GREEN BAY – Virtually without fail, Mike McCarthy followed a pretty simple preseason rule when it came to his starting quarterbacks and how long he would leave them in.
As long as veteran left tackle Chad Clifton was on the field, Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers could be, too. But once the two-time Pro Bowl left tackle called it a night, the Green Bay Packers head coach was not going to leave his franchise quarterback out there with a backup left tackle protecting his blind side.
That sets up a dilemma for McCarthy for Thursday’s preseason opener at San Diego, as he ruled starting left tackle Marshall Newhouse out for the game after Newhouse missed his third consecutive practice on Tuesday. Newhouse sustained a concussion during the team’s annual Family Night Scrimmage on Friday night and has not been cleared to return.
With 2011 first-round pick Derek Sherrod still sidelined by the broken leg he suffered last December, that leaves journeyman Herb Taylor and struggling rookie seventh-round pick Andrew Datko as the next two options at the position.
While McCarthy made it clear that he intends for Rodgers to play, the reigning NFL MVP might have a short night.
“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. We’re conscious of that,” said McCarthy, who traditionally plays his offensive starters only one or two series in the exhibition opener. "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.
“We’ll make a decision in the morning, but I’m pretty confident Aaron is going to play.”
McCarthy also ruled out running back Brandon Saine (hamstring) and cornerback Sam Shields (elbow). They joined running back Du’ane Bennett (knee), guard Ray Dominguez (ankle), wide receiver Tori Gurley (groin); fullback Jon Hoese (hamstring), wide receiver Greg Jennings (concussion), tight end Eric Lair (knee), offensive lineman Mike McCabe (hip) and tight end Ryan Taylor (concussion) on the list of players ruled out.
Judging from the way practice was structured Tuesday, other veteran starters are also unlikely to see much action, including linebackers Clay Matthews, A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop. McCarthy wouldn’t come out and say it, but safety/cornerback Charles Woodson, as per his preseason custom, won’t play either.
"That's kind of how it's been the past few years,” Woodson said. “I guess it's pretty much expected."
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