Packers Clear Grant To Face Falcons

Running back Ryan Grant's bruised kidney has healed and he'll practice on Wednesday. That and more from Monday as the coaches discussed the Packers' victory over Denver.

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said running back Ryan Grant has been cleared by the medical staff after missing Sunday's game with a bruised kidney.

Grant, who sustained the injury during the fourth quarter of last week's game at Chicago, said after the 49-23 rout of Denver that his urine was free of blood.

In his place, James Starks rushed for 63 yards on 13 attempts.

"I thought he ran the ball well," offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. "I don't know if you're ever going to go through a game, if you're ever going to be totally satisfied that your back made every proper decision. Just like I've never seen a lineman grade 100 percent because you're never totally satisfied with that."

Starks finished with 101 total yards after catching five passes for 38 yards. Moreover, Philbin was pleased with Starks' performance in pass protection.

"There wasn't a whole lot of blitzing going on, but he just moved around in the backfield as a protector probably better than he has since he's been here," Philbin said. "That's a real important part of what we do at the running back position."

In other injury news, Donald Driver's injured left knee may prevent him from being a full participant in practice this week but it shouldn't prevent him from playing on Sunday at Atlanta. McCarthy will know about right tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee) on Wednesday.

Nelson's contract

Jordy Nelson's contract extension will keep him in Green Bay through 2014. With the exception of tight end Jermichael Finley, Aaron Rodgers' targets are locked up for at least another year.

Pro Bowl receiver Greg Jennings is signed through 2012 in a renegotiated contract he inked in June 2009. Driver also is signed through 2012. James Jones re-signed in free agency through 2013.

"The business part of this is always a challenge," McCarthy said. "But every individual goes through it. That's really the focus of Ted Thompson and Russ Ball, and they do an excellent job with that process. We really stay focused on the football aspect of it, the coaching staff and the players. That's the understanding in our daily operation. One, to draft and develop them, that's our plan. And the other is to try to keep as many as you can. That's the plan, and we're probably in the middle of it right now."

According to a source who gave the contract details to Packer Report, Nelson's deal averages $4.2 million and included a $3.5 million signing bonus. It has cap values of $1.939 million this season, $3.825 million in 2012, $4.025 million in 2013 and $3.875 million in 2014.

Four-point stance

— The Packers and Detroit Lions are the NFL's only undefeated teams. McCarthy, however, said he's not paying attention to the NFC North rival, even as a casual observer. "I'm focused on the Green Bay Packers right now," he said.

— The Packers scored six touchdowns and punted once. But Philbin will find some things to nitpick. "We had some issues in the fourth quarter. Obviously, we had two turnovers, which are something we can't have in a close game. We were fortunate yesterday that we had a lead and it didn't come back to bite us. And four-minute execution hasn't been very good the last couple of weeks. Hopefully, we're in that situation a bunch this year."

— Philbin isn't in position to compare Rodgers' performance on Sunday with his many other tremendous games. Still, he certainly liked what he saw after Rodgers accounted for six touchdowns. "It's not something that I sit around and evaluate. There's really no time comparison in what we do, at least for me. I thought he played extremely well and hopefully that's going to continue. He was very productive. He made some really nice throws, I mean stuff that's fun to watch on tape when you're sitting there early Monday morning. It was an impressive performance. He's had some really really good ones, and it's our anticipation that he's going to have more."

— The Packers aren't getting much production from outside linebacker Erik Walden. He had two tackles but no sacks or quarterback hits, and for the season, he's got one sack and six quarterback hits. "I think he's been more consistent than he was because he knows the defense better," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. "I still think there's a lot of room for improvement for Erik, but I think he understands it better now than what he did last year. He's certainly getting his fair share of reps because we have a couple of guys banged up there. So, he's getting a lot of reps and normally those guys get better when they take all the reps."

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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

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