89.1 percent, making 33 of 37 field goals.
Tags: a.j. hawk, aaron rodgers, jarrett bush, jordy nelson, mason crosby, morgan burnett, playoff captains
Posted in Packers.com Blog
Packers LB Clay Matthews, who missed the second half of the Week 3 game in Cincinnati due to a hamstring injury, returned to practice on Wednesday but only on a limited basis. His availability for Sunday’s home game against Detroit remains in question.
“I think Clay is getting better,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. “He’s made a lot of progress since coming off the field in Cincinnati. I’m hopeful he’ll be able to do more tomorrow. That’s the plan.”
Elsewhere on the injury report, CB Casey Hayward (hamstring) has been ruled out for the fourth straight game. Since re-aggravating his hamstring injury in the third preseason game, Hayward has now been out for six weeks.
RB James Starks (knee) is also out and will be sidelined “a couple weeks,” McCarthy said. Also, backup offensive lineman Greg Van Roten sprained a foot in Monday’s practice and will be out multiple weeks.
The other six players on the injury report were full participants in Wednesday’s practice. They included S Morgan Burnett (hamstring), CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring), TE Jermichael Finley (concussion), RBs Eddie Lacy (concussion) and Johnathan Franklin (foot) and FB John Kuhn (hamstring).
In speaking to reporters for the first time since his concussion, which occurred on the first offensive series in Cincinnati, Finley called it a “long process” to get medical clearance, but he said he understands the reasons for the protocol and the protection of players’ health. He said it took a couple of days before he felt mostly normal again.
“Jermichael looks good. The bye week has helped him,” McCarthy said. “He looked like Jermichael. He’s in a good place. He practices very hard. It was good to have him back.”
To see Wednesday’s feature story on the Packers running game, click here.
Tags: casey hayward, clay matthews, injury, james starks, Jermichael Finley, john kuhn, morgan burnett
Posted in Packers.com Blog
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
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
Posted in Packers.com Blog
The following players have been declared as inactive for this afternoon’s Green Bay Packers vs. Washington Redskins game.
Green Bay Packers
24 CB Jarrett Bush
29 CB Casey Hayward
42 S Morgan Burnett
51 LB Nate Palmer
65 G Lane Taylor
93 DE Josh Boyd
98 DE C.J. Wilson
43 M.D. Jennings & 22 Jerron McMillian will start at safety for the Packers. 97 DE Johnny Jolly will start on the defensive line.
2 K Kai Forbath
8 QB Rex Grossman
22 RB Evan Royster
32 S Jordan Pugh
48 S Jose Gumbs
67 G Josh LeRibeus
95 NT Chris Neild
K John Potter, signed on Saturday after being released in training camp as Forbath’s competition, will kick for the Redskins.
Tags: #WASvsGB, inactives, morgan burnett, washington redskins
Posted in Packers.com Blog
Packers S Morgan Burnett practiced for the second straight day on Thursday in a limited fashion without any setbacks to his hamstring injury, which kept him out of last week’s opener in San Francisco.
Also, G Josh Sitton (back) and TE Jermichael Finley (toe) returned to practice on a limited basis after sitting out Wednesday’s workout. Thursday’s practice was in pads.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Burnett was able to do more in practice on Thursday than initially expected, but after Burnett suddenly was held out of practice last Friday and had to miss the game, caution is certainly being exercised.
“It’s better than last week,” Burnett said. “It’s improving, it’s getting there. We’re going to see how I feel tomorrow.
“I want to be out there so bad. I’m anxious to get out there and get the season started. But the trainers and guys there, they’re doing their job, so that’s why we have to play it by ear.”
McCarthy said the situations for Sitton and Finley are similar. If their medical exams go well Friday morning and they can practice again, their chances of playing will look even better.
CB Casey Hayward (hamstring) has been ruled out for the second straight week, and CB Jarrett Bush pulled up in practice on Thursday with a hamstring injury and was added to the injury report. Bush was on the report last week with an ankle injury but still played.
LB Nick Perry (neck) was downgraded to a limited participant in practice after going full on Wednesday, when practice was not in pads. McCarthy said Perry’s stinger “flared up” after Wednesday’s practice and his evaluation was ongoing.
Tags: casey hayward, jarrett bush, Jermichael Finley, josh sitton, morgan burnett, nick perry
Posted in Packers.com Blog
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
On Sunday, Head Coach Mike McCarthy explained the team’s decision to release QB Graham Harrell, which can be found here. A third kicker was also added to the competition, and you can read about his strong first impression here.
Other news & notes from the day…
–Nelson, Cobb back to work: WRs Jordy Nelson (knee) and Randall Cobb (bicep) were back on the practice field on Sunday, a good sign that the Packers WR corps could be at full strength for the season opener in San Francisco. Both players ran routes during a lengthy jog-thru period and did some conditioning work after.
Neither receiver has played in a preseason game yet, so Thursday in Kansas City would be the last opportunity, but that isn’t taking paramount importance.
“I don’t think it’s going to matter, because if I do play, it’s not going to be much,” Nelson said. “I think that little bit of work is not going to make a difference if I get it or not, but we’ll see.
“I feel good. If it was a regular-season game, we could definitely be going. But we still have to be smart, see what happens, and take it day by day.”
Cobb is taking the same approach. Wearing a compression sleeve on his injured right bicep, Cobb said he will play “free-minded” and not have any worries about the injury when he’s out there full time.
“I can play. If it’s up to me, I’d be on the field (Thursday), but we’re going to be smart about the situation,” he said. “We know what we’re dealing with and we know what we’ve got going forward, so we’re going to be smart about it.”
–Banjo making roster bid: Rookie S Chris Banjo, who went undrafted out of SMU, is making a bid for the No. 4 safety spot on the roster with his heads-up play on both defense and special teams.
In last Friday’s game in Seattle, Banjo made an impressive tackle of TE Luke Willson just shy of the first-down marker on third-and-5, forcing the Seahawks to punt. Later, he brought down former Packer Will Blackmon on a punt return.
“Chris Banjo has been making plays since he arrived,” Mike McCarthy said. “Very pleased what he has shown so far. This will be a big game for all the young guys, and definitely for Chris.”
There’s no guarantee the Packers will keep four safeties, but starter Morgan Burnett sustained a hamstring injury last Friday, which could force the Packers to go deeper at the position, increasing Banjo’s chances.
Banjo has been working against the odds from the start, arriving four days into camp after being released July 25 by Jacksonville.
“It was definitely tough, I can’t lie, especially on the defensive side of the ball, so much new terminology and all the adjustments,” Banjo said. “Trying to get all that put together and looking like I belong on the field, not looking lost, that was definitely a tough curve. But day by day I’m getting better at it, and I’m trying to put it all together.”
Injury update: Of the players injured in last Friday’s game, McCarthy said Burnett (hamstring) and CB Casey Hayward (hamstring) would not be available this week. LB Brad Jones (hamstring) could be back sooner than the other two.
RB DuJuan Harris (knee) and CB Jarrett Bush (ankle) also missed practice, while TE Matthew Mulligan (elbow) returned.
CB Tramon Williams (knee) would not rule himself out for Week 1 in San Francisco, but he wasn’t guaranteeing he’d be ready, either.
“We’re taking our time with it,” he said. “There was never a timetable set for it, but it wasn’t serious. That’s what was coming from the doctor. We’re still pushing and, like Coach said, making progress.”
Tags: brad jones, casey hayward, chris banjo, dujuan harris, jordy nelson, mike mccarthy, morgan burnett, randall cobb, tramon williams
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp
For an update on the kicking competition and some sloppy moments during Thursday’s practice, check out today’s feature story. As for other news & notes:
–Bigger presence: Head Coach Mike McCarthy couldn’t be happier with the start to camp of veteran S Morgan Burnett. It’s a big year for Burnett, who signed a contract extension just before camp began as he became the elder statesmen at the safety position with the departure of Charles Woodson.
Burnett had an interception in Wednesday’s practice, and then on Thursday, he chased down a deep ball intended for Jarrett Boykin and knocked it out of Boykin’s hands just as it appeared the receiver was going to have a TD catch.
“It’s not just the upgrade in his play, it’s the upgrade in his exertion of leadership and command in the back end, which is critical in our defense,” McCarthy said. “This is the Morgan Burnett that we know, and I think it’s now just being expressed a little more openly to everybody else. He’s doing exactly what he needs to do.”
Woodson’s departure in some senses forced Burnett into a bigger leadership role, and he also said he feels more comfortable being vocal and forceful with his calls now that he’s in his fourth season.
“As a safety, I have to be loud and decisive with my checks and calls, be the quarterback of the back end, and make sure we get lined up and ready to play,” he said.
“There’s no pressure (with the new contract). It’s really an honor and a blessing to know your organization is standing behind you. It motivates you not to let them down.”
–Officials on campus: A crew of NFL officials was working Thursday’s practice, and they will be at practice both Friday night and for Saturday night’s scrimmage inside Lambeau Field.
The officials will also take part in some of the players’ meetings to go over rules, rule changes and answer questions. The players will also be given a full presentation of rule changes and points of emphasis on Friday (a presentation also will be made to the media on Friday, and packers.com will put the highlights of that here in the blog).
McCarthy welcomes the interaction the players and coaches have with the officials at this time of year, because it only adds to a regular daily meeting the players have during camp that focuses on a specific rule or rule change.
“At the end of the day, everybody wants the same thing,” McCarthy said. “They want to make the right calls, and we want to make sure we’re coaching our guys the right way, because you don’t want to be talking about this on Sundays.”
–Spirited play: CB Loyce Means, formerly of the CFL, got a chance on Thursday to work with the No. 1 nickel defense and appeared pretty fired up about it. Early in practice, he took WR Myles White to the ground in a mini-scuffle on a screen pass and then hopped up and got in on the tackle. Later, in a one-on-one drill, he knocked away a pass on a post route to White.
Means was then beaten for a TD on an inside-out move in the end zone by WR James Jones, but Means looked agitated after the play, suggesting he thought Jones got separation with an illegal shove.
–Tough customer: Evan Dietrich-Smith is a starter in training camp for the first time in his career, and he’s showing no interest in letting anyone challenge him. After one play on Thursday, Dietrich-Smith was moving very slowly and trying to stretch out his arm and/or shoulder as he walked back to the huddle, but as Don Barclay jogged in to replace him and give him a breather, Dietrich-Smith waved him off and took the next snap anyway.
–Great matchup: Two of the early stars of camp, DL Mike Daniels and OT David Bakhtiari — both fourth-round draft picks the last two years — squared off in the one-on-one pass rush/pass blocking drill, and by subjective measure it was probably a draw.
Daniels used his brute strength to push Bakhtiari well into the backfield, but Bakhtiari managed to keep himself between Daniels and the QB the whole time. Daniels then showed off his strength again in blasting undrafted rookie lineman Lane Taylor off the line before Daniels finally met his strength match in veteran G Josh Sitton, who successfully held his own.
The best block of the day may have been turned in by LT Bryan Bulaga. In the set-the-edge drill against the outside linebackers, Bulaga locked up rookie Andy Mulumba, who has made a good early impression, and then lifted and planted the undrafted free agent on his backside, almost like a wrestler.
–Not his best day: WR Randall Cobb was not at the top of his game with two glaring drops during the workout. On the first, in a one-on-one drill against CB Micah Hyde, Cobb cleanly beat Hyde with an inside-out move but then had the pass bounce right off his hands. Later, in team work, he was open on a go route but had the ball glance off his hands as S Jerron McMillian was closing fast.
“We need to catch the football better,” McCarthy said. “I’ve never been part of a perimeter group that accepts anything less than 100 percent. That’s what we’re striving for.”
–Injury update: S David Fulton (foot) returned to practice after sitting out on Wednesday, and DL Johnny Jolly (ankle) also returned after dropping out early the previous day.
“Johnny has always been a tough guy, always practiced hurt,” McCarthy said. “That was no surprise to anybody. That’s a part of what makes him a unique football player, and obviously with the opportunity he has, I’m sure he’s going to take full advantage of it.”
S Sean Richardson, who had neck surgery last year, still doesn’t have a determination on his future, but it could be coming soon. Richardson has remained as optimistic as possible, all things considered, but there is a chance he won’t get medical clearance to return to the field.
“All the opinions from the doctors now have to weigh in and a final decision needs to be made,” McCarthy said.
Tags: bryan bulaga, david bakhtiari, evan dietrich-smith, johnny jolly, loyce means, mike daniels, mike mccarthy, morgan burnett, randall cobb
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp
S Morgan Burnett’s two interceptions on Sunday in the 23-14 victory over the Vikings has earned him the defensive game ball from the Packers’ coaching staff.
The coaches award game balls weekly to members of all three phases — offense, defense and special teams — based on their performances.
Burnett’s two interceptions were his first two of the season, and they both came at crucial times. The first came early in the third quarter, in the end zone with the Vikings at Green Bay’s 8-yard line and threatening to add to their 14-10 lead. The second came later in the third quarter after the Packers had taken a 20-14 lead but the Vikings were driving again, having reached the Green Bay 25.
On offense, James Starks received a game ball for his 15-carry, 66-yard outing, which included a 22-yard TD run for the go-ahead score. Starks hadn’t scored a rushing TD since Week 1 of last season, and the rushing TD was the Packers’ first this season since Week 5 in Indianapolis.
On special teams, LB Jamari Lattimore was the game-ball recipient. Lattimore wasn’t credited with any coverage tackles based on the press box statistics, but the coaches often see things on film that don’t make the stat report and reward a player accordingly.
Tags: jamari lattimore, james starks, morgan burnett, packers, vikings
Posted in Packers.com Blog