Head coach Mike McCarthy said during his Tuesday press conference that he’d like defensive lineman Mike Neal to play on Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day game against the Detroit Lions than he did in his regular season debut on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
McCarthy indicated that 15 to 17 snaps in the game two days ago at Lambeau Field and hopes his workload will increase this week.
Neal was limited to the nickel defensive package on Sunday, but it remains to be seen if his role will increase to include the base 3-4 defense as well.
The second-year, second-round draft choice out of Purdue missed the first 10 weeks of the season with a knee injury suffered during training camp that required surgery to remove cartilage.
The call for Neal to increase his workload comes at a time when it’s been hypothesized that the large amount of snaps B.J. Raji has been playing is sapping his productivity. Raji only has two sacks this season compared to 6.5 a year ago.
Even though Neal took a step in the right direction by simply being active and playing, he didn’t have much of an impact in the Buccaneers game, not even recording a tackle.
In other injury news, linebacker Desmond Bishop was added to the injury report with a calf issue while fellow linebacker Frank Zombo went from limited to full participation as he recovers from a hamstring injury.
Players who were limited in practice on Tuesday include wide receiver Greg Jennings (knee), linebacker Clay Matthews (ankle), tackle Marshall Newhouse (knee), guard Josh Sitton (knee) and running back James Starks (knee/ankle).
McCarthy said Jennings will participate on Thursday but would not commit to Starks playing.