Fortunately for the Packers, they needn't rush Harris back into action.
Making his third consecutive start in Harris' place, Tramon Williams intercepted a pass in a third consecutive game, part of a defense that smothered the punchless Seahawks in Green Bay's 27-17 victory on Sunday.
"I don't think I could've written a better script," Williams told a group of reporters on Monday, "but I ain't going to say I'm surprised. I'm just doing my job."
If Williams sounds confident, it's because he is. But he's anything but cocky. That middle ground comes from being unrecruited out of high school and undrafted out of college. Williams was signed after the 2006 draft by the upstart Houston Texans, but he failed to make the 5-year-old team's roster.
About a dozen workouts later, Williams was signed to the Packers' practice squad in November 2006. In 2007, he came out of nowhere to make the roster, and eventually won the nickel cornerback job. This year, he shut out Terrell Owens when matched against Dallas' star receiver, and he said he hasn't been targeted as often as he'd thought since becoming a starter.
"He is a very conscientious young man," McCarthy said, "and he is definitely someone that personally I like to point to when you refer to a young player coming into your program, taking advantage of the environment and structure and extra coaching and the one-one-one attention that is available, particularly in the offseason, and it just shows the benefits. He's a great example of that."
Williams wisely has learned from veterans Harris and Charles Woodson, both of whom have prolonged their careers by relying on smarts and guile. Harris, one of the NFL's most physical corners, is a consummate tactician who has overcome average-at-best speed to forge a superb career. Woodson has evolved from supremely talented to supremely studious, and at 32, he's on top of his game.
"That's exactly the reason right there," Williams said of Harris and Woodson. "You take the little things that those guys do like breaking down film, the way they practice, just all sorts of things, and you go out there and use it during the game, and eventually you find yourself doing things right."
A few weeks ago, Williams was surrounded by dozens of reporters wondering how he'd fare as a fill-in starter. Now, Williams perhaps has shown he has what it takes to be a long-term answer at one of the toughest positions in the league to fill.
"Yeah," Williams, said, "it just shows that the experience you get, week by week, the things that you gain and get better at, you just want to keep being consistent and going out and practicing and doing everything that you're supposed to do — playing the technique and all the little things — and everything will take care of itself."
Meanwhile, the doctors who gave the Packers and Harris second and third opinions on the injury a couple of weeks ago have yet to weigh in on Harris' scan. It's doubtful Harris will be cleared to return this week, McCarthy said, but after next week's bye is "realistic."
Bill Huber is editor of Packer Report and PackerReport.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org