"Outside of the one missed tackle that he had early on, I think he's been solid," Green Bay Packers safeties coach Darren Perry said on Friday, recalling the missed tackle on Steven Jackson on the first series of the Oct. 16 game against St. Louis. "He's still playing winning football for us, so I have no complaints."
Burnett started the season with a bang with three interceptions and a sack in the first three games. He broke his hand at practice on Oct. 13, and has been steady if not spectacular in the two games with the bulky cast. He's second on the team with 53 tackles, including 10 against the Rams and four against the Vikings the following week.
"I could only imagine not being able to really grab and play with that confidence in terms of doing the things that you can normally do if you didn't have that thing slowing you down," Perry said. "He hasn't been complaining. No excuses. He's out there and he's giving us what he's got."
Perry said there's no room for excuses, and Burnett isn't about to make any, even though he's essentially tackling people with one hand because the fingers on his right hand are enveloped in the cast. He's had to compensate with an even stronger focus on fundamentals, which, in the long run, might make him a better player.
Burnett continues to wear the big cast at practice, with Perry hopeful that Burnett will be able to downsize in a couple weeks.
"Yeah, you really appreciate something when it's all wrapped up," Burnett said. "You're really tuned in and focused with your techniques with the club on."
Packers injury report
Out — LT Chad Clifton (hamstring/knee); DE Mike Neal (knee). Probable — S Morgan Burnett (hand; full participation); OLB Jamari Lattimore (shoulder; full); OLB Clay Matthews (quad; limited); CB Sam Shields (concussion; full); G Josh Sitton (knee; limited); OLB Frank Zombo (knee; full).
Chargers injury report
Out — DE Luis Castillo (tibia); G Kris Dielman (concussion). Doubtful — LB Shaun Phillips (foot; did not participate). Questionable — LB Na'il Diggs (knee; did not participate); WR Malcom Floyd (hip; did not participate); RB Ryan Mathews (groin; did not participate). Probable — RB Curtis Brinkley (concussion; full); TE Antonio Gates (not injury related; full); G Tyronne Green (hand; full); WR Vincent Jackson (hamstring; full); RB Michael Tolbert (hamstring; full).
Castillo, Dielman, Phillips, Diggs, Floyd and Mathews sat out all week. All but Diggs — the former Packer — are starters.
Assuming Mathews doesn't play, Tolbert would start and Brinkley — who gained clearance from his concussion on Friday — would be the backup. The 5-foot-9 Tolbert is listed at 243 pounds. He hasn't done much this year (163 yards, 3.5 average) but rushed for 735 yards and 11 touchdowns last season.
Has not been released.
— Aaron Rodgers was on XX Sports Radio in San Diego. Among other things, he was asked if he's upset that other players have borrowed his championship-belt celebration. "No, not at all. I love it, I really do. Jimmy Graham, the talented tight end for the Saints, did it opening night here in Green Bay this season. Different guys have done it from time to time. … I got a text from somebody that made me laugh late last season. It said, ‘You know you've made it when … you have your celebration copied.' That whole celebration started as just a device to taunt our own No. 1 defense to get them to play harder in practice. … Now it's bigger than I ever thought it would be."
For the full transcript from SportsRadioInterviews.com, CLICK HERE.
— Defensive coordinator Dom Capers, on whether Shields learned a lesson from the concussion he sustained against St. Louis: "Well, Sam's an aggressive thinker when he gets the ball in his hands. He knows he's got that speed, and no matter where he is, he think he's going to take it and score. That's one of the things about being a young guy, you get clobbered a couple of times like that, your judgment improves, I think."
— Floyd and Jackson, the Chargers' starting receivers, have worked out with Rodgers in past offseasons at North County High School in Delmar, Calif. Chris Jenkins of the San Diego Union-Tribune asked Floyd about Rodgers' rocket arm, which was a focus of the Sports Illustrated cover story. "Yeah, it's a ball I'd rather not catch," said Floyd. "When you're running in on a slant, you don't want to catch a hot ball like that. I love Philip (Rivers' throws)."
— San Diego's coaching staff had crowd noised pumped into Friday's practice to assist the defense. "It's doing our defensive signals," coach Norv Turner told reporters in San Diego. "(The Packers use) a lot of personnel groups, spread you out pretty good, so we're being sure our communication is good."
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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.