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Packers Daily Links: Neal Returns To Practice

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Packers Daily Links: Neal Returns To Practice

Reaction to the claims that the Packers were laughing at the Buffalo Bills this past Sunday are coming in from fans. Over at Packer Forums, a commenter named Mack_20 writes, "Wouldnt suprise me, the Bills are a joke.. Im sure they werent taunting them, just smiling and laughin at how easy it was to score on them (sic)." Another popular reaction seems to be that the Bills deserved it. It will be interesting to see how Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the team respond.

Defensive lineman Mike Neal returned to practice on Thursday and took part in most of it. The Packers could certainly use his services to stuff the opponent's run game and give a breather to the rest of the guys on the defensive line. "The Packers lead the NFL with 10 sacks and rank third in the NFL in passing defense," writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Their weak spot has been run defense, which ranks 28th." The addition of Neal would conceivably help that run defense, which was so stout a year ago finishing No. 1 in the NFL in yards allowed.

The Packers are playing a wait and see game with Chad Clifton as they prepare for the Bears. "Clifton missed three of six practices over the first two weeks of the regular season but struggled on both game days — he labored in his performance in the opener against Philadelphia and then was pulled about halfway through the second quarter last week against Buffalo," writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Clifton practiced on a limited basis yesterday, seemingly an improvement over previous weeks.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was asked about divvying up his passes and keeping his receivers happy. “The biggest challenge is if there starts to be some dissension with those guys,” Rodgers is quoted as saying by Rob Demovsky of the Press-Gazette. “I just hope they would come to me first. We’ll meet that when we come to it, but I hope we don’t have to go through that. Obviously, they all want to make plays. I’m not going to change the way I play. I’m going to throw it to the guys who are open, and I’m going to go through my progressions. I hope they understand that.” That's certainly not an envious task for Rodgers, but as long as the Packers are winning, it shouldn't be an issue.

Safety Atari Bigby said yesterday that he's recovering well and expects to be activated when his stint on the PUP list is over. The bigger question is where does he fit on the team once he returns? "With rookie third-round pick Morgan Burnett having started all four preseason games and both regular-season games at strong safety in his place, Bigby expects to be activated during that window but has no idea what he’ll be doing," writes Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin. It will be hard to unseat Burnett if he keeps playing as steady as he has so far.

The history between Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers and Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz is tracked by Greg Bedard of the Journal Sentinel. "It almost seems inconceivable given their status as two of the top thinkers on their side of the football, but Monday night will mark the first time Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz and Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers have matched wits in the National Football League," writes Bedard. Indeed, that is hard to believe.

A pair of players had a tryout with the Packers on Tuesday. "The Packers had tryouts Tuesday with former Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Chris Cooper, an eight-year veteran who was released after training camp, and linebacker Bruce Davis, who was signed to San Francisco's practice squad Thursday," according to the Journal Sentinel. It will be worth keeping an eye on Cooper if the Packers suffer any more injuries along the defensive line.

Cornerback Brandon Underwood returned to practice for the first time in a while. "Underwood practiced in full for the first time since Aug. 26," writes Wilde. "Earlier this week, cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt made it clear that rookie Sam Shields is ahead of Underwood on the depth chart, regardless of the injury." One would have to assume that Underwood would fill the dime back role if he's healthy enough for the Bears game.

Mike McCarthy's impassioned halftime speech this past Sunday against the Buffalo Bills is given consideration by Paige Pearson of WLUK-TV in Green Bay. "You really don't want to see that. Hopefully, you're playing well enough that you don't have to see him blow up," defensive end Ryan Pickett is quoted as saying. "But, sometimes we need it. Sometimes we heed the coaches to get on our backs and get us playing better." With NFL halftimes being so short, I'm amazed anything is accomplished in the locker room.

Running back Dimitri Nance is reportedly focused on learning an expanded role. “He’s going through such a terminology change,” McCarthy is quoted as saying by Bill Huber of Packer Report. “It’s a lot different than what he’s been exposed to, just from the digit system. Our words are his numbers and his old numbers are our words and so forth. To do that and also to be able to play the speed of a blitz drill, he’s going through an adjustment right now.” I'd expect Nance to play more than he did last Sunday, although I'm not sure I see any more the two carries he got last week in his future.

Rodgers tried to compare and contrast the Packers-Bears rivalry to his college one, The Big Game with Cal vs. Stanford. “After we beat Stanford my junior year, the fans ran on the field,” Huber has Rodgers saying. “So, it's a different dynamic there. I don't think we want to see any of those Chicago or Green Bay fans going on the field. It's very similar. There's more of, I think, a dislike in college because you don't really know the other guys. You just know that they play for the hated rivals. The NFL, there's more of a respect level. Obviously, you want to beat them. We know how much that means to the fans but it's a different dynamic, a respect level, friendships and stuff.”

Alex Tallitsch of Packers Lounge isn't buying that the Packers should take Tramon Williams off of punt return duty. "The argument for taking Tramon out seems to be pretty straight forward," writes Tallitsch. "Either people are upset he isn’t breaking any for big gainers, or two, they are still worried about injury possibilities. Both opinions I think are severely misguided."

Linebacker Brady Poppinga didn't practice Thursday, which came as a mild surprise. "Poppinga (undisclosed) did a rehab workout next to CB Al Harris (ACL-PUP). Poppinga seemed fine," reports Greg Bedard.

"Cornerback Tramon Williams is a new dad," writes Jason Wilde. "His wife, Shantrell, gave birth to a son, Tramon Jr., on Tuesday. Both mom and baby are doing well, dad said." Lots of Packers babies this year.

The Wisconsin Radio Network has audio of offensive coordinator Joe Philbin talking about Chad Clifton and the need to practice.

Mike Davidsen of Green Bay Packer Nation previews the Packers-Bears game.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (5) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

jay's picture

When Bigby comes back, it seems that a 3 Safety style Nickel or dime would be an interesting disguise Capers should investigate. Bigby could blitz just as well as most linebackers and probably cover better than most too.

PackersRS's picture

So that's why Tramon is playing lights out! He's a new dad!

Damn, I wish him the best, and am trully happy we have him. I was (still am a bit) a big doubter of him, but the level he has played this past games really show the preparation and maturity. I compare it to Nick Collins 08 to Nick Collins 09.

CSS's picture

I think it's still fair to question if he's a 'good' cover corner or an 'average' cover corner. It's amazing what Raji/Jenkins collapsing a pocket + Clay Matthews threatening the life of a QB will do for the image of any corner.

Week two of the 10' season is too early to forget Kurt Warner scorching him. Amazing what pressuring the QB in addition to (insert Bills QB joke here) Bills QB play and Vick (abandons his progressions and runs) will do for your image as a cover corner through week two.

Love what I'm seeing, but still haven't seen a QB that challenges this backfield vertically or a competent offensive coordinator that actually realizes Sam Sheilds has played corner for 1 year of his life and Morgan Burnett is a rookie.

PackersRS's picture

Agreed. Thus the "(still am a bit)"... But everyone that watched tape (Al, Nagler) have reported that it wasn't just the pressure; that he played great.

CSS's picture

I was agreeing with your agreeing and simply expanding on said agreement :)

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