Who's going to play weak-side linebacker for the Green Bay Packers?
Who's going to catch passes at wide receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars?
Those are two of the key questions heading into Sunday's game at Jacksonville. Packers linebacker Brandon Chillar was a full participant at practice on Friday, apparently over the groin injury that sidelined him last week. The Jaguars, already without leading receiver Matt Jones because of an NFL suspension, will not have Jerry Porter because of a groin injury.
Without Jones (65 catches) and Porter (10 catches the last six games), the Jaguars and quarterback David Garrard will rely heavily on running back Maurice Jones-Drew and tight end Marcedes Lewis. The explosive Jones-Drew, who will get his first start of the season with Fred Taylor on injured reserve, is the leading receiver on the Jaguars' roster with 50 catches. Lewis, an imposing target at 6-foot-6 and 275 pounds, has 32 catches.
The top receiver is Reggie Williams. The ninth pick in the 2004 draft has 30 catches for 295 yards and three touchdowns. The other starting receiver will be Dennis Northcutt (26 catches, 282 yards, no touchdowns).
"If everybody's covered, I might have to sneak off and get me a few yards running. I don't mind doing that," Garrard said in his conference call on Wednesday.
Losing Taylor, a fan favorite in Jacksonville and one of the most productive runners in NFL history, probably is a blessing for the Jaguars and a curse for the Packers' 27th-ranked run defense. Jones-Drew, a 5-foot-7 bowling ball, is averaging 4.3 yards per carry and has 11 touchdowns compared to 3.9 yards per carry and one touchdown for Taylor, who will turn 33 in January and doesn't have much left in the tank.
Meanwhile, Packers coach Mike McCarthy shed no light on whether Chillar or Desmond Bishop will start at weak-side linebacker. Bishop was an impact player last week, but McCarthy likely will go with Chillar, since he's better in coverage and the Jaguars figure to throw a lot of balls to Jones-Drew and Lewis.
"I thought he practiced very well again today," McCarthy said of Chillar. "His medical exam this morning was very positive, so barring any setback, I foresee him being ready to go for Sunday."
Packers injury report
Doubtful: Fullback Korey Hall (knee; did not participate).
Probable: Linebacker Brandon Chillar (groin; full participation); tackle Chad Clifton (knees; limited participation); defensive tackle Ryan Pickett (illness; full participation); cornerback Charles Woodson (toe; full participation).
Jaguars injury report
Questionable: Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (toe; limited participation).
Probable: Defensive end Reggie Hayward (head; did not participate).
Hale, Hale to the new Hall of Famer
In nominating the 70-year-old Green Bay resident, fan Dave O'Brien wrote: "Al recently completed his 45th year of service for Section 119, and he has hinted at possible retirement. My pregame ritual usually involves a handshake, a pat on the back and some joking with Al. I cannot say how much I disagreed with his comment in the paper, ‘I hate leaving this because I know within a year, a half a year, they'll say, ‘Al who? Who's the beer man?' How can you forget ‘the beer guy' that finally gave in and wore some gloves in 3-below-zero temperatures? I mean, I think I have seen Al wear earmuffs only once or twice in the countless games I have gone to.
"At 70 years old, I can only hope I am as dedicated as Al, while still keeping a great sense of humor. He is the beer vendor you want to have at Lambeau. He's the only one I am aware of who gives you his ‘blessing' after receiving a tip."
Hale is the 11th person selected to the Fan Hall of Fame. He will receiver four club seats to the Packers-Lions game on Dec. 28, a $500 gift certificate to the Packers Pro Shop and a road trip for two to a road game next season.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notebook: Packers-Jags injury impact
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