NFL Nation: Marshall Newhouse

DaltonAndrew Weber/USA TODAY SportsNew Bengals offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse isn't surprised by the success quarterback Andy Dalton has had in the NFL.
CINCINNATI -- At the time, it was quite possibly one of the biggest days in TCU football history.

The fourth-ranked Horned Frogs, led by then-junior quarterback Andy Dalton, were 9-0 and rolling entering a nationally televised Saturday night contest against No. 16 Utah. With talk of an undefeated season beginning to take shape, ESPN's "College GameDay" crew traveled to Fort Worth, Texas, to let the rest of the country meet the possible BCS busters from the Mountain West Conference.

The day was Nov. 14, 2009. Marshall Newhouse, an offensive tackle from that team, remembers it well.

"We came out and knocked [Utah] in the jaw, and that was because of Andy to begin with," Newhouse, one of the newest Cincinnati Bengals, said earlier this week. "We ran the ball. He started it and the rest of the team finished it. That was when I was kind of like, 'Whoa.'"

Since that day, Newhouse has been amazed by Dalton's growth across his three years as the Bengals' starting quarterback. He sees even brighter days ahead for his longtime teammate.

As for that famed 2009 game, TCU won 55-28. Dalton's line wasn't his most impressive, but it was efficient. He ran nine times for 48 yards and completed 17 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown and interception. His passer rating was 123.1.

That night wasn't about stats, though, to Newhouse. It was about the way Dalton managed the game. Even though he had shared a locker room and huddle with Dalton for three seasons by that point, Newhouse had never seen his quarterback step up and lead the team for an entire game the way he did against Utah. That was when Newhouse believed the Horned Frogs had something special; something he was anxious for the NFL to see, too.

"I was done after that year, but I was like, 'They're going to win and do some big things next year because they've got him at the head of it,'" Newhouse said.

TCU finished the 2009 season 12-1, with its only loss coming to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl. It was the program's first trip to a BCS bowl game. As a senior in 2010, Dalton led the Horned Frogs to their first undefeated season in more than 70 years. They went 13-0 and won the Rose Bowl.

[+] EnlargeAndy Dalton
AP Photo/Donna McWilliamMarshall Newhouse (70) protected Andy Dalton during their college days at TCU.
Three months later, he was selected 35th overall by the Bengals in the 2011 draft and tasked with turning them around after a 4-12 season.

Taken in the fifth round of the 2010 draft by the Packers, Newhouse had mostly been watching his longtime teammate's career from afar. That was until earlier this offseason, when the Bengals signed him in free agency following Anthony Collins' departure for Tampa Bay. Much like Collins, Newhouse has experience playing both left and right tackle. It's that versatility that most attracted the Bengals to him, even though chances are high they'll be taking a similarly versatile lineman in next week's draft.

While in Green Bay, Newhouse had a greater appreciation for Dalton's accomplishments.

"You learn stuff about guys being close to them, and I've been close to him for a long time," Newhouse said. "You [also] get a different perspective when you're on another team. You see the success and what he can bring, and then you come here and you're like, 'All right. That's for real.' It's for real and then some. There's a lot of stuff to be excited about."

Bengals fans have been excited at times during Dalton's career -- namely when he scorched through last October, going 4-1 with four straight 300-yard passing games -- but they've seen their share of disappointment, too. Despite leading the team to three straight playoff berths, he has factored heavily in the Bengals' three straight first-round playoff losses. He has six interceptions and just one touchdown pass in those three games.

It's performances such as those that have many questioning whether Dalton ought to lead the franchise past the 2014 season once his rookie contract expires. Dalton confirmed last week, though, that his representatives and Bengals officials are currently discussing a contract extension. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis has said he hopes a deal gets done soon so Dalton isn't distracted by questions in the preseason about his contract status.

Newhouse, who will mostly be backing up Pro Bowl left tackle Andrew Whitworth and right tackle Andre Smith, thinks there are good reasons for Dalton to be in stripes long term.

"As long as things are progressing upward, which they very obviously are, Bengals fans and members of the organization should have nothing but positivity to feel," Newhouse said. "You see where the organization is going with him at the helm. He's got all the tools you need. All the tools you're desiring at quarterback."

Among those tools is an apparent ability to be unaffected by criticism, Newhouse said.

"I know he was self-motivated before he ever got here," Newhouse said. "Whether it was with the Bengals or another team, he knows what he's got in the tank and he knows what he can provide. He's confident in that. Having that confidence when you walk out of the tunnel and you look at the rest of the 46 or however many other people that are dressed on Sundays, that's all that matters. He's going to get it for us. He goes and gets it.

"I know that."
CINCINNATI -- By showing up to Paul Brown Stadium these next few weeks, several Cincinnati Bengals could collectively earn more than $3.2 million in bonus money, according to ESPN's Stats & Information.

Twenty-seven Bengals have workout bonuses provisions in their contracts related to their attendance at strength and conditioning workouts and voluntary OTAs. Combined, the group has $3,205,000 at stake just for appearing and participating in the optional practices. The latest collective bargaining agreement places stipulations on the types of team-sanctioned practices and the number of them that players can take part in during the offseason. Participation, in many cases, still can lead to additional compensation.

Defensive linemen Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins have the most at stake when it comes to the bonuses. They both stand to earn $300,000 in 2014 for participating in the workouts.

Both were spotted Monday when the locker room was opened to reporters. There are other workouts continuing this week, but the media are only permitted to meet with players on Monday. Players won't be available again until next Monday.

As a result, it's hard to tell who has made it back for voluntarily workouts. Players were in and out of the locker room during the time it was open, but many who weren't seen could have been in other parts of the building.

It should be noted that even players who don't have bonus provisions in their contracts will still show up just to work out. For example, receivers A.J. Green, Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu aren't due workout bonuses this year, but each was at the stadium Monday.

 
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

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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. -- In 16 regular-season games plus the NFC wild-card playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, the Green Bay Packers were on the field for 1,185 offensive snaps, according to playing time totals kept by the NFL.

Only one player took them all.

Sitton
Josh Sitton played every snap at his new position, left guard, on the way to the best season of his six-year pro career. Sitton made the switch from right guard and was a second-team All-Pro selection.

A total of 30 players took at least one snap on offense (including a pair of defensive linemen -- Mike Daniels and B.J. Raji). In 2012, the Packers used 29 players on offense.

Six players -- Sitton, right guard T.J. Lang, left tackle David Bakhtiari, center Evan Dietrich-Smith, receiver Jordy Nelson and tight end Andrew Quarless -- played on offense in every game.

Here are the total snap counts on offense with playing-time percentages in parenthesis (the defense and special teams breakdowns are coming):

Quarterbacks: Offensive line:
  • Josh Sitton 1,185 (100 percent)
  • David Bakthtiari 1,171 (98.8 percent)
  • T.J. Lang 1,156 (97.6 percent)
  • Evan Dietrich-Smith 1,118 (94.3 percent)
  • Don Barclay 1,027 (86.7 percent)
  • Marshall Newhouse 256 (21.6 percent)
  • Lane Taylor 14 (1.2 percent)
  • Derek Sherrod 6 (0.5 percent)
Receivers: Running backs: Tight ends:
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
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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
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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
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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
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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.

Midseason Report: Green Bay Packers

November, 6, 2013
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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
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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
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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)

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