The Green Bay Packers are playing it safe in Thursday’s preseason opener, with injured linebackers Clay Matthews, Nick Perry and Mike Neal, standout defensive tackle Mike Daniels and first-round cornerback Damarious Randall ruled out for the game at New England.
Matthews missed five consecutive practices with knee soreness before returning for both of this week’s practices.
“I’m preparing to be out there, but obviously that’s not my decision,” Matthews said on Tuesday. “I’m encouraged by getting out there back to back and how I feel. We’ll see what that means moving forward. But I’m preparing ... to be ready whenever they need me. We’ll see if it’s Thursday, next Sunday (at Pittsburgh).”
If there's an upside, it's that Nate Palmer and Jake Ryan will get additional reps as the Packers seek an inside linebacker to pair with Sam Barrington when Matthews moves back to his old stomping ground at outside linebacker.
Neal missed the first eight practices after offseason hernia surgery before returning for Monday and Tuesday. Perry has missed the last five practices with an injured groin. Neither were expected to play against the Patriots.
“Preseason football means nothing,” Neal said. “I’m not going to make any money, or our team is not going to get any better. Any situation you have is not going to make any difference. I just need to be ready for Week 1.”
Daniels missed both practices this week with an injured ankle. Randall dropped out of Friday’s practice with an injured groin, participated on Family Night on Saturday, was limited on Monday and didn’t practice on Tuesday.
Randall is joined by fellow cornerbacks Tay Glover-Wright and Demetri Goodson as inactives. The Packers bolstered their ranks by signing Ryan White, who failed to make the roster last season as an undrafted rookie from Auburn.
The full list: WR Adrian Coxson (concussion), WR Javess Blue (shoulder), CB Damarious Randall (groin), CB Tay Glover-Wright (hamstring), S Sean Richardson (pectoral), CB Demetri Goodson (calf), OT Vince Kowalski (concussion), LB Clay Matthews (knee), OLB Nick Perry (groin), DT Mike Daniels (ankle), WR Jared Abbrederis (concussion), OLB Mike Neal (hernia), DT Letroy Guion (hamstring).
Bill Huber is publisher of 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.