Friday, November 22, 2013
Injury report: Short-handed on defense
By Rob Demovsky
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It's probably not the best week for the Green Bay Packers to be without one of their top run stoppers.
But if they're going to be short on cornerbacks, this isn't a bad time for that.
They will likely be without defensive tackle Johnny Jolly, whose groin injury has him listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings. Jolly has been one of the key components to the Packers' run defense, which for most of the season was ranked in the top 10 but slipped outside the last two weeks.
"I think we have a good depth situation on our defensive line," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. "With Johnny being doubtful, those other guys are going to have to step up. This is a week when Adrian Peterson is carrying the football that you have to step up and play well up front. Be solid in your gap control, be disciplined. He has a different style of running to where he's going to hit into the line. You think you have him stopped at the point of the attack, but he stutters his feet and he's looking for a horizontal seam to come out on."
They also appear likely to be without starting cornerback Sam Shields, who was listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. Shields was a last-minute scratch last Sunday against the New York Giants and did not practice all week.
"It's been up and down; we'll see how it goes," Packers coach McCarthy said of Shields. "We've got 48 hours. We'll give Sam a chance to get ready."
He was one of four cornerbacks to miss practice Friday. Two others -- Casey Hayward (hamstring) and James Nixon (knee) -- have been ruled out, while Micah Hyde (groin) was listed as probable.
"I feel pretty confident he's going to go," McCarthy said of Hyde. "It's just something that's been bothering him throughout the week. We're just being smart."
If all four injured cornerbacks can't play, then the Packers will have to do some shuffling in their sub packages. Jarrett Bush, who played in the dime (six defensive backs) package last week, likely would play for Hyde in the nickel (five defensive backs). Meanwhile, Jerron McMillian, who has played only five snaps on defense since Week 6, likely would move back into the dime spot.
McMillian has been relegated to special teams duties after struggling during extensive playing time the first five games of the season.
However, given that the Vikings' passing game isn't proficient -- they rank 25th in passing yards per game -- the Packers might not have to use their dime package much, if at all.