Head coach Mike McCarthy indicated on Wednesday that a pair of young defensive linemen would be active for the game on Sunday. “McCarthy said Wednesday that Green Bay Packers reserve defensive linemen C.J. Wilson and Jarius Wynn will be on the 45-man game-day roster Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, so the return of rookie end Mike Neal likely will wait a week,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The elevation of both young men to the 45-man game day active roster could mean the Packers have designs on playing a lot more base 3-4 defense against the Bills too.
A.J. Hawk expressed his desire to play on defense, whether it’s with the Packers or with another team on Wednesday. “I’m not sick of the organization or team or anything like that. But I want to play,” Hawk told Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “It’s not a surprise. I’m not discouraged or less confident.” Hawk does play a key role on the Packers as a reserve. If anything were to happen to either Nick Barnett or Brandon Chillar, the Packers would be glad they have Hawk in their back pocket.
The Packers would be fine without Hawk, says Monty McMahon of Total Packers. “Desmond Bishop is a capable backup and can fill in as a starter should either Chillar or Nick Barnett go down,” writes McMahon. “Hawk is a great insurance policy, but he seems more like a luxury for the Packers right now.” I can agree with that analysis, but the Packers would still be low on inside linebacker depth if they traded Hawk. Even if they happened to trade for Marshawn Lynch, they’d still have to make a corresponding roster move to fill the hole at inside linebacker.
Life moved on at running back yesterday at practice. “The first day of the rest of the Green Bay Packers’ season – and life without starting running back Ryan Grant – came Wednesday, and when it did, the team had a guy who’s never stayed healthy for a full NFL season as its starter, a fullback as its No. 2 running back and a third-stringer who doesn’t even know if he’ll be active on Sunday against Buffalo,” writes Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin. It’s also interesting to note that McCarthy said Korey Hall could be used in one-back sets as well.
New addition Dimitri Nance’s acclimation to Green Bay is touched upon by Wilde as well. “They’re breaking up (the offensive playbook) piece by piece for me, and I’m just going to get in it piece by piece and learn what I can,” Nance is quoted as saying. “It’s pretty difficult because it’s completely different from Atlanta.” I just can’t see Nance being active this week. He just doesn’t know enough of the offense and won’t contribute on special teams either.
The forgotten man in the running back picture has been James Starks, but Ol’ Bag of Donuts has him in the back of their mind. “After the Miami game on Oct. 17, James Starks is eligible to return from the PUP list,” writes Chris Lempesis. “His hamstring injury never seemed to improve much during camp, but the team must have received a good prognosis or else it would have placed Starks on injured reserve. If Nance is playing well enough, the Packers can slowly work Starks back into the flow of things. That’s extremely important. Remember, Starks saw no real action in camp and hasn’t played a down of meaningful football since the end of his junior year at Buffalo (missed all of 2009 with a shoulder injury). Expecting him to be ready to roll right away is asking an awful lot of the youngster.” The Packers will have a very, very interesting decision to make on him in a couple weeks.
Brandon Jackson is a hot name in fantasy football circles. “In two years of writing this piece, I’ve never seen a player move like Brandon Jackson did this week,” writes fantasy football analyst Ryan Dembinsky of Fanhouse. “It should come as no surprise though, as Ryan Grant’s season-ending injury opens the door for what very well might be the biggest pickup we see all season. This one could go down in history, like when Priest Holmes went down and a little-known backup named Larry Johnson got the start in his place.”
No need to worry about Clay Matthews’ health says Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “Matthews was back on the injury report and was limited in practice on Wednesday, but the Green Bay Packers outside linebacker said there’s no reason for concern.”
Rookie defensive lineman Mike Neal is profiled by Rob Reischel of the Journal Sentinel’s Packer Insider (subscription required).
The Buffalo Bills are given a closer look by Michael Davidsen of Green Bay Packer Nation.