At Wednesday’s practice, the Green Bay Packers were once again without cornerback Sam Shields and tight end Jared Cook.
Shields has missed the last two games with a concussion and Cook sustained a high-ankle sprain during the first quarter of the Week 3 game against Detroit. Neither player is expected to be ready for Sunday night’s game against the New York Giants.
Shields’ absence is important considering the pass-happy state of the Giants’ attack. Eli Manning not only is a talented veteran who is surrounded by weapons in the passing game, but the Giants could be without their two top running backs. Shane Vereen, their leading rusher, is on injured reserve and Rashad Jennings, their second-leading rusher, missed Monday night’s game at Minnesota with an injured finger. Jennings (thumb) was limited at Wednesday's practice.
Regardless, given the strength of Green Bay's top-ranked run defense, the Giants might be inclined to air it out. While the Giants rank fourth in passing offense the Packers rank 29th in passing defense.
Cook’s injury leaves the Packers with only Richard Rodgers and Justin Perillo at tight end, with Devon Cajuste on the practice squad. Cajuste played wide receiver at Stanford and caught 28 passes as a sophomore, 34 passes as a junior and 27 passes as a senior. At this year’s Scouting Combine, the 6-foot-4, 235-pounder ran his 40-yard dash in 4.62 seconds.
The Packers notably worked out Kellen Winslow Jr. in early August and, this week, they worked out J.P. Holtz and Robert Housler.
Housler has some experience. He was a third-round pick by the Cardinals in 2011 out of Florida Atlantic. In 65 career games with 28 starts, he’s caught 109 passes for 1,166 yards and one touchdown – including 45 catches in 2012 and 39 in 2013. He played six games for the Browns last season, where he worked under Packers tight ends coach Brian Angelichio. He spent training camp with the Bears. At the 2011 Scouting Combine, he was 6-foot-5 3/8, 248 pounds and ran his 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds.
At Pittsburgh, Holtz caught 81 passes for 931 yards and 11 touchdowns, including 24 for 350 and four scores as a senior. At pro day, he measured in at 6-foot-3 and 238 pounds and ran a 4.79 in the 40. He spent camp with the Browns.
“The plan, as I stand here today,” is to move forward with Rodgers and Perillo, coach Mike McCarthy said before Wednesday’s practice.
For the Giants, starting cornerback Eli Apple and starting safety Darian Thompson did not participate. Neither played against Minnesota.
|S Morgan Burnett (groin)||Full|
|TE Jared Cook (ankle)||DNP|
|DT Letroy Guion (knee)||Limited|
|DE/OLB Datone Jones (knee)||Full|
|OLB Clay Matthews (ankle/hamstring)||Limited|
|CB Damarious Randall (groin)||Limited|
|FB Aaron Ripkowski (back)||Full|
|CB Sam Shields (concussion)||DNP|
|CB Eli Apple (hamstring)||DNP|
|S Nat Berhe (concussion)||DNP|
|TE Larry Donnell (concussion)||DNP|
|RB Rashad Jennings (thumb)||Limited|
|T Marshall Newhouse (calf)||DNP|
|CB D. Rodgers-Cromartie (groin)||Limited|
|DT Robert Thomas (illness)||Limited|
|S Darian Thompson (foot)||DNP|
|DE Olivier Vernon (wrist)||Full|
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.