NFL Nation: T.J. Lang

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- T.J. Lang got the only penalty during the third-quarter scuffle Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, and the Green Bay Packers right guard also was the only player fined for it.

The NFL said Friday that Lang was docked $8,268 for his unnecessary roughness penalty.

Lang hit Cowboys defensive tackle Nick Hayden near the end of a 5-yard pass to Packers receiver Davante Adams. What ensued was a shoving match that included Packers offensive linemen David Bakhtiari, Corey Linsley and Lang along with Cowboys players Hayden, Tyrone Crawford and George Selvie. After the play, Bakhtiari threw Hayden to the ground.

None of them were fined.

"The play had ended; forward progress was ruled," referee Gene Steratore said in an officials pool report after the game. "The officials were blowing their whistle well after forward progress was ruled, so now you have the play ending because of the progress."

Packers linebacker Clay Matthews avoided a fine for a hit on Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo in the first quarter. After Romo threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to fullback Tyler Clutts, Matthews hit Romo's knees after he released the ball. Matthews was not penalized for that hit, either.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Dallas Cowboys aren't the blitzing kind, and few teams try to pressure Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Perhaps that could change in Sunday's NFC divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field.

[+] EnlargeAaron Rodgers
AP Photo/Tom LynnFew quarterbacks shred blitzing defenses like Aaron Rodgers, but the Cowboys may consider taking risks given his strained left calf.
It could be one way to put Rodgers' strained left calf to the test. Rodgers returned to practice Thursday, but his mobility remains a question.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see more [blitzes] this week knowing that with his calf," Packers right guard T.J. Lang said. "I wouldn't be surprised to see them generate some extra pressure to try to move him around a little bit. I don't know, we'll have to see."

It's a risky strategy, to be sure.

Typically, Rodgers shreds defenses that try to come after him. Since he became a starter in 2008, Rodgers has the NFL's highest Total QBR (76.2) when teams send five or more pass-rushers, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and the second-best passer rating (112.5), behind only Tom Brady (113.5). He has 91 career touchdown passes and only 18 interceptions against the blitz. That's the second-best ratio in the league behind only Brady (83 touchdowns, eight interceptions) in that stretch.

It explains why teams blitzed the Packers just 26.4 percent of the time this season. Only four teams faced fewer blitzes, according to ESPN Stats & Info. Rodgers was sacked just 28 times this season, the fewest in his career when he has played a full season.

"The way we've shown we can block a four-man rush, I don't know why you wouldn't try to bring a little bit more on him," Lang said. "But with him it's kind of pick your poison."

It would take a change in philosophy on the Cowboys’ part. They blitzed on just 23.7 percent of their opponents' dropbacks this season. Only seven teams pressured less. And in last Sunday's NFC wild-card victory over the Detroit Lions, they came after Matthew Stafford with five or more rushers on just 10.9 percent of his dropbacks.

But a gimpy Rodgers could be enough to convince Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to take chances.

If so, the Packers will be ready.

"You know we have a plan in place, a good plan, and we have the ability to adjust at any time if we need to," Packers quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt said Thursday. "I think a lot of that will be dictated by how he feels on Sunday."

And even if Rodgers isn't overly mobile, he's already shown that he can be effective just staying in the pocket. When he returned after his injury against the Lions in the regular-season finale, he completed 11 of 13 passes and threw one touchdown and never scrambled or rolled out once.

"I'd say the second half of the Detroit game was pretty darn impressive," Van Pelt said. "It really was. But you know he's a veteran guy, he's obviously been doing this for a long time, and he's very in tune with his body. He'll adjust accordingly and we'll adjust on game day, if we need to at all."
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Green Bay Packers say they're a different offense with a different running game than they were at Ford Field three months ago, when the Detroit Lions shut them down.

The Lions? They're the same.

What looked like a stout run defense back in Week 3 has proven to be the best in the league. Only one team -- and not a single running back -- has rushed for more than 100 yards against them this season.

And it wasn't the Packers.

[+] EnlargeEddie Lacy
Leon Halip/Getty ImagesEddie Lacy managed just 36 yards and the Packers only netted 76 yards as a team in the first meeting of the season with Detroit.
They didn't come close in their 19-7 loss Sept. 21.

Running back Eddie Lacy managed just 36 yards (his second-lowest total of the season) on 11 carries, and the Packers totaled just 76 yards on the ground, which is actually more than the Lions' season average of just 63.8 rushing yards allowed per game -- a figure that puts them on pace for the sixth-best total in NFL history.

So what makes the Packers think they will have any success running the ball against the league's No. 1-ranked rushing defense Sunday at Lambeau Field?

"We didn't have an identity Week 3," Packers left guard Josh Sitton said. "It always seems to take us awhile to get going and figure out who we are. Some teams come out right away and have their identity. It always takes us longer. We know who we are now, and we feel confident."

Coming out of the Lions' game, the Packers ranked 26th in rushing yards and 22nd in yards per carry (3.63). In the 12 games since, the Packers rank eighth in the league in rushing yards, and only two teams have bettered their yards-per-carry average of 4.61 in that stretch.

Then again, they haven't faced a run defense like Detroit's in months.

"Obviously they're good," Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga said. "But we didn't play very well. You go back and watch the film, there wasn't enough finish early on in the year there. We just didn't play well. We just didn't play well enough to beat that team, so we're going to need to up our game quite a bit."

It's easy to put the onus Sunday on the offensive line -- and that group has willingly accepted it this week -- but it runs deeper. The Packers' tight ends bear almost as much responsibility in the run game. Consider what happened in the second quarter of the first meeting against the Lions. With the Packers backed up on their own 1-yard line, they tried to run Lacy off right tackle to get some breathing room. Defensive end Jason Jones overpowered rookie tight end Richard Rodgers, and when right guard T.J. Lang tried to help, it left a gaping hole for linebacker DeAndre Levy to dump Lacy for a safety.

With the likes of Jones, Ndamukong Suh, Ziggy Ansah and Nick Fairley controlling the line of scrimmage, it allowed Levy to run free and pile up 10 tackles.

The impact was this: Because the running game failed, it put the Packers in third-and-long situations that Aaron Rodgers could not convert.

"I think we had 54 plays in the game, that's not going to cut it," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "We obviously have to be productive in normal [down and distance] to create better third-down situations for ourselves, but I think third down will be a key statistic in the game."
GREEN BAY, Wis. – No offense to Eric Dickerson, but Eddie Lacy would rather not wear goggles on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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

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

And when Lacy thinks of goggles …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's the full injury report:
  • T Bryan Bulaga (concussion, did not practice)
  • CB Davon House (shoulder, did not practice)
  • RB Eddie Lacy (eye, limited participant)
  • G T.J. Lang (ankle, limited participant)
  • LB Clay Matthews (biceps, limited participant)
  • OLB Mike Neal (abdomen, limited participant)
  • OLB Nick Perry (shoulder, limited participant)
  • G Josh Sitton (toe, did not practice)

Sam Shields still has a shot to play

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's the full injury report:

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

Questionable
CB Shields (concussion)

Probable
DT Josh Boyd (knee)
DT Daniels (back)
G T.J. Lang (ankle)
OLB Nick Perry (shoulder)
G Josh Sitton (toe)
G Lane Taylor (illness)
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- It was an only an estimation because the Green Bay Packers don't actually practice on Fridays anymore, but for the first time since outside linebacker Nick Perry injured his shoulder Nov. 16, he was listed as a participant in practice.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here's the Packers' full injury report:

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

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

No concern about Davante Adams' injury

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

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

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

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

Neither did receiver Jordy Nelson.

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

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

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

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

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

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

.

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

A full injury update will be available after practice.

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

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

Guard T.J. Lang (ankle) returned to practice after sitting out on Wednesday. Fellow starting guard Josh Sitton (toe) practiced for the second straight day.

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

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

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

How much better?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

McCarthy said Perry might not practice until Saturday.

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

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

Here's the full injury report:
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Corey Linsley, like any good NFL rookie, does as he's told.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And apparently, he's also quite the writer.

"Especially of apology letters," Rodgers said.

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

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

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