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Packers Daily Links: Nelson & Williams Handle Return Duties

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Packers Daily Links: Nelson & Williams Handle Return Duties

Jordy Nelson will return kicks and Williams punts when the season begins at Philadelphia on Sunday, head coach Mike McCarthy indicated yesterday. Of course, there's a risk. "The Packers are likely to have undrafted free-agent Sam Shields, who played one season of cornerback in college, at nickel against the Eagles," writes Greg Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Any injury to Williams would further test the Packers at one of their thinnest positions, where they hope for the return of Al Harris." But Williams also has been very effective as a punt returner with a career punt return average over 13 yards.

Monday was the first practice in which punter Tim Masthay had the job all to himself. And as Bill Huber of Packer Report points out, Masthay has his work cut out for him. "Masthay will face perhaps his biggest test of the season this weekend," writes Huber. "The Eagles’ DeSean Jackson averaged 15.2 yards per punt return with two touchdowns last season. He also returned a punt for a touchdown as a rookie in 2008." He and the special teams as a whole will be tested. Shawn Slocum will be under the microscope.

The dirt on new practice squad addition James Johnson was found by Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "Johnson played four games for the Bengals in 2008 and rushed nine times for 29 yards," writes Copeland. "He spent 2009 on the practice squad before signing with Minnesota during the offseason. The Vikings released him before training camp began, but the Bengals brought him back for training camp." Johnson is the only player with the team not to go through training camp with the Packers.

Cheesehead TV has the rest of the practice squad.

Linebackers Clay Matthews and Brad Jones returned to full-time participation at practice on Monday. "Before returning to practice Monday, it had been 29 days since Clay Matthews stood at his left outside linebacker position for the Green Bay Packers," writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The same nearly goes for Jones on the right side. I wonder why the Packers didn't give them any practice time at those positions during the OTAs and minicamp this past offseason if they had any inkling they might be moving them around.

Things aren't looking good for cornerback Brandon Underwood and his availability for the regular season opener. "Underwood (shoulder) was the only player who did not take part in Monday’s practice, and while undrafted rookie Sam Shields is in line to be the No. 3 cornerback in the nickel and either Jarrett Bush or Pat Lee will be the No. 4 cornerback in the dime, Underwood figures to be the odd man out at least for this week," writes Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin. Despite Underwood's struggles in the preseason, I would still feel more comfortably with him ahead of both Bush and Lee in the secondary.

Jason Spitz acknowledged he's behind in his preparation for the 2010 season after being the subject of trade talks the past month or so. “I missed that second week of camp there, and I think that was a critical week. We obviously had that funny schedule (after that) and obviously had a couple non-padded practices between the games – and there’s another week gone without hitting,” Spitz is quoted as saying by Wilde. “I’m still in that training-camp mode. I’m needed to play multiple positions, so to get back to playing and get my pad level down and getting my pop back.” Spitz will likely be the top backup at center, but whether he's a top backup at either left or right guard remains to be seen.

The Packers led all teams with five players claimed on waivers reports Greg Bedard of the Journal Sentinel. Since that time, punter Chris Bryan was claimed by the Buccaneers pushing that number to six. "There's no doubt having five players claimed shows how talented the Packers' roster was/is," writes Bedard. The question is, did the Packers release too many players that could have contributed this season?

Running back Quinn Porter has been released by the Packers, which came as a surprise. "At least at this point, Porter will not be developed by the Packers," writes Bedard. "Porter did receive an injury settlement according to Saturday's transactions. So he could return sometime down the road." If I'm correct, Porter and any other player that has been waived injured, is eligible to be signed again after six weeks. Will Blackmon would also fall under that category.

The similarity of the career paths of Aaron Rodgers and Kevin Kolb are compared by Chris Lempesis of Ol' Bag of Donuts. "The Philadelphia Eagles decided they had more than enough in place to copy what Green Bay did two years ago," writes Lempesis. "As a result, they replaced aging quarterback Donovan McNabb with Kevin Kolb in an experiment that officially begins Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field against the Packers."

Johnny Jolly is one of 14 NFL players suspended for the start of the season as noted by the Associated Press.

Railbird endorsed video: Get ready for two fences across from Lambeau Field this year...

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (19) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

hyperRevue's picture

Lord, this secondary depth scares me.

sammer's picture

I agree, but it's not as bad as it might be when you consider that we have *two* starters from last year's team on the PUP.

Hopefully we get Harris and Bigby back by week 7 or so and avoid any other injuries before then.

hyperRevue's picture

6 weeks is a long time, and I'm starting to lose faith in Harris returning. (I know, I know...)

Tarynfor12's picture

Not sure if I go along with Williams doing PR's with our depth at the level it is,so my question is "Why not use Swain,he has good hands and to me that is primo(good hands) right now in that spot"?

Jeremy's picture

Secondary depth is a little hairy. But if the eagles can risk Jackson who is there best WR and their best young player, we can risk Williams.

Tarynfor12's picture

Sorry,but that is a "Monkey see,Monkey do" or "Stupid is as Stupid does" thinking.Nothing personal in that but why would you chance injury where your depth is shallow as to where your depth is an abyss.

Philly doesn't have near our depth in WR's and they we get burnt going that way as will we if Williams gets injured.

jeremy's picture

Keeping your best players off of the field is a risk also. These guys are football players, Williams wants to return kicks and McCarthy wants to let him play.

Tarynfor12's picture

He isn't off the field,just off PR's. Where for the Packers the best they should count on is the catching of the ball.If we fair catch all the time it wouldn't be a crime as we have posession with a dynamic offense.To RISK injury for the posibilty of an extra yds and damage an already depth-less secondary until some come back is ridiculous on part of Williams ego and blind on MM's part to buy into it.

If we must put the lamb for sacrifice let it be where it won't hurt,let Swain do PR's and just catch the ball.

jeremy's picture

MM and TT think the reward outweighs the risk.

Williams career average of 13.3 yards per punt return would have been good for second in the league last year behind only DeSean Jackson. NE and SD let Wes Welker and Darren Sproles return punts last season, those guys are at least as important to them as Williams is to the Packers.

sammer's picture

Man, I have to admit I love this:

"In preparation for the week ahead and the opener at Philadelphia, Shields had just asked Charles Woodson on Monday afternoon to accompany him to the film room so they could study together.

"Just getting with him, it's really going to help me out, come game time," said Shields. "I just went up to him and just asked him for help, and he was willing to do it."

CSS's picture

I noticed the Green Bay Press Gazette is in mid-season form with most articles accentuating the negative.

Kareem Copeland: Get out while you can, you’ve actually got some promise as a journalist…..

jeremy's picture

Agreed, Vandermause seams to be the lead naysayer.

corey jenkins's picture

You guys obviously haven't read anything from Wilde or Bedard in the past three days...

jeremy's picture

Actually I read everything Bedard writes, he can be pretty negative. We'll see what they all really think when they post their predictions Sunday morning.

PackerT's picture

Barring any injuries, Spitz WILL NOT be top backup at either guard positions. Unless they drss 8 OL for games I expect him to be inactive for most games. Bulaga and Lang are the top 2 backups.

sammer's picture

And what happens if Wells gets hurt?

packeraaron's picture

Jason Spitz steps in.

sammer's picture

PackerT was saying that Spitz is inactive game days...

thepretzelhead's picture

You know how you make all pros in the secondary? Pressure the QB. This will be done.

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