On the same day he remained in the corner of under-fire defensive coordinator Bob Sanders, Packers coach Mike McCarthy on Monday further endorsed the decision made two games ago to move Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Woodson to safety.
The position switch was called into question after Woodson's starting replacement at cornerback, Tramon Williams, gave up a few big pass plays in the Houston Texans' 24-21 win over the Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field.
Kevin Walter did most of the damage on a huge passing day for the Texans, finishing with six catches for 146 yards. Walter beat Williams for a 58-yard touchdown on the third play of the game.
McCarthy was quick to not put all of the blame on Williams for the Packers' inability to defend the pass Sunday. Texans quarterback Matt Schaub, who was rarely pressured, threw for a franchise-record 414 yards and two touchdowns.
"Tramon did some really good things. He did some things he needs to do better," McCarthy said. "But, the ability (for Schaub) to full fake and go back and sit in the pocket with throwing lanes, that's not the way we want to play defense. I thought Matt Schaub had way too much time to throw the ball."
At the time Woodson agreed to go to strong safety leading up to the Packers' loss to the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 30, Green Bay was short-handed at the position because of injuries to starter Atari Bigby and top backup Aaron Rouse. The rationale used by McCarthy and echoed by assistants was they felt moving Woodson to safety and plugging in emerging nickel back Williams in the starting lineup would allow the secondary to have its best players on the field.
Although critical of the defense's inconsistency in winning one-on-one coverage routes Sunday, McCarthy scoffed at the suggestion that the unit might be better served to have Woodson, arguably its top cover corner, back at his natural position.
"I would say really Charles' ability to be back there (at safety) has put him in a position to be around the ball more. That's what I like about his move to safety," McCarthy said. "And, just the fact that he is playing safety doesn't mean that you can't still bring him down to cover down on a receiver. But, not having Charles as a corner by no means means that we can't still have him line up on a certain receiver."
Jaguars lose Jones
Matt Jones' season is over.
With three games remaining, the Jacksonville Jaguars' wide receiver was suspended for three games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
The punishment stems from a drug arrest in Arkansas last summer.
Jones was suspended several weeks ago, but he appealed and that delayed the start of the penalty. The appeal, which was heard last week, was denied, so he'll begin serving the suspension on Sunday against Green Bay.
The 6-foot-6 Jones was having his best season and is leading the team with 65 catches for 762 yards and an 11.7-yard average. He has two touchdown catches.
Since the Jaguars have already been eliminated in the playoffs with a 4-9 record, his suspension won't have much of an impact. And his statistics are misleading. He was able to catch short slant patterns, but he wasn't a deep threat in the passing game and didn't show much intensity or fire on the field.
The Jaguars drafted Jones on the first round in 2005, and he didn't have much production his first three years as they tried to switch him from a quarterback to a wide receiver.
His departure means that second-year wide receiver Mike Walker likely will get more playing time. Walker has had a knee problem and has played in only six games. And he's had some trauma in his life recently. His best friend was stabbed to death in Orlando on Thanksgiving night, and his father died Saturday night.
But Jones' absence and Jerry Porter's groin injury means he's likely to get a lot more playing time against the Packers.
Jaguars quick hits
— QB David Garrard has an 80.9 passer rating with 11 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. Last year, he threw 18 TD passes and was picked off three times. Against the Bears, he had a 7.6 first-half rating and rallied to finish the game with a 61.1 mark, but he hasn't been the quarterback he was last year.
— RB Maurice Jones-Drew doesn't start, but he leads the team with 607 rushing yards on 142 carries. He also has 50 catches for 462 yards and is the team's best offensive weapon.
— RB Fred Taylor gained 53 yards against the Bears to move into 16th place on the all-time rushing list, but he only has 556 yards on 143 carries this year.
— TE Marcedes Lewis has yet to live up to his billing as a first-round draft choice in 2006. He has only 32 catches for 427 yards, although he had four catches for 43 yards against the Bears.
— DE Derrick Harvey, a rookie first-round pick, has had a disappointing season after missing camp in a holdout. However, had some positive plays against the Bears, as he had a tackle for a loss, a quarterback hit and a deflected pass.