T.J. Lang and Jake Ryan won’t play against Washington

Posted by Wes Hodkiewicz on November 18, 2016 – 10:06 am

161118-lang-950GREEN BAY — The Packers will be without right guard T.J. Lang and inside linebacker Jake Ryan for Sunday night’s game in Washington, according to Head Coach Mike McCarthy.

Both Lang (foot) and Ryan (ankle) exited in the first quarter of Sunday’s game in Tennessee and didn’t return. Both players sat out of Wednesday and Thursday’s practices.

Don Barclay, a fifth-year veteran, finished the game at right guard for Lang and likely will get the start Sunday against Washington. It’ll only be the third game Lang has missed since he became a starter in 2011.

“I think it helps anytime a player can focus on one or two position as opposed to all five,” said McCarthy of Barclay’s versatility. “Really, I think you’ve seen him excel at the center position, which is a real credit to him anytime you convert a tackle to a center obviously that’s a huge change.

“He’s just a heck of a football player.”

McCarthy didn’t make any projections on the availability of starting left tackle David Bakhtiari, who left in the third quarter with a knee injury and didn’t return.

Bakhtiari was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday. Rookie second-round pick Jason Spriggs replaced Bakhtiari in Tennessee and could get his first NFL start if Bakthiari doesn’t play.

Second-year linebacker Joe Thomas, who’s served as the Packers’ dime linebacker all season, stepped in for Ryan at inside linebacker next to rookie Blake Martinez in the base and nickle defenses against the Titans.

Thomas and Martinez are the only other natural inside linebackers on the active roster, though outside linebacker Clay Matthews and safety Morgan Burnett know the position, as well.

McCarthy’s biggest concern with Ryan’s absence is the domino effect it could have on the special-team units.

“It’s more about the special teams and how we’re going to play on defense,” McCarthy said. “We have two more days of preparation.”

The rest of the Packers’ injury report and designations for Sunday’s game will be released on Friday afternoon.

McCarthy said newly acquired running back Christine Michael was limited in practice Thursday after arriving in Green Bay only hours before, but he likes what he saw from him.

“You look at a young man’s talents, his running style. He’s obviously productive,” McCarthy said. “He comes from a running football environment. It’s obviously an area we want to get better and have more opportunities.”

Posted in Packers.com Blog

Packers assistants: ‘Good to see Jared Cook back on the field’

Posted by Wes Hodkiewicz on November 17, 2016 – 5:54 pm

161117-cook-950GREEN BAY — The Packers’ coordinators and offensive coaches addressed the media late Thursday afternoon. Here’s a synopsis of some of their key comments.

Running backs coach Ben Sirmans

On Christine Michael:

Being out there on the football field today, one of the things about this league is how much terminology is similar like protection. I said, ‘This is what this is,’ and he’s like, ‘Yeah, that’s what we called it in Seattle.’ It makes the transition much easier.

On his skill set:

I’ll tell you what. I was really impressed. He’s really quick. He has good, sudden movement. It seems like he has good vision. He runs with a natural body. It gives him a better chance to get in and out of seams. He has a pretty good skill set. I think he was leading Seattle in rushing.

Tight ends coach Ben Angelichio

On Jared Cook’s progress:

It’s been good. Obviously he’s been practicing more, participating more in some of the team stuff. We’ll make that decision when we get to Saturday and see where we’re at. It’s good to see him out there getting reps.

On how Cook was playing when he got injured:

Yeah, I thought he got off to a good start in the Detroit game. I think in the second half against in Minnesota when he started to progress. The game was moving in a positive direction against Detroit. It was unfortunate he ended up getting hurt there in the second quarter.

Receivers coach Luke Getsy

On Randall Cobb playing through hamstring injury:

He’s starting to get on the other side of that thing. He’s as tough as they come. There’s nobody tougher in the business than that guy. Nobody in the building will see him holding his hamstring or limping around.

On Washington CB Josh Norman:

I think as much as anything, you know someone is going to face him. We keep it general in our room about how you want to attack somebody. Whether he’s going to follow somebody, there’s no way to prepare for that. If he does follow somebody, you’re preparing for man (coverage). We’ll find out pretty quickly on Sunday.

Quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt

On Davante Adams’ improvement:

I think Davante is really coming on. He looks confident in his play. The more confidence he has, the better he’s going to play. I think he’s feeling really good about where his game is right now. He’s a guy, Chicago in particular, I don’t think they had an answer for him no matter who they put on him. Since then, he’s playing with a lot of confidence.

On the prevalence of back-shoulder passes in Tennessee:

A lot of that goes into the details of the game plan and how they play downfield throws. They played the high shoulder and invited you to throw the back shoulder. We had some success with it last week.

Offensive line coach James Campen

On how Jason Spriggs and Don Barclay did against Titans:

I thought they did OK. Losing T.J. Lang, I thought Donny did well. They have good rushers there. It was a good learning experience for Jason. There’s one play there he’d love to have back. The first time playing and a good opponent, it’s a good way to get your feet wet.

On if offensive line is better equipped this year to handle injuries:

I would think so because of the positions they play. We have two big guys, tackles, you can always move them inside if you have to. I think that’s a tribute to the scouts who are picking them. I would have to say yes and then you have a guy like Donny who can play all three. You watch tape and of course you’re going to watch last year’s game and see JC playing (at left tackle). He played a good game out there against them.

Associate head/coach offense Tom Clements

On third-down production:

In order to play well regardless of (situation), you have to execute. It’s all in paying attention to details. When you have a chance to make a play, you have to make a play whether it’s a runner, passer, receiver or blocker. We got into some long-yardage situations that are difficult to convert. It’s not one factor. We have to play as well as we can and execute.

On Jared Cook in the offense:

He was starting to play well. He was feeling more comfortable in the offense. Aaron was feeling more comfortable with him. It’s unfortunate he got hurt. He’s done some good things in practice. We’ll see what happens.

Offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett

On what Christine Michael can do for offense:

It’s early right now. He came in today, literally, so obviously it’ll take a little time before we can get going. Coach McCarthy will put a plan in place for him and he’ll get up to speed.

On what it would mean to get Jared Cook back:

He’s another playmaker. It’s always good to get those guys back out on the field. He goes about it the right way in the classroom and practice environments. It’s just continuing to work through it. It’s early. From the overall preparation standpoint, just continue doing what he’s doing right now.

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers

On Julius Peppers:

We’ve had a plan with Julius all along that hasn’t’ changed a whole lot. We have a number of people at that position that we feel good about. We’re just trying to stay the course with the plan we’ve had with Julius. There probably isn’t a player on defense that wouldn’t want to play every snap. … Rushing the passer every down is exhausting, the advantage is you have a fresh guy rushing against a guy who’s been blocking two or three guys. It’s just something we have to keep our finger on the pulse.

On difference with Clay Matthews in defense.

It’s like most defenses in the league. I always felt if you want to be an outstanding defense, you want to have two or three difference-makers and then a lot of good guys who fill their roles. I’ve always felt Clay is a difference-maker. I look at our game last week, which is one of the toughest starts we’ve had since I’ve been here. The 75-yard run had a big impact on the game. You have play every play like that play is going to determine the game.

On whether Clay Matthews is an emergency option at inside linebacker:

He always is. We haven’t talked to Clay about playing inside, but if Clay was up last week and we ended up on the first play losing Jake, then Clay would’ve been the best alternative if he had to go in there. He doesn’t need a lot of reps.

Special-teams coordinator Ron Zook

On P Jake Schum:

He had a couple punts that were inside the pooch area where you’re not going to get the big net (average). You just have to be steady. We strive for net punt and field position. You get into the latter months of the season when the weather becomes a factor here. Last year one of the things that helped us with our net punt was getting our gunners down there to cover and keeping the returns to a minimum.

Other stories:

Hodkiewicz: Michael happy to call Green Bay ‘home’

Spofford: Matthews ready to return, for real this time

Spofford: On a day off: Hunting with Janis

Spofford: McCarthy on Michael: ‘I love his running style’

Posted in Packers.com Blog

McCarthy on Michael: ‘I love his running style’

Posted by Mike Spofford on November 17, 2016 – 11:00 am

161117-mccarthy-michael-950GREEN BAY — At the time of his pre-practice press conference on Thursday, Mike McCarthy hadn’t yet met new RB Christine Michael, as he was en route to Green Bay.

But the Packers’ head coach is eager to get to know him, particularly on the field.

“Dynamic football player. I love his running style,” McCarthy said. “He’s productive. I like his ability to get in and out of breaks. The best thing about him is the way (he can) change direction and explode on the second and third cut. I think he’s a good fit for us.”

Whether or not Michael will be able to join the team on the practice field on Thursday was uncertain.

His availability was brought to McCarthy’s attention by GM Ted Thompson late during Wednesday’s practice, and McCarthy had already seen rookie RB Don Jackson go down with a knee injury. A second-round draft pick out of Texas A&M by Seattle in 2013 — one pick after the Packers chose Eddie Lacy — Michael was a player McCarthy liked coming out of college. A lot of things made sense to put in the waiver claim by the deadline on Wednesday.

“He’s played a lot of football. He’s a veteran. I look for the transition to be pretty seamless,” McCarthy said. “There will be some carryover from his prior experiences. It’s really about language and understanding what we’re doing. Just like any new player, you work him in packages.”

On the injury front, McCarthy said both LB Clay Matthews and TE Jared Cook had good days at practice on Wednesday. He was interested to see how much each player would do in practice on Thursday, but both appear on the comeback trail.

CB Damarious Randall did not practice on Wednesday and is “moving along” on the team’s rehab plan, McCarthy said.

Other stories:

Hodkiewicz: Michael happy to call Green Bay ‘home’

Spofford: Matthews ready to return, for real this time

Spofford: On a day off: Hunting with Janis

Hodkiewicz: Packers assistants: ‘Good to see Cook back on the field’


Posted in Packers.com Blog

Clay Matthews will practice in a limited capacity Wednesday

Posted by Wes Hodkiewicz on November 16, 2016 – 11:58 am

161116-matthews-950GREEN BAY — Packers linebacker Clay Matthews will practice on Wednesday in a limited capacity, according to Head Coach Mike McCarthy.

Matthews has missed the past three games due to a lingering hamstring injury. The six-time Pro Bowler was close to returning two weeks ago before suffering a setback leading up to the Packers’ Week 9 game against Indianapolis.

Matthews, who also missed the Packers’ Week 3 game against Detroit due to a hamstring issue, has 13 tackles and three sacks in five games this season.

Tight end Jared Cook (ankle) also continues to make progress after participating in his first padded practice last Thursday. He hasn’t played since Sept. 25 against Detroit.

“Jared Cook will practice today. Clay Matthews will practice today,” McCarthy said. “Those two guys will be limited. That’s the starting point and we’ll see how it goes from there.”

McCarthy said left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) will be limited in Wednesday’s practice and right guard T.J. Lang (ankle) is scheduled to be part of the rehab program. Both offensive linemen exited against the Titans on Sunday and didn’t return.

The Packers (4-5) are looking to turn things around Sunday against Washington, which is a rematch of January’s wild-card game at FedEx Stadium.

“You definitely always look at your past experiences,” said McCarthy when asked about dealing with the team’s three-game losing streak. “That’s a part of developing your awareness and instincts. With that, you have to make sure it applies to your current situation. I do that. I think everybody does that. No one walks through the NFL unscathed. This is a tough spot, but it brings you back to your foundation.”

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Posted in Packers.com Blog