The Green Bay Packers' coach listed Pro Bowl receiver Greg Jennings as doubtful for Thursday's game against the Chicago Bears because of an injured groin. If Jennings can't play, the Packers would be without a major weapon.
"I was just watching both of our games last year again this morning," McCarthy said after Wednesday's practice. "He played very well in both of those games."
Jennings, for the record, missed the final three games of last season with a knee sprain and didn't play against the Bears on Christmas night. Still, McCarthy's larger point was right on the money. On Nov. 25 at Chicago, Jennings caught nine passes for 119 yards. In the 2010 NFC Championship Game, he caught eight passes for 130 yards. In a must-win Week 17 game to get into the 2010 playoffs, he caught four passes for 97 yards. In the 2009 opener, the big play of Jennings' six-catch, 106-yard performance was the game-winning 50-yard touchdown.
"Greg Jennings is a very good football player," McCarthy said. "He has played well against the Bears but just his route running, his ability to catch the football and make the first guy miss is unique."
Jennings ran on Tuesday and felt good on Wednesday morning. He went through more testing while the team practiced on Wednesday to gauge his "endurance through the drill," McCarthy explained. When McCarthy held his daily news conference, he said he had not talked to Jennings or the training staff to see how the testing went.
If the testing went well, the decision to play or not to play rests in the hands of Jennings and the training staff.
"He's played the whole time with myself as the coach," McCarthy said. "I trust the communication between Greg and the medical staff. So, that's when a decision will be made."
Packers injury report
Out: LB Terrell Manning (concussion). Doubtful: CB Davon House (shoulder; limited); WR Greg Jennings (groin; did not participate); RB James Starks (toe; limited). Questionable: LB Jamari Lattimore (ankle; limited); DE C.J. Wilson (groin; limited).
"I was glad James was able to practice today," McCarthy said of Starks. "That was something I wasn't expecting. He's making progress and looked good out there today. We'll see how he feels tomorrow. He'll probably be part of the plan next week. I don't know. We'll see how he is tomorrow. Something unforeseen happens, that's probably the only chance he'd have to play in the game tomorrow night."
Bears injury report
Urlacher missed nearly all of training camp and the preseason with a left knee injury that required surgery. He started the season-opening win over Indianapolis and got pulled once the game was in hand in the third quarter. Tillman, meanwhile,limped off the field with a shin injury early in the game. He came back for a series and sat out the rest of the game.
Left tackle J'Marcus Webb (thumb), who will face Matthews, was taken off the injury report.
— The defense was challenged by a lack of film on San Francisco's revamped offense last week and it's challenged again due to the lack of time and game film on Chicago's offense under new coordinator Mike Tice. "You really have one game to go off of," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. "Because, obviously, in the preseason, they're going to run their base things, so you've got one game to go off of in terms of the coordinator calling the game. You'd like to have more, to get a little bit better feel for the tendencies, but we know their personnel well. They've got the new receivers, their new running back, but their offensive line we've played against and we've played against Cutler quite a bit."
— This will be the Packers' final NFC North game until playing at Detroit on Nov. 18. "I think we just need to get a win, start making some steps in the right direction," linebacker Clay Matthews said. "Hopefully, we can even this thing up, get back to ,500 and start moving in the right direction."
— Since realignment in 2002, 70 of the 120 playoff teams started their season either 1-1 or 0-2, according to the league.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.