Green Bay Packers: Green Bay Packers

Despite rally, defensive issues linger

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
12:59
AM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- There are two ways to look at a comeback win like the one the Green Bay Packers pulled off Sunday against the New York Jets.

Coaches and players alike can be lauded for their resiliency and, as coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers both said following their 31-24 victory that came after they faced an 18-point deficit, their grit.

Or they can see through temporary camouflage of elation and figure out how to prevent the problems from returning.

"I really like the character and makeup of our players," McCarthy said. "Everyone likes to talk about talent and measurables, experience and production. But this group, they're wired the right way. They work the right way."

But for a group that has underperformed on defense, the Packers can't allow the euphoria of this win to mask the view of their struggles on coordinator Dom Capers' side of the ball.

Yes, the Packers stuck together on defense when, as cornerback Tramon Williams said, "It gets a little heated sometimes." For that, they deserve credit. But the same breakdowns that burned them in the Week 1 loss at Seattle foiled them again Sunday.

Capers' new-look 4-3 defense -- the one the Packers practiced but never showed during the preseason -- once again had problems, both in matchups and execution. On their first three possessions, the Jets had 180 yards, three touchdowns and a 21-3 lead. For the second straight week, Capers had to adjust on the fly after breakdowns early.

"We stayed in our same alignment," defensive end Datone Jones said of the changes. "We stopped substituting a lot, keeping our main personnel on the field and letting the starters make the plays."

Not until Williams picked off Geno Smith at the Packers' 3-yard with 1:52 left in the second quarter did it look like the Packers had any life in their defense. That play, which was made in part by the pressure Mike Daniels put on Smith, turned things around. Rodgers took the offense on a 97-yard touchdown drive before the half, and suddenly the 18-point deficit -- the largest one that Rodgers has overcome in his career -- didn't look so insurmountable.

The Packers gave up just 100 more yards and three points on six Jets possessions in the second half.

"The most frustrating part is when you see what guys can do, when you know what we’re capable of doing," Williams said. "To come out like we did the first game and two quarters of this game and play like we did, that's the most frustrating part of it. But you never want to get too down because we know what we're capable of doing. And we did. We came out in the second half and showed what we can do."

Nelson's big day powers Packers again

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
11:30
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. – At some point, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers might need to start spreading the ball around.

But not if Jordy Nelson keeps this up.

One game after he was targeted 14 times, Nelson saw 16 passes come his way in Sunday's 31-24 comeback win over the New York Jets. And it did not matter for a second that the Packers made no effort to hide the fact they were going to force-feed him the ball.

[+] EnlargeJordy Nelson
AP Photo/Mike RoemerJordy Nelson has been targeted a whopping 30 times (18 receptions) through two games.
Nelson, fresh off his four-year, $39 million contract extension this summer, torched the Jets for a career-high 209 yards on nine catches, including an 80-yard touchdown in the third quarter that turned out to be the game winner.

"Jordy spoils us," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "He plays that way all the time. He practices the same way. He's just a clutch, clutch player."

With the Jets focused on taking away the Packers' running game, they kept their base defense on the field even when McCarthy went to his standard three-receiver set -- a personnel group that usually causes defensive coordinators to use their nickel package to get another cornerback on the field.

That not only left Randall Cobb with a favorable matchup in the slot, either against a safety or a linebacker, but it gave Nelson more one-on-one coverage than usual on the outside.

That's exactly the coverage Nelson saw when he lined up wide to the right on first down from his own 20-yard line with 2:21 left in the third quarter. That time, he was the only receiver in what looked like a clear run formation. With the Jets in a one-high safety man coverage, Nelson ran a 10-yard out and when Jets cornerback Dee Milliner broke on the out route, Nelson turned it up the field.

"At that point in time, I was pretty confident we were going to hit it," Nelson said. "Just didn't know where the safety would be, if he'd be playing over the top or what."

By the time safety Calvin Pryor came over, it was too late. Nelson already caught the ball at midfield and did the rest himself.

"Jordy gives you those opportunities to really make some special plays," said Rodgers, who threw for 346 yards, three touchdowns and registered the largest comeback (from down 18) of his career.

It can be habit-forming to rely on one player -- even one as good as Nelson. Sure, Cobb caught a pair of touchdowns, but he totaled just 39 yards on his five catches. Rookie Davante Adams had something of a breakout game with five catches for 50 yards after getting shut out in the opener against the Seahawks.

"Everybody needs help," Adams said. "Otherwise, if you've just got one guy, then you just double that guy and you can shut a team down."

The Seahawks did that to a degree -- holding Nelson to 83 yards despite nine receptions in the Packers' Week 1 blowout loss -- but the Jets could not. It was all Nelson, whose 209 yards was the biggest day by a Packers receiver since Don Beebe posted 220 in an overtime game against the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 14, 1996.

At this rate, Nelson is on a 144-catch pace, which is about as realistic as the Packers throwing him to an average of 15 times per game. Before Sunday, Rodgers had never targeted one receiver 16 times in a game, according to ESPN Stats & Information, perhaps leaving it open to wonder whether the Packers have enough other options.

But as Sunday's game was winding down, there was Nelson with 194 yards receiving to his name, something Cobb reminded him. And when the Packers needed one more first down to complete the comeback, Rodgers, of course, went to Nelson, who came up with 15 more yards.

"One-ninety is good, 199 is great but 200 just sounds better," Nelson said.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Observed and heard in the locker room after the Green Bay Packers' 31-24 victory against the New York Jets on Sunday at Lambeau Field:
  • If fans in the stands or those watching on TV were in a panic over the Jets' apparent 36-yard touchdown pass that would have tied the game late in the fourth quarter, the Packers were not. To a man, every player interviewed in the locker room said the same thing -- that they heard the officials blow the whistle to grant the Jets a timeout shortly before the snap. Cornerback Tramon Williams, who was in coverage when Geno Smith heaved the ball to receiver Jeremy Kerley on the dead play, said, "I heard it before the snap. I heard it during the play, too. I think they might have blown it four or five times. So I heard it then."
  • Nelson
  • Receiver Jordy Nelson doesn't normally come to the media auditorium for his postgame interviews, but after catching nine passes for a career-high 209 yards, that's where he found himself. And Nelson, who does not like the spotlight, said: "I’m going to hate this, so go ahead," as he walked to the podium. Nelson posted the fourth-highest single-game receiving total in team history.
  • It was alumni day at Lambeau Field, with dozens of ex-Packers players on the field before the game and at halftime. But there was one major absence -- Bart Starr, who sustained a mild stroke last week. "We obviously miss Bart Starr here today," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "Bart, we're thinking about you."
  • With 346 yards passing, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers moved past Starr and into second on the team's career passing yardage list with 24,732. He trails only Brett Favre. Said Rodgers: "It’s an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence with him. You know, thinking about him today a lot as it was alumni day, and I got to see Willie [Davis] and Fuzzy [Thurston] and actually some guys that I played with, which starts to age you a little bit. But I was definitely thinking about Bart and I wish he’d been here. I wish him the best. We're thinking and praying for him. Personally, you know him and I have become close over the last few years and it's been hard seeing him go through this."

Rapid Reaction: Green Bay Packers

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
7:45
PM ET
videoGREEN BAY, Wis. -- A few thoughts on the Green Bay Packers' 31-24 win over the New York Jets on Sunday at Lambeau Field:

What it means: At this point, all we can say for sure is the Packers avoided what would have been a disastrous start to the season. Down 21-3 in the second quarter, 0-2 was looking like a distinct possibility. Maybe the comeback just masked some greater defensive problems that will plague the Packers all season long, but it could be the kind of early-season momentum changer that sends them on a run to another playoff appearance. Either way, for now, disaster has been averted.

Stock watch: Coach Mike McCarthy doesn't like undisciplined penalties from his players. You can believe he won't be happy about the one on his sideline in the second quarter. That's what happened to at the end of a 17-yard catch by Jordy Nelson in the second quarter. The Packers' sideline was upset that there was not a late-hit called against the Jets after it appeared Nelson was hit late out of bounds and after arguing the no-call, it was the Packers' bench that got penalized for unsportsman-like conduct. Referee Walt Anderson did not say who the penalty was on, but Rob Davis, the team's director of player engagement, appeared to be vehemently arguing with the nearest official. The Packers still got a field goal on that drive.

Unpopular call: When the Packers ran the ball on third-and-goal from the 5 -- and got 3 yards from Eddie Lacy -- in the second quarter while trailing 21-3, that seemed to be a precursor to going for it on fourth down. Not so. Instead, coach Mike McCarthy opted to kick the field goal anyway, drawing boos from the crowd.

Injury report: Starting safety Micah Hyde and backup linebacker Andy Mulumba both left the game with knee injuries and did not return.

Game ball: Nelson is the best thing the Packers have going for them on offense, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers knows it. Time after time, Rodgers looked to Nelson, who delivered with nine catches for a career-high 209 yards and a touchdown.

What’s next: The Packers play their first NFC North game next Sunday at the Detroit Lions.

Packers' Hyde leaves with knee injury

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
7:00
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay Packers starting safety Micah Hyde was taken to the locker room midway through the third quarter of Sunday's game against the New York Jets because of a knee injury.

Hyde was injured late in the second quarter while returning a punt but came back out of the locker room and appeared ready to play. However, rookie first-round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix started the second half in place of Hyde.

Hyde spent the early portion of the third quarter riding the stationary bike before going back into the locker room.

The injury also left a hole in the dime defense, where the Packers inserted Jarrett Bush rather than Casey Hayward.

 
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Despite practicing on a limited basis all week, right tackle Bryan Bulaga was not deemed healthy enough or effective enough to play for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday against the New York Jets.

Bulaga, who was listed as questionable because of the sprained MCL he sustained in the season opener against the Seattle Seahawks, was declared inactive.

Former first-round draft pick Derek Sherrod, who struggled in relief of Bulaga and allowed two sacks against the Seahawks, will make his first career start.

Another starter, linebacker Brad Jones (quadriceps), was ruled out on Friday, opening the door for Jamari Lattimore to start.

The Packers activated rookie nose tackle Mike Pennel, who was a healthy scratch in Week 1. The 332-pound Pennel gives the Packers another run-stopping lineman after they allowed 207 yards rushing last week. The Jets led the NFL in Week 1 rushing with 212 yards.

For the Jets, cornerback Dee Milliner (ankle) is active but Ellis Lankster is expected to start in his place, meaning Milliner’s snaps likely will be limited.

Here are the full inactives for each team:

Jets
Packers

Packers' mailbag: Brad Jones edition

September, 13, 2014
Sep 13
8:00
AM ET
Each week, I will ask for questions via Twitter with the hashtag #PackersMail and then will deliver the answers over the weekend.

This week, there were so many questions about Brad Jones and the Packers' inside linebacker position after Jones' poor performance against the Seahawks -- and his subsequent quadriceps injury that will keep him out of Sunday's game against the Jets -- that we're going to devote the entire mailbag to that hot topic.

Demovsky: That might depend on how Jamari Lattimore plays in place of Jones on Sunday against the Jets. The Packers liked how Lattimore played early last season when he filled in for Jones in three games in October, but then thought he didn't play as well late in the season. Nevertheless, they completely ignored the position in free agency and the draft. You have to wonder if things would have been different if C.J. Mosley or Ryan Shazier were still available when the Packers picked at No. 21 in the first round. They might have provided exactly the kind of playmaker the Packers have been missing on the interior of their defense. They overevaluated what they had at safety in 2013 and it cost them, and they might have done so at inside linebacker this year.

Demovsky: Desmond Bishop had that same reputation when he was wasting away on the Packers' bench from 2007 until he finally got his shot in 2010, and he turned out to be a playmaker. It can be a Catch-22. A player needs experience to know when he can and cannot take chances, yet sometimes they don't get that opportunity because they haven't earned the trust of the coaches. Lattimore might make a few mistakes, but his big-play ability could be worth it.

Demovsky: If you heard what coach Mike McCarthy said on Friday or read it in this piece, it almost sounded like he hoped that would be the case. The days of players reclaiming their jobs when they come back from injuries are over. If Lattimore plays well in this spot, Jones might never get the job back.

Demovsky: Only one player on the field can have the helmet speaker to receive Dom Capers' defensive calls, so you want someone who's going to be on the field for every play. Jones, not Hawk, was that guy. Jones played all 70 plays, while Hawk came off the field in the dime package. The better question might be this: Why have Jones as the dime linebacker? That's usually an obvious passing situation, and the Packers believe Jones is better in coverage than Hawk. Expect Hawk to take over that role this week. It's unlikely they would give the inexperienced Lattimore that much responsibility in his first start of the season and just his fifth overall in his career. 
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The way Mike McCarthy talked on Friday, it was almost as if the Green Bay Packers coach wants Jamari Lattimore to never relinquish the starting spot he will occupy Sunday against the New York Jets in relief of the injured Brad Jones.

It would not be the first time a Packers linebacker won a job that way.

Desmond Bishop was an injury replacement for Nick Barnett early in the 2010 season and did not give up the job until he was injured in the 2012 preseason. And midway through the 2012 season, Jones took over that spot after an injury to D.J. Smith.

Could it be Lattimore's turn?

Jones has a quadriceps injury that may or may not have contributed to his poor play in the season-opening loss to the Seattle Seahawks and has been ruled out for Sunday's home opener.

"I would think anytime you get a chance to go and perform, if you perform at a high level, you don't want to give that spot back," McCarthy said Friday. "I think that's the part of injury. You look at the history of the National Football League, some of the greatest careers were started because of an injury in front of that particular player. This is a big opportunity."

But it's not Lattimore's first shot.

He started four games last season -- three in October plus the regular-season finale -- while Jones had hamstring and ankle injuries. Lattimore played well early in the season, including a career-high 14 tackles (with a sack) against the Browns on Oct. 20, but was not as effective in Week 17 against the Bears.

What no one outside the Packers knew until Friday was that Lattimore was dealing with an illness the entire time. Although the fourth-year pro did not disclose all the details, he said Friday that it was stomach-related and also had to do with allergies. He said he was on medication all of last season.

"I don't like to talk because it was bad for me," said Lattimore, who has no lingering problems from the illness. "So I don't really like to bring it back up."

The illness, which he said he still doesn't know exactly what it was, never kept him out of a game. The only game he missed was because of a quad injury. Other than the four starts, most of his action came on special teams, where he was voted as a team captain for the playoffs.

"I had no choice," he said. “It's my job. I've got to go and play. But I didn't feel good. But you just have to suck it up."

In the offseason, he was tendered as a restricted free agent at the lowest rate, $1.431 million, with no promises that another shot at the starting job would come with it. But here he is, a week into the regular season with that shot again, even if he's not quite looking at it that way.

"It's not a break," said Lattimore, who came into the league in 2011 as an undrafted free agent. "Every play is important to me because when I'm on the field I get to make a play. For me, yes, it's an opportunity, but it's just doing your job. What they brought you in here for, for you to do your job, for you to play that position. It's all up to the player to be accountable. It's not necessarily a big stage or first time. It's doing your job."

McCarthy: 'We're not saving anybody'

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
2:15
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. – You heard it over and over last season when Aaron Rodgers was sidelined because of his broken collarbone: The Green Bay Packers are medically conservative.

Maybe that's changing.

The matter came up on Friday, when the Packers listed starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga as questionable on the team's injury report for Sunday's game against the New York Jets. McCarthy acknowledged that the Packers' medical department, led by Dr. Pat McKenzie, has tilted toward the conservative side in the past.

McCarthy
McCarthy
"But the reality is you're only given 16 games and I know from a player's perspective, they want to play in every single game," McCarthy said. "If Bryan Bulaga feels that he can go in this game, that'll be a part of the decision. But we're not saving anybody for next week or so forth. If Bryan cannot go, it will be clearly from a medical standpoint that we don't feel it's in his best interest."

However, McCarthy later acknowledged that the conservative approach to bringing back players from injury also has its place.

"I just think medically people are a lot more conservative today," McCarthy said. "I think the landscape is a challenge for every medical group. I think it's only natural, but at the end of the day that's why you have the process. That's why it's set up the way it is on who makes those decisions.

"From [general manager] Ted Thompson and myself as far as how you look at our players, we're never going to jeopardize a player's future for one game. But the importance of playing in every game is important."
GREEN BAY, Wis. – Right tackle Bryan Bulaga is no better than a 50-50 bet to play in Sunday's game against the New York Jets and still has to show Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy that he can go the distance in practice.

For that reason, plus some soreness in his left knee, Bulaga was listed as questionable on Friday's injury report. The Packers do not practice on Fridays anymore but will hold a short practice on Saturday. If there's a change to a player's status, the team will update that on Saturday.

Bulaga
"I think he needs to go out and be able to do the move-the-ball segment and show that he can go through and sustain a drive," McCarthy said Friday. "[That] would be usually what you’re looking for when you have someone coming off that type of injury."

If Bulaga can't go, Derek Sherrod, who struggled in his relief assignment last week against Seattle, would make his first career start.

The only player ruled out against the Jets was starting inside linebacker Brad Jones, who has a quadriceps injury and is coming off a poor showing. Jamari Lattimore, who started four games last season, is expected to start in Jones' place.

As expected, running back Eddie Lacy (concussion) was listed as probable after he was fully cleared on Thursday.

For information on the Jets’ injury situation, including the status of cornerback Dee Milliner, click here.

Here's the Packers' full injury report:

Out
LB Brad Jones (quadriceps)

Questionable
RT Bryan Bulaga (knee)

Probable
TE Brandon Bostick (fibula)
CB Demetri Goodson (concussion)
RB Eddie Lacy (concussion)

Prediction: Packers will beat Jets

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
1:00
PM ET
The New York Jets feature a pair of productive running backs -- Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory -- and that's a good thing for an opponent to have when facing a Green Bay Packers' defense that hasn't been able to slow down opponents' running games since early last season. The Jets are wise enough to know that's how to beat the Packers. But the Packers surely can't miss 18 tackles again like they did last week against the Seattle Seahawks, so perhaps they will be able to cut down on the explosive gains.

Then there's quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who almost never has two unproductive games in a row. It's not that Rodgers was bad against the Seahawks -- he completed nearly 70 percent of his passes -- he just wasn't able to get anything done down the field. Receiver Randall Cobb talked this week about the need for big plays in the passing game. Other than a 44-yard passing interference penalty against the Seahawks, the Packers' longest play from scrimmage in the opener was just a 23-yard pass to Cobb. That has to change this week.

My prediction: Packers 27, Jets 21

 

CB depth keeps House on bench for now

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
12:10
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Given how deep the Green Bay Packers were at cornerback, it was worth wondering how they would get Davon House on the field.

The answer, at least in the opener, was that they won't.

House
 Despite having the best training camp and preseason of his NFL career, House did not play a single snap on defense in last week's season-opening loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Casey Hayward got the call as the fifth defensive back in the nickel package, and Micah Hyde, who started at safety, played as the dime (sixth) defensive back when rookie Ha Ha Clinton-Dix replaced him at safety.

However, that doesn't mean the fourth-year cornerback will be relegated only to special teams duty until an injury opens up a spot in the secondary.

"No, there doesn't have to be an injury; there's a possibility he could play this week," cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt said. "I said early on, and I said it in the [cornerbacks] room, there's going to be some uncomfortable moments, and everybody's not going to be happy, and that's just what it's going to be. Last week, he was not the happy the one. This week, we’ll see. One of them won’t be happy."

Whitt, however, said House handled the news that he wouldn't be in the regular defensive rotation with class.

"I know it's part of the business," House said. "Everyone wants to be the guy. I figured it'd be either me or Casey. The ball pointed to me. I've just got to do my job and keep my head up high."

It's a tough spot for House, who is in the final year of his rookie contract. He wants to be able to be able to show that he can carry over in the regular season what he showed in the preseason.

House is somewhat limited by the fact that he has only played on the outside at cornerback, while Hayward, Tramon Williams and Jarrett Bush all have played both outside and in the slot.

"I was always told you've got to learn how to follow before you lead, so I need to learn how to follow Tramon, J.B. and the starters before I get out there," House said.

According to defensive coordinator Dom Capers, the personnel in certain packages could change week to week. Given how many different formations and packages the New York Jets use, perhaps there's a way to get House on the field this week.

"I think you'll see Davon play a lot of football for us; you just will," Capers said. "Some games it works that way; some games it doesn't. But we've got a lot of confidence in Davon. We like what he's done in the preseason, so you'll see Davon play a lot of football for us."

House still made an impact on special teams against Seattle. He made a heads-up play when he more or less baited Richard Sherman into blocking him in to Seahawks punt returner Earl Thomas, who then muffed the ball that the Packers recovered.

"I thought it was a real smart play on his part when he went into Richard Sherman and that collision ended up getting in the way of the returner catching the ball," special teams coach Shawn Slocum said.

Jets vs. Packers preview

September, 12, 2014
Sep 12
8:00
AM ET

Only one team rushed for more yards than the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1, when the defending champs ran for 207 yards in the opener against the Green Bay Packers.

The team that bettered the Seahawks in the rushing department: the New York Jets, who get their crack at the Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field. The Jets rushed for 212 yards in their season-opening win against the Oakland Raiders and surely will try to replicate that against the Packers' shaky-looking run defense.

.The last time these teams met, four years ago in the Meadowlands, it was a defensive slugfest won by the Packers 9-0.

Jets reporter Rich Cimini and Packers reporter Rob Demovsky of ESPN’s NFL Nation discuss the matchup:

Rich, considering how well the Jets ran the ball last week against the Raiders and how poorly the Packers defended Marshawn Lynch and Co., how could Rex Ryan's game plan be anything other than to try to run it down the Packers' throats?

Cimini: The Jets' best chance to win this game, maybe their only chance, is to pound the rock, hoping to duplicate what the Seahawks did to the Packers. The Jets certainly have the personnel to pull it off. Chris Ivory has been described as a poor man's Marshawn Lynch, a physical, tackle-breaking runner. Chris Johnson was overshadowed by Ivory in the opener, but he still has to be taken seriously. He won't break tackles like Ivory, but Johnson still has vertical speed. Unfortunately for the Jets, they don't have a Percy Harvin-type player to run a Jet Sweep, although it wouldn't shock me if they try Johnson or wide receiver Saalim Hakim (this dude can fly) in that role. The Jets are creative when it comes to their rushing attack, using the zone-read, the Wildcat and, yes, even a little wishbone.

Demovsky: So what you're saying is the Packers had better solve their run defense problems and do it fast? That would have been a major point of emphasis by defensive coordinator Dom Capers anyway, but it sounds like they will have their hands full with Ivory and Johnson. The Packers have refocused on tackling after missing 18 of them against the Seahawks. That is far too many for any defensive coordinator's liking. The problem is, it's hard to work on tackling in practice with the limited amount of contact that is allowed these days. Maybe that is not what the Packers need to fix the problem anyway, considering coach Mike McCarthy said it was more of a footwork issue. The Packers can't have defenders leaving their feet to try to make tackles. That won't work against anyone, and it certainly won't work against dynamic running backs.

Will the Packers have to worry much about Michael Vick coming out for some gadget plays now that Geno Smith has apparently settled into the job?

.Cimini: The Packers will have to prepare for a Michael Vick package, which worked as well as the old Tim Tebow package. In other words, it was a waste. Vick was used for three plays last week, taking a direct snap in the Wildcat and lining up twice as a slot receiver. He got the ball on an end around and threw into the end zone, missing a wide-open Eric Decker. Frankly, I think they got too caught up in the gadget stuff. All it did was disrupt the rhythm of Geno Smith and the offense. I don't think Vick is a fan of it, either. The only upside, I suppose, is that it will force opponents to prepare for it, taking time away from other preparations. I will say this about Vick: At 34, he is no longer a freak-of-nature athlete, but he is still dangerous with the ball in his hands.

Speaking of freak-of-nature athletes, the Packers had all kinds of trouble with Percy Harvin last week. What did that expose in their defense?

Demovsky: Probably their lack of speed more than anything else, although Harvin wasn't the first one and probably won't be the last to expose that. The Packers tried to get quicker up front on defense this offseason by going to lighter, more athletic defensive linemen, but at least in the opener it did not have the desired impact.

We all know the Jets don't have Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie in their secondary anymore, but is this group in as much as trouble as it might have looked?

Cimini: The patchwork secondary came away from the opener feeling pretty good about itself, but I think they're in for a reality check against Aaron Rodgers & Co. If Dee Milliner sits out again with a high-ankle sprain -- he is a question mark -- the starters will be Darrin Walls and Antonio Allen, a converted safety whose experience at cornerback consists of 48 preseason snaps and one regular-season game. Allen is a big, physical player, a terrific tackler, but he will struggle against a polished route runner like Jordy Nelson. Ryan is a clever defensive coach, but he will have to pull a rabbit out of his hat to slow down the Packers' passing attack.

Demovsky: That passing attack looked far from dangerous in the opener, but that might have had more to do with the Seahawks' Legion of Boom defense and perhaps the crowd noise at CenturyLink Field than anything else. Either one or some combination of both rendered the Packers' no-huddle offense virtually ineffective. When you see Rodgers with an average of just 5.7 yards per passing attempt, you know something is off. This is a quarterback who in 2011 averaged 9.2 yards per passing attempt. They are going to want to get back to that this week, so expect them to take more shots down the field with Nelson and Randall Cobb.
A roundup of what's happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – It turns out the Packers didn't have the second-most missed tackles in Week 1 of the NFL season.

They had the most.

ProFootballFocus.com revised its missed tackle count for the New Orleans Saints, reducing their total from 23 to 16, making the Packers' 18 missed tackles in their loss to the Seattle Seahawks as tied for the worst tackling performance of the opening weekend with the St. Louis Rams, who also saw their missed tackle count change from 16 to 18 by PFF.

Combine the tackling issues with the fact that the Packers allowed the second-most rushing yards (207) last weekend, and perhaps it's not a surprise that the coaches are leaning toward activating rookie nose tackle Mike Pennel this week against the New York Jets.

Their biggest defensive linemen, the 332-pound Pennel was one of last week's seven mandatory inactive players.

"Well he's certainly a big guy," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said Thursday. "I think he'll have a role. It will probably depend on what personnel groups we’re in based off what they give us."

Pennel, an undrafted rookie from Colorado State-Pueblo, was impressive from the outset of training camp and has seen his practice snaps increase this week.

"We've been trying to get him some reps in practice where if we decide to go that direction, he'd be ready to play a role," Capers said.

In case you missed it on ESPN.com:
  • Running back Eddie Lacy was cleared to return from the concussion he sustained against the Seahawks and expects to play against the Jets. He plans to switch back to his old helmet and also is considering ways to alter his running style to avoid additional blows to the head.
  • However, Packers running backs coach Sam Gash said he does not believe Lacy needs to change the way he runs.
  • It looks like linebacker Brad Jones, who played poorly against the Seahawks, won't be available this week because of a recurring quad injury. Details on that and an update on tackle Bryan Bulaga can be found in Thursday's injury report.
  • Jets running back Chris Ivory broke eight tackles on his own last week against the Raiders, which could spell trouble for the Packers' defense.
  • From the video department, see who the NFL Live crew picked to win Sunday's game at Lambeau Field and what ESPN NFL Insider Mike Sando thinks will be the difference in the game.
Best of the rest:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Eddie Lacy is a bulldozing running back. He ran that way in college at Alabama. He ran that way last year when he won the NFL's offensive rookie of the year, and he never once talked about changing his style.

Lacy
At least he hadn't before Thursday, when the Green Bay Packers running back was cleared to return from the concussion he sustained in last week's season opener against the Seattle Seahawks.

For the first time, Lacy hinted at the possibility that he might have to alter his hard-charging style of running for the sake of career longevity, saying "somehow I'll have to figure out a way to change the way I run but still keep the physical part of it."

It's not something Lacy said he planned to change immediately, and his position coach, former NFL fullback Sam Gash, doesn't believe his pupil needs to alter his approach despite being diagnosed with his second concussion in the last 51 weeks.

"He's a physical guy," Gash said Thursday a few hours after Lacy's comments. "I don't really get into him changing what he's doing. He's been successful in the NFL, and he's going to continue to do what makes him successful. If that's him feeling like he has to change or whatever, then that's what we would obviously talk about. But as of right now, it's not really a question that I can, should, or really want to answer."

For his part, Lacy indicated that whatever changes he makes -- if any -- likely will not be drastic.

Last season, on the way to a Packers' rookie record of 1,178 yards rushing, Lacy had the fourth-most yards after contact in the NFL last season with 531, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

"I can only be myself," said Lacy, who was limited to just 34 yards on 12 carries in the opener. "I was drafted here because of the way I run. It's just what I have to do. Just trying to alter it, make sure I'm still physical but trying to keep the concussions out of it somehow. I'll figure that out along the way. I'm definitely going to still run the way I run."

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