Packers Limping Into First Exhibition

McCarthy rules out 11 players for Thursday's game at San Diego, and other key players will play little, if at all. In all, 20 players were held out of Tuesday's no-pads practice.

If Green Bay Packers fans are eager for a sneak peek at Charles Woodson's potentially expanded role at safety for the Green Bay Packers this season, they probably aren't going to get it Thursday night.

If Woodson plays at all in the Packers' preseason opener at San Diego, it won't be much. And Woodson says he has played enough safety in the Packers' scheme that he doesn't need too much work to be ready for the regular season.

"I've played, really, a ton of safety here since I've been here, so I don't think they foresee it being any problem, and I don't see it being a problem," Woodson said.

Woodson mostly rested during Tuesday afternoon's training camp practice in Green Bay, and said he appreciates that coaches give veteran players some time off during camp and the preseason.

"Over time, you accumulate respect, I think it is, as far as veteran guys that have been around a long time, played this game a long time," Woodson said. "You've taken a beating, basically, for over a certain amount of years. You give those guys a little bit of time off, because they've done it. Younger guys, I think they have to go through it, and know what it's all about. I think that's really all it is."

Woodson may have earned the right to rest because of his veteran status, but several other players are expected to miss the preseason opener because of injuries.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy has ruled out at least 11 players for Thursday night's preseason opener at San Diego — including wide receiver Greg Jennings and starting left tackle Marshall Newhouse, who are recovering from concussions. And that doesn't even include the five players still on the PUP list.

General manager Ted Thompson acknowledges that the number of early injuries is somewhat concerning, although none of them seem particularly serious.

"If you have a pretty good balanced start at training camp when you have all 90 of your guys ready to go and then start picking them off, it usually accelerates when a position loses someone," Thompson said. "Then it puts more burden on those who are left, and then one more of those go down and it kind of works like that. Alarming is probably not the right word, but it's concerning because you don't want to tax your guys that are healthy too much."

That's particularly true at left tackle, where unproven third-year player Herb Taylor has been filling in for Newhouse with the No. 1 offense in practice. With that in mind, will McCarthy be hesitant to play Aaron Rodgers on Thursday — especially given the way the Chargers relentlessly blitzed Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler in a 2010 preseason game?

McCarthy said playing time for veterans will be determined Wednesday morning, but he is "pretty confident" Rodgers will play.

"That will be part of our discussion of how we're going to play now that Marshall has been ruled out today by the medical staff," McCarthy said. "Yes, we're conscious of that but at the end of the day, we need to play football. We need to go out there and get some work and make sure we're moving forward. We're not flying out there just to take people on a trip."

Injury report

New injuries: RB Alex Green (knee); TE Jermichael Finley (quad).

Old injuries: WR Dale Moss (undisclosed); RB Duane Bennett (knee); RB Brandon Saine (hamstring); FB Jon Hoese (hamstring); CB Sam Shields (elbow); TE Eric Lair (knee); T Mike McCabe (hip); G Ray Dominguez (ankle); T Marshall Newhouse (concussion); DT Mike Daniels (knee and groin); TE Ryan Taylor (concussion); ; WR Greg Jennings (concussion); WR Tori Gurley (groin).

Returned: TE D.J. Williams (back).

Active PUP list: OLB Frank Zombo (hamstring), DL Johnny Jones (knee), G Jaymes Brooks (hamstring), T Derek Sherrod (leg) and TE Andrew Quarless (knee).

Out for Thursday

McCarthy has ruled out two starters for Thursday's game, Newhouse and Jennings, as well as Bennett, Dominguez, Gurley, Hoese, Lair, McCabe, Saine, Shields and Taylor.

"Jermichael Finley had his quad kind of flared up on him. We'll make a decision tomorrow," McCarthy said. "Alex Green, we've actually planned this out the last couple of days. We've had him on a rep count, but I feel pretty confident that he would be OK to go. Tomorrow's evaluation and playing time reports will answer that question."

The week ahead

There is no practice on Wednesday as the team flies to San Diego for the preseason opener at 7 p.m. on Thursday. After a day off on Friday, the team practices at 7 p.m. on Saturday and 11:15 a.m. on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The start times on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday are all changes from the original schedule.

Four-point stance

— Because of the lengthy injury list, Tuesday's practice was supposed to be in pads but was switched to shells, meaning no contact. "Alarming is probably not the right word, but it's concerning because you don't want to tax your guys that are healthy too much," Thompson said.

— Because it was a no-pads practice, not much of anything noteworthy took place. Among the highlights, Davon House broke up passes from Aaron Rodgers intended for Jordy Nelson and James Jones in the end zone. Jarrett Bush had an interception off a drop by Tom Crabtree.

— If Woodson ends up being one of the veterans who doesn't play Thursday, he said he will try to point out things to his younger teammates without being too intrusive. "I try to really just point out the obvious things that I might see with a young guy when he's out there," Woodson said. "Try to maybe get them to see the game from my perspective, what I've seen when I see an offense line up. And just give little tidbits. I do try to give a little bit without trying to overwhelm a guy and trying to get him to play like I play. They have to go out and be themselves and get the defense where they need to get it and see things the way they need to see it. It'll be important for them to go out there and get their feet wet and understand what the NFL's all about."

— In case you were wondering, the roster must be trimmed from 90 players to 75 by Monday, Aug. 27. The preseason finale is on Thursday, Aug. 30, with rosters cut to the maximum 53 by Aug. 31.

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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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