NFC North: Marshall Newhouse

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- With the preseason opener looming on Saturday at Tennessee, the Green Bay Packers released their first depth chart of the season.

It was labeled "unofficial."

And there were few, if any, surprises.

At almost every position where there is even a hint of competition, the more experienced player was listed first.

Keep in mind that a year ago, the first depth chart of the season listed Eddie Lacy as the No. 4 running back behind DuJuan Harris, Alex Green and James Starks. Harris never played a down because of a knee injury, Green got cut at the end of camp and Lacy became the NFL's offensive rookie of the year. The same chart listed Marshall Newhouse as the starting right tackle and Bryan Bulaga as the left tackle. By then, Bulaga had already blown out his knee, and Newhouse did not start a game until Week 11.

Nevertheless, here's what stood out on the first edition of this year's depth chart:
  • Without Jermichael Finley, the order at tight end was Andrew Quarless, Brandon Bostick, Ryan Taylor, rookie Richard Rodgers and Jake Stoneburner.
  • Although coach Mike McCarthy said he has not decided how the backup quarterback reps will be divided up against the Titans, Matt Flynn was listed as No. 2 and Scott Tolzien No. 3 behind Aaron Rodgers.
  • At running back, James Starks was listed as the No. 2 behind Lacy. DuJuan Harris was third followed by Michael Hill, Rajion Neal and LaDarius Perkins.
  • JC Tretter was the top center ahead of rookie Corey Linsley.
  • The No. 2 outside linebacker combination behind starters Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers was Mike Neal and Nick Perry. Neal was the backup to Matthews on the right side, while Perry was behind Peppers on the left even though Perry has been more productive on the other side.
  • Morgan Burnett and Micah Hyde were listed as the starting safety duo with Sean Richardson behind Burnett and first-round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix behind Hyde.
  • At right cornerback, former practice-squader Jumal Rolle was No. 3 (behind Sam Shields and Casey Hayward) ahead of rookie sixth-round pick Demetri Goodson, who has struggled so far.
  • At kickoff returner, it was Hyde followed by Harris, Cobb and rookie Jeff Janis. The punt returners were Hyde and Cobb.
  • The depth chart also included the assistant coaches' locations on game days, and there was one major change. Offensive coordinator Tom Clements is going to the coaches box after previously working from the sideline. He will be joined in the box by defensive coordinator Dom Capers, offensive quality control assistant Luke Getsy, assistant offensive line coach Steve Marshall, defensive/special teams assistant Jason Simmons and cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers began this offseason with 17 players scheduled for unrestricted free agency.

They have re-signed five of them: outside linebacker/defensive end Mike Neal, tight end Andrew Quarless, defensive tackle B.J. Raji, cornerback Sam Shields and running back James Starks.

Four of them signed with other teams: center Evan Dietrich-Smith (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), receiver James Jones (Oakland Raiders), tackle Marshall Newhouse (Cincinnati Bengals) and defensive end C.J. Wilson (Raiders).

That leaves eight still on the market. Here's an update on where things stand the Packers’ remaining free agents:

Kahlil Bell, RB: With Starks back on a two-year, $3.165 million deal, it’s unlikely Bell, a late-season pickup last year, will be re-signed. The Packers already have five halfbacks with NFL experience on the roster -- Eddie Lacy, Johnathan Franklin, DuJuan Harris, Michael Hill and Starks -- plus practice-squad member Orwin Smith.

Jermichael Finley, TE: There's no guarantee Finley will receive medical clearance to resume his career following last season's neck injury. Finley reportedly failed a physical during a free-agent visit to the Seattle Seahawks, and the Packers say they are still monitoring his condition. At this point, Finley's career remains on hold.

Matt Flynn, QB: It's all but a lock that the player who kept last season alive while Aaron Rodgers was sidelined with his broken collarbone will return. Coach Mike McCarthy wants Flynn back and would like to keep three quarterbacks on the roster this season. Expect Flynn to be re-signed soon.

Robert Francois, LB: The special-teams player is coming off a torn Achilles tendon. If healed, he could be re-signed for a minimum contract later in free agency.

Johnny Jolly, DT: Like Finley, Jolly underwent neck fusion surgery. But Jolly's injury was not as severe as Finley’s and the fusion took place lower in his neck, which makes it safer for him to resume his career. McCarthy said he liked how Jolly played last season, so expect the Packers to bring back Jolly at some point.

John Kuhn, FB: The Packers remain in talks with the fan favorite who completed a three-year, $7 million contract last season. Kuhn is a valuable special teams player and has been their best pass protector out of the backfield the past several seasons. But it's not a given he will return. And if he does, it likely will be for less money than he received three years ago.

Ryan Pickett, DT: The plan to move Raji back to nose tackle might make Pickett expendable. Or perhaps his age (34) has already done that. McCarthy was non-committal when asked about Pickett's status last week at the NFL annual meetings.

Seneca Wallace, QB: McCarthy would like to bring four quarterbacks to training camp, but don't expect the 33-year-old Wallace to be one of them. He couldn't stay healthy when the Packers needed him after Rodgers' injury. Instead, they would like to add another young, developmental prospect.
The day after the Green Bay Packers' season ended, Bryan Bulaga was asked whether it would be much of an adjustment if he had to move back to right tackle in 2014.

Bulaga chuckled and said: "I didn't even get a full year at left tackle, more like two months."

In terms of actual live practice, it was more like two weeks.

Bulaga
Bulaga injured his knee during the annual Family Night scrimmage on Aug. 3 and missed the entire 2013 season. Combine that with the fact that rookie David Bakhtiari was more than just OK in Bulaga's place at left tackle last season, and it made sense that Bulaga would move back to the right side, where he started from 2010-2012.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy on Tuesday confirmed that will be his plan heading into this season. He told WBAY-TV as much at the NFL annual meetings.

McCarthy said he informed Bulaga recently of his decision. Bulaga, a former first-round draft pick, is entering the final year of his rookie contract.

A year ago, McCarthy moved Bulaga to left tackle as part of a massive offensive line overhaul that also included guards T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton switching sides.

"I think that's part of my game that I like; I feel like I can go back and forth," Bulaga said in January.

"I felt pretty comfortable [at left tackle] at the time I got hurt in the Family Night. I felt pretty good about where I was at."

With Bakhtiari set to stay at left tackle and Bulaga back on the right side, it leaves another former first-round pick, Derek Sherrod, as a possible swing tackle. That role had been occupied last season by Marshall Newhouse, who signed a free-agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals last week. Sherrod returned late last season from the broken leg he suffered in 2011. After missing all of the 2012 season, he was on the roster for the final seven games in 2013, but played only six snaps on offense.

The Packers also have Don Barclay, who started all but two games at right tackle last season. Barclay could end up moving inside to compete with JC Tretter for the starting center job. The Packers lost last season's starter, Evan Dietrich-Smith, who signed a free-agent deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Free-agency review: Packers

March, 18, 2014
Mar 18
9:00
AM ET
Peppers
Most significant signing: Re-signing perhaps their top three defensive free agents -- cornerback Sam Shields, defensive tackle B.J. Raji and outside linebacker/defensive end Mike Neal -- was important, but that didn't necessarily make the Green Bay Packers' 25th-ranked defense better. They hope the addition of defensive end Julius Peppers does that. Peppers had seven sacks in a down season last year for the Chicago Bears, yet that was more than any of the Packers' defensive linemen had last season. Even at age 34, expect Peppers to be motivated to bounce back and energized playing for a team he considers a Super Bowl contender.

Most significant loss: When Evan Dietrich-Smith signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, it ensured that quarterback Aaron Rodgers will take snaps for a fourth starting center in as many seasons. It also broke up an offensive line group that started all but two games together last season. The most likely internal replacement is second-year pro JC Tretter, but he was a college tackle at Cornell who did not play a single snap last year as a rookie.

Jones
Jones
Biggest surprise: Apparently 24 touchdown catches over the last three seasons doesn't count for much on the free-agent market. How else to explain why it took a week for anyone to sign former Packers receiver James Jones, who finally landed a three-year deal with the Oakland Raiders on Monday? Maybe it's that Jones will turn 30 on March 31. While Jones caught only three touchdowns last season, he had 14 in 2012 and seven in 2011. Last season, he caught 59 passes for a career-best 817 yards despite missing nearly three full games.

What’s next? Even after Jones signed, the Packers still have 10 of their own free agents still unsigned. Among them are quarterback Matt Flynn, fullback John Kuhn, tight end Jermichael Finley (visited the Seattle Seahawks), tackle Marshall Newhouse (scheduled to visit the Cincinnati Bengals) plus defensive tackles Johnny Jolly and Ryan Pickett.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- No matter where Bryan Bulaga plays, regardless of whether David Bakhtiari remains at left tackle and whoever ends up playing center, the Green Bay Packers have more stability on their offensive line than they did last offseason.

Bakhtiari
Bakhtiari
Bulaga
It was nearly a year ago that coach Mike McCarthy and offensive line coach James Campen revamped the line by changing positions for four of the five starters. Bulaga and Josh Sitton switched from right tackle and right guard, respectively, to the left side. Left tackle Marshall Newhouse was moved to the right side (where he failed to beat out Don Barclay), and left guard T.J. Lang moved to right guard.

Only center Evan Dietrich-Smith remained in his regular spot.

This season, perhaps only the center position is up in the air with Dietrich-Smith scheduled to be a free agent next month.

It all depends on where the Packers decide to play Bulaga, who missed all of last season after he sustained a knee injury last August in training camp.

Although McCarthy said last week at the NFL scouting combine that he had not finalized his plans for Bulaga, he later told the Green Bay Press-Gazette that Bakhtiari performed well enough last season as a rookie that the Packers appear to be set to keep him at left tackle.

“If you look at our depth chart right now this is the best group of offensive linemen from a depth standpoint that we’ve had in my time in Green Bay,” said McCarthy, who is entering his ninth season as head coach. “There’s a lot of good things to build off of with our offense.”

Moving Bulaga back to the right side would not be a major adjustment. He excelled at right tackle from 2010-12 and never even made it to his first preseason game as a left tackle. Bulaga spent most of the season rehabbing his knee in Florida but is expected to return to Green Bay for the offseason program in April.

“He’s on time and he’s hit his targets,” McCarthy said of Bulaga’s rehab. “But as I’ve told Bryan when he left in the exit interview [after the season], I’ll be in touch with him to let him know what our plan is whether it’s the left side or the right side.”

A potential change at center would not impact any of the other projected offensive line starters. Lang is not a candidate to move to center even though he filled in there for Dietrich-Smith for parts of two games last season.

The only other possible starting center on the Packers’ roster is JC Tretter, a fourth-round pick last year who did not play at all as a rookie after sustaining an ankle injury in the offseason.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Between now and the start of free agency in March, the Green Bay Packers have plenty of decisions to make about their roster.

Some may already have been made, but with 17 unrestricted free agents and two more that fall under the restricted category, there are bound to be both big-money signings and cost-saving departures.

Every one of the key free-agents-to-be who was in the locker on Monday when players packed up and headed home for the offseason expressed uncertainty about their situations.

“I’ve had a lot of fun with the guys playing,” center Evan Dietrich-Smith said. “I hope we can continue it, but at the same time I think everybody understands the business side of the game and we’ll just have to wait and see.”

For some players, like veteran receiver James Jones, this won’t be the first time going through free agency.

“Whatever may happen, happens,” Jones said. “I would love to be back here. I’ve been here for seven years and would love to be back. You know, you’ve got to go into the offseason, they make decisions up top, I’ll go into the offseason and talk with my agent and we’ll go from there.”

Here’s the list of the free-agents-to-be on offense (to be followed later by the defensive list):
  • Seneca Wallace, QB: Aaron Rodgers said he enjoyed having a veteran backup around, but at age 33 and coming off surgery to repair a torn groin muscle, Wallace is not expected to return. He finished the Nov. 4 game against the Bears after Rodgers broke his collarbone but then sustained his injury on the first series of his first start the following week. 2013 base salary: $662,118
  • Flynn
    Flynn
    Matt Flynn, QB: Back in the system where he’s most comfortable, Flynn has shown that he can be a short-term fill-in for Rodgers. After failed attempts to start in Seattle and Oakland, he might be content to come back as a backup. However, the Packers also have Scott Tolzien under contract and would like to continue to develop him. 2013 base salary: $715,000
  • John Kuhn, FB: If ever there was a question about his value, it should have been answered this season, when he made several big plays – including the key block on Rodgers’ game-winning touchdown pass in Week 17 against the Bears. The role of the fullback has diminished, but the position is far from extinct in Green Bay. 2013 base salary: $1.8 million
  • James Starks, RB: Playing the role of complementary back to Eddie Lacy suited the oft-injured Starks. He missed only three games this season and averaged 5.5 yards per carry on 89 regular-season attempts. He might seek a starting chance somewhere else but could return as a backup. 2013 base salary: $630,000
  • Kahlil Bell, RB: Signed on Dec. 3 after rookie Johnathan Franklin’s season-ending neck injury, the veteran backup played primarily on special teams. With Franklin and DuJuan Harris expected to be healthy by next season, Bell may not be re-signed. 201 3 base salary: $715,000
  • Jones
    Jones
    James Jones, WR: Perhaps eager to test the free-agent market after receiving little interest the last time around in the post-lockout signing period of 2011, Jones fought through a knee injury to finish second on the team in receptions (59) and receiving yards (817). It will be interesting to see what the market will be like for a 29-year-old who has been mostly a No. 2 receiver – albeit a productive one. 2013 base salary: $2.95 million
  • Jermichael Finley, TE: This will be as much a medical decision as it is a financial one after he underwent surgery following his season-ending neck injury. Finley wants to keep playing, but he will have to be cleared by doctors first. It would have been a difficult negotiation even without the injury, but that has only complicated matters. 2013 base salary: $4.45 million
  • Quarless
    Andrew Quarless, TE: Replaced Finley in the starting lineup and despite a career-best 32 catches for 312 yards and two touchdowns, he did not show the dynamic playmaking ability that Finley has. It doesn’t mean he won’t be back, but the Packers will probably address this position whether it’s by re-signing Finley or looking elsewhere. 2013 base salary: $1.32 million
  • Evan Dietrich-Smith, C: Played last season on a restricted free-agent tender and started all 16 games for the first time in his career. The Packers would like some continuity at the center position, so perhaps re-signing the dependable Dietrich-Smith will be a priority. 2013 base salary: $1.32 million
  • Marshall Newhouse, T: Reduced to a backup role after starting the previous two seasons at left tackle, Newhouse started two games at right tackle while Don Barclay was out because of a knee injury, but his days as a full-time starter in Green Bay appear to be over. 2013 base salary: $1.23 million
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers won’t have to shuffle their offensive line because center Evan Dietrich-Smith is going to give it a go on his sprained ankle.

Dietrich-Smith
Dietrich-Smith was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report after he sprained his ankle in practice on Wednesday. That, combined with the knee injury he sustained in the Thanksgiving game at the Detroit Lions, left his status in doubt for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.

It means that the Packers won’t have to move right guard T.J. Lang to center and find a replacement for Lang.

Against the Lions, Lang played center after Dietrich-Smith left in the second quarter. It was only the second time in Lang’s career that he played center. Marshall Newhouse and Lane Taylor split playing time at right guard after Lang moved against the Lions.

Newhouse was a surprise inactive after coming down with flu-like symptoms. Running back Kahlil Bell, signed on Monday, also will not play.

Here’s the Packers’ full inactive list:

Packers report: Cobb still not cleared

December, 6, 2013
12/06/13
4:55
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay Packers receiver Randall Cobb is eligible to play next week against the Dallas Cowboys but given that he hasn’t been cleared to run yet and based on some new information about the injury, that seems like a long shot.

Cobb
Cobb was placed on the injured reserve/designated to return list on Oct. 15 with what was originally reported as a fractured fibula.

However, the injury was actually to the tibia, the larger of the two bones in the lower leg. While it is just a fracture and not a full break, the fact that it was the shinbone and not the smaller fibula might explain why Cobb’s return isn’t a sure thing yet.

Coach Mike McCarthy said Friday that Cobb will be tested on Tuesday to see if he can return to practice next week.

But Cobb told ESPNWisconsin.com that he hasn’t even been cleared to run yet.

“I thought I was going to be cleared to run two weeks ago, and I still haven’t,” Cobb said. “I feel pretty good, but until I’m able to run and able to test out, I won’t know exactly where I’m at. It’s kind of hard to tell where I’m at without running.”

As for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field, the Packers have concerns about center Evan Dietrich-Smith’s availability. He did not practice on Friday, two days after he rolled his ankle in practice, and was listed as questionable.

McCarthy did not say how the Packers would proceed if Dietrich-Smith can’t play. T.J. Lang likely would move to center like he did when Dietrich-Smith injured his knee against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving, but it’s unclear how they would replace Lang at right guard. Marshall Newhouse replaced Lang initially, but then rookie Lane Taylor finished the game there.

Here’s the full injury report:

Probable – T David Bakhtiari (illness, full participation in Friday’s practice), TE Brandon Bostick (concussion, full participation), LB Jamari Lattimore (quadriceps, full participation), LB Mike Neal (abdomen, limited participation), LB Nick Perry (foot, limited participation), DT Ryan Pickett (knee, limited participation).

Questionable – C Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee, did not practice).

Out – QB Aaron Rodgers (collarbone, limited participation), DE C.J. Wilson (ankle, did not practice).

Injury report: Reinforcements coming

November, 27, 2013
11/27/13
2:45
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers did not get quarterback Aaron Rodgers back, but they could get as many as four other starters back for Thursday’s game against the Detroit Lions.

Among them are three defensive players who have been out. Defensive tackle Johnny Jolly (groin), linebacker Nick Perry (foot/ankle) and cornerback Sam Shields (hamstring) all were listed as probable on Wednesday’s injury report.

Perry has missed four of the last five games, while Shields missed the last two. Jolly did not play in last Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Having Shields back could be key in defending Lions receiver Calvin Johnson.

On offense, the Packers appear likely to get back starting right tackle Don Barclay, who missed the last two games because of a knee injury.

“As far as the amount of work that we were able to get done the past two days on the field, it has been in a limited fashion as far as the work load, [but] I’m encouraged,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after Wednesday’s practice that lasted less than an hour. “I trust that they feel good, and they’re ready to go. Hopefully nothing changes between now and tomorrow.”

Here’s the full injury report:

Probable: T Don Barclay (knee, limited participation in practice), DT Johnny Jolly (groin, full participation), LB Mike Neal (abdomen, did not practice), T Marshall Newhouse (shoulder, full participation), LB Nick Perry (foot/ankle, limited participation), CB Sam Shields (hamstring, full participation), G Josh Sitton (back, full participation).

Questionable: TE Brandon Bostick (concussion, did not practice).

Out: QB Aaron Rodgers (collarbone, limited participation), RB Johnathan Franklin (concussion/neck, did not practice), LB Jamari Lattimore (quad, did not practice), DE C.J. Wilson (ankle, did not practice).

Injury report: Shields, Jolly to return

November, 26, 2013
11/26/13
5:10
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers probably couldn’t ask for a better time to get cornerback Sam Shields back on the field.

With Thursday’s matchup against Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson looming, Shields appears likely to return after missing the past two games because of a hamstring injury.

The fourth-year pro has been the Packers’ best cover man this season. He was a full participant in Tuesday’s practice.

Their struggling run defense, which has slipped from 5th in the league three weeks ago to 19th in rushing yards allowed per game, also could get a boost. Defensive tackle Johnny Jolly, who missed Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings because of a groin injury, also appears set to return. Like Shields, Jolly was full go in practice.

“I fully expect both Johnny and Sam to play,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after Tuesday’s practice.

Here’s the full injury report:

Packers inactives: Five starters out

November, 24, 2013
11/24/13
12:10
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. – Five Green Bay Packers starters were declared inactive for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.

They were:
Rodgers, Perry and Barclay were all ruled out on Friday, while Jolly was doubtful. Shields was questionable.

Scott Tolzien will make his second straight start at quarterback, and Davon House will do the same for Shields at cornerback. Marshall Newhouse, who struggled last week against the New York Giants, will start again for Barclay. Mike Neal will start in place of Perry, and Mike Daniels will replace Jolly.

The other two inactives were receiver Chris Harper and linebacker Nate Palmer. Both were healthy scratches.

It was a bit of a surprise that Palmer was inactive because that left the Packers with only three available outside linebackers -- Neal, Clay Matthews, and Andy Mulumba. All three were on the injury report this week, listed as probable.

Also, safety Sean Richardson and defensive end Jerel Worthy, who were activated off the physically unable to perform list on Saturday, will be in uniform.

Starter Pack: Sherrod's time could come

November, 20, 2013
11/20/13
8:00
AM ET
A roundup of what's happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It went practically unnoticed, but former first-round draft pick Derek Sherrod played his first football in nearly two years on Sunday against the New York Giants.

Sherrod, who broke both bones in his lower right leg on Dec. 18, 2011, played exactly three snaps -- all on special teams as part of the field goal/PAT unit.

Still, it was a major step for a player who spent most of the last two seasons on the physically unable to perform list.

The question now is when could Sherrod get a crack at some playing time on offense?

Perhaps that could happen this Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, depending on the status of right tackle Don Barclay's knee injury. Barclay did not play against the Giants and his replacement, Marshall Newhouse, struggled. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Newhouse ranked as the worst pass-blocking offensive tackle from Week 11. PFF ranked Newhouse 53rd out of the 53 tackles who played last week in its Pass Blocking Efficiency rating.

What's even more telling about Newhouse's performance is the PFF ranking is weighted heavily on sacks allowed, and Newhouse didn't even allow one against the Giants. However, he allowed two quarterback hits and four hurries.

It's hard to imagine the Packers playing Sherrod for an entire game given how long he has been away, but perhaps they may begin to integrate their 2011 first-round pick into the offense.

“Derek Sherrod had an excellent week of practice [last week],” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said earlier this week. “His padded work on Thursday, I thought he took a huge step. You saw a lot of things that I think he needed to feel and see, and it's on video, and we're able to coach off of it. He hasn't been in training camp, and those type of practices are what he needs, and he'll have another padded practice this week.”

In case you missed it on ESPN.com:
  • All we know about Aaron Rodgers’ health at this point is that he can throw a football without any pain in his broken collarbone. But, as Rodgers said on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show Tuesday, it’s less about pain and more about risk management when it comes to returning to the field.
  • Our weekly playing time breakdown analyzes the snap counts from Sunday’s game against the Giants.
  • Not surprisingly, the Packers continued to slide down the ESPN Power Rankings.
  • For all the news on the Vikings this week, be sure to read Ben Goessling's coverage, which can be found here.
Elsewhere:

Midseason Report: Green Bay Packers

November, 6, 2013
11/06/13
9:00
AM ET

How many other NFL teams could survive for any length of time without three of their top four targets in the passing game and minus their best defensive player?

Probably not many.

But the Green Bay Packers managed -- even after injuries to receivers Randall Cobb (fractured fibula), James Jones (knee) and tight end Jermichael Finley (neck) on offense and to outside linebacker Clay Matthews (broken thumb) on defense.

That was until they lost quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a broken collarbone in Monday night’s game against the Chicago Bears.

When Rodgers went down, so did their four-game winning streak.

Before Rodgers’ injury, the Packers looked every bit like one of the top teams in the NFC thanks to stellar play, as usual, from the quarterback and a rejuvenated running game with rookie Eddie Lacy.

Now, even at 5-3 and in a three-way tie with the Bears and Detroit Lions atop the NFC, the Packers’ prospects for the second half are in jeopardy.

Rapid Reaction: Green Bay Packers

November, 4, 2013
11/04/13
11:41
PM ET

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A few thoughts on the Green Bay Packers' 27-20 loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday night:

What it means: The Packers are in serious trouble if the left-shoulder injury quarterback Aaron Rodgers sustained in the first quarter is serious. If it turns out to be something like a broken collarbone, Rodgers almost certainly would miss multiple weeks. Rodgers landed hard on his left shoulder after he was sacked by Bears defensive end Shea McClellin on the game's opening series and did not return. Based on what we saw from backup quarterback Seneca Wallace, it will be incredibly difficult for the Packers' offense to function at anything close to a high level in the passing game. The loss dropped them to 5-3 and into a three-way tie for first place in the NFC North with the Bears and the Detroit Lions.

Stock Watch: So the Packers' running game is for real. Even without much threat of a passing game, the Packers still ran the ball at will. After Rodgers left the game, James Starks had a 32-yard touchdown run, and Eddie Lacy ripped off a 56-yard run in the third quarter to set up his 1-yard touchdown run that tied the game at 17-17 with 13 minutes, 8 seconds left in the third quarter. The Packers rushed for a season-high 199 yards, including 150 by Lacy on 22 carries.

Gutsy call: After Lacy's game-tying touchdown, coach Mike McCarthy made the bold decision to try an onside kick, which worked to perfection. Mason Crosby hit the kick that was recovered by Packers linebacker Jamari Lattimore. The Packers turned that into a field goal that gave them a 20-17 lead.

Injuries galore: Rodgers wasn't the only player the Packers lost to injury. Right guard T.J. Lang sustained a concussion and did not play in the second half. Right tackle Don Barclay moved to right guard, while Marshall Newhouse came off the bench to play right tackle. Linebackers Andy Mulumba (ankle) and Sam Barrington (hamstring) also were injured.

What's next: The Packers host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Injury report: Finley plans to play

September, 11, 2013
9/11/13
5:15
PM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. – Jermichael Finley injured his big toe on the third play of Sunday’s game at San Francisco and didn’t miss any plays because of it, so the Green Bay Packers tight end figures he should be fine for this week’s game against Washington.

Still, it was problematic enough to keep Finley out of practice on Wednesday.

The injury occurred on Finley’s first catch of the game, a 9-yard reception on third-and-17 against 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis, who tackled Finley near the sideline. Finley said Willis landed on his heel and his toes were bent backwards.

“I’ll be all right,” Finley said. “I played, what? 62 plays.”

Actually, it was 59. Finley had one bad drop that resulted in Aaron Rodgers’ lone interception but otherwise was productive with five catches for 59 yards and a touchdown.

Another offensive starter, left guard Josh Sitton, missed practice on Wednesday because of a sore back. His status for Sunday’s game against the Redskins appeared less certain.

Sitton revealed that he has been dealing with back problems off and on, and it flared up before the game.

“It will bother me sometimes for a couple of weeks and then it’ll go away for a few months,” Sitton said. “It just comes and goes.”

If Sitton can’t play, the Packers have a couple of options, the most likely of which would be to move right tackle Don Barclay to left guard and bring in Marshall Newhouse to play Barclay’s spot. They could also play Greg Van Roten or Lane Taylor at left guard and leave Barclay at right tackle.

The Packers got a dose of good news with the return of safety Morgan Burnett, who did not play against the 49ers because of a hamstring injury.

“As far as his chance to play in the game, I don’t know yet,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday. “He was limited today, did some individual work, and it’ll probably take the full week to find out.”

Here’s the full injury report:
  • S Morgan Burnett (hamstring, limited participation)
  • TE Jermichael Finley (toe, did not participate)
  • CB Casey Hayward (hamstring, out)
  • OLB Nick Perry (neck, full participation)
  • G Josh Sitton (back, did not participate)

SPONSORED HEADLINES