Notebook: Losing Chillar is Big

Brandon Chillar would have matched up against 49ers tight end Vernon Davis and play on special teams. Plus, the opening injury report, roster moves and a much more from a busy Wednesday.

The Green Bay Packers put their 12th and 13th players on injured reserve on Tuesday. While neither added to their league-leading total of six starters on IR, losing Brandon Chillar was a big blow with tight end Vernon Davis being the most dangerous member of the San Francisco 49ers' offense.

In last year's game at Lambeau Field, Davis caught six passes for 108 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter as the 49ers rallied from a 23-3 halftime deficit before losing 30-24.

"I think last year's game is an excellent illustration of what we think about Vernon because he did such a great job in that second half," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said on Wednesday. "The vertical big plays that he hit on us really gave the 49ers an opportunity to get back in the game. He's a unique player. What I like about him is he's tough and physical in the run game part of it, too. He's not just a receiver."

Chillar was the linebacker the Packers liked to use against tight ends. Without him for the rest of the season because of his injured shoulder, the Packers will rely on starters Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk. Bishop leads the linebackers with six passes defensed and Hawk has two interceptions, but playing the run is their strength.

"When you can stretch a defense vertically like he does, it not only gives himself opportunities, but it makes the guys on the outside better," McCarthy said. "I'm a big believer in the fastest way to the end zone is through the post. You can never have enough big guys that can play inside and stretch it, and I think he's definitely one of the premier big guys in the league to play inside and get vertical."

Going without Chillar and Spencer Havner also will hurt a special teams that hasn't been a strong suit to begin with. With both injured last week, the Falcons got the ball past midfield after the Packers kicked off following their tying touchdown. The 49ers feature Ted Ginn on kickoffs (24.7-yard average) and punts (11.1-yard average).

"It's no secret when you have injuries, the first unit that is challenged is your special teams, and it's been going on every week for us," McCarthy said. "This is our 12th game of the season and we are going to line up with our 12th different punt unit. That's just part of the challenge. I am very confident in the way they are coached. These guys are putting extra time in. They are here on their off day. They are here Tuesday night. The Tuesday night meeting is growing and growing each week. The commitment is there."

Packers injury report

Did not participate: S Atari Bigby (hamstring); WR Greg Jennings (foot); CB Pat Lee (ankle); RB Dimitri Nance (concussion); S Anthony Smith (ankle). Limited participation: T Chad Clifton (knee); S Nick Collins (shoulder); DE Cullen Jenkins (calf); LB Clay Matthews (shin). Full participation: DE Ryan Pickett (ankle); CB Charles Woodson (toe).

The safeties are hurting, with Collins joining Bigby and Smith on the injury report. Collins hurt his shoulder on Sunday but McCarthy was confident that he'd play against San Francisco. McCarthy thought Nance might be cleared after suffering a concussion at Atlanta.

49ers injury report

Out: T Joe Staley (fibula). Did not particpate: C David Baas (concussion); LB Parys Haralson (ankle); CB William James (concussion); K Joe Nedney (right knee); CB Shawntae Spencer (quad); RB Brian Westbrook (ankle). Limited participation: WR Josh Morgan (shoulder).

Roster moves

With Chillar and Havner on injured reserve the Packers promoted outside/inside linebacker Robert Francois (as we reported on Tuesday) and cornerback Josh Gordy. This will be Francois' second stint on the active roster this year while Gordy was added to the practice squad early in the season.

The 5-foot-11 Gordy, an undrafted rookie out of Central Michigan, spent most of training camp with the Jaguars but was released before the final preseason game. At that point, Gordy thought his football career might be over.

"I was like, maybe this ain't for me," he said. "But Green Bay gave me another opportunity, and I took it and ran with it. I think (being released by the Jaguars) kind of added a little fuel to my fire. I always said, once I got on somewhere else, I wasn't going to be let go again."

Gordy and Francois will try to bolster the Packers' special teams.

"We're excited about him both special teams and as a corner," McCarthy said of Gordy. "He has definitely got some toughness. I really like his work ethic. He has the speed you are looking for. He would obviously start on special teams if given an opportunity to be up on the 45. He has earned this opportunity. We have history of bringing our players up off the practice squad and this is another example of that."

Four-point stance

— To fill the practice squad, the Packers signed wide receiver Terrance Young and linebacker/defensive end Curtis Young. Smith (6-1, 195) is a rookie out of South Carolina State, where he caught 40 passes for 542 yards and four touchdowns as a senior. Young (6-1, 270) is a rookie out of Cincinnati. He played one game for Sacramento in the UFL. As a senior at Cincinnati, he had 11 tackles for losses.

— Woodson will grace the cover of the gameday program while wearing a throwback uniform. "I like the dark brown look," Woodson said of the helmet, which is accompanied by a navy blue jersey and gold pants. "It's a good look. I'm looking forward to putting it on on Sunday."

— The forecast for Sunday is partly cloudy and 28. The bigger challenge for the Niners is coming east while coming off of a Monday night game. "It's going to be 10 o'clock on their body clocks; I think that can factor in potentially," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "The weather, I think we're just a little bit better (than other teams) at dealing with the weather, living in Wisconsin. We don't have a lot of guys native to Wisconsin I don't think on this team, but because we live in it I think we're just a little bit better at dealing with the elements."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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