Now that outside linebacker Clay Matthews has been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions with a hamstring injury, rookie Dezman Moses is likely to take Matthews’ spot in the starting lineup. “Because (head coach Mike) McCarthy’s philosophy the first half of the season was to get his defensive rookies as many snaps as possible, Moses isn’t a complete novice,” writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Playing in mostly the sub packages, he has taken part in about 18% of the defensive snaps, including 43 against the Cardinals.” Frank Zombo and perhaps the newly signed Vic So’oto will also receive some playing time versus the Lions.
The Packers and cornerback Tramon Williams in particular are preparing to face talented Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson. “This Sunday, Williams and Calvin Johnson do battle again,” writes Tyler Dunne of the Journal Sentinel. “The Detroit Lions wide receiver earns his nickname. No other receiver possesses his barely human blend of size, athleticism and speed. In the regular-season finale last season, Johnson torched Williams’ Packers for 244 receiving yards – the most ever by a Green Bay opponent.” As Dunne goes onto note, Williams did a fantastic job limiting Johnson in the teams’ first meeting last season on Thanksgiving when the Lions wideout had a mostly harmless four receptions for 49 yards.
As high-profile quarterbacks across the NFL have recently sustained concussions, attention turns to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his safety. “Rodgers needs to do anything he can to avoid a hit from Lions nose tackle Ndamukong Suh, but that is more related to how his offensive line blocks and how long he holds the ball in the pocket,” writes Tom Silverstein. “The most damaging hits – the ones that shelved the other three (quarterbacks) – happen outside of that area.” As long as Aaron Rodgers is smart and slides when he has the opportunity to do so, that’s one of the few things he and the Packers can do to protect him. Injuries have a way of happening in football. That’s just the way the game is played. Not all injuries can be prevented.
Now that Evan Dietrich-Smith has joined the starting lineup of the Packers, he’s getting more and more attention from the media, including an article by the Associated Press. “Two years after he was cut by the Packers at the end of training camp and spent most of the season looking for work, Dietrich-Smith has become indispensable in Green Bay,” reads the article. “Versatile enough to play any spot on the offensive line, the Packers have so much faith in their main backup that they have no plans to water down the offense for Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions despite losing starting left tackle Bryan Bulaga for the rest of the season with a hip injury. ” I’m personally worried about how the Packers are going to run to the left side of the offensive line. They didn’t have much success with Lang at left guard and Dietrich-Smith is a step down from Lang.
A difficult decision must be made whether to start Casey Hayward or Sam Shields in the base defense, according to Rob Demovsky of the Press-Gazette.
The challenge of preparing for the Lions’ Riley Reiff is examined by Pete Dougherty of the Press-Gazette.
The Associated Press has its Packers-Lions preview.
Mike McCarthy is stressing discipline this week, writes Mike Spofford at Packers.com.
Handing out their midseason game balls is the crew at AllGreenBayPackers.com.
Video: The Press-Gazette guys have their weekly Insiders video up…
Brian Carriveau is the author of “It’s Just a Game: Big League Drama in Small Town America,” a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and an editor at Cheesehead TV. To contact Brian, email firstname.lastname@example.org.