NFL Nation: Nate Palmer

Examining the Green Bay Packers' roster:

Quarterbacks (3)
The Packers have not kept three quarterbacks on their opening-day roster since 2008, but they might be inclined to do so this season in order to avoid a situation like last year, when Rodgers broke his collarbone. Coach Mike McCarthy is high on Tolzien, who made two starts last season, but Flynn has proved he can win as a backup in Green Bay.

Running backs (4)

The return of Harris, who missed all of last season because of a knee injury, gives the Packers insurance behind Lacy and Starks. Kuhn is valuable both as a fullback and on special teams. It's possible they'll keep a fourth halfback, but the loss of Johnathan Franklin to a career-ending neck injury has left them without a strong in-house candidate for that spot.

Receivers (6)

The Packers often keep only five receivers, but given that they drafted three -- Adams (second round), Abbrederis (fifth round) and Janis (seventh round) -- there's a good chance they will keep six. Abbrederis and Janis will not only have to show they're better prospects than second-year pros Myles White and Chris Harper, but they also could help themselves if they can return kicks.

Tight ends (4)

McCarthy likes tight ends (he has kept five before), and the wild card is undrafted rookie Colt Lyerla.

Offensive linemen (8)

The Packers typically only activate seven offensive linemen on game day, so they can get away with keeping just eight on the roster. Barclay's ability to play all five positions also allows them some freedom. Lane Taylor could be the ninth lineman if they go that route.

Defensive line (7)

Worthy and Guion have work to do to make the roster, but there's room for them if you count Julius Peppers and Mike Neal among the outside linebackers, which is where they lined up more often in the offseason.

Linebackers (8)

There will be some tough cuts here. Second-year pros Nate Palmer and Andy Mulumba both played last year as rookie outside linebackers. It also may be tough for highly touted undrafted rookie Adrian Hubbard to make it.

Cornerbacks (6)

Hayward's return from last season's hamstring injury means he likely will return as the slot cornerback in the nickel package, a role played last year by Micah Hyde (who may primarily play safety this year).

Safeties (4)

The major question here is whether Hyde or Clinton-Dix will be the starter alongside Burnett. Chris Banjo, who played primarily on special teams last season, might be the odd man out.

Specialists (3)

There's no competition at any of these spots.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Let's get this out of the way from the top: We know Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson does not draft for need -- or so he says.

But in the months leading up to this week's draft, Thompson and his scouts have spent hundreds of hours not only discussing the prospects who will be available to them but also their current roster and its strengths and weaknesses.

With that in mind, let's break the 12 position groups that make up the roster into four parts based on the following categories of draft needs.

We will define them this way:

Part 1: Negligible -- positions where there is little or no need.

Part 2: Non-essential -- positions where there is a need but it is not paramount to fill.

Part 3: Secondary -- positions where there is a need but not at the critical level.

Part 4: Pressing -- positions where it is imperative that help be found.

On Monday, we looked at the negligible needs, Nos. 10-12.

Next up are the nonessential needs.

7. Quarterback: It's too early to start thinking about a replacement for Aaron Rodgers, who turned 30 last December and is under contract through 2019, but they need to find the next Matt Flynn -- a long-term backup who can be counted on to win games just in case. Flynn is back under a one-year deal, but coach Mike McCarthy has said he would like to develop a young quarterback. Is that Scott Tolzien? Perhaps, but don't be surprised if they bring in a mid-to-late-round quarterback.

Possible players of interest: AJ McCarron, Alabama; Tom Savage, Pittsburgh; David Fales, San Jose State; Keith Wenning, Ball State; Brock Jensen, North Dakota State.

8. Cornerback: The Packers committed to Sam Shields this offseason with a four-year, $39 million contract just as free agency opened, but veteran Tramon Williams is in the final year of his contract. Casey Hayward is expected to be back from the hamstring injury that ruined his 2013 season, and there's depth with Micah Hyde, Davon House and James Nixon, although Hyde may move to safety. If the right corner fell to the Packers, Thompson might jump at the chance.

Possible players of interest: Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State; Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech; Lamarcus Joyner, Florida State; Keith McGill, Utah; Stan Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska.

9. Outside linebacker: Like defensive end, this is another position where there's plenty of talent depending on who lines up where. Beyond Pro Bowler Clay Matthews, there's Julius Peppers (who will play a combination DL-OLB), former first-round pick Nick Perry, former second-round pick Mike Neal and second-year players Andy Mulumba and Nate Palmer.

Possible players of interest: Anthony Barr, UCLA; Kyle Van Noy, BYU; Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech; Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- With the bulk of the free-agent work done, it's a good time to recheck the Green Bay Packers' depth chart leading up to the May 8-10 NFL draft.

On Thursday, we broke down the way things look on offense.

Next up is the defense:

Defensive end: Datone Jones, Josh Boyd, Jerel Worthy.

[+] EnlargeDatone Jones
AP Photo/Morry GashThe Packers are counting on defensive end Datone Jones to rebound in his second season.
Analysis: The Packers have high hopes for Jones despite a disappointing rookie season in which the former first-round pick was slowed by an ankle injury and recorded just 3.5 sacks (two of which came in one game). "I feel he's one of those second-year players who [can] take a huge jump," coach Mike McCarthy said of Jones earlier this offseason. "That will be my expectations for him." Boyd, a fifth-round pick, actually saw more playing time late last season than Jones. Worthy played in only two games a year after he blew out his knee.

Defensive tackle: B.J. Raji, Mike Daniels, Letroy Guion.

Analysis: Moving Raji back to nose tackle on a full-time basis should help his production, which declined sharply over the last three years following a move to defensive end. Daniels was perhaps the team's most improved player last season, which should lead to an even bigger role this season. Guion, who was cut the Minnesota Vikings, will have to battle for a roster spot.

Elephant: Julius Peppers, Nick Perry, Mike Neal.

Analysis: Elephant is a catch-all term for the multiple positions this trio will play. They will be part outside linebacker, part defensive end and part defensive tackle. The addition of Peppers, who was signed last month after being released by the Chicago Bears, should boost the pass rush. Expect Perry to play more on the right side this season, where he was far more impactful last season. These players will actually be tutored by linebackers coach Winston Moss.

Inside linebacker: A.J. Hawk, Brad Jones, Jamari Lattimore, Sam Barrington, Victor Aiyewa.

Analysis: Hawk had perhaps his best season last year, but Jones was a disappointment after signing a three-year, $11.75 million contract and could be on shaky ground for a starting job. Lattimore, a restricted free agent who has yet to sign his tender, got some playing time last year while Jones was hurt and could push for the starting job. So could Barrington, a promising rookie who missed the second half of the season because of a hamstring injury.

Outside linebacker: Clay Matthews, Andy Mulumba, Nate Palmer, Chase Thomas.

Analysis: Neal and Perry played almost exclusively at outside linebacker last season, so there's a good chance they'll be a big part of this group again. But behind Matthews are a couple of second-year players, Mulumba and Palmer, who played more than anyone expected last year as a rookies. Mulumba, an undrafted free agent, played better than Palmer, a sixth-round pick. Thomas was signed early in the offseason off the street after spending most of last season on the Atlanta Falcons' practice squad.

Safeties: Morgan Burnett, Sean Richardson, Chris Banjo.

Analysis: Easily the thinnest position on the roster, there's still likely to be several additions here, probably via the draft. However, McCarthy said cornerback Micah Hyde will get some work at safety. Whether he's a candidate to start next to Burnett (a strong safety), however, remains to be seen. Burnett needs to bounce back from a disappointing season, but there's little reason to think his job is in jeopardy. Richardson returned late last season from a serious neck injury and showed promise. Banjo played more early in the season than he did late last year.

Cornerbacks: Sam Shields, Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde, Jarrett Bush, Davon House, James Nixon, Jumel Rolle, Antonio Dennard.

Analysis: This is among the Packers' deepest positions thanks to the return of Shields, who signed a four-year, $39 million contract, and Hayward, who is expected to be healthy after a hamstring injury limited him to just three games last season. Williams closed the season playing perhaps as well as he did during the Super Bowl season of 2010, which is why they kept him despite a $7.5 million salary. Bush had his best season in coverage last year, while House was a disappointment. Nixon's speed makes him an intriguing prospect. Rolle was promoted from the practice squad late last season, while Dennard joined the practice squad late last season.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Two Green Bay Packers' starting defensive players sustained knee injuries on the San Francisco 49ers' opening drive of Sunday's NFC wild-card game at Lambeau Field.

Cornerback Sam Shields sustained a left knee injury and outside linebacker Mike Neal injured his right knee on the same drive.

Both were carted to the locker room and were questionable to return.

Shields was replaced by Davon House.

The loss of Neal is particularly costly because the Packers went into the game with only three outside linebackers. Clay Matthews is out with a thumb injury, while rookie Nate Palmer was a healthy scratch. It leaves them with only Nick Perry and Andy Mulumba unless Neal can return. Perry is playing on a bad foot, and his snaps have been limited in recent weeks.

Packers' inactives: No more drama

January, 5, 2014
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- A week after quarterback Aaron Rodgers and receiver Randall Cobb returned from long injury absences, there was no drama among the Green Bay Packers’ inactives for Sunday’s NFC wild-card playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field.

Other than linebacker Clay Matthews, who was ruled out early in the week because of his broken thumb, the Packers had a healthy roster to choose from for their 46-man game-day roster.

Linebacker Brad Jones, who was listed as probable on the injury report, returned a week after missing the regular-season finale against the Chicago Bears because of an ankle injury.

The Packers also decided to dress only two quarterbacks this week, Rodgers and Matt Flynn. Against the Bears, Scott Tolzien was active as the third quarterback in Rodgers' return from his fractured collarbone.

The biggest news among the inactives came from the 49ers, who will be without cornerback Carlos Rogers.

Here’s the Packers full inactive list:

Packers' inactives: A short list

December, 22, 2013
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- With only 51 players on the roster, the Green Bay Packers had to declare just five players inactive for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

They were:
The Packers on Saturday placed defensive tackle Johnny Jolly (neck/shoulder) and tight end Brandon Bostick (foot) on season-ending injured reserve.

Matt Flynn will make his fourth straight start in place of Rodgers, and Mike Daniels will start in place of Jolly.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy, who practiced only one day last week because of a sprained right ankle, will play Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.

So will linebackers Brad Jones (ankle), Jamari Lattimore (knee) and Mike Neal (abdomen).

Like Lacy, the trio of linebackers practiced only on Friday last week. Lacy is expected to start.

In another injury-related pregame development, receiver Randall Cobb went through an on-field workout at AT&T Stadium. He ran routes and caught passes from backup quarterback Scott Tolzien.

It was the first time Cobb has been in seen working out in public since he fractured the tibia in his right leg on Oct. 13. Cobb remains on the injured reserve/designed to return list. He was eligible to come off that list and play against the Cowboys but was not cleared to do so.

There were no major surprises on the Packers' inactive list:
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 inactives: Four starters return

November, 28, 2013
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DETROIT -- While quarterback Aaron Rodgers is at least another week away from returning, the Green Bay Packers got four other starters back for the Thanksgiving game against the Detroit Lions.

Right tackle Don Barclay, defensive tackle Johnny Jolly, linebacker Nick Perry and cornerback Sam Shields all were activated.

Barclay missed the last two games because of a knee injury.

Perry has missed four of the last five games because of foot and ankle injuries, while Shields missed the last two because of a hamstring injury. Jolly did not play in last Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings because of a groin injury.

First-year linebacker Victor Aiyewa, who was promoted from the practice squad on Wednesday, also is active. He replaced running back Johnathan Franklin, who was placed on injured reserve because of a neck injury.

It’s also interesting to note that rookie defensive end Josh Boyd is active over Jerel Worthy, who made his return from the PUP list last week.

Here’s the Packers inactive list:

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.
GREEN BAY, Wis. – When Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews emerged from the visitor’s locker room at Mall of America Field on Sunday night, he was still wearing a small cast on his right hand.

That makes sense, considering he told ESPN.com on his way out of the stadium that he will have the pins that were surgically implanted removed next Monday.

Less certain, however, is what kind of protection Matthews will have to play with when he is cleared to return, which could be as early as the Nov. 10 game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

“A normal break is about 4-6 weeks,” Matthews told ESPN.com. “So we’d obviously be on the shorter end at four weeks.”

Matthews confirmed that he sustained a Bennett’s fracture, which is a break of the bone at the base of the thumb, when he was injured on a sack of Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford on Oct. 6. He underwent surgery the next day. The pins were inserted to stabilize the bone and expedite the healing process.

Matthews said he would have a better idea about a timetable for his return once the pins are removed. He ruled out the possibility of playing against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football, which is the same day he will have the pins taken out.

When he returns, he almost certainly will have to wear some kind of protection. He said he did not yet know whether it would be as large as the club cast safety Morgan Burnett wore when he broke his hand during the 2011 season or as small as the cast he currently wears. The size of the cast could determine how effective he could be, especially as a pass-rusher.

Either way, the Packers should be glad to have their best pass-rusher back on the field soon.

While their pass rush has been more than adequate with 11 sacks in the three games without Matthews, only one of those came from an outside linebacker. And it was courtesy of Nick Perry, who injured his foot on the play against the Baltimore Ravens and hasn’t played since that game. Mike Neal, Andy Mulumba and Nate Palmer have combined for zero sacks in that stretch, and they have just four quarterback hits in the last three games, according to ProFootballFocus.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Admit it, you thought the Green Bay Packers' pass rush would disappear without linebacker Clay Matthews.

And you thought defensive coordinator Dom Capers would need to resort to mass blitzing in order for his unit to muster any pressure whatsoever on opposing quarterbacks.

In the two games since the four-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker broke his right thumb, neither has been the case.

[+] EnlargeClay Matthews
Cary Edmondson/USA TODAY SportsInjuries to Clay Matthews and other pass-rushers have forced the Packers to get creative when applying pressure. So far, so good.
In fact, even without their best pass-rusher, the Packers have put more heat on quarterbacks and have done so by blitzing less often. In two full games without Matthews, the Packers have recorded eight sacks and, according to ProFootballFocus, they have combined for five other quarterback hits and 31 hurries.

"I think, all in all, our pass rush has been good," Packers outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene said. "Yeah, our goal is three [sacks] a game, and we got five and three, so that's on target."

The sack and pressure numbers from the past two games have almost already matched what the Packers did in four games last season when Matthews was out with a hamstring injury. In that stretch, they combined for only seven sacks, six hits and 38 hurries, according to PFF.

In the past two games, wins against the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns, Capers has sent more than the standard four pass-rushers on 32.2 percent of the opponent's dropbacks, according to ESPN Stats & Information. In the first four games, he did so on 39.5 percent of the opponent's dropbacks.

Against the Ravens, he sent five pass-rushers on 25 percent of Joe Flacco’s dropbacks, six rushers on just one snap and never sent seven. Last week against the Browns, he sent five rushers on 25.5 percent of Brandon Weeden's dropbacks, six rushers on 6.4 percent and seven rushers on two snaps. In fact, Capers rushed only four on the Browns' last 17 pass plays of the game.

Halfway through the game against the Ravens, the Packers lost another outside linebacker, Nick Perry, to a foot injury. Combined with a bruised shoulder that limited outside linebacker Mike Neal against the Browns, the Packers started with a pair of rookies, Andy Mulumba and Nate Palmer, at outside linebacker against Cleveland.

"Part of that is based on the fact that you have to be careful not to get too exotic with these new guys," Capers said. "Their head will be swimming, and you aren’t going to get much done. You say, 'Let's have them be able to play their base fundamentals and technique, then we’ll take our shots in terms of when we do come with pressure.'"

That’s not to say Capers hasn't blitzed. He has sent inside linebackers, safeties and cornerbacks. It's just that sometimes he does so without rushing more than four.

In Matthews' absence, six different players have recorded sacks. Four have come from the inside linebacker spot (A.J. Hawk with three, Jamari Lattimore with one), two from cornerbacks (Micah Hyde and Tramon Williams), one from the defensive line (Mike Daniels) and one from the outside linebackers (Perry).

"That's just a testament to the guys we've got," said Daniels, who has two sacks this season. "Guys are ready to go. We had a great camp. I always go back to that camp because I think it set a crucial tone. You can see all the work coming out right now."

The Packers rank eighth in the NFL with 20 sacks despite not having a player rank in the top 46 individually.

"So much of our pass rush is based on if we can play the run well," Capers said. "Get the game to be one-dimensional, and then we feel like all those things the players like to do, we can do that. We've been able to do that because people haven’t been able to run the ball against us. We’ve had five, five and three sacks, so we’ve had 13 sacks in the last three games, but there’s been a number of quarterback hits, too."
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Less than two weeks after he suffered a foot injury against the Baltimore Ravens, Green Bay Packers linebacker Nick Perry returned to practice on Friday.

Perry
Perry
It was a surprise considering that on Oct. 16, three days after Perry’s injury, coach Mike McCarthy said he expected to Perry to miss “a couple of weeks.”

Perry was ruled out of last week’s game against the Cleveland Browns. This week, he did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday, but was not immediately ruled out.

If Perry can suit up, even if only for emergency purposes, it would give the Packers four available outside linebackers for Sunday night’s game against the Minnesota Vikings. Last week, they dressed only three -- Mike Neal plus rookies Andy Mulumba and Nate Palmer.

Receiver James Jones (knee) was unable to return to practice and appears unlikely to play against the Vikings.

There was one other surprise at practice. Safety Jerron McMillian was not in attendance. The reason wasn’t immediately known.

The others who did not practice were: linebacker Clay Matthews (thumb), tight end Ryan Taylor (knee) and tight end Jermichael Finley (neck).

The full injury report will be released after practice.
GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers won’t know anything about the status of receiver James Jones until at least Friday, and their problems at outside linebacker keep getting worse.

Jones, who left last Sunday’s game against Baltimore with a left knee injury, did not practice on Wednesday, but he has not been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Cleveland Browns.

Jones
Jones
“Hopefully, Friday will be the day that we’ll find out about James,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after Wednesday’s practice. “He’s very positive about where he is, how he feels, but I think he’s gearing up for a possible test in his rehab schedule.”

At outside linebacker, where they already know they will be without starters Clay Matthews (thumb) and Nick Perry (foot), the Packers have another concern. Mike Neal could not practice on Wednesday because of a bruised shoulder, leaving rookies Andy Mulumba and Nate Palmer as the only available outside linebackers. Neal also is not expected to practice on Thursday. He has a history of shoulder problems, including one that landed him on injured reserve as a rookie in 2010. It’s unknown if his latest injury is related.

“It was not a lot of fun, so [it was] something we had to adjust,” McCarthy said. “It’s been a busy 48 hours. Clearly, I know in my time in the league, just as far as the number of people, as far as the roster moves that we’ve had to go through the last two days, it’s a lot of adjustment, a lot of planning for different scenarios and things like that. Obviously, personnel groups on both sides of the ball are stressed, and we feel like we have a good plan, and we’ll be ready to go.”

At one of the team's deepest positions, cornerback Casey Hayward practiced on a Wednesday for the first time this season, and he appears to be inching closer to making his season debut. He missed most of training camp and the first five games of the regular season because of a hamstring injury. The last two weeks, he had been practicing on Thursdays. For the first time, Hayward on Wednesday hinted at the severity of the injury by saying it was a muscle tear.

“It’s very frustrating, but at the same time you can’t rush some of these injuries back,” Hayward said. “Sometimes you can play with broken bones but you can’t play with, you know, torn muscles and things like that.”

Also, tackle Derek Sherrod, who began the season on the physically unable to perform list, practiced for the first time since he broke two bones in his lower right leg on Dec. 18, 2011. This begins a three-week window in which Sherrod can practice without counting on the roster. Three other PUP players – defensive end Jerel Worthy (knee), safety Sean Richardson (neck) and tackle JC Tretter (ankle) – have not yet returned.

Here’s the full injury report:
  • CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring, full participation in practice)
  • CB Casey Hayward (hamstring, limited participation)
  • LB Brad Jones (hamstring, did not practice)
  • WR James Jones (knee, did not practice)
  • OLB Clay Matthews (thumb, out)
  • OLB Mike Neal (shoulder, did not practice)
  • OLB Nick Perry (foot, out)
  • RB James Starks (knee, out)
  • TE Ryan Taylor (knee, out)

Packers keep getting younger

October, 16, 2013
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GREEN BAY, Wis. -- By now, it should be clear this is the how the Green Bay Packers operate under general manager Ted Thompson and coach Mike McCarthy.

A player gets injured. In this case receiver Randall Cobb, who was placed on the temporary injured reserve list with the option to return in eight weeks from a fractured fibula; and tight end Ryan Taylor, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Wednesday and will miss several weeks. Now, what do they do?

They promote a pair of rookies, receiver Myles White and tight end Jake Stoneburner, from the practiced squad. More often than not, that's the way the Packers have handled injuries.

However, the cumulative effect of that is starting to sink in. The Packers will take a roster with 14 rookies on it into Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns. Counting the two rookies they have on injured reserve -- receivers Sederrick Cunningham and Kevin Dorsey -- only one NFL team has more rookies in house than the Packers, according to ESPN Stats and Information. The New England Patriots top that list with 18, including injured players.

“These guys have gone through camp, they know the system,” McCarthy said Wednesday. “This is the way we operate. This is another example of that, and it's important for them to play, compete and have a winning performance on Sunday.”

To review, here's a breakdown of the Packers' rookies:
The injury to Taylor caught the Packers off guard. The special teams ace made it through Sunday's 19-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens with only minimal knee pain and even went through a weight-lifting session on Tuesday, but an exam showed that he needed to have his knee surgically repaired.

Stoneburner likely will play on special teams. The Packers have three other tight ends -- Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless and Brandon Bostick -- who likely would play on offense ahead of Stoneburner.

And White won't be asked to replace Cobb, but he might play some if James Jones' knee injury keeps him out against the Browns. Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin would be the top-two receivers if Jones can't play. His status will be determined later in the week.

The Packers began the season as the fifth-youngest team in the NFL, according to ESPN.com's Mike Sando, and they've done nothing but add more youth.

“At this point in the season, age shouldn't be a factor,” veteran defensive tackle B.J. Raji said. “In that situation, you have to be accountable.”

Lacy, the Packers' starting running back, said the veterans have helped ease his transition to the NFL.

“I can't speak for the rookies as a whole because everybody takes pressure different,” said Lacy, the Packers' leading rusher. “But for me personally the guys are doing a great job of keeping me focused and comfortable and if I have a question, I can ask pretty much everybody and they're going to be willing to help me whether it's something we've went over 1,000 times or something I had to learn that day.”

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