Rookie defensive lineman Mike Neal was added to the injury report on Thursday while dealing with a shoulder issue. “Mike had a sore shoulder coming out of the game, didn’t think much of it, and went out and practiced yesterday, and when he came in this morning he was struggling,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy is quoted as saying by Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee. “He’s been evaluated, and actually there’s going to be some testing and some rehab that was done this afternoon.” Neal’s status is now in doubt for Sunday’s game, but more should be learned today.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers practiced on Thursday for the first time since suffering his concussion. “On Thursday, Rodgers was on the practice field taking snaps with the No. 1 offense, running the show like he normally does. He has been cleared to play Sunday barring any setbacks prior to the game against the Miami Dolphins at Lambeau Field,” writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Rodgers also met with the media for the first time this week too.
Linebacker Brandon Chillar suffered a setback at practice. “Chillar, who plays extensively in the Packers’ nickel package when healthy, missed the last two games because of his shoulder injury,” writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “He returned to practice Wednesday but then was too sore to practice Thursday, which is a discouraging sign for his Sunday availability.” It looks like another game where Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk take almost every snap at inside linebacker.
Andy Hayes of Packergeeks won’t be satisfied until the Packers trade for a running back. He offers Houston’s Steve Slaton. “If the other offensive coaches are to be believed, Slaton still has it,” writes Hayes. “He is a great runner, has better hands than most RBs in the league w/re to catching the ball out of the backfield, and the bonus is that he could be a great return guy as well. At this point, considering they got him for a 3rd round pick and considering [Texans coach] Gary Kubiak doesn’t like him.” Another intriguing option could be Cowboys running back Tashard Choice.
Tight end Spencer Havner has been waived injured by the Detroit Lions. “Havner could provide valuable depth for the Packers, who are battling injuries at tight end, where Jermichael Finley is out for an extended period with a torn meniscus and Donald Lee is battling a chest injury,” writes Monty McMahon of the Detroit Lions. “He could also provide depth at inside linebacker, where Nick Barnett is out an extended period with a wrist injury and Brandon Chillar will likely miss his third consecutive game with a shoulder injury.” I only see the Packers bringing Havner back if they suffer another injury at tight end. Although if that happens, I could easily see them bringing Havner back.
Special teams has been rocked by injuries notes Silverstein. “Linebacker Desmond Bishop, backup Donald Lee, safety Charlie Peprah and rookie tight end Andrew Quarless are among those who may be ruled out for special teams because their roles have expanded on either offense or defense,” writes Silverstein. One of the only options is to replace them with inexperienced players, which could have a negative effect on special teams.
Rookie tight end Andrew Quarless is featured in an article on the Packers official website about an expanded role on offense. “He picked up the offense well,” offensive coordinator Joe Philbin told Packers.com. “It’s not always easy. You might be thinking the thought of the fourth tight end maybe going into a ballgame, and all of a sudden (a few minutes) into the game you are getting a boatload of reps. He kind of responded pretty well. He made some plays, he contributed nicely.” One course of action if for the Packers to see if Quarless can fill Jermichael Finley’s shoes. If he fails, then they can rely on their wide receivers more often.
A call for Rodgers to run the ball more often is made by Michael Davidsen of Green Bay Packer Nation. “It’s clear that Rodgers has made the effort to throw downfield, just perhaps not at the right time,” writes Davidsen. “While I’ve always been one to keep the quarterback in the pocket as much as possible, I’ve seen Rodgers make some rather ill-advised throws downfield when he has an open receiver underneath or room to run. I’m all about pushing the ball downfield except for when these throws come on crucial third downs. It’s no secret that Rodgers can capture first downs with his legs – and with his health still in mind, I’d like to see him use his running ability more.”
F.G. Union talks injuries at Meat Packers Union.
Jayme Joers of BrentFavre.com asks, “Have You Seen My Quarterback?“