Packers notebook

Playing it safe with Woodson, KGB; changing of the guards; player notes

Head coach Mike McCarthy and the medical staff decided to not mortgage the team's postseason prospects and held the Pro Bowl tandem of cornerback Charles Woodson and defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila out of Thursday night's game at Dallas.

The Packers lost 37-27 in the showdown of NFC co-leaders with 10-1 records, which puts the Cowboys in the driver's seat to secure home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs.

Although the implications were great, the Packers didn't take any chances with Woodson and Gbaja-Biamila after both suffered significant injuries the previous Thursday at Detroit.

Woodson sustained an injury to his right big toe. Gbaja-Biamila also was knocked out of that previous game, with a sprained ankle.

"It was a decision that was made just basically because we have a lot of football left," McCarthy said. "If this was a playoff game, Charles would have been out there."

Lineup changes a strong possibility
Since the Packers don't play again until Dec. 9, when they play host to Oakland, the coaches will have ample time to consider and possibly implement a handful of lineup changes.

One such move came to light Friday, when McCarthy said he would be inclined to stick with the tandem of Jason Spitz at left guard and Junius Coston at right guard, with which Green Bay finished the game Thursday.

Left guard Daryn Colledge and usual nickel back Jarrett Bush, who started in Woodson's absence, were yanked from the game in the second quarter Thursday.

McCarthy alluded to the decisions as being performance-based.

Colledge struggled with pass protection, putting Brett Favre in harm's way early in the game before the quarterback finally succumbed to elbow and shoulder injuries on a corner blitz early in the second quarter.

Spitz slid over to left guard, and Coston went in at right guard for the last 2 1/2 quarters.

Bush was burned numerous times on throws from the Cowboys' Tony Romo and wasn't even employed as a nickel back after Tramon Williams was bumped up to the No. 2 corner role.

Frank Walker, who opened the game as the dime back, moved into the nickel spot.

Atari Bigby, the starter at strong safety since Week 1, also could be in jeopardy of losing the job. He remained a liability in pass coverage and committed a pair of 15-yard face-mask penalties.

Thus, rookie Aaron Rouse could be in line for another starting assignment. Rouse replaced an injured Nick Collins, who returned to the lineup Thursday, at free safety in the previous three games and had two interceptions.

Rouse was deactivated Thursday because of a sprained knee but should be ready for the next game.

Player notes
-- WR Greg Jennings has 10 touchdowns this season, the latest on an 11-yard throw from backup Aaron Rodgers in the 37-27 loss at Dallas on Thursday night. Jennings is the first Packer to reach double digits for touchdown receptions since Javon Walker had 12 in 2004. The single-season team record is 18 by Sterling Sharpe in 1994.

-- DT Johnny Jolly missed his second straight game because of a strained shoulder. Jolly could be back for the next game, Dec. 9 against Oakland.

-- DT Justin Harrell was activated for only the third time this season and the first game in the last six. This year's first-round draft pick didn't distinguish himself, coming up with just one tackle.

-- TE Bubba Franks was deactivated for the sixth straight game. Franks was hopeful of getting back on the field for the first time since he suffered a sprained knee Oct. 14 against Washington, but he had a setback in practice Nov. 26.

-- CB Will Blackmon was activated for a game for the first time in two months. Blackmon had been out since suffering a broken foot in practice in early October.

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