Saturday update: The Green Bay Packers held their usual day-before-the-game practice on Saturday, and it was a key day for five players listed as questionable to show they could play against Detroit on Sunday.
The results didn't go well.
Following practice, the Packers ruled out outside linebacker Clay Matthews (ankle/hamstring) and safety Morgan Burnett (groin),and downgraded elephant Datone Jones (knee) and defensive tackle Letroy Guion (knee) to doubtful for the home-opening game vs. the Lions. Along with cornerback Sam Shields (concussion), who was ruled out on Friday, the Packers probably will be without five of their top defensive players.
Guard T.J. Lang, the fifth of those questionable players, remains questionable.
Without Matthews and Jones, veteran Julius Peppers probably will play more than he has to date. He played 40 percent of the defensive snaps against Jacksonville and 47 percent against Minnesota.
How the Packers will replace Burnett will be interesting. Micah Hyde is the No. 3 safety but he's also a key player in the nickel and dime packages. Will be the Packers use Chris Banjo, who missed the first two games with an injured hamstring, or will they turn to rookie Kentrell Brice to play safety when Hyde is at nickel or dime?
Friday's story: Sam Shields will miss a second consecutive game with a concussion and five other key members of the Green Bay Packers were listed as questionable on Friday.
Safety Morgan Burnett (groin), outside linebacker Clay Matthews (ankle/hamstring), guard T.J. Lang (hip), elephant Datone Jones (knee) and defensive tackle Letroy Guion (knee) are questionable for Sunday's home opener vs. Detroit. Of those five, only Lang would have practiced on Friday - and he would have been limited.
Saturday's late-morning practice will be key for that quintet, and it's possible the Packers will issue a revised injury report later in the day.
“Letroy and Datone, their braces came in (Thursday) so we’re going to see what they can do tomorrow when we get on the practice field,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said on Friday morning. “Clay wants to give it a shot tomorrow on the practice field to see where he is, and no different with Morgan. And I expect T.J. to go Saturday also.”
Shields was scheduled to be evaluated by a specialist off-site this week. McCarthy didn’t have any specifics, other than saying Shields is "making progress" in the concussion protocol.
“We’ll cross every hurdle we need to,” McCarthy said, “for Sam or any of our guys.”
As a precaution in case Guion and/or Jones can’t play on Sunday, the Packers promoted rookie Brian Price from the practice squad on Thursday. As it stands, only Mike Daniels, first-year player Christian Ringo and rookies Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry are healthy, so Price would provide critical depth
“Brian’s done a good job since he’s been here,” McCarthy said. “He had a good preseason. So, he’s ready to go. He’s been part of our program and I like what’s done. I’m excited for his opportunity.”
Shields’ status leaves the Packers in a potentially precarious spot in the secondary against Matthew Stafford and the Lions’ pass-first offense. Last week, Micah Hyde would have been the fourth cornerback should something have happened to Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins or LaDarius Gunter. However, there’s a chance Hyde will be the starting safety in place of Burnett. Undrafted rookie Josh Hawkins, who missed the first two games with an injured hamstring, was full participation on Wednesday and Thursday and would be the next man up.
"I'm back and I'm better," Hawkins said. "It was real tough sitting out. I wasn't contributing, I wasn't practicing. I was just rehabbing. I'm feeling better and I'm back on the field with the fellas. It's exciting. My role, for the most part, is going to be special teams until they need me on the defense. I'll be right there beside Coach waiting to get in."
Here's the injury report. Player status listed in CAPS are updates.
|S Chris Banjo||Hamstring||Full||Full||Full||--|
|S Morgan Burnett||Groin||DNP||DNP||DNP||OUT|
|OLB Jayrone Elliott||Hamstring||Full||Full||Full||--|
|DT Letroy Guion||Knee||DNP||DNP||DNP||DOUBTFUL|
|CB Josh Hawkins||Hamstring||Full||Full||Full||--|
|DB Micah Hyde||Ankle||Full||Full||Full||--|
|WR Jeff Janis||Hand||Full||Full||Full||--|
|DE/OLB Datone Jones||Knee||DNP||DNP||DNP||DOUBTFUL|
|G T.J Lang||Hip||Not listd||DNP||Limited||Questionable|
|OLB Clay Matthews||Ankle/Hamstring||DNP||DNP||DNP||OUT|
|CB Sam Shields||Concussion||DNP||DNP||DNP||Out|
|DE Ezekiel Ansah||Ankle||DNP||DNP||DNP||Out|
|CB Adairius Barnes||Ankle||Limited||Limited||Limited||Questionable|
|TE Eric Ebron||Back||DNP||Limited||Full||Questionable|
|DE Wallace Gilberry||Abdomen||DNP||Limited||Limited||Questionable|
|LB DeAndre Levy||Quadricep||DNP||DNP||DNP||Doubtful|
|OT Riley Reiff||Ankle||DNP||Limited||Full||Questionable|
|DE Devin Taylor||Ankle||Not listed||DNP||DNP||Questionable|
|LB Kyle Van Noy||Calf||DNP||Limited||Full||Questionable|
|DT Tyrunn Walker||Calf||DNP||Limited||Full||Questionable|
|G Larry Warford||Illness||Not listed||Not listed||DNP||Questionable|
|TE Cole Wick||Shoulder||Full||Full||--||Off report|
|LB Antwione Williams||Hamstring||DNP||DNP||DNP||Doubtful|
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