NFC North: T.J. Lang

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:
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. -- 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)
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.

Packers can move on to New England

November, 24, 2014
Nov 24
11:30
AM ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. – In the moments shortly after Sunday's 24-21 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, the Green Bay Packers weren't quite ready to start thinking about or discussing Sunday's showdown with the New England Patriots at Lambeau Field.

"Haven't even thought about it yet," Packers receiver Jordy Nelson said Sunday before he left TCF Bank Stadium for the short flight from Minneapolis. "I'll worry about that on Monday."

Well, it's Monday, and it's time to move on to the Patriots.

Here's why Sunday's game between the Patriots (9-2) and the Packers (8-3) has the potential to be a monumental game:
  • Brady
    Rodgers
    It's the first – and potentially last – head-to-head meeting between MVP quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady as starters.
  • It's a matchup of the current No. 1 seed in the AFC and the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
  • It's a potential Super Bowl preview, which, of course, would mean it wouldn't be the last meeting between the two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks.

"It's just another big game for us," Packers right guard T.J. Lang said. "We've been playing well lately. They don't all come easy, like they have the past couple games. We've got to grind some out like we did [Sunday]."

The Packers haven't played the Patriots since their 2010 loss at New England, a game Rodgers missed because of a concussion he sustained the previous week at Detroit. Matt Flynn played in his place and nearly rallied the Packers to a victory, only to lose 31-27.

"To be honest with you, I don't think many of us are going to use that as motivation," Packers linebacker Clay Matthews said. "We did win a Super Bowl that year, didn't we?"

Indeed, they did. But if they want to be considered the favorite to win it again this season, a victory over the Patriots might be a requirement.

Rodgers' only appearance against Brady came in a 2006 game at Lambeau Field in relief of an injured Brett Favre. Rodgers finished that game, but afterward it was discovered that he sustained a season-ending fractured foot.

Illness doesn't hamper Eddie Lacy

November, 23, 2014
Nov 23
5:55
PM ET
MINNEAPOLIS -- Observed and heard in the locker room after the Green Bay Packers' 24-21 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium:

Lacy
Feeling ill: The Packers could tell running back Eddie Lacy wasn't feeling well throughout the game, but until it was disclosed after the game that he was suffering from an illness, no one on the outside knew. You sure couldn't tell by the way he performed. He rushed 25 times for 125 yards -- both season highs -- and scored two touchdowns (one rushing and one receiving). By the time reporters entered the locker room, Lacy was already on the team bus trying to recover. "I knew he wasn't feeling great," left guard Josh Sitton said. "He's a tough son of a bitch. ... You could see it on his face a little bit that he wasn't feeling too good. He's just tough, man."

Game ball: Rookie tight end Richard Rodgers knows what he's going to do with the ball he caught for his 1-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. "Probably give it to my dad," Rodgers said of his father, who is the Carolina Panthers' special-teams coach. It was perhaps one of the most memorable plays of the game because of how far Aaron Rodgers had to throw the ball for just 1 official yard. He rolled to his right and from just outside where the 10-yard-line number is painted, he throw the ball all the way to back left corner of the end zone, where the tight end was completely uncovered and waving his arms.

On to New England: The talk turned almost immediately to Sunday's showdown with the New England Patriots, the first-ever meeting between Rodgers and Tom Brady as starters. But most players said they wanted to enjoy this victory first. "I haven't even thought about it," receiver Jordy Nelson said. Guard T.J. Lang said: "It will be a big game for us. I haven't really thought about them too much."
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.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Unlike last week, when it was far from a sure thing that starting guards T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton would play, the Green Bay Packers starting guard duo looks good to go for Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

 Both were listed as probable on Friday's injury report.

Last week, they were listed as questionable but still played against the Bears despite an ankle injury for Lang and a toe injury for Sitton that both date to the Oct. 26 game against the New Orleans Saints and kept them out of practice most of last week.

"T.J. and Josh had a good day yesterday," coach Mike McCarthy said Friday. "[They are] going through the rehab today and just doing all the light work."

McCarthy said they would do "probably next to nothing" on Saturday, when the Packers hold their final workout of the week under their new practice schedule.

The Packers listed just four players on their injury report this week. Last year at this time, they had 11 players listed on their injury report heading into their Week 11 game against the New York Giants.

Still, McCarthy wasn't ready to credit his new practice schedule, in which the team does not practice on Fridays anymore but holds a short practice the day before the game, for the reduction in injuries.

"Let's talk about that after the season because I don't want to jinx it," McCarthy said. "The numbers are good."

Here's the full injury report:

Out
TE Brandon Bostick (hip)
OLB Jayrone Elliott (hamstring)

Probable
RG T.J. Lang (ankle)
LG Josh Sitton (toe)

 
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Corey Linsley, like any good NFL rookie, does as he's told.

That was evident Wednesday in the Green Bay Packers' locker room, where he was about to share the story of the apology letter he wrote -- apparently to his fellow offensive linemen -- that quarterback Aaron Rodgers referenced Tuesday on his radio show.

But first, the Packers center had to check with guard T.J.Lang to see if it was OK.

[+] EnlargeCorey Linsley
Brad Barr/USA TODAY SportsPackers center Corey Linsley, No. 63, has earned praise for his play this season from Aaron Rodgers.
A minute later, Linsley returned. The contents of the letter, apparently at Lang's request, would remain classified.

Whatever Linsley apologized for, it probably had nothing to do with his performance this season.

Forget that that he wasn't even supposed to play this season but was thrown into the starting center job in the final week of the preseason after JC Tretter's ankle injury, Linsley has not just performed well for a first-year, fill-in starter. He has done it by any measure, and here's one: the website ProFootballFocus.com, which grades every player on every play, has Linsley ranked as the No. 3 center in the NFL behind only Nick Mangold of the New York Jets and Max Unger of the Seattle Seahawks. Between them, they have seven Pro Bowls -- five for Mangold and two for Unger.

"At some point, there needs to be a little bit of campaigning about him for Pro Bowl, I think," Rodgers said on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show. "He's played that good. He doesn't have the name recognition yet. A lot of times, you get voted in a year after you deserve to and maybe a year longer than you deserve to, but Corey's been so solid at center for us. I'm really proud of him. He's been a rock in there. He's had two great guys to play next to, but I think they'd say the same thing; that he's been playing a really high level."

The 23-year-old Linsley doesn't spend his off day listening to Rodgers' radio show, but nonetheless those comments were relayed to him by his girlfriend, Anna, who proudly follows what is being said about him on Twitter, or as Linsley described her: "Retweet, retweet, favorite, retweet."

"It's an honor that he would say that, and I feel very fortunate that he thinks that about me," Linsley said at his locker Wednesday. "But for him, this is his 10th season and for me this is my eighth week, ninth week. I've got a long way to go. I've got seven weeks left and a lot more ball to play. I can't be thinking about that. I do feel very fortunate and very honored that he would say that about me."

Linsley, a fifth-round pick from Ohio State, has handled every situation that has presented itself -- from the opening game at Seattle, where Rodgers yelled him at for prematurely launching a shotgun snap into the quarterback's chest (and no, that wasn't the source of the apology letter) to last week when he didn't know until game day whether his bookend guards Lang and Josh Sitton would be healthy enough to play against the Chicago Bears.

There will be another challenge this week from the Philadelphia Eagles, who run as complex a defensive scheme as the Packers have faced this season.

"I don't want to let any of my teammates down," Linsley said. "That's my biggest thing. That's why I prepare. I don't want to point the finger at myself and say I'm the reason why we lost this game. That's what really drives me."

And apparently, he's also quite the writer.

"Especially of apology letters," Rodgers said.

And then Rodgers added: "That's kind of an inside story. He might want to tell it, but you have to ask him."

He might share it some day, perhaps when he's the veteran on this offensive line -- something that seems inevitable based on the way he's played so far.

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