The Green Bay Packers have had Brett Goode as their long snapper, Mason Crosby as their kicker and Tim Masthay as their punter and holder since 2010. Now, with the final two regular-season games and the playoffs looming, they’ll have to adjust on the fly to a new snapper.
The Packers put Goode on season-ending injured reserve on Tuesday. Goode, who had played in all 137 games since joining the team in 2008, sustained a torn ACL early in Sunday’s game vs. Oakland. He played through the injury before having tests done on Monday.
Green Bay filled the void by signing Rick Lovato, an undrafted rookie from Old Dominion who spent the offseason and training camp with the Bears. He’ll have to get up to speed quickly to not upset the success of the team’s specialists. Crosby ranks 14th in field-goal accuracy at 84.6 percent while Masthay has surged to 12th with a net average of 40.1 yards per punt.
“I think the practical matter is you do the best you can in this time frame,” coach Mike McCarthy said before Wednesday’s practice. “No. 1, having Brett here to be part of it, it definitely makes you feel good about that part, the transition.”
The speed of that transition will be critical. The Packers (10-4) finish the regular season at Arizona (12-2), with Green Bay trying to catch the Cardinals for the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. The Packers close the season at home vs. Minnesota (9-5) in a game that could decide the NFC North. So, there’s little margin for error considering the competition.
“The relationship obviously between Brett and Mason and Tim is a real strength of our specialist group and something that you never had to worry about here for years,” McCarthy said. “Rick will make the adjustment and he'll be ready for Arizona.”
During the portion of practice open to reporters, cornerback Sam Shields (concussion), left tackle David Bakhtiari (ankle), defensive tackle Mike Daniels (hamstring), outside linebacker Jayrone Elliott (quad) and defensive tackle Letroy Guion (foot) did not practice. Of the five, only Shields wasn’t on the practice field, though McCarthy said he has been advancing through the concussion protocol and was attending meetings.
Packers injury report
Player (Injury): Wednesday
LT David Bakhtiari (ankle): DNP
RT Bryan Bulaga (ankle): Limited
DT Mike Daniels (hamstring): DNP
OLB Jayrone Elliott (quad): DNP
DT Letroy Guion (foot): DNP
RB Eddie Lacy (rib): Limited
G T.J. Lang (shoulder): Limited
C Corey Linsley (ankle): Full
LB Clay Matthews (ankle): Limited
CB Quinten Rollins (groin): Full
CB Sam Shields (concussion): DNP
G Josh Sitton (back): Limited
Cardinals injury report
Player (Injury): Wednesday
RB Andre Ellington (toe): DNP
TE Jermaine Gresham (knee): Limited
S Rashad Johnson (ankle): DNP
DT Josh Mauro (calf): DNP
QB Carson Palmer (right finger): Limited
CB Patrick Peterson (ankle): Full
CB Jerraud Powers (calf): Limited
DT Cody Redding (ankle): Limited
DT Frostee Rucker (ankle): Limited
C Lyle Sendlein (knee): Limited
DT Ed Stinson (shoulder): Limited
LB Sean Weatherspoon (illness): DNP
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 www.twitter.com/PackerReport.