Heading into the first big game of the season, the Green Bay Packers face an unsettled offensive line. Chad Clifton, who seemed like a long shot to be healthy enough to face the Bears at the start of the week, was a full participant at Friday's practice. However, left guard Daryn Colledge was absent after B.J. Raji fell and rolled into his knee on Thursday.
"Chad practiced more than I did today, which is a rarity," joked Colledge, who hasn't missed a game in his four-plus-year career. "For him to be out there, I was feeling kind of bad about myself. I think he's feeling good, I think he's ready to go, but obviously there's some uncertainty there. But, we're going to roll, and we've got the guys to get it done."
Clifton didn't even make it through the second quarter against Buffalo last week before being replaced by Bulaga. Coach Mike McCarthy kept a close eye on Clifton on Friday and said he was moving well.
Judging by McCarthy's words, Clifton seems like a good bet to start against the Bears with Colledge's availability in question. Colledge, however, strode across the locker room without a limp and said he'd practice on Saturday and play on Monday.
"I think the concern is more getting me ready for the game," Colledge said. "Did going out there and pushing it today outweigh the opportunity to go out and play this Monday? I think at this point the game's more important to the coaches. I've got a lot of practices in, so I think I'm ready to go. I'm going ot practice tomorrow, and I expect to be out there Monday."
Packers injury report
Did not participate: G Daryn Colledge (knee), TE Tom Crabtree (arch), FB Korey Hall (hip), DE Mike Neal (side/rib), S Charlie Peprah (quad). Limited participation: LB Brad Jones (knee), DE Ryan Pickett (hamstring), LB Brady Poppinga (knee), CB Charles Woodson (toe). Full participation: LB Desmond Bishop (hamstring), LT Chad Clifton (knee), DE Cullen Jenkins (hand), S Derrick Martin (ankle), LB Clay Matthews (hamstring), CB Brandon Underwood (shoulder).
Pickett's hamstring "tightened up" and Neal took a "step backwards," McCarthy said.
Bears injury report
At this point, it appears fifth-round pick Andrew Quarless will take Crabtree's spot on the 45-man gameday roster. Crabtree has been a situational tight end and is the leading tackler on the resurgent special teams.
"Quarless is ready," McCarthy said. "He's ready to play. He's been practicing and he's been pushing for opportunities to play each week. I thought he really came on strong the last two weeks in training camp, and I'll be very comfortable with Andrew in there."
Quarless agreed with McCarthy's assessment, with that improved play coming on a growing comfort level with the playbook and the on-the-fly adjustments that must be made instinctively.
"Unfortunately I've been inactive the past two games, but it only made me work harder," he said. "The thing about the NFL is just being available. You have to be mentally prepared and physically prepared. I'm definitely ready. Coming out of training camp, I didn't even know that (only) 45 people dressed. I thought (with a) 53-man roster, we were all active. So, I found out a little bit the hard way. But it was definitely a reality check, and it made me work harder. I'm here to be available. I have to take advantage of it."
— Bears cornerback Charles Tillman has 22 forced fumbles for his career, including a game-clincher against Dallas last week. "He does a great job, as they all do," offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. "The big thing is football is a simple game, when you learn to play in grade school your coaches taught you to pursue to the football. That's part of the reason, I think, they knock the ball loose. Certainly, they teach stripping, and they do it well, but the other thing is they gang tackle like a good defense should, they get a lot of guys around the ball, and if you've got more guys around the ball, you've got a better chance to pick the ball up when it gets on the ground. It's a pretty simple formula. They do it well."
— Running backs coach Edgar Bennett was a standout running back for the Packers before closing his career with Chicago. "I talk to (my running backs) about the rivalry and what it means, because that's a big part of it, knowing the history, the guys that have gone before you," he said. "But right now, it's about them being the next team on our schedule. It's a division game, it's on ‘Monday Night Football,' it's two teams that are rich in the history and tradition of this league. That's enough."
— The area got drenched with 3 or 4 inches of rain overnight and the winds were whipping, but the team spent part of practice outside. Chicago isn't called the "Windy City" for nothing, after all.
— Nick Barnett has a "little fracture" on his right middle finger but said he will not wear a splint in the game.
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