Woodson should be OK for Dallas

Standout cornerback missed the 37-27 loss at Dallas last season with an injured toe. McCarthy updates other injuries during a Monday news conference.

For the second consecutive year, the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys will square off in a must-see, prime-time matchup.

There are two huge differences this time, however.

First, the Packers will host Dallas for the Sunday night showcase. Second, cornerback Charles Woodson figures to be available.

In last year's 37-27 loss at Dallas, Woodson was out with a toe injury, and Tony Romo, Terrell Owens and Co. torched the Packers' secondary for 414 total yards, including 309 yards and four touchdowns through the air.

Woodson, however, emerged from his dynamic performance on Sunday at Detroit without "further damage," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said during a midday news conference on Monday. Woodson did not practice last week, and McCarthy said he would decide by Wednesday if or when Woodson would practice this week.

With Jarrett Bush and, later, Tramon Williams unable to match up with Owens and Patrick Crayton, the Packers were forced to play vanilla last season at Dallas. When the Packers' front four couldn't rush Romo, he picked apart the Packers' secondary.

With Woodson, Al Harris and a more experienced Williams, the Packers' defensive game plan can throw some different looks at Romo and have a better chance of slowing the high-flying Dallas attack.

"Charles Woodson, the way we defend on defense, is a big part of our game plan (with) different things we want to do coverage-wide, matchups and things like that," McCarthy said. "But still, you play the game as a team, and you win as a team and you lose as a team. Having him this year will definitely be to our advantage because of the experience he brings and the ability to make plays, which was evident in the Detroit game."

Injury updates

McCarthy said he won't know the status of fullback Korey Hall (knee sprain) and safety Atari Bigby (hamstring strain) until perhaps Friday, once their swelling has diminished to a point where a better diagnosis can be made.

Hall exited in first quarter Sunday. He was replaced by John Kuhn, who McCarthy said had a "plus performance on offense." Kuhn, who with Hall is a key special-teams performer, was taken off of the kicking units after Hall's injury.

If Hall can't play against Dallas, the tight ends will play a bigger role in the game since they are "interchangeable" in most phases of the offense. That would mean rookie Jermichael Finley could see his first playing time.

Bigby did not play after halftime with an injury McCarthy on Sunday said was diagnosed as a cramp. He was replaced in the lineup by Aaron Rouse, who had a mixed performance. Rouse, who missed much of practice last week with an ankle injury, missed a tackle on one of Calvin Johnson's two touchdown receptions.

McCarthy said Rouse had a strong game in Week 1 against Minnesota but "did not play up to that standard" against Detroit.

Meanwhile, McCarthy said center Scott Wells and rookie guard Josh Sitton could practice this week, with Wells the most likely to be on the field on Wednesday. Wells is an established starter while Sitton spent about half of training camp as the No. 1 right guard. McCarthy said he'd wait and see how they practice before considering any changes to the starting line.

"We're into a game mode," McCarthy said, hinting there will not be an open competition. "We need to make sure we're going to get the five guys that are ready to go ready to play."


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