NFC North: Nick Perry

Packers not done with defensive tweaks

December, 31, 2014
12/31/14
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers used their bye week in November to fix their defense, so what will they do during their playoff bye?

"I'm excited about some of the new wrinkles that we may move forward with and what we'll be able to do in the playoffs," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.

That defensive coordinator Dom Capers can spend this week cooking up something new rather than fixing the old shows just how much progress his unit made since the halfway point of the season.


The Packers' defense was in shambles when they reached their bye in Week 9. Capers' unit had just allowed the New Orleans Saints to ring up 495 yards of total offense, including 193 on the ground in the Packers’ 44-23 loss.

McCarthy put it as bluntly as possible when he said at the time that the Packers "need to be more than a football team that just has to rely on winning the turnover ratio."

If that was his way of putting Capers and the defense on notice, he has to be pleased with the response in the second half of the season. A team that could not stop the run – it ranked dead last in the NFL through eight games, when all eight opponents rushed for at least 100 yards – was one of the best run-stopping units in the second half of the season.

Outside of one troubling half against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 14, when the Packers allowed 304 yards in the second half alone and let Julio Jones catch 11 passes for 259 yards (the most ever against the Packers) for the game, there was little to quibble with in the second half of the season, except that perhaps it wasn't against a murders' row of powerhouse offenses. Of their eight second-half opponents, four finished 21st or lower in total offense and just two (the Philadelphia Eagles and Falcons) ranked in the top 10.

"I think it's not how you start, it's how you finish," defensive tackle Letroy Guion said. "That's probably the best way I can sum that up. Some teams have to get going. Some teams come out [fast]. Some teams can't finish strong. You have all different types of ways that teams come together or break apart."

What led to the turnaround? Consider these factors:
Still, there's one question that looms about the defense as the Packers head into the postseason: Is it good enough to succeed where the previous three incarnations failed? In the 2011 playoff loss to the New York Giants and the consecutive postseason losses to the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 and 2013, the defense failed to do enough to win the game.

Not since the run to Super Bowl XLV has Capers' unit delivered with a big game in the playoffs (and the 2012 wild-card win over the Minnesota Vikings with backup Joe Webb as the quarterback doesn't count).

"I think our health is better and I think our confidence level is good," Capers said. "I think those two things are important. Momentum, you've heard me say that you want to keep that arrow pointing up, and the only little bump in the road we had was that second half of the Atlanta game where you didn't feel good coming out of that.

"You want confidence and guys feeling good about where you are and carry that into this time of the year. It's a big part of it. We all know this is a game of momentum."

Said McCarthy: "You want momentum built throughout your whole football team, and I think our defense has played exceptional football really since the bye week."
GREEN BAY, Wis. – No offense to Eric Dickerson, but Eddie Lacy would rather not wear goggles on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Green Bay Packers running back has an irritated left eye that he said was from his contact lens. He's had to go with just one contact this week but hopes to be able to wear both for Sunday's game. He said Thursday that there's no way he's wearing goggles.

"I refuse," Lacy said before backtracking slightly. "I don't want to say I refuse because I might, because I think it will be better than wearing contacts, but that's kind of old school."

And when Lacy thinks of goggles …

"That's what I get, Eric Dickerson," he said.

Lacy needs something to help his vision. As he leaned against a table in the middle of the Packers' locker room, he closed his right eye and tried to make out quarterback Scott Tolzien's nameplate across the way.

"Let's just say I'm very blind," Lacy said. "I can't see Scott's name over there."

Lacy needs just 60 yards to top the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight season. He's coming off a 15-carry, 97-yard game in Sunday's loss at the Buffalo Bills, a game in which he touched the ball only five times in the second half.

When asked whether he thought coach Mike McCarthy should have stuck with the running game more, Lacy said: "That ain't none of my business, bro. I do what's called."

Here's the full injury report from Thursday:
GREEN BAY, Wis. – There were plenty of names – including some big-name players – on the Green Bay Packers injury report, but the concern level remained low about a majority of the eight players on Wednesday's list.

Even right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who remains in the concussion protocol after he dropped out of Sunday's loss at the Buffalo Bills, appears to have a good chance to play this Sunday at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Although Bulaga did not practice Wednesday, he was able to work out and attend meetings, which is a sign he has passed through the early stages of the concussion program.

"Looks great," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday of Bulaga. "Saw him in the weight room, in the meetings this morning. Making progress."

Outside linebacker Clay Matthews was added to the injury report with a biceps injury and running back Eddie Lacy, who last week had a hip injury, was listed this week with an eye issue.

"Eddie's just a situation he has going on with his eye that's not game-related," McCarthy said. "I think we'll be fine there. I don't think Clay's is of serious nature. I think we'll be OK there."

Both Lacy and Matthews finished Sunday's game against the Bills. Lacy rushed for 97 yards and Matthews had one of his best games of the season with two sacks.

Here's the full injury report:
  • T Bryan Bulaga (concussion, did not practice)
  • CB Davon House (shoulder, did not practice)
  • RB Eddie Lacy (eye, limited participant)
  • G T.J. Lang (ankle, limited participant)
  • LB Clay Matthews (biceps, limited participant)
  • OLB Mike Neal (abdomen, limited participant)
  • OLB Nick Perry (shoulder, limited participant)
  • G Josh Sitton (toe, did not practice)
GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers might be without the one cornerback who had some measure of success in coverage Monday against Falcons star Julio Jones.

Davon House replaced the struggling Sam Shields in the fourth quarter and came up with a pair of pass breakups against the Atlanta Falcons' star receiver during his 11-catch, 259-yard performance.

But it was on one of those breakups – a pass that House almost intercepted in the end zone on a second-and-6 play from the Packers’ 12-yard line with 7:19 remaining – when he got hurt. Jones' knee caught House on the back of his right shoulder. House was slow to get up after the play but remained in the game.

House did not practice Wednesday, and coach Mike McCarthy said he did not expect him to practice Thursday, either, leaving his status in doubt for Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills. House said he was scheduled to undergo more tests.

"It's really all up in the air right now," House said Wednesday. "We'll see what happens when we get these tests back and go from there."

House has had shoulder problems in the past. He was on his way to winning a starting job in 2012 until he separated his left shoulder in a preseason game at San Diego and missed the first six games of the season.

House has been in and out of the lineup this season in various defensive packages.

"It's never good when you're hurt, especially when you get a chance to play and you do all right," House said.

Shields, who went into Monday's game questionable because of a concussion, was not listed on this week's injury report.

Here's the Packers full injury report:

Sam Shields still has a shot to play

December, 6, 2014
12/06/14
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Sam Shields still has time to make it through the concussion protocol, so the Green Bay Packers have not ruled their starting cornerback out of Monday night's game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Officially, the Packers listed him as questionable on Saturday's injury report.

Shields
"The medical staff has told me he still has a chance to play," coach Mike McCarthy said Saturday. "He'll be given the opportunity to play in the game if everything goes right."

The Packers did not practice on Saturday, but if they did, Shields would not have taken part. They will hold their final practice of the week on Sunday morning.

"Sam Shields is a starter, so I'm going to give him every opportunity to play," McCarthy said.

Shields was injured in the first half of last Sunday's win against the New England Patriots. Davon House replaced him and finished the game. He would start along with Tramon Williams if Shields isn’t cleared. Cornerback is perhaps the Packers' deepest position on defense, which bodes well against Falcons receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White.

White, however, was listed as questionable on the Falcons injury report, although he insisted he will play.

Safety Micah Hyde has been a fixture into the nickel spot, and cornerback Casey Hayward has been settled into the dime spot.

"It's definitely a very good receiving group," McCarthy said. "We've been practicing all week without Sam, so Davon, Casey and Tramon, they'll be ready to go."

Defensive tackle Mike Daniels, who hasn't practiced all week because of a sore back, looks on track to play.

Here's the full injury report:

Out
LB Jamari Lattimore (ankle)
DE Luther Robinson (calf)

Questionable
CB Shields (concussion)

Probable
DT Josh Boyd (knee)
DT Daniels (back)
G T.J. Lang (ankle)
OLB Nick Perry (shoulder)
G Josh Sitton (toe)
G Lane Taylor (illness)
GREEN BAY, Wis. – As well as Mike Daniels has played lately, the Green Bay Packers should hope the sore back that kept the defensive tackle out of practice on Thursday isn't problematic.

That was the indication from coach Mike McCarthy, who called it "a day-to-day thing."

Daniels is coming off perhaps his best stretch of the season. In his last two games, he has 1.5 sacks and six tackles. He and outside linebacker Mike Neal combined for the fourth-quarter sack of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady that essentially clinched Sunday's victory.

McCarthy also said cornerback Sam Shields was still going through the concussion protocol. Shields left Sunday's game in the first half and did not return.

Thursday was the first on-field session since the win over the Patriots; McCarthy gave the players three straight days off before preparations began for Monday night's game against the Atlanta Falcons. Despite listing seven players on the injury report, McCarthy said he thought the team was refreshed after the mini-break.

"Hell, they'd better be; they got an extra day off, three days," McCarthy said after Thursday's practice. "It was good. Practice was good today."

Here's the full injury report:
  • DT Josh Boyd (knee, did not practice)
  • DT Mike Daniels (back, did not practice)
  • G T.J. Lang (ankle, limited participation)
  • LB Jamari Lattimore (ankle, did not practice)
  • OLB Nick Perry (shoulder, limited participation)
  • CB Sam Shields (concussion, did not practice)
  • G Josh Sitton (toe, limited participation)
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers' defense will be back at full strength for Sunday's showdown with the New England Patriots.

And they'll also have their top special teams player.

Bush
Perry
Outside linebacker Nick Perry (shoulder) and core special teamer Jarrett Bush (groin) are both active after missing last Sunday's game at the Minnesota Vikings.

Perry moved into the starting right outside linebacker position when Clay Matthews moved to the inside spot following the Packers' bye in Week 9. Mike Neal started at outside linebacker against the Vikings, but Perry is expected to return to that role.

Both Perry and Bush were listed as questionable on Friday's injury report.

Receiver Davante Adams, who was added to the injury report on Thursday after he got his heel stepped on in practice, also is active.

All seven of the Packers' inactives were healthy scratches.

Here's the full list:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It was an only an estimation because the Green Bay Packers don't actually practice on Fridays anymore, but for the first time since outside linebacker Nick Perry injured his shoulder Nov. 16, he was listed as a participant in practice.

Whether that actually holds true when the Packers hit the field won't be known until the next practice on Saturday.

But since league rules require teams to categorize participation levels on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the Packers listed him as limited. Previously, he had been listed as a nonparticipant since the injury.

Officially, the Packers declared the former first-round pick as questionable for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots.

"Nick Perry's making progress," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Friday. "Really from yesterday to today, he's improving. So we'll see what he's able to do in the rehab with the trainers and the medical staff, and we'll have more information tomorrow. But he's getting better."

Perry's injury kept him out of last Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings, ending a streak of 15 straight regular-season games (dating to last season) in which Perry had played. That was by far the longest stretch of his career. Before this season, he had never played in more than six straight games. In his first two NFL seasons, Perry missed 15 of a possible 32 games because of a variety of injuries (knee, wrist, foot, ankle).

"He's had some tough luck the last two years," McCarthy said. "This has been his best year so far, and if we can get through this one here, we'll see where it goes.”

Here's the Packers' full injury report:

Questionable
CB Jarrett Bush (groin)
OLB Perry (shoulder)

Probable
WR Davante Adams (heel)
TE Brandon Bostick (hip)
G T.J. Lang (ankle)
G Josh Sitton (toe)

No concern about Davante Adams' injury

November, 27, 2014
11/27/14
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- You can go back to enjoying your Thanksgiving, the Green Bay Packers don't appear to be concerned that receiver Davante Adams is at risk of missing Sunday's game against the New England Patriots.

Adams
Adams was listed as a limited participant in Wednesday's practice because of a heel injury, but he did not appear to do anything during the portion that was open to reporters.

Coach Mike McCarthy said someone stepped on Adams' foot in practice on Wednesday.

"Davante actually moved around, did some things, so they're just kind of working through exactly how they're going to handle it," McCarthy said after practice. "So I don't have high concern."

Neither did receiver Jordy Nelson.

"I think he'll be fine," Nelson said. "I'm not worried."

One player not listed on the injury report -- and who insisted that he shouldn't be -- is linebacker A.J. Hawk, who looked like he was having a hard time in coverage against Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph last Sunday. On the Vikings' first play from scrimmage, Rudolph easily ran away from Hawk for a 23-yard gain on a crossing route.

"It wasn't from being unhealthy or whatever," Hawk said. "He just caught me by surprise. I should've anticipated him coming across earlier, but it wasn't anything health-wise.

"I'm good. I'm healthy. There's no way I would ever say anything if I wasn't, but I'm actually not lying to you."

Here's the full injury report from Thursday’s practice:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- If the Green Bay Packers' plan was to feature Davante Adams on Sunday against the New England Patriots, they might have some alterations to make.

Adams did not take part in the portion of Thursday's practice that was open to the media. He was in attendance but spent the early part of the session talking with members of the team's training staff.

.

He could be a critical piece on Sunday if the Patriots, with two top-flight cornerbacks in Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, can effectively cover the Packers' top-two receivers, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.

A full injury update will be available after practice.

Adams practiced on Wednesday and also spoke with reporters in the locker room afterward. However, during Sunday's win against the Minnesota Vikings, he left the game for three plays during the first quarter after he appeared to fall awkwardly on his midsection after a 10-yard reception on the Packers' second series. He returned for the next series after missing only three plays.

Linebacker Nick Perry (shoulder) and cornerback Jarrett Bush (groin) were the only other players not practicing during the session that was moved to earlier in the day in order to allow everyone to get home for Thanksgiving.

Guard T.J. Lang (ankle) returned to practice after sitting out on Wednesday. Fellow starting guard Josh Sitton (toe) practiced for the second straight day.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- T.J. Lang was either trying to keep the New England Patriots guessing or he was just trying to be funny, but the Green Bay Packers right guard had a towel draped over his head during Wednesday's practice as he rode a stationary bike.

It was probably the latter.


Lang aggravated his sprained left ankle in Sunday's 24-21 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Although he finished the game after missing just one series, he said afterward that he was hurting. Lang has not been practicing at all on Wednesdays since he first sustained the injury Oct. 26 against the New Orleans Saints.

But fellow starting guard Josh Sitton, who has been on a similar schedule following his toe injury against the Saints, was back on the field.

So was running back Eddie Lacy, who was battling a stomach illness during the Vikings game.

Tight end Brandon Bostick (hip) also returned to practice after missing the last two games.

The only other players not practicing Wednesday were cornerback Jarrett Bush (groin) and outside linebacker Nick Perry (shoulder). Neither played against Minnesota.

The full injury report will be available after practice.
MINNEAPOLIS -- If the Green Bay Packers still plan to use Clay Matthews at inside linebacker as extensively as they have the previous two games, they will need to find another option at his old outside linebacker spot.

Nick Perry, who started the last two weeks at right outside linebacker, was declared inactive for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings. Perry was listed as questionable because of a shoulder injury.

Mike Neal would be the logical choice to assume those outside linebacker snaps, but rookie Jayrone Elliott also sees some action there.

Matthews has played the majority of his snaps the last two weeks at inside linebacker, especially on early downs, but it's possible he could go back to playing more at outside linebacker.

On Friday, coach Mike McCarthy said they would have to adjust their plan if Perry could not play.

The Packers also will be without one of their key special-teams players, cornerback Jarrett Bush (groin). In his place, rookie cornerback Demetri Goodson was activated for just the second time this season.

Here's the full inactive list:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The last time Clay Matthews was coming off a groin injury, the Green Bay Packers linebacker returned an interception 40 yards against the Chicago Bears before veering out of bounds.

That was in Week 4, one game after he dropped out of the loss at the Detroit Lions late in the fourth quarter.

Matthews
Matthews went back on the injury report this week with the same ailment, but thinks it's better this week than it was going into that Bears game.

How much better?

"I might go 50 yards and not 40," Matthews said.

Matthews was listed as a limited participant in practice on Thursday.

"I think we’re just being more cautious than anything," Matthews said. "I was able to go out there against Chicago, cautiously, of course. I feel like the progression I'm making this week as opposed to maybe Week 3 and 4 is ahead of where I was."

Perhaps more of an issue is the status of outside linebacker Nick Perry, who has a shoulder injury and did not practice for the second straight day, leaving his status in question for Sunday's road game against the Minnesota Vikings. Perry has started the past two games at Matthews' old outside linebacker position while Matthews has moved inside on early downs.

"Nick Perry is definitely important," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "Just that whole group, you talk about Nick and Mike Neal and Julius [Peppers], their ability to move around and play the elephant position has been very important. That was a big part of our change, and definitely fits with the movement of Clay."

However, Matthews said he doesn't think his role would change if Perry can't play Sunday.

"I think it's more of a 'next man up' type of mentality around here," Matthews said. "I'm sure [Jayrone] Elliott will have more opportunities as well as Mike and J.P. As we have seen in weeks prior, I rush off the edge and play in the middle, so wherever they need me, I will be there."

Here's the full injury report:
  • TE Brandon Bostick (hip, did not practice)
  • CB Jarrett Bush (groin, did not practice)
  • LB Elliott (hamstring, limited participation)
  • G T.J. Lang (ankle, limited participation)
  • LB Matthews (groin, limited participation)
  • LB Perry (shoulder, did not practice)
  • G Josh Sitton (toe, limited participation)
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Clay Matthews didn't miss any games when he first injured his groin this season, and the Green Bay Packers aren't too concerned about it now that it has cropped up again.

Matthews was listed on the injury report Wednesday as a limited participant in practice.

"Just speaking with him, he doesn't have high concern," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after practice. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow."

Matthews first injured his groin in the fourth quarter of the Week 4 game at the Detroit Lions and did not play late in the game. However, he played the next week against the Chicago Bears and did not appear to have any issues with it going forward.

Outside linebacker Nick Perry (shoulder) did not practice on Wednesday. Perry has been key to Matthews' move to inside linebacker the last two weeks because he inherited some of Matthews' snaps at outside linebacker. Both of their injuries stemmed from Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, although never came out of the game because of the injuries.

McCarthy said Perry might not practice until Saturday.

In the two games since Matthews moved primarily to inside linebacker, he has combined for 15 tackles, two sacks and one pass breakup.

After listing just four players on their injury report last week, that number nearly doubled on Wednesday.

Here's the full injury report:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Nick Perry has never been more important to the Green Bay Packers' defense than he is now, which has to make it somewhat of a concern that the third-year outside linebacker was not practicing on Wednesday.

Perry
Perry did not appear to sustain an injury in Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles. He played 53 of 78 defensive snaps in the Eagles. The previous week against the Chicago Bears, he played 37 of 70 plays.

Clay Matthews' move to inside linebacker on early downs the past two weeks has opened up a starting job for Perry at the right outside position.

After missing 15 of a possible 32 games due to injuries in his first two seasons, the former first-round draft pick has played in all 10 games so far this season. If he plays Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, it will equal his career high for games played in a season.

Starting guards T.J. Lang (ankle) and Josh Sitton (toe) once again did not practice. They have been in rehab mode on Wednesdays the last two weeks. Last week, they practiced on a limited basis on Thursday. Neither has missed a start.

Tight end Brandon Bostick (hip) also did not practice. He did not play against the Eagles.

Cornerback Jarrett Bush also did not appear to be practicing, although he was in uniform.

Outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott, who missed Sunday's game, returned to practice.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Packers signed guard Rishaw Johnson to the practice squad. He was one of four players the Packers worked out on Tuesday. Johnson fills the spot that opened last week when tight end Justin Perillo was promoted to the roster.

The full injury report will be available following practice.

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