Notebook: More Pain on Defense

Cullen Jenkins and Frank Zombo will miss the New England game, at least; plus much more from the day after a horrendous upset loss at Detroit.

The Green Bay Packers likely will be without two more starters on their decimated defense for the Sunday night game at the New England Patriots.

Coach Mike McCarthy announced Monday that defensive end Cullen Jenkins isn't ready to return from an aggravated calf strain, which kept him out of the 7-3 loss at the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

"I would say he would be challenged probably for at least the next two weeks," McCarthy said.

The injury to Jenkins, who is second on the team with seven sacks, isn't believed to be serious enough that it would keep him out the rest of the season. He was wearing a walking boot on his left foot on Monday.

"It's tough to tell," he said when asked if he'll play again this season. "We still have hope about it, we still think it's a possibility. Obviously, if they didn't, they would have probably put me on IR or something by now. We still have hope and we're still going to see how it turns out. It's tricky because you have to let it heal first. You never know when that's going to be. You could be feeling bad one day, two days later, all of a sudden you start feeling a lot better. You just have to wait for that turnaround point."

The Packers also will have to go against the Patriots without rookie outside linebacker Frank Zombo. He sustained what he termed a "minor" knee sprain in Sunday's game, which he said might sideline him for a "few weeks."

Midseason addition Erik Walden replaced Zombo in the fourth quarter. He's been getting Clay Matthews' reps at practice the last few weeks.

"It kind of happened early in the game," Zombo said. "I kind of played through it. And then towards the end of the game, again, I felt a little something. They said if it happened twice in one game, kind of shut it down. Obviously today, the day after, it didn't feel all that good. Just going to get some treatment and see how it feels."

My fault

McCarthy on Monday continued to take the blame for Green Bay's apathetic effort on offense against the Lions, who came into the game with a 2-10 record and pulled off the upset to end a 10-game losing streak against the Packers.

The Packers, who lost quarterback Aaron Rodgers to a concussion late in the first half, totaled all of 258 yards — they had only 68 yards in the first two quarters. Green Bay had three turnovers and managed just one field goal by Mason Crosby in its lowest scoring output since a 35-0 loss to the Patriots on Nov. 19, 2006, at Lambeau Field.

"Offensively, we performed poorly, and that starts with me," McCarthy said. "I did not probably do a good enough job during the course of the week. I did not see any signs in our preparation that led me to believe to be concerned about how we were going to perform. Frankly, the issues were clearly execution.

"I give credit to Detroit and their defense; they did a fine job against us. But, from a pure scheme standpoint, they played pretty much their base defense, and it was 'our guys against your guys,' and we did not perform well in the areas of fundamentals. We were outperformed — head coach, play-caller — all the way through."

More injuries

— Left guard Daryn Colledge exited Sunday's game with a knee sprain after making a tackle following a fumble by tight end Andrew Quarless in Green Bay's first series. Colledge, who has never missed a game in his five-year career, could be back on the field later this week.

Jason Spitz didn't last long as the replacement. The former starter was pulled for performance reasons after halftime and gave way to T.J. Lang the rest of the game.

— Fullback Korey Hall is on the mend with a knee sprain that kept him out of Sunday's game. The Packers managed with a rotation of Quinn Johnson and John Kuhn in Hall's absence.

Four-point stance

— The Packers are in eighth place in the NFC. The Giants (9-4) hold the final wild card spot, with Tampa Bay (8-5) ahead of the Packers (8-5) on tiebreakers. Of course, Green Bay hosts the Giants in Week 16 for a chance to make up ground.

— With Rodgers' precarious health, the Packers are considering promoting Graham Harrell from the practice squad. "That's part of the conversation last night," McCarthy said. "Ted Thompson and I talked about that on the flight back. We have Graham Harrell here. I think Graham has done an excellent job in his time here and he definitely would be a viable option."

— The Lions had success by stealing a few pages from the playbook of many colleges by running read options with quarterback Drew Stanton. It was something defensive coordinator Dom Capers hadn't seen on tape. "The two biggest run plays were the 15-yarder and the 17-yarder, and all you have to do is watch college football nowadays, and these NFL coaches sit around and watch so much college football, you've got a guy like Stanton saying, why don't we put that in? And it does slow you down a little bit. We made an adjustment during the game, I think if they'd have run it again we would have been fine with it. But we hadn't practiced that. It was something we hadn't seen and they got us twice on it."

— Patriots coach Bill Belichick, from his Monday news conference: "This week is a huge challenge with the Packers. Offensively, they have a great offensive football team. They can throw it. The quarterback is very mobile and active. [They have] an outstanding group of receivers: long, intermediate, short. They make big plays. They give you as many formations and looks as any team we'll play all year – and that's a lot. We've seen a lot of them, but these guys take it to another level. So, it's a whole new challenge of Green Bay and that's what we'll be focused on this week."

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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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