The Packers might be fully healthy on the offensive line this week after all.
RG T.J. Lang, who missed the second half of Monday night’s game with a concussion, said he was medically cleared for non-contact work and returned to practice on Friday on a limited basis. He said he still had another test to take to get 100 percent clearance, so a final decision on his status would be coming over the weekend.
He’s officially listed as questionable on the injury report.
“I feel pretty good,” Lang said. “Each day this week I’ve slowly gotten a little better. I don’t know about my chances Sunday.
“We have to make sure I’m 100 percent before I step on the field. The decision might come tomorrow or it might come Sunday, but I always have to prepare like I’m going to play. I don’t like missing time. There’s still a chance I can be out there.”
If Lang can play on Sunday, the starting offensive line would remain intact. In his absence on Monday night, RT Don Barclay slid over to take Lang’s guard spot, and Marshall Newhouse came off the bench to play right tackle.
“We’ll visit with him tomorrow,” Mike McCarthy said. “I don’t take any chances when it comes to those types of things. He felt all along that he was going to be ready to play, but we’ll check him again in the morning.”
Having the starting offensive line together should help backup QB Seneca Wallace, who will be making his first start in place of QB Aaron Rodgers. McCarthy officially ruled Rodgers out on the injury report Friday.
McCarthy emphasized, however, that the game shouldn’t hinge on the change at QB, and that’s the message he has delivered to his team.
“No disrespect to Aaron, and he knows this too … but you get to the point where it’s about your football team,” McCarthy said. “We’re trying to accomplish something special as a team. Now, special is winning on Sunday, because that’s all that really matters, and that’s what it’s all about.
“This is a long journey. We’re only halfway through the season. But this is a great opportunity for everybody on our football team to step up and be successful. We missed that opportunity Monday night.”
To McCarthy, the week hasn’t been about making drastic changes but rather proper adjustments.
“We’re not going to try to do things we’re not capable of doing,” he said. “We’re not going to throw things against the wall. You’re going to recognize our offense, you’re going to recognize our defense and you’re going to recognize how we play on special teams. Everything we’ve done this week, like we do every week, is to go win the game. We really have moved past playing without Aaron.”
Tags: aaron rodgers, seneca wallace, t.j. lang
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 13 Comments »
Packers starting OLBs Clay Matthews and Nick Perry returned to the practice field on Wednesday on a limited basis, and Mike McCarthy is hopeful both can be back in the lineup this week.
Matthews has missed the last four games with a broken thumb but is trying to practice this week with a club cast on his hand. Perry has missed the last three games with a foot injury.
Wednesday’s practice was short and at a slower-than-normal pace, so Thursday’s workout will be a better indicator of where both players stand.
“I just spent a couple minutes with Clay,” McCarthy said. “It’s his first time wearing a club. There needs to be adjustments that’ll occur during the week. I’m curious to see him practice with it.”
Right guard T.J. Lang missed practice due to his concussion, but he hasn’t been ruled out for Sunday’s game. McCarthy described Lang as “confident” he could get medically cleared this week.
Tags: clay matthews, nick perry, t.j. lang
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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
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 16 Comments »
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 »
For the rundown on RB DuJuan Harris’ return to the practice field and some increased reps for rookie WR Tyrone Walker and rookie CB Micah Hyde, check out today’s feature story. Here are some additional news & notes from Monday:
–One snap but good: Rookie DE Datone Jones lasted only one snap in Friday’s preseason opener before leaving with an ankle injury, but when his teammates viewed that snap on film, they were impressed.
Jones came in for the nickel package on the first third down of the game and was matched against Arizona G Jonathan Cooper, who like Jones was a first-round draft draft pick. In the words of fellow defensive lineman B.J. Raji, “He completely whipped the guy and had a chance to get a sack.”
“We all talked about how great of a move he had on the guy,” Raji said. “It was rookie on rookie, first-round pick on first-round pick, and Datone, he won that rep and his leg just got caught. The other guy kind of tripped him and got his ankle. But judging Datone off that one play, his future definitely looks bright.”
Mike McCarthy said Jones would be out of practice for at least a couple of days, and he wasn’t sure if he’d be available to play in St. Louis on Saturday night.
–More on injuries: WR Randall Cobb (bicep) was back at practice on Monday with a wrap on his upper right arm. G T.J. Lang (back) did not practice and was replaced at right guard with the No. 1 offensive line by Don Barclay. McCarthy called the holding out of Lang “precautionary” and suggested it could continue on Tuesday.
RB Eddie Lacy (hamstring) missed practice again and did some testing of his injury, but McCarthy said he didn’t know how the test went.
–New outlook: Two of the Packers’ backup offensive linemen who have received praise lately from the coaches and whose reps are increasing are second-year pro Greg Van Roten and undrafted rookie Lane Taylor.
Van Roten appears to be the top backup at center behind Evan Dietrich-Smith, and he also takes a fair share of snaps at guard. Taylor has worked both guard spots in camp and managed to play well in Friday’s game despite a lack of rest.
The day before the game, Taylor’s wife gave birth to the couple’s first child, a daughter. He missed practice on Thursday but slept at the hospital that night with his wife and newborn, who arrived just after 5 p.m. He returned to Lambeau Field on Friday to prepare for the game and performed rather well.
“I feel like I’m starting to really clean up my technique and get fundamentally sound. It’s starting to pay off,” Taylor said. “You’ll get beat, it’s the NFL, but I keep plugging away and I’m starting to see some results.”
Undrafted out of Oklahoma State, Taylor had a handful of free-agent offers after the draft and chose Green Bay, seeing it as a “good fit.” He has a legitimate shot at a roster spot, but he admitted there’s even more motivation now with a daughter on his hands.
“Most definitely,” he said. “Having a newborn makes you more motivated because you want to go out there and provide and bring the best life for her.”
Getting his kicks: K Giorgio Tavecchio won Monday’s head-to-head kicking competition by going 8-for-8 on field goals to Mason Crosby’s 7-for-8. Crosby’s lone miss was wide left from 46 yards. With neither kicker getting a chance in Friday’s game, they can expect more work in practice as the preseason continues.
“If they ask us for 30 kicks, we’ll give them as many as we can,” said Tavecchio, who continues to preach his one-day-at-a-time approach in his effort to take Crosby’s job.
“It was a warm day today, so the balls were flying,” he said. “I felt like myself, Tim (Masthay) and Brett (Goode) were in a good rhythm with the snap, hold and kick.
“I have to watch the film to really see and dissect everything, because right now I feel good. But I always take a good look at the film and be unbiased about it. Take the lessons, the good, bad and if there’s any ugly, take that too and keep moving forward.”
Tags: datone jones, don barclay, eddie lacy, giorgio tavecchio, greg van roten, lane taylor, mason crosby, randall cobb, t.j. lang
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp | 18 Comments »
The Packers’ offensive line got some reinforcements at practice on Friday, as G/T T.J. Lang (concussion) and C Jeff Saturday (neck/shoulder) returned to practice, though it appeared during the portion of the workout open to the media that Saturday was very limited.
DE Jerel Worthy (hamstring) also returned to practice after missing the workouts on both Wednesday and Thursday this week.
RB Alex Green (concussion) remained out, as did TE Tom Crabtree (hamstring), WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring) and DE C.J. Wilson (knee). FB John Kuhn, who missed practice on Thursday but was listed as “not injury related” was also absent again.
Mike McCarthy will address the media after practice and provide the final status designations on the injury report for Sunday.
Tags: jeff saturday, jerel worthy, t.j. lang
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 10 Comments »
A total of nine players were not practicing on Wednesday during the portion of the workout open to the media.
Those whose injuries are known include RB James Starks (knee), TE Tom Crabtree (hamstring), WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring) and DE C.J. Wilson (knee).
But five additional players, who all played in last Sunday’s game but were not yet reported to have new injuries, also sat out. They were RB Alex Green, C Jeff Saturday, G/T T.J. Lang, LB Erik Walden and DE Jerel Worthy. Saturday (foot) and Lang (ankle) have been on the injury report in recent weeks.
Mike McCarthy will address the media with an update following practice.
Tags: alex green, injury, jordy nelson, t.j. lang
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 12 Comments »
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
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 11 Comments »
LB Clay Matthews returned to practice on Wednesday for the first time since injuring his hamstring on Nov. 4 vs. Arizona. Matthews has missed the last four games, but it appears he could return to game action this Sunday in Chicago.
Also, OL T.J. Lang (ankle) and DL Mike Neal (shoulder) also returned to practice after missing last week’s games.
On the flip side, DB Charles Woodson was not at practice despite having practiced off and on the past couple of weeks. Woodson hasn’t played in a game since breaking his collarbone in Week 7 in St. Louis and it was thought he might return to action this week. Mike McCarthy should provide an update when he speaks with the media following practice at the top of the hour.
Another defensive back, CB Davon House, was sitting out practice as well. House has not been on the team’s injury report since recovering from his preseason shoulder injury.
WR Jordy Nelson also was not at practice. Nelson missed last week’s game with a hamstring injury, his second such injury this season.
On another note, several of the offensive linemen and tight ends began practice with a little prank for their quarterback. Today is “Aaron Rodgers Day” in honor of the numerical date (12-12-12) and several of Rodgers’ offensive mates were wearing No. 12 Rodgers jerseys at the start of practice. Shortly into the workout, all had changed back to their regular jerseys, but for some of the initial jog-through snaps early in practice, as many as a half-dozen players running an offensive play had a No. 12 jersey on.
Tags: Aaron Rodgers Day, charles woodson, clay matthews, t.j. lang
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 28 Comments »
Offensive lineman T.J. Lang (ankle) was back at practice on Friday for the first time this week, but he appeared very limited in the work he was doing in the portion of practice open to the media.
That raises a couple of possibilities for the Packers with regard to Sunday night’s game against the Lions. Perhaps Lang will be given until Sunday night to get his ankle healed and he’ll be a game-time decision whether or not to start at right tackle instead of undrafted rookie Don Barclay. Or, Lang might be active for the game but only as a backup in an emergency should he be needed.
Mike McCarthy will be addressing the media after practice shortly.
Here’s a complete story following McCarthy’s press conference detailing the injury situation.
Tags: t.j. lang
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 7 Comments »