Weekend wrap: Raji's future and more

December, 15, 2013
12/15/13
8:00
AM ET
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Emptying out the notebook from the week that was with the Green Bay Packers before Sunday's game at the Dallas Cowboys:

Raji
Raji's future: The Packers will have decisions to make about all three of their starting defensive linemen -- B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly -- because all have contracts that expire after the season. The toughest call might be on Raji. The former first-round pick is going to be looking for big money, but it might be hard to justify that given his production this season. Raji recorded just his third quarterback hit last Sunday and he hasn't had a sack since Week 12 of the 2011 season. "In this defense sometimes it's hard as a D-lineman to be the superstar," Packers defensive line coach Mike Trgovac said. For that reason, Raji might be interested in going to a team with a different scheme.

Richardson's audition: Expect second-year safety Sean Richardson to see significant playing time over the final three weeks of the regular season. Richardson played a career-high 38 snaps on defense in last Sunday's win over the Atlanta Falcons after M.D. Jennings was benched. The 6-foot-2, 216-pound Richardson had played only 22 snaps combined in the previous two games. "He's a big guy, he gives you more physical presence, especially if a team's trying to run the ball," Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. The Packers want to see whether Richardson, who came back from a serious neck injury, can be a viable option as a starter next season. If not, they will have to make safety a high priority in the offseason.

Boyd over Worthy: Another young player, rookie defensive end Josh Boyd, has seen his snap count spike of late. The fifth-round pick from Mississippi State has played a combined 23 snaps in the last two games after getting just 14 snaps in the first 11 games combined. Boyd has moved ahead of second-year defensive end Jerel Worthy, who has played in only one game since coming off the physically unable to perform list Nov. 23 after recovering from ACL surgery. Scouts like Boyd's athleticism and he displayed that one play against the Falcons in which he dropped into coverage. "He actually had never even practiced that before and it just happened that was the call," Tgrovac said. "When I put him in there, I was like 'Ah [expletive],' but he did it fine."

Familiar face: Cowboys defensive end Jarius Wynn spent three seasons with the Packers (2009-2011) and at one time looked like a promising pass-rushing prospect. He opened the 2011 season with three sacks combined in his first three games, including a two-sack game against the Chicago Bears in Week 3. But that never materialized, and he was released by the Packers in training camp 2012. He signed with the Cowboys two months ago and has been used in situational duty. "We've had a lot of different defensive linemen on our roster this year," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "We've had a rash of injuries and he came in and helped stabilize us a little bit. At different times when some of our starting guys have been out, he's played more and more. Other times, when some of the other guys have been healthy, he's been more rotational."

QBR numbers: Since Week 10, the Packers' first without Aaron Rodgers, only the New York Jets' quarterback play has been worse in terms of Total QBR. The Packers' QBR -- the combined ratings of Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn -- stands at 31.4, ahead of only the Jets' 11.1, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Collarbones and haircuts: Much has been written and said about Rodgers' collarbone injury and why he has not been cleared to return. A long-time former NFL team doctor said this about the subjective nature of determining when a bone is healed: "Waiting for a bone to heal is like saying, 'when do I need a haircut?'"

Rob Demovsky

ESPN Green Bay Packers reporter

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