GREEN BAY – After tweaking his hamstring during the team's Family Night scrimmage on Saturday night, head coach Mike McCarthy said outside linebacker Clay Matthews would be held out of practice and games for the next couple weeks.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Greg Bedard on Twitter:
Matthews will be out 'at least two weeks' McCarthy said
Matthews was held out of Monday's practice, the first time the team returned to action since the scrimmage. He reportedly injured the same hamstring that kept him out for a couple weeks at the beginning of training camp last season.
With Matthews out as well as Brady Poppinga still not having returned from a concussion and Frank Zombo continuing to nurse an injured ankle, the Packers were down to three healthy outside linebackers at practice on Monday. Brad Jones, Brandon Chillar and Cyril Obiozor were the only outside linebackers on the practice field.
Zombo called what's occurred to the outside linebackers as "little injuries" and said they shouldn't be out long.
Chillar and Jones practiced on both the right and left sides of the defense with Matthews out of action.
Pickett plays in nickel: After having expressed interest in playing in nickel defensive packages last week, defensive lineman Ryan Pickett opened up with the first-string nickel defense when the Packers went 11-on-11 during the deception portion of practice.
Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quoted Pickett as saying last week:
I've got to cover a lot of ground now. I want to get smaller so I can run better. Also, I lost weight because I want to play some nickel. I'd love to do that.
Pickett made a concerted effort to lose weight this offseason after making the move to defensive end. The former nose tackle is not known as a pass rusher, and he'll deal with the likes of Cullen Jenkins, B.J. Raji and Mike Neal for playing time in the nickel.
Pickett signed a four-year $28 million dollar contract extension this offseason and likely wants to justify his big money deal. As linebacker A.J. Hawk found out last season, there are games when the Packers defense plays primarily in nickel, and he rarely played.
Blackmon fine: The worst might have been expected when safety and return specialist Will Blackmon was not seen on the practice field at at all on Monday, but McCarthy reassured the glass half empty crowd after practice.
Blackmon will be fine. Hope he can go Tuesday.
Blackmon has not practiced since Thursday evening when he tried to go and then dropped out early in the evening's proceedings while trying to come back from a torn ACL suffered during the '09 season. Since his absence, the Packers have been shorthanded at safety with both he and Atari Bigby injured.
The return specialist position has also been an adventure without their No. 1 option, although it appears Tramon Williams is next in line as a punt returner and Brandon Jackson following in line on kick returns.
Still struggling: The first-string offense failed to score in the two-minute drill on Monday when quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw an interception to Nick Collins in the end zone.
Like usual, the drill began encouragingly with a couple nice completions to Jordy Nelson before the drive-killing play to culminate the drill.
The offense is now 0-for-5 in two-minute situations since training camp began.
Psycho: The "Psycho" defensive formation returned during Monday's practice with Cullen Jenkins as the lone defensive lineman in a two-point stance, although B.J. Raji also got some reps.
The five linebackers on the field were Chillar, Jones, A.J. Hawk, Desmond Bishop and Robert Francois. The five defensive backs were Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, Brandon Underwood, Nick Collins and Morgan Burnett.
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