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Cobb: 'I don't plan on missing a game'

Sep 01, 2015 -- 3:57pm
Photo/Getty Images 
Randall Cobb isn’t expecting to miss a game because of the shoulder injury he suffered Saturday.

GREEN BAY – At one point during Tuesday’s final practice of training camp, the Green Bay Packers lined Davante Adams, Myles White and Jeff Janis up with quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the No. 1 offense.

If his injured right shoulder progresses the way he expects, Randall Cobb does not anticipate that being the lineup for the Sept. 13 regular-season opener at Chicago.

“I don't plan on missing a game,” said Cobb, who obviously won’t play in Thursday night’s preseason finale against New Orleans at Lambeau Field. “I'm doing everything in my power to get back before then, but we still don't know severity. We've still got to get a lot of the swelling out. It definitely is a lot better then what we all thought it was in the beginning.”

Cobb, who initially feared that he’d fractured his collarbone the way Rodgers had back in November 2013, was injured on the third offensive play of Saturday night’s preseason loss to Philadelphia after leaping to catch a Brett Hundley pass on the left sideline and landing hard on his shoulder before an Eagles defender toppled onto him.

The Packers already lost wide receiver Jordy Nelson for the year with the torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in his right knee at Pittsburgh on Aug. 23, and projected No. 3 receiver Ty Montgomery missed Tuesday’s practice with what a team spokesman termed “hamstring tightness.”

Cobb was reluctant to say how quickly he’ll be back to 100 percent, and it’s possible that he’ll have to face the Bears while still in some measure of pain or discomfort.

“Just taking it day-by-day right now, just trying to figure out exactly how long it's going to be,” Cobb said. “We can't put a time estimate on when it's going to be (healed). But we're not even 72 hours away from when I hurt it.

“It bothers me, obviously. It is an injury still, I think it will be something that'll be fine.”

Asked how important it will be for him to practice next week in preparation for the opener, Cobb reminded reporters that he didn’t do much during the week leading up to the 2013 regular-season finale after missing most of the season with a lower leg fracture.

“I didn't practice much going into the Bears going into 2013 and came back after 10 weeks,” Cobb said. “So I don't think that really matters.”

Even well-adjusted Nelson will face tough times during comeback

Aug 31, 2015 -- 11:47pm
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Injured Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson shares a laugh in pregame warmups Saturday night.

GREEN BAY – Although Jordy Nelson seems to be handling the disappointment of suffering a season-ending knee injury as well as anyone possibly could, the Green Bay Packers Pro Bowl wide receiver likely is still in for some difficult times as he preps for the long road back to football.

Bryan Bulaga can tell him that from first-hand experience.

When Nelson crutched his way into the Packers’ locker room last week, 48 hours after learning he’d torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the team’s preseason loss at Pittsburgh, he seemed to be in remarkably high spirits, considering. There’s was a distinct vibe in the room that Nelson had moved on better than some of his teammates had.

“I have, because it's not going to change. Nothing’s going to change what’s happened,” Nelson replied when asked if he’d indeed moved on. “It was hard to begin with, just the shock, mainly because I didn't think I did it. I thought it was something else, I don't know what. I had never experienced it, I thought it would be honestly more painful than what it was. So the shock of it, when Doc told me, was a little overwhelming.

“[I] know it's going to be an adjustment for these guys not having me out there, but I'll be around as much as possible. They've got a good couple weeks to get used to it, they'll be ready to go coming [into] the season.”

While it was certainly encouraging to see Nelson so chipper – he was also seen joking with teammates during pregame warmups before Saturday night’s game against Philadelphia – he may not always be in such a good place emotionally if he experiences some of the same feelings Bulaga did during the 2013 season.

Like Nelson, Bulaga’s injury came before the regular season began, as he tore the ACL in his left knee during Family Night. And like Nelson, Bulaga didn’t initially realize the severity of the injury, so the diagnosis blindsided him.

“For me, emotionally, it was difficult,” Bulaga said. “It’s tough to know in the beginning of the year that you’re not going to play a snap of regular-season football. I know him, he’s a hard worker, he’s been getting ready for the season for a long time now. To have that all taken away in preseason, when a meaningful snap of football hasn’t been played yet, is difficult. So emotionally, it’s tough.”

After that, the rehabilitation work begins, and that isn’t exactly easy, either, Bulaga said.

“Obviously once you get the operation done, the rehab is a grind. It really is. It’s repeating a lot of the same things over and over,” Bulaga said. “It’s a mental grind, it’s an emotional grind, it’s just difficult. It’s hard to watch other people play your position. It’s just tough to do. But we’ll be behind Jordy no matter what.”

Packers cut five; must make eight moves by deadline

Aug 31, 2015 -- 5:41pm
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Packers GM Ted Thompson cut five rookies on Monday and has eight more roster moves to make.

GREEN BAY – Ted Thompson has long said this is the worst part of his job.

On Monday, the Green Bay Packers general manager had to have the thanks-for-your-efforts conversation with five undrafted rookie free agents who were released: Linebackers Tavarus Dantzler and Josh Francis; offensive tackles Vince Kowalski and Fabbians Ebbele; and defensive tackle Lavon Hooks.

The five moves leave the Packers with 83 players on their roster, meaning they must make eight more roster moves to get to the NFL-mandated 75-player limit by 3 p.m. CDT Tuesday.

The Packers practice at 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, and while it wouldn’t be unprecedented for a player to take part in practice and be cut shortly thereafter, it’s more likely that the team will make its remaining eight moves before practice begins.

One of those moves figures to be placing wide receiver Jordy Nelson on season-ending injured reserve.

In the past, the Packers have cut a player or two whom they are interested in signing to the practice squad on the first roster reduction, as opposed to waiting until the cut to 53. The thought process is that teams are too busy cutting their own rosters down to claim a player for the final week of camp.

Tags: Cuts

Cleared after concussion, Tolzien admits process is 'frustrating'

Aug 31, 2015 -- 12:05pm
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Scott Tolzien sat out Saturday night’s preseason game with the first concussion of his football career.

GREEN BAY – Scott Tolzien had never had a concussion before. After experiencing the concussion protocol for the first time, he doesn’t want to get another – and it’s not only because he wants his brain to continue functioning properly.

While the Green Bay Packers’ No. 2 quarterback said he appreciates just how seriously the team’s medical staff takes concussions, he admitted the process can be maddening when you want to get back on the field.

“It’s frustrating just because it’s very thorough. That’s what I found out,” said Tolzien, who did not play Saturday night’s loss to Philadelphia at Lambeau Field but was available to play in an emergency after passing his final concussion tests.

“The protocol now is pretty thorough. So it’s a frustrating process, but you understand it. The competitor in you wants to play, but it’s a thorough process that you’ve got to respect.”

Tolzien suffered the concussion Aug. 23 at Pittsburgh after playing well for the second straight game. For this preseason, he's completed 21 of 35 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns and no interceptions (96.0 rating).

While Tolzien has a lock on the Packers’ primary backup job behind NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers, the preseason is an important time for him because it’s the only time – barring an injury to Rodgers – when he gets to play extensively. With Rodgers not playing because the offensive line was without three of its five starters – and lost starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga to a first-quarter ankle injury – Tolzien presumably would have gotten a lot of work against the Eagles.

Instead, rookie fifth-round pick Brett Hundley started and played three quarters. Although Hundley played relatively well, Tolzien isn’t in danger of ceding the No. 2 job.

“You always want to play whenever you can. So it’s frustrating,” Tolzien said. “But I’m going to follow what my doctors and coaches advise me.”

Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who’ll next address reporters on Tuesday, is unlikely to divulge his playing-time plans for Thursday’s preseason finale against New Orleans, but it would stand to reason that Tolzien would play much of that game in hopes of prepping him for the regular season.

“Whatever the coaches have for me,” Tolzien said.

Tolzien empathized with his former University of Wisconsin teammate Jared Abbrederis, who suffered a concussion during the first practice of training camp on July 30 and has not practiced since. Tuesday is the final practice of camp before the team makes its final cuts and kicks off the regular season Sept. 13 in Chicago.

Tolzien said Abbrederis’ several head injuries at UW – although some were never officially termed concussions – are likely a factor in how long it’s taken him to return. Abbrederis was on the sideline Saturday night and has been in meetings and attending practice in recent weeks.

“His is different because he’s had a couple more than I have,” Tolzien said of Abbrederis, who missed all of last season with a knee injury. “But it’s kind of this double-edged sword because you are so competitive and you want to play but you’ve got to think long-term and the way that the protocol is is probably a smart thing.

“It’s hard sometimes to comprehend when you want to play. But when you take a step back, it’s probably a smart process.”

Guion, gone: Defensive end's three-game suspension upheld

Aug 27, 2015 -- 11:25pm
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Letroy Guion will miss the Packers’ first three games because of a suspension.

GREEN BAY – Letroy Guion lost his appeal of a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, so the Green Bay Packers veteran defensive end will miss the first three weeks of the 2015 season and forfeit 3/17 of his $1.5 million base salary as well.

The NFL announced Guion’s suspension Thursday, even though’s Rob Demovsky reported the initial three-game ruling several weeks ago. The league doesn’t officially announce suspensions until the player’s appeals have been exhausted.

Guion’s suspension stems from his Feb. 3 arrest in his hometown of Starke, Fla., where he was arrested with 3/4 of a pound of marijuana, an unloaded handgun and roughly $190,000 in cash that he said came from his playoff checks.

Guion will have to leave the team after the Sept. 3 preseason finale against New Orleans and will be allowed to rejoin the Packers – and the active roster – on Sept. 29, the day after the Packers’ Monday Night Football game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Guion reached a plea deal in March in which he paid a $5,000 fine and had the charges dismissed.

The suspension will cost Guion not only $88,235.29 per week in lost base salary, but his deal also included a $1.15 million roster bonus that was to be paid out weekly based on being active for those games. That means he’ll also lose out on three $71,875 payments he’d have received for playing in the first three games.

The Packers will also be without defensive end Datone Jones for the Sept. 13 opener at Chicago because of a one-game substance-abuse suspension. The Packers have been prepping for being without Guion and Jones by working their younger linemen into their rotation regularly in camp.

“The challenge is going to be being ready to play and play at a high level early in the season,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “With a couple of those key guys not there, we’ve just got to make sure some of our young guys are coming along and they’re ready to play and play at a high level. And that gives us a chance to play good football against really good teams early in the season.”

Packers, Campen keep the faith in Barclay

Aug 27, 2015 -- 9:41pm
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Don Barclay figures to be one of several players who’ll see time at left tackle on Saturday night.

GREEN BAY – After Don Barclay’s abysmal performance at left tackle on Sunday, his quarterback was mindful of the words he chose.

“Don’s going to be more of a right tackle and a backup guard for us and a guy we can really count on,” Aaron Rodgers said after Barlcay allowed him to be sacked twice – including once for a safety – during the Green Bay Packers’ preseason loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers that afternoon. ”He’s played a lot of snaps for us over the years. He’s started a playoff game. He’s a guy we can count on.

“We have a lot of confidence in Donnie. This is just his progression back into feeling comfortable.”

Notice that while the NFL MVP was talking up his teammate – a lot of confidence, a guy we can count on – that he never mentioned the idea of Barclay playing left tackle, which was his position Barclay was playing against the Steelers with starter David Bakhtiari (knee) sidelined. Packers coach Mike McCarthy pulled Rodgers from the game after the safety, having seen him get hit hard on his right (throwing) hand. In addition, left guard Josh Sitton had suffered an ankle injury.

Pro Football Focus has graded 119 offensive tackles this preseason. Barclay, who missed all of last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee suffered during training camp, is currently No. 118 with a minus-9.5 grade.

“He struggled the last two games, no question,” offensive line coach James Campen acknowledged. “He struggled. Again, just like last week, the guy’s playing off an ACL. I have all the confidence in the world that he’ll play [better]. He’ll get back to being Donnie. He will. Just give him a chance. We’ve got two more preseason games, and that’s a blessing.”

Rodgers is not expected to play much – if at all – in Saturday night’s third preseason game against Philadelphia, in part because the Packers will not only be without Bakhtiari, but without Sitton and right guard T.J. Lang (concussion) as well.

Asked earlier in the week if he’d try out other options at left tackle, Packers coach Mike McCarthy replied, “Ah, we'll see.” Others who could play there are former practice-squad players Josh Walker and Jeremy Vujnovich.

“You don’t ever make excuses for players, and I never have. When you wear the helmet and you get asked to do the job, you have to do the job,” Campen said. “Donnie will come back from two performances like that. I have all the confidence in the world in that.”

Packers continue to wait on Abbrederis

Aug 27, 2015 -- 12:25pm
Jared Abbrederis, who made it through a week of practice last year before injuring his knee, remains sidelined with a concussion.

GREEN BAY – The biggest mystery of the Green Bay Packers’ 2015 training camp has been the concussion suffered by former University of Wisconsin wide receiver and Packers 2014 fifth-round pick Jared Abbrederis.

It occurred on the first day of practice, July 30, and he has not practiced since. Whenever coach Mike McCarthy is asked about the in-state kid, he repeats that Abbrederis is “going through the concussion protocol” and “making progress.” But getting clear answers about a player that many fans like – and who, again, won over tough-to-impress quarterback Aaron Rodgers quickly as a rookie last year – has been difficult.

For the second straight day, Abbrederis came out to Ray Nitschke Field and watched practice, which does constitute progress. But because players in the concussion protocol are banned from speaking with reporters by NFL rules until they are cleared, no one outside the organization has been able to say what symptoms are lingering and just how close Abbrederis is to returning to action.

Asked about Abbrederis being at practice, McCarthy replied, “Yeah, he’s getting better. The medical staff feels like he’s taking more steps, but as far as being out on the field and what he’s doing during the course of the rehab, it’s just another example of where he’s at in the protocol.”

That Abbrederis is taking part in the rehab group inside the Don Hutson Center would seem to indicate that he’s to the point where he is going through exertion tests to see if he’s experiencing any post-concussion symptoms after he works out.

“There’s different steps, and that’s one of them,” McCarthy said. “But he’s going through it.”

Time is running short for Abbrederis to earn a spot on the 53-man roster after missing last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, an injury he suffered during the first week of camp. The Packers have only one open-to-the-public practice remaining, set for next Tuesday, and one preseason game left after Saturday’s game against Philadelphia.

Training camp report No. 16: Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015

Aug 27, 2015 -- 12:14am
David Bakhtiari and Josh Sitton watch offensive line drills at practice Wednesday.

GREEN BAY – Taking a closer look at the Green Bay Packers’ 16th practice of training camp on Wednesday:

Thumbs up:  Remember when kicker Mason Crosby was such a concern that the Packers forced him to take a pay cut – with the opportunity to earn back all the lost money – and brought in not one but two kickers to challenge him for his job? That was before the 2013 season, and not only did Crosby respond with his best statistical season, he also earned back every penny of that pay cut – and hasn’t looked back since.

Although his in-game opportunities have been limited so far in preseason games, Crosby has been nearly automatic in practice, especially with his usual holder, punter Tim Masthay, putting the ball down. On Wednesday, Crosby connected from 33, 37, 42, 44, 48 and 52 yards, yet another perfect day that ran his camp numbers to 51 of 56 (91.1 percent) this summer. Of those, four of the misses came with departed punter Cody Mandell as the holder, including one kick that was blocked.

“He’s stroking it, he really is,” special teams coordinator Ron Zook said. “He’s in a good place right now. Really, Mason’s been like that, for the most part, since I’ve been here. He feels good about the way he’s hitting the ball.”

Thumbs down:  That’s not the case for Masthay, who was up-and-down against Pittsburgh on Sunday and was again all over the map with his punts on Wednesday in practice. According to noted punting enthusiast Rob Demovsky of, Masthay punted 13 times Wednesday. And while his averages of 48.0 gross yards and 4.18 seconds of hang time were good, they disguised his inconsistency: His best punt was a 59-yarder with 4.82 seconds of hang time, but his worst was a 39-yarder that was airborne for just 3.19 seconds.

“Tim can do it. Now, he was in a little bit of a rut, and I feel like he’s coming out it, I really do,” Zook said when asked about Masthay’s recent inconsistency – after he’d been much better while battling Mandell. “We’ve taken the pressure [off]. [We’ve said], ‘Hey, just put the ball down the sideline and let’s go cover it.’ And I think he’s just got to relax and go do it. That’s the biggest thing.

“It’s funny, like Tim said, he didn’t punt the way he wants to punt against Pittsburgh, but we still had a 41-yard net, which is pretty good, you’ll take that. Obviously we want it better, particularly when the weather’s like this. We’ve got to be consistent with that. He knows it and you just got to go do it.”

Play of the day:  While Ty Montgomery seems to have inhabited this space a lot during camp, second-year tight end Richard Rodgers has made some eye-catching plays as well. And he made another on Wednesday, reeling in an over-the-shoulder touchdown pass from Brett Hundley during 11-on-11.

Camp confidential:  While Packers fans – and many of his teammates – had a hard time coming to grips with their disappointment over Jordy Nelson’s season-ending knee injury, steady-Eddie general manager Ted Thompson, while certainly wishing his top receiver had stayed healthy, seemed to take it in stride.

“You lose players in this game sometimes, and you have to go on. You have to turn the next page,” Thompson said. “But you have extraordinary players, someone like Jordy. With an extraordinary player, you don’t expect to replace the person tit for tat, one for one or anything like that. I think it will command the work of the entire offense and the entire team to make up for that loss.

“But that’s our goal going forward is to be able to win games, be successful in spite of the very disappointing injury. It’s as simple as that. It’s as difficult as that.”

Packers Playlist:  "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" by Silento, “Chicken Fried” by the Zac Brown Band and “You Really Got Me” by Van Halen were the songs played during the regeneration periods. Listen to all the tunes from training camp on the Packers Regeneration Period Playlist on Spotify

Injury report:  Rookie running back Alonzo Harris left practice with what a Packers spokesman said afterward was a hand injury. The same nine players sat out practice that did the day before: Left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee), tight end Justin Perillo (concussion), WR Javess Blue (shoulder), WR Jared Abbrederis (concussion), right guard T.J. Lang (concussion), guard Josh Sitton (ankle), No. 2 quarterback Scott Tolzien (concussion), defensive end Datone Jones (knee) and Nelson, who has yet to be placed on season-ending injured reserve.

They said it:  “I’m pretty confident that we’re going to be a pretty good defense.” – Thompson, on the oft-criticized side of the ball.

Practice schedule:  The Packers have only one open-to-the-public practice left on their training-camp schedule, it was changed to next Tuesday at 12:15 p.m.

Training camp report No. 15: Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2015

Aug 26, 2015 -- 12:58am
Randall Cobb catches passes while on his back during practice Tuesday.

GREEN BAY – Taking a closer look at the Green Bay Packers’ 15th practice of training camp on Tuesday:

Thumbs up:  It was a sight for sore eyes – and, more importantly, a sign of a less-sore Clay Matthews. The five-time Pro Bowl linebacker, who missed time early in camp with knee soreness and had been limited in practice last week because of an issue with his elbow, practiced in full Tuesday after missing his second straight preseason game Sunday in Pittsburgh.

Although Matthews sitting out an exhibition game was hardly new – he’s only played in 13 of a possible 26 preseason games since entering the league as a first-round pick in 2009 – it did mark the second straight one he’s missed this summer. The first game, at New England on Aug. 13, he sat out because of his knee. Sunday’s loss to the Steelers, it was the elbow. Matthews did not travel with the team to either game.

But with him practicing in full and Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles being played at Lambeau Field, Matthews may be in line to make his 2015 debut – and get some work at both inside and outside linebacker.

“Hope so. That’s the plan,” Matthews replied when asked if he expects to play Saturday night. “It’s always my plan, but I feel good. It’s good to get out there, run around. We’ll see what that means, but I’m preparing for it.”

Matthews also said the knee has not been bothering him and that the elbow was only a minor issue.

“The elbow is actually something that we’re dealing with from a medical staff standpoint. That being said, it’s good enough to get back out there,” Matthews said. “Very, very limited as far what I’m going to talk about. But I feel good. We’ve just got to be smart as far as personal health.”

Asked about his knee, Matthews playfully snapped, “Listen, what did it say on the injury report? You guys are like bad girlfriends, insinuating other things. The knee feels great. I’m still able to do what I want out there. It’s more so a thing that I had to deal with regarding the medical staff. We got on top of it so now we’re back out there.”

Thumbs down:  While their talent and natural cohesion were the two biggest reasons the Packers’ offensive line evolved into one of the league’s best last season, their ability to stay healthy and play together was certainly a factor, too. After seeing one starter miss only one game last year – right tackle Bryan Bulaga sat out the team’s Week 2 game against the New York Jets with a knee injury suffered in the opener at Seattle – the Packers were without 60 percent of their starting offensive line in practice Tuesday.

Not only did left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee) remain sidelined, but right guard T.J. Lang was out because of the concussion he suffered Sunday in Pittsburgh, and Pro Bowl left guard Josh Sitton didn’t practice because of an ankle injury he played through against the Steelers. Only Bulaga and center Corey Linsley were able to go Tuesday, with Don Barclay playing left tackle, Lane Taylor at left guard and Josh Walker at right guard.

That might mean the Packers will face a decision Saturday on whether to play NFL MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers with so few of his regular linemen in front of him.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Bakhtiari is “improving” but did not sound optimistic that he would play against the Eagles, suggesting the third-year tackle likely wouldn’t play if he can’t practice Wednesday. Asked if Barclay, who played poorly (two sacks, one holding penalty) in Bakhtiari’s place, would be at left tackle against the Eagles or if he’d explore other options, McCarthy replied, “We'll see. We'll have a lot of work today.”

Play of the day:  Always looking for an edge, wide receiver Randall Cobb spent one of the special-teams periods catching passes from the JUGS machine. What’s so revolutionary about something that every skill position player does, you ask? Cobb was laying on his back on the ground while doing it.

“Just different angles of catching the ball,” Cobb explained. “I’m not always going to have the ball right directly [in front of me] like the Jugs machine shoots. So I have to work different angles. It’s whenever I’m looking back for a ball, coming over my shoulder, you have to work different angles when the ball comes in.”

Camp confidential:  With Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs’ low – and, to many, dirty – hit on Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford making plenty of headlines about what’s appropriate for a defensive player to do to a quarterback who’s running a read-option offense, McCarthy was asked about how the Packers are prepping for coach Chip Kelly’s attack. The teams have faced each other each of the past two regular seasons, so the Eagles’ version of the read-option isn’t something the Packers haven’t seen before.

“We have a period every practice in training camp that we work those types of offensive concepts because they are more challenging when you play them,” McCarthy said. “Football’s a game of numbers. When you run the football, the offense is playing 10 on 11 with some form of fake from the quarterback. When you enter the quarterback into the equation as a potential runner, now it’s 11 on 11. As far as your gap [responsibilities] and your support definition and your assignments and things like that, there’s an adjustment there. So you have to work it.

“It’s different. It’s been in the league now for a couple of years. My first, I don’t know, 15, 18 years in the league, it didn’t exist. Now it’s here, so you have to practice against it. If the other team has a guy with the ball in his hand, we’re going to hit him. We’re going to hit him and tackle him. That’s all part of your run defense.”

Packers Playlist:  With the short practice, there was only one regeneration period and thus only one song:  “The Wolf” by Mumford and Sons. Listen to all the tunes from training camp on the Packers Regeneration Period Playlist on Spotify

Injury report:  Matthews (elbow) did 11-on-11 drills, something he’d done very little of lately. Safety Morgan Burnett (personal matter) returned to practice after being in Atlanta for several days. Defensive end Mike Daniels (ankle), cornerback Demetri Goodson (calf) and defensive back Kyle Sebetic (ankle) returned to practice. Left tackle David Bakhtiari (knee), tight end Justin Perillo (concussion), WR Javess Blue (shoulder) and WR Jared Abbrederis (concussion) remained sidelined. In addition to Lang (concussion) and Sitton (ankle), No. 2 quarterback Scott Tolzien (concussion) and defensive end Datone Jones (ankle) were new additions to the injury list.

They said it:  “The goals are the same, our team identity is the same. How we want to play, the style of football we want to play, the important building blocks of how we go about our business each and every day, that will not change.” – McCarthy, on life without Jordy Nelson.

Practice schedule:  The Packers are set to practice in pads on Wednesday at 11:45 a.m. Only one more open-to-the-public practice remains on the training-camp schedule.

McCarthy on loss of Nelson: 'Our goal hasn't changed'

Aug 25, 2015 -- 12:22pm
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Mike McCarthy spoke to his team Tuesday about moving on after the season-ending knee injury Jordy Nelson suffered Sunday.

GREEN BAY – What started out sounding a lot like Mike McCarthy’s football eulogy for Jordy Nelson quickly turned into the Green Bay Packers coach issuing a call to arms for his team and the young receivers who’ll have to step up in Nelson’s place.

Asked a plethora of questions Tuesday morning about Nelson, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Sunday’s preseason game at Pittsburgh and will miss the 2015 season, McCarthy began by extolling the on- and off-field virtues of the team’s Pro Bowl wide receiver and veteran leader.

But it didn’t take long for McCarthy to make it very clear that the Packers’ Super Bowl 50 hopes have not been extinguished by Nelson’s injury.

“It’s tough. It’s a tough blow to our football team. But as we spoke in the team meeting: Nothing’s changed. Our goal hasn’t changed,” said McCarthy, whose team faces the Philadelphia Eagles on Saturday night at Lambeau Field. “When things like this happen, [with] a good system with a good football team, adjustments are made. So we will adjust and keep moving.”

McCarthy also said he was displeased with some aspects of his team’s performance in its 24-19 loss to the Steelers – “There’s things that went on in the Pittsburgh game that were really good; there’s things that didn’t go so well,” he said – and in addition to citing “mental errors” as an issue, McCarthy also called out his young receivers to rise to the challenge.

“I would think after the corrections that were made today that everybody on our team [understands] we need to pick it up some. We had areas of our team that played very well. We had areas of our team that didn’t play very well. The receiver group in particular, they need to pick it up.

“[For] the younger guys in that group, it’s a training camp of opportunity that they need to take more advantage of.”

Second-year man Davante Adams is set to become a starter in Nelson’s place, but it’ll be the other young receivers behind him – rookie Ty Montgomery and second-year men Jeff Janis, Jared Abbrederis and Myles White – who’ll need to elevate their play the most. Abbrederis is still recovering from a concussion he suffered in the first practice of camp on July 30 but Montgomery, Janis and White have not missed a single practice to this point.

“I think all three of those guys understand the opportunity that was in front of them before Sunday’s game … regardless of what happened to Jordy,” McCarthy said. “[They] played a lot of football as far as getting ready for [the preseason opener at] New England, and they’re going to play even more football come Saturday night against Philadelphia. So yeah, I think it’s loud and clear the opportunity that’s in front of them.”

As for Nelson, McCarthy spoke of his leadership and the example he set for the rest of his teammates. Like nose tackle B.J. Raji, who stayed with the team all of last season after rupturing his biceps tendon in training camp and missing the year, McCarthy made it sound as though Nelson will be around as the de facto assistant wide receivers coach.

“You talk about what you want your players to look like, act like, he’s a prime example of that. He’s a great husband, great teammate, obviously an outstanding football player,” McCarthy said. “But these things happen. You don’t know why. It’s part of our game.

“From a personal standpoint, you feel bad for Jordy, particularly his case of coming off [hip] surgery last year. I just think back to February, March, April when no one’s here, and he’s in here every day.

“Jordy’s still early to the team meeting. He’s going through rehab. He’s an old-school pro. He’ll do everything that he possibly can to not only start his recovery and help us as a football team. Jordy’s still around.”

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