Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Greg Jennings among ailing Packers
ESPN.com news services
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy has ruled out at least 11 players for Thursday night's preseason opener at San Diego -- including wide receiver Greg Jennings and starting left tackle Marshall Newhouse, who are recovering from concussions.
Also ruled out for the Packers are cornerback Sam Shields (elbow), running back Brandon Saine (hamstring), tight end Ryan Taylor (concussion), wide receiver Tori Gurley (groin), running back Du'ane Bennett (knee), offensive lineman Ray Dominguez (ankle), fullback Jon Hoese (hamstring), tight end Eric Lair (knee) and offensive lineman Mike McCabe (hip).
If Green Bay fans are eager for a sneak peek at Charles Woodson's potentially expanded role at safety for the Packers this season, they probably aren't going to get it Thursday night.
If Woodson plays at all in the Packers' preseason opener at San Diego, it won't be much. And Woodson says he has played enough safety in the Packers' scheme already that he doesn't need too much work to be ready for the regular season.
"I've played, really, a ton of safety here since I've been here, so I don't think they foresee it being any problem, and I don't see it being a problem," Woodson said.
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Woodson mostly rested during Tuesday afternoon's training camp practice in Green Bay, and said he appreciates that Packers coaches give veteran players some time off during camp and the preseason.
"Over time, you accumulate respect, I think it is, as far as veteran guys that have been around a long time, played this game a long time," Woodson said. "You've taken a beating, basically, for over a certain amount of years. You give those guys a little bit of time off, because they've done it. Younger guys, I think they have to go through it, and know what it's all about. I think that's really all it is."
Woodson may have earned the right to rest because of his veteran status, but several other Packers players are expected to miss the preseason opener because of injuries.
General manager Ted Thompson acknowledges that the number of early injuries is somewhat concerning, although none of them seem particularly serious.
"If you have a pretty good balanced start at training camp when you have all 90 of your guys ready to go and then start picking them off, it usually accelerates when a position loses someone," Thompson said. "Then it puts more burden on those who are left, and then one more of those go down and it kind of works like that. Alarming is probably not the right word, but it's concerning because you don't want to tax your guys that are healthy too much."
That's particularly true at left tackle, where unproven third-year player Herb Taylor has been filling in for Newhouse with the No. 1 offense in practice. With that in mind, will McCarthy be hesitant to play Aaron Rodgers on Thursday -- especially given the way the Chargers relentlessly blitzed Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler in a 2010 preseason game?
McCarthy said playing time for veterans will be determined Wednesday morning, but he is "pretty confident" Rodgers will play.
"That will be part of our discussion of how we're going to play now that Marshall has been ruled out today by the medical staff," McCarthy said. "Yes, we're conscious of that but at the end of the day, we need to play football. We need to go out there and get some work and make sure we're moving forward. We're not flying out there just to take people on a trip."
If Woodson ends up being one of the veterans who doesn't play Thursday, he said he will try to point out things to his younger teammates without being too intrusive.
"I try to really just point out the obvious things that I might see with a young guy when he's out there," Woodson said. "Try to maybe get them to see the game from my perspective, what I've seen when I see an offense line up. And just give little tidbits. I do try to give a little bit without trying to overwhelm a guy and trying to get him to play like I play. They have to go out and be themselves and get the defense where they need to get it and see things the way they need to see it. It'll be important for them to go out there and get their feet wet and understand what the NFL's all about."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.