GREEN BAY – Davante Adams did very little during the Green Bay Packers’ Thanksgiving Day practice Thursday because of a heel injury, but it should not prevent him from playing in Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots at Lambeau Field.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Adams was “stepped on” during Wednesday’s practice. Adams was added as a limited participant Thursday to the team’s official injury report for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots at Lambeau Field.
“Davante actually moved around, did some things, so they’re just kind of working through exactly how they’re going to handle it,” McCarthy said of the team’s medical staff. “I don’t have high concern.”
Here’s a look at the full, official injury report from Thursday:
Of all the weeks the Packers would want their full complement of pass catchers, this would be it, given the Patriots’ pair of lockdown corners, Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner. That twosome held Detroit’s Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate to a combined eight receptions for 155 yards and no touchdowns in New England’s 34-9 victory last Sunday, despite Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford targeting his top two receivers 21 times. They’re expected to match up against leading receiver Jordy Nelson and No. 2 wideout Randall Cobb.
Although Adams has 28 receptions for 296 yards and three touchdowns this season, the rookie second-round pick from Fresno State has caught just four passes (on eight targets) for 33 yards and one TD during Green Bay’s current three-game post-bye winning streak.
Adams was not in the Packers’ locker room after practice Thursday but fellow wide receiver Jordy Nelson said he expects Adams to be ready for the Patriots.
“I think he’ll be fine,” Nelson said. “I’m not worried.”
Meanwhile, the Packers practiced again without outside linebacker Nick Perry (shoulder) and cornerback Jarrett Bush (groin). Guards T.J. Lang (ankle) and Josh Sitton (toe) practiced on a limited basis and are expected to play despite injuries that date back to the team’s Oct. 26 loss at New Orleans.
Outside linebacker Clay Matthews practiced in full for the second straight day and said his groin injury, which limited his snaps early in last week’s game at Minnesota, is a non-issue.
“I feel great. I’ve had zero limitations, taken every rep in practice,” Matthews said. “I don’t see there being any rep limitations or anything that would require me not to do my job, whether it’s covering the tight end, a back out of the backfield or rushing the passer, so I feel good about that.”
GREEN BAY – Bill Belichick reinforced his reputation – a well-earned one, at that – for curt, bland responses on all manner of media interviews Wednesday with his response to a question about the similarities between his quarterback, Tom Brady, and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“They both wear No. 12,” the New England Patriots coach replied when asked the question by reporters in Foxborough, Mass.
And while Packers coach Mike McCarthy ended his own press conference with a funny in-the-spirit one-liner of his own – “I guess to add to it, they’re both from California,” he said when told of Belichick’s quip – Belichick was actually expansive and extremely talkative with Wisconsin reporters during a morning conference call.
While longtime Belichick followers probably knew that he has a history of talking up his team’s upcoming opponents, it was surprising to the uninitiated that Belichick spoke at length about the Packers and Rodgers.
First, when asked about the Packers, he delivered a 413-word answer that took nearly four minutes:
“Well, big challenge. Obviously, this team is playing very well. I think Coach McCarthy does an excellent job with his football team in every area. They play with fundamentals. Their techniques, their consistency. They’re very explosive in all three phases of the game. Obviously on offense, with Rodgers and his record-setting performances throughout his career already. Cobb and Nelson are very explosive players in the passing game and after the catch. Lacy is a very difficult player to defend – a lot of production in the passing game as well as the running game. All really hard guys to tackle, including Rodgers. That offensive line, and a lot of other playmakers to go along with those guys. Defensively, a really active front. Obviously, Peppers and Matthews are hard guys to contain. They’re very athletic. They’re getting a lot of plays from their defensive tackles – Daniels and Guion. Guys do a good job inside there. Jones. They’re very productive. It’s a good coverage team. They’ve used a lot of different players out there, with Williams and Shields outside, but they’ve used some combinations of Hayward and Hyde. Sometimes they’re putting Williams inside and House outside, so a lot of different looks there in the secondary. Hawk, very productive. I know coach Capers does a nice job with the mixtures of pressures and looks, and really challenges your offense in terms of blitz pickup and identification and recognition of where they are. You’ve got to be ready for all of them, because sooner or later they all come. Packers are very good in the kicking game, they have excellent specialists – punter, kicker, returners, Hyde and Cobb both. They’ve been very productive on blocked kicks, returned them. Crosby is really good. Masthay is a great plus-50 punter. He can change field position on a long field, too. Coverage players, it’s a really strong, solid team in every area that’s really well coached. They make you earn everything you get, and it’s really hard. They don’t give you anything. You’ve got to go out there and execute really well, and if you make mistakes then they’re very quick and adapt at capitalizing on them. Peppers is a good blocker, obviously, 13 career blocks. So it just kind of never ends. No matter what phase of the game you’re in, they’ve got explosive playmakers and schemes and things that you’ve got to take care of. There’s no chance to relax against this team. They’re good at anything.”
Later, when asked the same Rodgers-Brady question as he got in his press conference, he began similarly – “They’re both really good, obviously. Both wear No. 12, both look like they’re really good golfers,” he said, eliciting laughter – before praising Rodgers with 356 more words:
“Aaron, he does everything so well. He’s an incredible player. He’s got great touch on every pass — the short ones, the long ones, the ones on the sideline, throwing on the run, screen passes. He always puts the ball in the right place and puts it right there for the receiver to catch it in full stride and run with it and make extra yards after the catch, which several of their players do a great job of. He does an excellent job in the pocket of extending plays, feeling the rush. He can run when he has to but he also is probably even more dangerous when he just buys extra time in the pocket and lets his receivers uncover and lifts it down the field to somebody for 20 or 30 yards that is able to get open because the play has been extended for another couple seconds. He just puts a tremendous amount of pressure on your defense as well as reading defenses and at times getting the offense into the right play or the right protection. They very rarely run a bad play where somebody is just unblocked or the play just doesn't have a chance. They do a great job — Coach McCarthy and Coach Clements and Aaron do a great job of collectively, however it’s done, getting plays run where it’s hard on the defense because the defense is outnumbered or the defense doesn’t have any kind of advantage. They do a great job of staying away from the plays where the defense does have an advantage and them getting into something else. So, collectively, how all that’s done, through play-calling and audibling and check-with-mes and all of that, the end result is it’s obviously got to run through the quarterback at some point, which it does, and Aaron does a tremendous job with that, too. I don’t think that can definitely be in any way understated. It may not be him making the play but it’s him directing the team and maybe somebody else makes the play, but it’s still part of his job. This guy’s really a good player.”
GREEN BAY – Although reinjuring his ankle wasn’t exactly ideal considering it was just starting to feel better, T.J. Lang doesn’t think he’ll have any problem playing in Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots at Lambeau Field.
The veteran guard, who initially sprained his left ankle against New Orleans on Oct. 26, reinjured it at Minnesota last Sunday. But unlike the first time, when he was unable to finish the game against the Saints, Lang only missed part of one series and returned to the game.
Although he didn’t practice Wednesday and may not do much Thursday either, he fully expects to play against the Patriots.
“I’ll be all right,” Lang said while playing backgammon with teammate Bryan Bulaga Wednesday. “It’s not that much worse.”
Here’s a look at the full, official injury report from Wednesday:
Lang said the injury against the Vikings definitely set him back but could have been much worse.
“I feel a lot more sore this week than I was last week, obviously. Last week I was coming along pretty well, making a great recovery and this set it back a little bit, getting injured during the game,” Lang said. “But I went out there and finished and think the tape kind of saved me from doing any further damage.
“It kind of felt like when I did it in New Orleans but not as bad. I could still put pressure on it, put weight on it, and that.”
After he was injured against the Vikings, Lang had his ankle re-taped, then had extra tape – called “spatting” – put over the outside of his cleat as well, to serve as extra protection. He said he didn’t expect to do much during Thursday’s Thanksgiving morning practice but may test the ankle to see how far it’s progressed.
“Just based off of last week and the week before that, the plan was just do very minimal stuff in practice. We’ll see,” Lang said. “I could come out tomorrow and do some stuff just to test it out a little bit but we’ll see. Just taking it day by day.”
Meanwhile, McCarthy said Perry, who didn’t play last week against the Vikings, is “getting better.” Perry did not practice and spent the session on a stationary bike next to Lang.
Bush, who thought he would play through his groin injury against the Vikings, also did not play, marking only the seventh time in 133 games that he hasn’t played due to injury.
Bostick, who missed the past two games with a hip injury after catching a 1-yard touchdown against Chicago on Nov. 9, practiced for the first time since.
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers gave Eddie Lacy the ball a season-high 25 times on Sunday and their second-year running back delivered a performance that was deemed the best in the NFC over the weekend.
Lacy turned those 25 carries into a 125-yard effort – accomplished while battling a gastrointestinal issue – and ran five times for 27 yards during the final 3 1 /2 minutes to run out the clock in the Packers’ 24-21 victory over the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday. And that effort was good enough for him to be named the NFC’s offensive player of the week Wednesday morning.
It is Lacy’s second NFC offensive player of the week award, having won one last year. Lacy, who was the NFL offensive player of the year as a rookie last year, is the first player in Packers history to win the award in each of his first two seasons.
“He was great. He’s a workhorse. We need him in the winter months,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “He runs really hard, he’s really tough to tackle, never goes down with the first contact, he’s really good in the passing game too. He’s agile for a guy of his size, he’s got a great spin move, takes care of the football, does all the things you want.”
Lacy scored a pair of touchdowns, one on a 1-yard dive and another on a 10-yard shovel pass from Rodgers. He had 70 of his 125 yards after contact, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
GREEN BAY – Jordy Nelson doesn’t seem like the type to believe in any sort of jinx or superstition, so the Green Bay Packers wide receiver wasn’t concerned about landing on the cover of Sports Illustrated on Tuesday, despite the infamous SI cover jinx.
Of course, given how little Nelson cares about attention and accolades, he probably isn’t overly excited about it, either.
Nevertheless, the Packers star wide receiver is indeed on the cover of the legendary magazine, with a story about him by senior writer Tim Layden inside.
The story focuses on Nelson’s upbringing on his family’s farm in Kansas, where he plans to return after his career is over. Nelson returns to the family farm each offseason.
Nelson, who enters Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots having caught 68 passes for 1,066 yards and nine touchdowns, has actually appeared on the cover of SI twice before, but never as the focal point.
He was pictured with quarterback Aaron Rodgers celebrating during Super Bowl XLV in February 2011, and he was shown along with fellow receivers Greg Jennings, Randall Cobb, Donald Driver, James Jones and Jermichael Finley in 2011.
Nelson had eight catches for 68 yards in last Sunday's victory at Minnesota, and although the Vikings worked to take him away in that game (as well as Cobb), he was pleased that the offense functioned effectively with contributions from tight ends Andrew Quarless and Richard Rodgers and running back Eddie Lacy.
"You want to be able to win games multiple ways. The last couple weeks we’ve had some big blowouts and had some explosive gains. This week was a little more a grind it out type of thing," Nelson said afterward. "We’ve said it all year, too: We’ve got the guys that can step up and they did it, from Rich catching the touchdown, Quarless making big plays, Eddie running, everything. It’s good to see."
GREEN BAY – If you thought Aaron Rodgers was trying to stick it to the Minnesota Vikings after Sunday’s game by drinking a Grape Crush soda during his post-game press conference, you haven’t been paying attention. Or, the Green Bay Packers quarterback would put it another way.
“Idiots,” he said on his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.com Tuesday.
Rodgers’ beverage of choice after the Packers’ 24-21 victory Sunday went a bit viral on social media when some Vikings and Packers fans assumed incorrectly that he was sending a not-so-subtle jab toward his NFC North rivals by drinking Grape Crush at the podium.
Nevermind that the Packers’ three-point victory was hardly a crushing defeat – or that Rodgers has been drinking Crush throughout his NFL career, washing down his customary peanut butter and jelly sandwich, which he also has after every game.
“Seven years. To all the idiot trolls out there, seven years,” Rodgers said of post-game snacking tradition. “PBJ and Grape or Orange Crush. It’s been grape for the last five, the first couple years it was orange or grape. Seven years.”
Although Rodgers was smiling and chuckling throughout the conversation, he was clearly annoyed that some people thought he was taking a shot at the Vikings.
“Anybody who knows, any of the local media or anybody who’s seen me after a game, I’m always carrying that around with me. That’s probably the only soda that I ever drink – right after the game, when you’ve got to get those nutrients back with you,” he said with a laugh. “So that’s my post-game (snack) – PBJ and the Grape Crush. I do like it, contrary to anybody who thinks I was trolling anything. It’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s comical.
“I don’t do those kind of things.”
Well, that’s not entirely true.
Now, before and after the game, Rodgers had extremely high praise for Vikings first-year coach Mike Zimmer, whom he credited with pioneering the concept of putting seven and eight defenders up at the line of scrimmage to confuse offenses on which players are rushing and which ones are dropping into coverage.
“I do [like Zimmer]. I don’t like going against him, he’s always had good plans against us, but I give credit where credit’s due. He’s changed the game,” Rodgers said. “He’s come up with a scheme that probably every other team has in their package, those seven and eight up looks. And nobody else was doing that before he was.”
That said, Rodgers did confess to saying some not-so-nice things to one of the Vikings’ assistant coaches at the end of his 18-yard run during the Packers’ final touchdown drive. That run converted a first down and ended on the Vikings’ sideline, where Rodgers whipped his head around and said something to someone in the bench area.
“The coach said something first,” Rodgers said. Asked what was said to him, and what he said back, Rodgers said with a smirk, “He just said some mean things. … I did tell Harrison [Smith, the Vikings’ safety], ‘Make sure you pass on any apologies necessary if I offended him, and I won’t take any offense to what he said about me.’ That was kind of the message there.”
GREEN BAY – Three quick post-game takeaways from the Green Bay Packers’ 24-21 victory over the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday, which moved the Packers to 8-3 on the season:
Defining drive: Sure, the Packers didn’t make it look as easy as they did in their back-to-back 50-point performances in victories over the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles. But let’s face it: If they’re the NFC’s Super Bowl favorite – as multiple Las Vegas sports books had them entering Sunday’s game – they’re not going to be winning blowout after blowout en route to University of Phoenix Stadium in Arizona for Super Bowl XLIX. They’re going to have to deliver some game-defining, clutch drives in the fourth quarter. And that’s exactly what Aaron Rodgers & Co. did Sunday.
After the Vikings pulled within 14-13, the Packers took advantage of a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty that mad Mason Crosby’s 48-yard field goal possible. But it was the ensuing drive, after a crucial 7-yard sack by blitzing nickelback Micah Hyde led to a Minnesota punt, that was the clinching possession.
Moving 87 yards in 11 plays, the Packers mixed the pass (a critical 11-yard completion to Jordy Nelson on third-and-1 from the Green Bay 29-yard line) and the run (Eddie Lacy’s 15-yard burst to the Minnesota 15-yard line) and threw in a dash of Rodgers scrambling (an 18-yard pickup against a seven-man rush) during a 6 minute 18 second march that ended in a 10-yard Lacy TD on a shovel pass from Rodgers. It was a slow, painful demise for the Vikings’ hopes of an upset.
One very long yard: It’s hard to imagine a more exciting, entertaining – and longer – 1-yard touchdown pass than the one Rodgers threw to Richard Rodgers during the second quarter. On first-and-goal from the Vikings’ 1, the Packers put three tight ends – Richard Rodgers, Andrew Quarless and Justin Perillo – on the field along with Lacy and fullback John Kuhn. Aaron Rodgers then play-action faked and rolled to his right. Under heavy pressure, he threw back to the opposite side of the field from about the spot where the number 10 delineates the 10-yard line and there was Richard Rodgers, who was so wide open that if you were watching on TV, he was the only person in the frame. The rookie tight end merely waited for the QB’s rainbow to come down to him just a few yards inside the left sideline.
Missing the mark: While the defense did enough to win – barely – it was hard not to watch Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater miss receiver after receiver and wonder what a more accurate thrower might have done. Just as Philadelphia’s Mark Sanchez, the Eagles’ backup behind Nick Foles, was troublingly inaccurate a week earlier at Lambeau Field, the Packers defense certainly benefitted from the rookie Bridgewater missing several throws, frequently high.
Once Bridgewater started hitting his mark – during a touchdown drive that pulled the Vikings to within 24-21 – the Packers were fortunate that it was too little, too late by then. Taking over with 3:23 to go, the Packers were able to salt away the clock with running back Eddie Lacy (25 carries, 125 yards) and hold on to win. You wonder if New England’s Tom Brady, who’s only one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, will have the same accuracy issues next week at Lambeau Field. The guess here is that the defense will have to be much more on its game than it was on Sunday against Bridgewater.
GREEN BAY – Once again, just as Nick Perry was hitting his stride as an outside linebacker, the injury bug has bit him. Now, the question is whether the Green Bay Packers third-year outside linebacker will be able to play through a shoulder injury that has him listed as questionable for Sunday’s game at Minnesota.
Perry, who has three sacks, 18 tackles, one fumble recovery and one pass breakup this season, had been starting at outside linebacker in place of Clay Matthews to accommodate Matthews’ move inside. Matthews is probable with a groin injury.
If Perry can’t go, it could limit how much the Packers can use Matthews inside. The other options at outside linebacker are Mike Neal, Julius Peppers and rookie Jayrone Elliott, who didn’t play last week because of a groin injury.
Here’s a look at the full, official injury report from Friday:
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Perry is “improving” and that he would take a look at Perry during Saturday’s practice before the team departs for Minneapolis.
Asked if the Packers’ defensive game plan would change without Perry available, McCarthy replied, “It will adjust, no doubt. Certain reps will go to different players obviously. But we’re prepared for that. That’s really why you operate in the different personnel groups during the week, which we have. We’ll be ready to go either way.”
Meanwhile, Jones reinjured the ankle in practice Thursday that he initially hurt against the Vikings on Oct. 2.
GREEN BAY – For the first time since they suffered their injuries at New Orleans on Oct. 26, Green Bay Packers starting guards Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang took part in a practice in pads Thursday inside the Don Hutson Center.
Lang, who suffered an ankle injury against the Saints, and Sitton, who tore a ligament in his left big toe, haven’t missed any games with their injuries, having started and played in victories over Chicago on Nov. 9 and Philadelphia last Sunday, and they were expected to play at Minnesota this week whether they practiced or not.
But after both sat out Wednesday’s work, they were in pads and ready to go Thursday, although they were listed as limited participants. Last Thursday, both were listed as having taken part in practice on a limited basis, but their work this week was clearly more extensive.
Here’s a look at the full, official injury report from Thursday:
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said after practice that he still doesn’t feel the need to overwork the two guards, who are seeing what they need to see in jogthroughs and in meetings.
“T.J. and Josh have different injuries, so it’s something that’s evaluated throughout the week,” McCarthy said. “I’m not really concerned about their team reps because they do all the walkthroughs and pre-practice stuff and so forth, so they’re still getting their reps, they’re just not getting the full-speed team reps.”
McCarthy all but officially ruled out Bostick, and he didn’t sound particularly optimistic about Perry, who has been starting outside since Matthews moved inside.
“Just getting better. That was what they told me. Once again, we’ll get through tomorrow and see what he can do Saturday,” McCarthy said.
Meanwhile, Matthews said his groin injury isn’t as bad as the one he suffered at Detroit in Week 3, which wasn’t severe enough to keep him out of the following week’s game at Chicago but did limit him from running full speed at times against the Bears.
“I feel good. So, I don’t think there were will be any limitations going into this weekend,” Matthews said. “I think we’re just being more cautious than anything. I was able to go out there against Chicago, cautiously, of course. I feel like the progression I’m making this week as opposed to maybe Week 3 and 4 is ahead of where I was."
Bush, who has missed just six of a possible 132 games in his career with injuries, said he expects to play, too.
“I’m not really worried. I plan on playing,” said Bush, who missed four games last season with a hamstring injury. “I’ve got the itch to get out there but I have to be smart at the same time.”
GREEN BAY – At the end of training camp, David Bakhtiari strutted around the Green Bay Packers’ locker room wearing a crew t-shirt from Pitch Perfect 2.
Now we know why.
Although the second-year left tackle and his offensive linemates have never been shy about being fans of Pitch Perfect, the popular 2012 a cappella comedy starring Anna Kendrick, they did a good job of keeping this secret: They’re in the sequel.
The Pitch Perfect 2 trailer appeared on YouTube on Thursday, and included is a scene with linebacker Clay Matthews, Bakhtiari and fellow Pitch Perfect-obsessed offensive linemen T.J. Lang, Don Barclay and Josh Sitton during a competition. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' younger brother, Jordan, is also in the group.
The process appears to have started last December, when Bakhtiari Tweeted to actress Alexis Knapp, who plays Stacie in the first film. The linemen had been liberally quoting the film and talking openly about how much they loved it, both on social media and in casual locker-room conversation.
Barclay and Lang later added to the conversation:
The film opens May 15. The Packers appear in the trailer around the 1-minute mark.