ESPN Wisconsin Blogs - Jason Wilde
GREEN BAY – Eddie Lacy sat out his second straight day of practice Thursday, but coach Mike McCarthy says the Green Bay Packers medical staff has given him reason to expect the rookie running back to be ready to go for Sunday’s game at Dallas.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers' situation, meanwhile, remains unclear.
Lacy, who sprained his right ankle at the end of the first half of last Sunday’s victory over Atlanta, was wearing a walking boot in the locker room Thursday and politely declined to speak with a reporter.
“I feel good about Eddie Lacy, just as far as the feedback from the medical staff,” McCarthy said. “He’ll be evaluated in the morning, and then we’ll see what the plan is for Eddie as far as practice.”
Here is the full, official injury report for Thursday, which remained unchanged for both teams from Wednesday:
Running backs coach Alex Van Pelt said he expects Lacy to practice Friday, having been told by the running back that the swelling in his ankle has gone down significantly. While sitting out practice, Lacy has been spending extra time with Van Pelt to make sure he’s on top of the week’s game plan.
“We talked early in the week about him locking in. getting the mental reps is more important than ever this week. We’ll see. This is the first time it’s happened,” said Van Pelt, pointing out that Lacy missed practice after a Week 2 concussion against Washington on Sept. 15 but there was no intention of him playing at Cincinnati the following week. ”Just extra time in meetings, and having him in your hip pocket during practice so you can talk through everything with him, I think that’ll help. But Eddie’s a football player. He’ll show up on Sunday.”
Asked if Lacy must practice Friday in order to play, Van Pelt replied, “My gut would say if he’s good to go, he goes. Obviously there’s a decision o be made. Tomorrow he’s going to have to go out there and practice. I don’t think (McCarthy) would take anybody into a game that hasn’t practiced, especially a rookie. Some circumstances (he does), but I’m expecting to see Eddie on the field tomorrow.”
If Lacy can’t go, or were to reinjure the ankle during the game, James Starks would get the nod and be backed up by recently signed Kahlil Bell.
“I feel confident with James. James has had another good week of practice,” Van Pelt said. “He runs with a lot of violence. Even against the scout team. He’s running through tackles and he’s looked good for the last couple weeks now. I feel confident if we need James to carry the load for us, if Eddie’s limited and we have to split them, whatever we have to do.”
GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers paused at the question Thursday afternoon, so read into that what you wish.
Are you holding out hope that you’ll play Sunday?
“Ah,” the Green Bay Packers quarterback said, buying himself some time as he stood surrounded at his locker. “Yes.”
If Rodgers, who has not played since fracturing his left collarbone against the Chicago Bears on Nov. 4, is going to play Sunday at Dallas, he said two things will have to happen: He’ll have to take the majority of the first-team snaps in practice on Friday, and that another imaging test would have to be done on his collarbone to get him the medical clearance he has yet to receive.
As of Thursday afternoon, Rodgers said he had not been scanned. He also would not say whether a scan has been scheduled. Asked if he would be scanned before the week is out, Rodgers replied, “I’m not sure about that.”
But asked whether a CT scan, MRI or x-ray would be the deciding factor in whether he plays, Rodgers replied, “I think there’s more to it than that (just a scan). But I would guess there would have to be another scan for me to be on the field.”
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after practice that Rodgers had not been evaluated by team doctors Thursday. He said those evaluations are done on Wednesdays and Fridays.
Asked if it was a significant step that Rodgers took team reps the past two days, McCarthy replied, "He’s Aaron Rodgers. The thing you appreciate is my man can throw the football. He throws the heck out of it. It’s good to have him out there."
With Rodgers sidelined, the Packers have gone 1-4-1 and enter the final three weeks of the season at 6-6-1, a half-game back of the NFC North leading Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears, both of whom are 7-6. McCarthy has said that his team needs to win out to make the playoffs, and the Packers got the first of those victories last week over the Atlanta Falcons with Matt Flynn at quarterback.
Rodgers indicated that the team would make a decision on his status on Friday, in fairness to Flynn. In 2008, after suffering a dislocated shoulder the previous week, Rodgers was listed as doubtful going into a game against the Falcons at Lambeau Field but worked out before the game and started, despite taking only about 10 snaps in 11-on-11 drills in practice – all handoffs – all week.
Rodgers completed 25 of 37 passes for 313 yards with three touchdowns and one interception (109.4 rating) in a 27-24 loss.
“Like I said last week, when I knew it wasn’t going to happen, it’s not fair to Matt to draw this out to the game,” Rodgers said. “Now, that happened back in 2008 when I was doubtful, came in Sunday and was able to play. [But] if I’m going to play Sunday, I’m going to need to take the majority of the reps tomorrow.”
On Tuesday, Rodgers revealed on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.com that he experienced unexpected pain in practice last week when trying to hand off with his left hand or take snaps from center. That pain told him that he wasn’t going to be ready for the Falcons.
This week, after taking snaps with the No. 1 offense both Wednesday and Thursday, Rodgers did not experience the same amount of pain.
“I feel a little better than last week,” Rodgers said. “It was good to be out there with those guys, but I’m still just trying to get better every day and it’s nice to be able to go through a couple practices.”
Rodgers said he “felt a little bit rusty yesterday, took a little bit more as far as reps today and felt better, felt like I was moving well. I feel rested, my legs do. [I’ve] been able to do more in the weight room, but I felt better out there throwing it well. But there’s a lot that goes into it from the ground up – legs, being in the right position, footwork and stuff. Today was a better day.”
As for tomorrow, we shall see.
GREEN BAY – Eddie Lacy didn’t practice Wednesday and won’t practice Thursday, but the Green Bay Packers are hoping that the sprained ankle Lacy suffered at the end of the first half of last week’s victory over Atlanta won’t keep him out of Sunday’s game at Dallas.
Coach Mike McCarthy, who bristled Monday at the suggestion that he may have erred in how he handled the final 15 seconds of the first half, which culminated in Lacy spraining his right ankle, said Lacy rehabbed Wednesday and will do so again Thursday.
Here is the full, official injury report from Wednesday:
Asked what the plan was with Lacy, McCarthy said the rookie running back, who ranks ninth in the NFL in rushing with 887 yards, will “be evaluated Friday. It looks like the projection is he may practice some on Friday.”
Meanwhile, despite having two of the team’s top three inside linebackers sitting out, McCarthy indicated he wasn’t concerned. When Jones and Lattimore left last week’s game against the Falcons, the Packers were forced to play their dime defense because they ran out of inside linebackers who were prepared enough to play.
“I feel good about Brad and Jamari. The practices, we’ll be smart with them throughout the week,” McCarthy said. “Our medical staff was pretty confident with them.”
GREEN BAY – Tony Romo hasn’t looked at Aaron Rodgers’ x-rays, CT scans or MRIs. He’s not a doctor, nor does he play one on conference calls with reporters. But the Dallas Cowboys quarterback knows a thing or two about a broken collarbone, so when he talks about what kind of pain the Green Bay Packers quarterback is going through these days, well, he knows what he’s talking about.
"If you’re feeling it at all, you can’t come back and play,” said Romo, who suffered a broken collarbone of his own in 2010, which ended his season. “But even more so than that, even when you get relatively where you feel like it’s pain free, it still doesn’t mean you’re ready to play – just because it’s such an easy thing to hurt again.”
According to Romo, the reason the Packers don’t know whether Rodgers will be able to return to the lineup for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys is that this injury is simply more difficult to gauge than a sprained knee or twisted ankle. When Romo broke his collarbone in late October 2010, he was originally expected to miss six weeks. Even as the Cowboys’ season fell apart while Jon Kitna started in his place, Romo held out hope that he’d return. Finally, just before Christmas, the Cowboys gave up and put him on injured reserve.
Like Rodgers, Romo broke his left collarbone, although his was more severe because his was a displaced fracture. Rodgers’ isn’t displaced but it is a spiral fracture, where the crack reaches two opposite edges of the bone in what resembles an S-shape.
“I was doing everything I could to get back out there,” Romo said during a conference call Wednesday with reporters at Lambeau Field. “I know Aaron’s doing the same thing. You also have to be smart about it. If he’s been feeling good for a couple of weeks, then I think that’s something where you could really have a chance to say his re-injury factor has gone down. And if that’s the case, you might be able to go.”
“[But] it’s a little different in the sense that, if you come back right when you feel like you’re healthy, there’s just so many cases of people come down with another collarbone injury – the same one, just re-injuring it. That really plays a big role in determining when you come back, and [it’s] always an injury that you almost have to wait longer than initially diagnosed, typically, because it’s just the re-injury factor alone plays such a high role.”
The Cowboys were 1-5 at the time of Romo’s injury and went 2-3 with Kitna at quarterback. They finally put him on IR on Dec. 23 and finished the year 6-10.
“I think in our case a lot of it was dependent upon where we were and what position we were in and if we had the opportunity to continue to play [by making the playoffs],” Romo said. “We didn’t that year, so it made the decision easier on the doctors, I think.”
GREEN BAY – Randall Cobb took a big step forward Tuesday. He did so by running.
The Green Bay Packers wide receiver, who suffered a fractured tibia in his right leg during the team’s Oct. 13 victory at Baltimore and since then has been on injured reserve with the designation for return, said Wednesday that he has been cleared for running – something that doctors were not allowing him to do last week.
Whether that leads to Cobb returning to the field before season’s end is unclear. In accordance with NFL rules on the IR-return label, Cobb is eligible to practice this week and play against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, but that appears to be unlikely. Cobb did not practice with the team Wednesday, instead continuing his rehabilitation.
However, now that he has been cleared to run, perhaps he will gain medical clearance in time to play in the team’s Dec. 22 game against Pittsburgh or the Dec. 29 regular-season finale at Chicago.
“I don’t have an announcement for you today,” coach Mike McCarthy said when asked about Cobb’s status. “He didn’t practice today. He’s still in the rehab. Same thing (as quarterback Aaron Rodgers). He has not been medically cleared.”
With rookie wide receiver Myles White having been placed on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday with a knee injury, the Packers have four wide receivers on the 53-man active roster as of now: Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Jarrett Boykin and Chris Harper. Harper has not played an offensive snap since joining the team.
GREEN BAY – A day after revealing that he experienced unexpected and significant pain while doing simple football maneuvers in practice last week, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers took some snaps with the first-team offense in practice Wednesday.
Tight end Andrew Quarless said that Rodgers worked with the starting offense, although Matt Flynn is still preparing to start against the Dallas Cowboys Sunday.
“’12’ looked real good today. It was good to see him out there, really working with the (No. 1) offense. He was out there before but wasn’t working as much with the offense, but today he took some offensive reps, which is a great thing for the team,” Quarless said. Asked to clarify that they were first-team reps, Quarless replied, “Yes, sir.”
Seven days earlier, Rodgers had done primarily individual drill work in advance of last Sunday’s victory over Atlanta and confessed on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.com on Tuesday that he was in pain during that practice. He then did less work last Thursday, when he and the rest of the team were in pads, and Friday as well. Matt Flynn started in his place for the second straight game.
“I went out there (last) Wednesday and had pain. We talked about range of motion and flexibility and the risk evaluation. Well, the other thing that comes into play once you’re back doing football movements is the pain,” Rodgers said during the show. “Are you experiencing pain doing some normal football stuff, whether it’s handing off or taking the snap or making quick movements or going through drill work? And the answer for me last week was yes. That was my answer on whether I was ready to play or not. You shouldn’t be having pain doing some of the simple movements.
Rodgers had said before returning to practice last week that he had been able to throw a football without pain. Asked what caused him pain in practice last week, Rodgers replied: “It’s different when you’re moving around. You’re doing a lot of quick movements, whether it’s a drill where you have to play fast, you’re simulating game speed or whether it’s taking a snap and giving a handoff with your left arm, which is attached to that injury.
“Those are some of the things that gave me discomfort. That was kind of my clue that I’m obviously not ready. The way that scan looked and then to have the discomfort I had made me know I wasn’t ready."
But, Rodgers had said, he was hopeful that he’d be able to practice on Wednesday and not experience that pain. Evidently, he felt good enough in the individual drills that when 11-on-11 periods began, he was able to participate.
In his post-practice press conference, coach Mike McCarthy reiterated that Rodgers has not been medically cleared to play in a game.
“We’ll see how he is tomorrow. We’ll set a plan for him again tomorrow,” McCarthy said. “Aaron still is not medically cleared, and really, I think it’s important to stay in-tune with that because the topic of ‘Is he playing in the game?’ versus ‘Is he medically cleared?’ – those are two totally different issues.
“Aaron’s obviously very important to our organization. He’s the face of our franchise and until he’s medically cleared, just like any other player going through a significant injury, that’s really where the focus will be. But he practiced today in a limited fashion.
“I clearly understand the importance of Aaron to the team, to the NFL, but we’ve got to make sure we do our due diligence and go through the process of getting him healthy.”
Whether he gets through that process in time to start against the Cowboys is unclear.
“’12’ is our leader,” Quarless said. “It would be great to get him back. But Flynn has to really step up and be that guy until that time comes.”
GREEN BAY – JC Tretter’s rookie season won’t be a washout after all.
The Green Bay Packers activated the rookie offensive lineman from physically unable to perform list on Tuesday and placed wide receiver Myles White on season-ending injured reserve.
Tretter, a fourth-round pick from Cornell, suffered a broken ankle in the first organized team activity practice in May and started practicing last month while remaining on the PUP list. The Packers had to decide before Wednesday whether to activate him or place him on season-ending injured reserve.
White, an undrafted rookie free agent who was promoted from the practice squad when injuries hit the receiver position at Baltimore on Oct. 13, saw action in seven games this season and caught nine passes for 66 yards (7.3 avg.). The team did not specify his injury. He played three snaps on offense and caught one pass for 5 yards in the Packers’ 22-21 victory over Atlanta on Sunday.
Tretter, who worked at tackle and guard during the rookie orientation camp, admitted last month that he wasn’t getting his hopes up for anything more than a medical redshirt-style rookie season in the NFL. That said, having had what he called a timeline with “a lot of flexibility to it,” he’s been thrilled to simply be back on the practice field. He worked in pads last Thursday and apparently showed enough progress to be cleared.
“We just said, ‘It’s going to be a long, long journey and we’re not going to rush you back.’ There was never really a date put on it,” Tretter said then. “I think I’m on the early (end). I think I’ve healed up a little faster than they expected, which is obviously good.
“You miss playing football. You miss being out there with your teammates, your brothers. To get back out there, to slide that helmet on, it’s a great feeling. I enjoyed it. Obviously, was limited in what I could do and what I did but just going through drills again, it felt great. You miss it. It just feels good to be out there.”
Tretter underwent surgery to insert a screw into his ankle after the injury and then was able to stop wearing an orthopedic boot in early September while still on crutches. He then had screw removed and began his rehab in earnest.
GREEN BAY – Aaron Rodgers experienced unexpected pain – and too much of it – last week during practice while doing simple drills, which is why the Green Bay Packers quarterback did not return to the lineup as he’d hoped.
Set to practice again on Wednesday, Rodgers isn’t giving up hope of starting Sunday’s game at Dallas, but he didn’t exactly sound an optimistic tone during his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.com Tuesday. Rodgers has not played since fracturing his left collarbone against the Chicago Bears on Nov. 4, missing the five games that have followed. Including the loss to the Bears and last Sunday’s victory over Atlanta, the Packers are 1-4-1 without Rodgers.
“Let me just recap last week because I don’t think it was recapped what actually happened," Rodgers said. “I went out there Wednesday and had pain. We talked about range of motion and flexibility and the risk evaluation. Well, the other thing that comes into play once you’re back doing football movements is the pain.
"Are you experiencing pain doing some normal football stuff, whether it’s handing off or taking the snap or making quick movements or going through drill work? And the answer for me last week was yes. That was my answer on whether I was ready to play or not. You shouldn’t be having pain doing some of the simple movements."
On Monday, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Rodgers “felt better Friday than he did on Wednesday.” Apparently, that wasn’t the case.
"Thursday, I had the pads on but I didn’t really do anything," he said. "Friday, I didn’t do anything either, so it wasn’t a progression. I didn’t get better as the week went on. I tried to do a lot of stuff on Wednesday, didn’t feel very good and from there I decreased and did the stuff that I did.
"I wasn’t getting closer to playing last week. In my mind, it was actually resting it more to not try to stress it more than I had on Wednesday, and hopefully this week I would respond better when I stressed it [this] Wednesday."
Rodgers had said before returning to practice that he was able to throw a football without pain. Asked what caused him pain in practice last week, Rodgers replied: “It’s different when you’re moving around. You’re doing a lot of quick movements, whether it’s a drill where you have to play fast, you’re simulating game speed or whether it’s taking a snap and giving a handoff with your left arm, which is attached to that injury.
“Those are some of the things that gave me discomfort. That was kind of my clue that I’m obviously not ready. The way that scan looked and then to have the discomfort I had made me know I wasn’t ready."
Rodgers said he plans to practice again Wednesday in hopes of experiencing less pain. Apparently Dr. Patrick McKenzie and the medical staff will hold off on giving Rodgers an x-ray, CT scan or MRI on the collarbone until they see how he feels.
“I’m going to practice tomorrow and try to do some of the things I did last week without pain, see how my body responds to it on Thursday and take it from there,” Rodgers said. There’s a lot of variables in this – with the scan being one of them.
“The scan last week did not show [as much] healing... like we wanted to. That, paired with the pain I experienced in practice, kept me out of the game. We would need a different results and different responses in order to go this week.”
McCarthy had also said Monday that Rodgers was scheduled to go through a workout for the staff on Tuesday for testing purposes, but Rodgers said all he did was a weight-room workout, and that it wasn’t geared toward evaluating his collarbone.
Rodgers didn’t want to entertain the possibility that he won’t show enough progress over the final three weeks of the season to be cleared to play again this year.
“I'm going to live in the day-to-day and focus on this week,” Rodgers said. :Hopefully I'll respond the right way, the scan is going to look better and I can get back out there with the guys.
“It’s a waiting game. I was trying to push and come back before science tells you is even possible. I don’t think you’re seeing anybody coming back at four or five weeks from this type of injury to do some of things I’d like to do back on the field. But it’s tough to not be out there with the guys.”
GREEN BAY – Running back Ahman Green, the Green Bay Packers' all-time leading rusher, and left tackle Ken Ruettgers will be enshrined into the Packers Hall of Fame at the hall’s 44th Induction Banquet this summer.
Green, whom Packers general manager Ron Wolf acquired in a trade with ex-Packers coach Mike Holmgren and the Seattle Seahawks in 2000, played eight seasons with the Packers (2000 through 2006, 2009) and finished as the club’s all-time rushing leader with 8,322 yards. He also holds franchise records for most yards from scrimmage (11,048), 1,000-yard seasons (six), 100-yard games (33) and rushing attempts (1,851).
From 2000 through 2004, no player in the NFL gained more total yards from scrimmage (9,036) or rushing yards (6,848) than Green, who in 2003 set the team’s single-season rushing mark (1,883 yards), tied the NFL’s second-longest run (98 yards) and set the franchise’s single-season touchdown mark (20). Green was a four-time Pro Bowl selection from 2001 through 2004).
Ruettgers, a first-round draft pick in 1985, played 12 years for the Packers (1985 through 1996) and protected quarterbacks Don Majkowski and Brett Favre as the Packers rose to prominence and won Super Bowl XXXI in his final season, which ended prematurely because of injury.
Ruettgers appeared in 156 career games with 140 starts and was the team’s offensive MVP in 1989.
Tickets for the July 19 banquet are available through the Packers Hall of Fame. It is currently closed for the ongoing Atrium renovation project and will reopen in 2015.
GREEN BAY – The conversation started with Mason Crosby, who remains the Green Bay Packers kicker. It ended with ex-Packers return man Jeremy Ross, who is a sure bet to be the NFC special teams player of the week after scoring a pair of touchdowns for the Detroit Lions Sunday in Philadelphia.
The Packers couldn’t have been more right, it appears, in sticking with Crosby through thick and thin. After making all three field goals he attempted at snowy Lambeau Field during Sunday’s 22-21 victory over Atlanta, Crosby is now 29 for 33 on the season after going 21 for 33 last year. He’s on track to earn back in incentives every penny he gave up when he took a pay cut this summer.
“Kicking the ball in the NFL is no easy chore, I think Mason’s had some high points, he’s had some low points, he’s at an excellent point right now,” special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum said during Monday’s weekly coordinator media availability session. “He’s a very talented kicker. It’s a tough process.
“As I said last year, the easy thing to do is to change personnel. That’s not always the right thing to do. He’s having a good year, that’s a credit to him and his work ethic.”
The corollary with Ross, whom the Packers dumped the day after his Sept. 24 fumble on a kickoff at Cincinnati, apparently does not apply.
Ross scored on a 98-yard kickoff return and a 58-yard punt return Sunday against the Eagles, with his two touchdowns accounting for all of the Lions’ second-half scoring in a 34-20 loss. Ross also added a 46-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter and finished with 243 return yards, more than the Lions’ offense (228) managed in the snow.
Against the Packers on Thanksgiving, Ross had a 5-yard touchdown catch (his first NFL TD reception), a 24-yard rush on an end-around and a 35-yard punt return. He also had a 60-yard fourth-quarter punt return wiped out by a questionable holding penalty.
"It was about the only offense we had for three quarters," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said.
Ross’ mistakes in Green Bay were well-documented. Although he had some big plays late in the 2012 season – a 58-yard punt return in the Packers’ Dec. 23 victory over Tennessee, and a 44-yard kickoff return and a 32-yard punt return against Minnesota in the regular-season finale on Dec. 30 – his costly fumble against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Divisional Playoffs led to a momentum-shifting touchdown in the Packers’ 45-31 loss.
He had an up-and-down training camp but the Packers kept him at the final cutdown. But his mistake in Cincinnati proved to be the final straw.
With the Packers already down 7-0, Ross misjudged the ensuing kickoff and muffed it, with the Bengals recovering at the Green Bay 2-yard line. The next play, they scored again to make it 14-0.
When the club cut him the next day, coach Mike McCarthy said the Packers “haven’t given up on Jeremy,” adding that he’d “have no problem working with him again.”
After managing just a 12.5-yard average on six kickoff returns and a 10-yard average on two punt returns, Ross, who signed with the Lions’ practice squad after his release and then was promoted to the 53-man roster, is now averaging 19.9 yards per punt return with the Lions (on eight returns) and 33.5 yards per kickoff return (on 10 returns).
The Packers as a team rank dead last in kickoff return average (18.8 yards) but sixth in punt return average (11.4, including Micah Hyde’s 93-yard punt return for a touchdown).
Asked Monday why the team’s approach with Crosby wasn’t applicable to Ross, Slocum replied, “Well, Mason played one position for us. The other young man played more positions. Had some problems before he left us. They were critical. In [the span of] four consecutive games [he] had two major problems and we made a decision to move. He did a nice job against us; he did a nice job yesterday in the snow.”
It’s certainly plausible that Ross needed the fresh start that Detroit gave him after the mistakes he made in Green Bay. He may never have regained his confidence with the Packers. It’s impossible to know for certain.
But he’s clearly making a difference now for a different team.
“I think mindset is a big part of performance. I think a person with a clear head and confident ability to trust their training and execute is a key to success,” Slocum said. “Guys can do it and stay in the same spot, sometimes guys need a new front door.”
There are no games scheduled for today.
There are no games scheduled for today.