NFL Nation: Green Bay Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers' beverage of choice after games has long been a Grape Crush soda.

The Green Bay Packers quarterback doesn't always bring it with him to his postgame news conference like he did after Sunday's 24-21 win over the Minnesota Vikings, but he says he was not sticking it to the purple-clad team or its fans by doing so.


And to anyone who doubts how long he has been drinking that after games, he had a message Tuesday on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show.

"To all the idiot trolls out there, seven years," Rodgers said adding that he also enjoys a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. "PBJ and Grape or Orange Crush. It's been grape for the last five; the first couple years it was orange or grape."

Nevertheless, the image of Rodgers drinking from a bottle of Grape Crush got some people riled up after Sunday's game.

"Any of the local media or anybody who's seen me after a game, I'm always carrying that around with me," Rodgers said on his show. "That's probably the only soda that I ever drink – right after the game, when you've got to get those nutrients back with you. So that's my postgame [snack], PBJ and the Grape Crush. I do like it, contrary to anybody who thinks I was trolling anything. It's absolutely ridiculous. It's comical."

QB snapshot: Aaron Rodgers

November, 25, 2014
Nov 25
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A quick observation of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and how he played in the Green Bay Packers' 24-21 win over the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12:

Rodgers
Just because Rodgers didn't put up astronomical numbers (209 yards with 2 touchdown passes and no interceptions) does not mean there's reason to be concerned that he's cooling off. The Vikings committed an extra defender to coverage, playing mostly with both safeties deep in order to prevent Rodgers from hitting Jordy Nelson down the field. Nelson may find extra attention this week as the Packers host the New England Patriots in what some are viewing as a possible Super Bowl preview.

The Packers' longest pass play was a 34-yard catch-and-run by tight end Andrew Quarless. In only three games this season has Rodgers' long play been shorter. Perhaps it's just a coincidence, but all of those were on the road.

On the whole, Rodgers has been extremely effective on medium-to-long throws this season. According to ESPN Stats & Information, he has completed 46.9 percent of his passes thrown 20 or more yards downfield this season, with 8 touchdowns. By comparison, his opponent on Sunday, quarterback Tom Brady, has completed 27.3 percent of those passes with 3 touchdowns this season.
Happy early Thanksgiving!

Join us today at 1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT for ESPN NFL Nation TV's Spreecast as episode No. 33 gives a Turkey Day preview, revisits Odell Beckham Jr.'s insane three-fingered catch, and discusses several teams' futures given the varying quarterback situations they have inherited this season.

Host Coley Harvey (Cincinnati Bengals reporter) and co-host Mike Wells (Indianapolis Colts reporter) will be joined by Michael C. Wright (Chicago Bears reporter), John Keim (Washington Redskins reporter) and Phil Sheridan (Philadelphia Eagles reporter).

Plus, Rob Demovsky (Green Bay Packers reporter) and Mike Reiss (New England Patriots reporter) will debate in this week's "Main Event" about Sunday's big game at Lambeau Field that will feature MVP candidates Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.

Viewers are encouraged to log in and ask the panelists questions as well as contribute in the chat feature.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Mike McCarthy knew Eddie Lacy was not feeling well during Sunday's 24-21 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, but he still figured the Green Bay Packers' running back would be effective.

Lacy
Lacy was all of that and then some.

One day after he rushed for 125 yards on 25 carries -- season highs in both categories -- Lacy was still feeling the aftereffects of what McCarthy called a gastrointestinal illness.

"He was in today for the [regeneration] workout, so he went through the weight-room work and so forth," McCarthy said Monday. "It's something that we're still monitoring."

Before Sunday, Lacy had not carried 25 times in a game in almost exactly a year. His previous high this season was 17 in Week 4 against the Chicago Bears.

"Really I don't think statistics really reflect the whole picture of everything that we've done," McCarthy said. "Eddie's a good teammate and Eddie, and I think if you asked Eddie -- and I've heard him answer the question a number of times -- he just wants to be a good teammate."

But the Packers might need to start leaning on Lacy more now that the weather is turning sour in Green Bay. The early forecast for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots at Lambeau Field calls for temperatures in the 20s.

And they also might need the running game more if teams try to play coverage like the Vikings, who used a two-high safety look that limited Aaron Rodgers' shots down the field.

"It shows that we can win a game a different way than we have been winning, by scoring a lot of points early and having the opponent down by halftime by a large margin," Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements said. "If you can win games, then you have to find ways to win each week. Yesterday, we found a way to do it."

Packers can move on to New England

November, 24, 2014
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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.
MINNEAPOLIS – It might have been the longest 1-yard touchdown pass in Green Bay Packers' history, and for that reason the floater that Aaron Rodgers heaved across the field to rookie tight end Richard Rodgers on Sunday will serve as one of the most memorable scoring plays of the season.

Based on multiple looks at the replay -- and with a little geometry (see the Pythagorean theorem) to help in the calculation -- the ball traveled an estimated 39.4 yards through the air, according to unofficial calculations. The nearest Vikings' defender was at least 15 yards away.

Rodgers
Rodgers
Here's how it happened: In the second quarter of Sunday's 24-21 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, the Packers had a first-and-goal at the 1 after a 34-yard catch and run by Andrew Quarless. Coach Mike McCarthy then went with a three tight-end, two-back package that called for Aaron Rodgers to roll to his right. Almost everyone went with him, except Richard Rodgers. He waited for the entire Vikings' defense to follow the ball and then after a few seconds slipped out to the back left corner of the end zone.

By the time the rookie was waving his hands in the air about 3 yards from the back corner of the end zone, his quarterback was already at the numbers near the 10-yard line on the right side of the field.

"You usually don't have to throw the ball 20 or 30 yards for a 1-yard touchdown,” McCarthy said. "I'm sure you guys will measure that out and correct me. But Richard ran a great route on the back side. It's a delay route. Aaron delayed more than he probably needed to, but it was obviously a great throw."

And one that seemingly hung in the air for, as Richard Rodgers said, "forever. "

"I was just open, no one was really covering me," he said "So I was just standing back there waving."

Quarless was actually the primary read on the front side of the play, while Richard Rodgers was the second option on the back side.

"It didn't feel great that the back side was going to be open, so as I came off the fake and extended the play, Andrew got caught a little bit inside, so that was dead, " Aaron Rodgers said. "And at the last minute, I kind of saw him [Richard Rodgers] out of the corner of my eye and knew I had to put a little something on that to get it over there."

It gave the Packers a 14-7 lead with 5:23 left in the second quarter.
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Green Bay Packers needed 2 yards for one more first down, the one that would clinch Sunday's 24-21 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

With 2:31 remaining and a timeout to talk it over, Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy huddled in front of the Packers' sideline and talked about two plays: One was a run and the other was a pass.

With the hottest quarterback in the game, it would not have been a surprise to any of the 52,386 in attendance at TCF Stadium if McCarthy left it up to the right arm of Rodgers.

[+] EnlargeEddie Lacy
AP Foto/Ann HeisenfeltEddie Lacy had the type of performance Sunday that gives the Packers confidence down the stretch.
Except that Rodgers wanted to go with the hotter hand. On Sunday, that was running back Eddie Lacy, who out of a shotgun formation on third-and-2 at the Packers' 28-yard line powered over left guard for 4 game-clinching yards.

"That was a play that he preferred," McCarthy said of his quarterback. "I just kind of chuckled because it's usually the other way around. It was the right call in that situation."

On a day when the Vikings tried -- with some measure of success -- to slow down Rodgers and his top two receivers, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, Lacy delivered both on the Packers' final touchdown drive, the game's defining drive that put them ahead 24-13 with 8:34 to play, and again on their last possession, which chewed up the final 3:23.

Battling an illness, which prevented him from talking to reporters afterward, Lacy set a season high with 125 yards rushing on 25 carries. It was just his second 100-yard game of the season (both have come against the Vikings) and before Sunday, he had not carried more than 17 times in a game this year.

"That's what we get paid for, man," Packers right guard T.J. Lang said. "That's what we take a lot of pride in, is being able to run the ball when everybody in the damned stadium knows you're going to run it."

The Packers' intent to run the ball was clear from the start, when they opened in a two-back look with fullback John Kuhn in front of Lacy. It was Kuhn's first start of the season, and Rodgers was happy to feed "the beast," as right tackle Bryan Bulaga called Lacy afterward.

Lacy gained 70 of his 125 yards after first contact Sunday, according to ESPN Stats & Information, his second-most rushing yards after contact in a game in his career. He started the Packers' scoring with a 1-yard dive over the top for a touchdown in the first quarter and finished it off with a 10-yard score on a shovel pass in the fourth quarter.

"I think it shows that we are able to pass the ball when needed and run the ball when needed," Bulaga said.

That could bode well for the Packers (8-3) in cold-weather games down the stretch. Or if teams do what Vikings coach Mike Zimmer tried, which was to play a heavy dose of two-deep safety coverage to try to limit Rodgers' chances down the field.

Although Rodgers threw two touchdown passes without an interception, he passed for only 209 yards on 19-of-29 passing. Nelson went over 1,000 yards for the season, but only 68 of them came Sunday despite his eight receptions. His long gain was merely 14 yards. Cobb, who had topped the 100-yard mark in three of the past four games, caught just four passes for 58 yards.

"It gives us another option as opposed to years prior where it's just airing it out," Packers linebacker Clay Matthews said. "We've got the ability to run the ball."

And the next time the Packers need one more third-down conversion, whether it's to wrap up a victory in next Sunday's showdown with the New England Patriots (9-2) or later in the season to clinch a division title or a playoff berth, there's no telling whether the Packers will rely on Rodgers' arm or Lacy's legs to get it.

"The way that Eddie was running the football, and the line, you have to give the line a voice," Rodgers said. "Those guys know the pulse of the game there, especially late in the game there. They felt like a run was something we could get. Came to the sidelines and kind of had the choice there, but I liked the play to Eddie, the inside handoff, and he did a good job of getting the necessary yards."

Illness doesn't hamper Eddie Lacy

November, 23, 2014
Nov 23
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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."
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. -- If Dom Capers' defensive system can be boiled down to a basic principal, it's this: Blitz as often as necessary to disrupt the rhythm and timing of an opponent's offense.

So it should come as no surprise that since he came to Green Bay as defensive coordinator in 2009, the Green Bay Packers have ranked as one of the NFL's most frequent blitz teams (see accompanying chart).

But there's much more that goes into it than just turning linebackers, safeties and cornerbacks loose.

Some of Capers' best defenses in Green Bay have been those that have blitzed the least (see 2009 and 2010).

"I'd say we're probably normally [blitzing at] around 38 to 40 percent of the time," Capers said.

But with worst defense he fielded, the 2011 unit that ranked last in the league, he blitzed the most.

"We couldn't get any pressure on the quarterback that year," Capers said.

That trend is hardly universal.

Take this season, for example. One of the best defensive performances came in Week 5 against the Minnesota Vikings. In the Packers' 42-10 victory, Capers blitzed on 47.2 percent of the Vikings’ dropbacks, according to ESPN Stats & Information (which defines a blitz as sending five or more pass-rushers at the quarterback). Only three other times this season has Capers blitzed at a higher rate -- at Miami in Week 6 (53.1 percent), against Carolina in Week 7 (50 percent) and against the New York Jets in Week 2 (47.3 percent). All were victories

Then there was 19-7 loss against the Detroit Lions in Week 2, when the defense allowed just 10 points. Capers blitzed a season-low 12.8 percent of the time.

This season, the Packers' defense ranks just 25th in yards, but second in takeaways (22), tied for eighth in Total QBR (50.4) and 11th in sack percentage (7.0).

Here is a look at the Capers' philosophy through the eyes of some of his coaches and players:

Offensive coordinator Tom Clements

Before they were on the same side, Clements coached against Capers. One game stands out: Dec. 8, 2002 in Pittsburgh. Clements was the Steelers' quarterbacks coach, and Capers was the Houston Texans head coach.

"That was a weird game," Clements said. "Our defense held them to about a total of 60 yards. We had about 400 yards, and they beat us by three touchdowns."

[+] EnlargeDom Capers
Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY SportsDefensive coordinator Dom Capers has made his mark by adapting his calls to each opponent.
Actually, the numbers were these: The Steelers had 422 yards and the Texans had 47. Houston's defense scored three times, two interception returns and a recovered fumble return, in a 24-6 upset.

Which goes to show that when preparing for a Capers' defense, anything is possible.

"Multiple looks, multiple pressures," Clements said. "It requires a lot of film study by the coaches and the players, because you never know what you’re going to get."

Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac

Trgovac, the Panthers defensive coordinator from 2003-2008, knows what it's like to call plays.

He says it's an oversimplification to simply call Capers a blitzer.

"Just to call 100 blitzes, when you start getting in that rhythm of the game, that's actually the easiest part of the game to call," Trgovac said. "The hard part is trying to pick the blitzes based on what you're seeing in the game. You have something set in your mind early and have to adjust from there."

Trgovac says he often finds Capers alone in his office or a film room calling a mock game to try to anticipate those situations.

"He puts in the hours that's required to have knowledge to make a play call," Trgovac said.

Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt

Whitt, who like Trgovac has been with Capers since 2009 in Green Bay, also says it's unfair to label their defense as just a blitzing scheme.

"I wouldn't say that," Whitt said. "I would say it's a week-to-week deal, but we're going to try to do anything we can to win that week. If we have to bring five or six guys, we will."

But then Whitt pointed to one of the biggest defensive plays in last Sunday's win against the Eagles, Julius Peppers' 52-yard interception return for a touchdown. Capers rushed only three players -- defensive linemen Datone Jones, Josh Boyd and Mike Neal -- and dropped Peppers, Clay Matthews and A.J. Hawk into coverage.

"It's whatever's needed," Whitt said.

Outside linebacker Peppers

The 13-year NFL veteran has never been used like this. In his eight seasons in Carolina and four in Chicago, he more or less had one job: put his hand on the ground and rush the quarterback as a defensive end.

"They wanted me to rush for the majority of the time," Pepper said. "Every now and then there was a fire-zone call where I was dropping, but primarily I was rushing."

Perhaps said that's why Eagles coach Chip Kelly said they weren't expecting Peppers to drop into coverage. He said it was "a great call" by Capers.

"I don't think it's anything new," said Peppers, who leads the Packers with 5.0 sacks and is tied for second on the team with two interceptions. "He's been doing that since he's been here as far as I'm concerned."
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. – As big a problem as Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb have created for opposing defenses, the Green Bay Packers' ultraproductive pair of receivers has put general manager Ted Thompson in a bit of jam, too.

With $14.25 million already committed to Nelson this season as part of a four-year, $39 million contract extension he signed in July that broke him into the top-10 in receiver money, Thompson has to figure out how to keep Cobb in the fold as well.

And the longer the fourth-year receiver goes without a contract extension, the higher the price becomes.

Cobb
Nelson
Together, Nelson and Cobb have developed into one of the top pass-catching combinations in the NFL. But in order for it to anything other than a one-year wonder, Thompson must procure a deal with Cobb, who is in the final season of his rookie contract. Thompson has the salary-cap space – $8,794,417 according to the latest figures from ESPN Stats & Information – but that's not the only factor. There are other potential free agents to sign.

"I think everyone wants Randall to be here," Nelson said. "I think any player wants to play their whole career in the same spot, but it's a business on both sides. Sometimes people think it's a one-way business, but he's going to do what's best for him and what he thinks is the best situation for him."

Cobb almost certainly won't command Nelson’s $9.75 million-per-year average, but a deal averaging in the neighborhood of $6 million to $7 million isn't out of the question. At just 24 years old, Cobb is the definition of a young, productive, homegrown player that Thompson typically keeps around.

The feeling around the league is that there's no way the Packers would let him hit free agency next March.

"It will get done," said an NFL personnel executive. "He's a Ted guy."

Although the Packers' roster contains another young, potentially productive receiver in rookie Davante Adams (who has 27 catches for 286 yards and three touchdowns through 10 games), there's little proven talent behind him.

Even if Adams develops into the receiver the Packers think he can become, he's not the same type of complement to Nelson that quarterback Aaron Rodgers has in Cobb. With Nelson dominating on the outside with 60 catches (seventh in the league) for 998 yards (third) and nine touchdowns, he has typically drawn an opponent's best cornerback with a safety also shading that way. That leaves Cobb – the prototypical slot receiver at 5-foot-10, 192-pounds and all kinds of shifty moves – to work in the middle of the field in the short and intermediate routes.

"I think that's why they go well together," Packers safety Micah Hyde said. "With Randall, he controls the inside. Don't get me wrong, Jordy can go inside, too. But Randall does a good job, and the matchups that he creates is remarkable. And then for Jordy to be outside, with a guy like A-Rod getting them the ball, it's going to be hard to stop."

After a slow start, which Cobb said was caused in part by self-imposed pressure to produce in a contract year, he has been nearly unstoppable. Beginning with his seven-catch, 113-yard, two-touchdown game in Week 4 against the Vikings, Cobb has eclipsed with the 100-yard mark four times in the last seven games. In that stretch, he ranks sixth in the NFL with 653 yards, ahead of even Nelson, who ranks seventh with 647. For the season, Cobb ranks second in the league with 10 touchdowns and only a tight end, Denver's Julius Thomas, has more (with 12).

There are other great receiving duos in the league, with Denver's Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders leading the way; and even other great combinations in the Packers' own division, with Chicago's Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall. Nelson and Cobb are new to that list, but could remain there for years to come.

"I do feel very confident that I wouldn't want any other guys than the guys we've got," Rodgers said.

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. – In a matter-of-fact manner, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said this about his leading receiver, Jordy Nelson:

"Obviously Jordy is having a Pro Bowl season," Rodgers said after Sunday's 53-20 rout of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Few, if anyone, would argue that.

Nelson ranks third in the NFL with 998 receiving yards and is tops among NFC receivers (although the Pro Bowl is no longer organized by conference). He trails only Denver's Demaryius Thomas (1,105) and Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown (1,070) in that category. Nelson ranks sixth in the league with 60 catches. And his nine touchdown catches puts him tied for second among all receivers.

Nelson
Cobb
All of that is the very definition of a Pro Bowl lock.

But what about Randall Cobb?

He's the only receiver in the league with more touchdowns than Nelson and those he's tied with for second. Despite not catching a touchdown pass on Sunday, ending a streak of six straight games with at least one score, Cobb's 10 touchdown catches still leads all NFL receivers and is second overall behind only Broncos tight end Julius Thomas, who has 12.

Sunday marked the second time this season that Cobb (with 10 catches for 129 yards against the Eagles) and Nelson (four catches for 109 yards and one touchdown) each had 100-plus yards receiving in the same game.

How much has Rodgers relied on that duo this season?

He has 19 of his 28 touchdown passes to them. He has completed 73.2 percent of his targets toward Cobb and 65.2 percent of his targets to Nelson, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He has averaged 10.9 yards per attempt when throwing to Nelson and 10.8 yards per attempt when throwing to Cobb.

Against the Eagles, he was 13-of-22 for 226 yards and a touchdown when throwing to those two receivers.

Cobb and Nelson have been the perfect complement to one another. Nelson's size and speed on the outside make him a big-play threat, which opens up the middle of the field for Cobb, a prototypical slot receiver.

Against the Eagles, Rodgers hit Nelson for a 64-yard gain down the right sideline on the game's opening series, and the offense took off from there.

"People like to double him a lot, so it frees up Randall and I," said Packers receiver Davante Adams, who also caught a touchdown pass against the Eagles. "So we get to move around a little bit, move around a little more freely when in man coverage. Just getting him the ball, if he doesn't score, one of us will.”

The Packers have had only two receiver pairs make the Pro Bowl together in the last 32 years. Greg Jennings and Donald Driver did it for the 2010 season, although Driver was an alternate. James Lofton and John Jefferson did it in 1982, a strike-shortened season.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers have a new playmaker in Micah Hyde.

Steady as he goes for the first year and a half of his NFL career, the second-year pro has come up big each of the last two games.

[+] EnlargeMicah Hyde
Benny Sieu/USA TODAY SportsMicah Hyde returned a first-quarter punt for a touchdown that helped the Packers blow the game open against the Eagles.
A week after his first professional interception, the safety returned a punt 75-yards for a touchdown in the first quarter Sunday that helped blow open the Packers' 53-20 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field.

Hyde has split punt-return duties with receiver Randall Cobb, who fair caught the first one Sunday. Hyde's turn came on the Eagles' second series. On a ball that some returners might have fair caught, Hyde split a pair of Eagles' cover men -– cornerback Nolan Carroll II and receiver Josh Huff -- made one cut to his right and then outran punter Donnie Jones to the end zone.

No one would have blamed Hyde for fair catching it because while Davon House had Carroll blocked, no one had Huff.

"In the locker room at halftime, House said, 'I knew you weren't going to fair catch it,'" Hyde said. "I have trust in him and whoever the other jammer is and the guys up front to block and get their guys."

It was the Packers' first punt return for a touchdown in more than a year. Their last was Hyde's 93-yarder against the Vikings last year on Oct. 27.

"To be honest with you, going back to the Tuesday game plan meetings, we just felt Micah, his particular style versus their unit and what we had called is really what we talked about all week," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Sunday. "He did a great job of catching and getting north and south and finishing it. Great return. I haven't seen the video of it so I can't comment on the particulars of the blocking, but Micah's straight-ahead style we felt was a good way to go today."

Not bad for a guy who was knocked coming out of college for his lack of speed.

"I'm just a slow guy from Iowa," Hyde said after the game.

However, it was not an all-around stellar day on special teams. Tim Masthay had a punt blocked for the second time this season. Mason Crosby had an extra point blocked and missed a 50-yard field goal (his first miss that wasn't blocked this season) and on another extra point, a problem with the hold prevented Crosby from even attempting it.

"Some weird stuff happened on special teams," Crosby said. "But the defense played great, the offense played great and we did some things on special teams well with that return and our coverage teams played well on kickoff."

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