Notebook: Safety in the Secondary

Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins is on pace to play on Sunday vs. the Rams, plus injury reports and more from Thursday.

The Packers may not be in such a huge bind in the defensive backfield because safety Nick Collins appears to be on course to play on Sunday at St. Louis.

The Packers' safety situation would be dicey enough without Collins, the ballhawking Pro Bowler who had seven tackles in less than one half last week against Cincinnati. As it stands, it appears Derrick Martin will be the starter in the position held by Atari Bigby (knee) in Week 1 and Aaron Rouse (released) in Week 2.

Collins, listed for the second consecutive day as limited participation on the injury report, took part in contact drills at practice, coach Mike McCarthy said after Thursday's practice.

"Well, he's practiced two days in a row, so I anticipate Nick will go," McCarthy said. "He's always been a real pro when it comes to playing through injuries. So, I anticipate that he'll go."

McCarthy said Collins was off to a strong start against the Bengals, a statement that was echoed by safeties coach Darren Perry on Monday.

"Really, it's his leadership," Perry said. "Nick's not a real vocal guy, but when he's out there, you know he's going to be where he needs to be. He's going to do things with a suddenness that you look for at the safety position. Whether it's intercepting a pass, whether it's breaking up a pass, whether it's bringing a guy down in space on a run that's creased us, you know you always have a chance of lining up and playing the next snap because of his speed."

Without Collins, the alternatives are Jarrett Bush, who was a full participant at practice despite tweaking an ankle, and Matt Giordano, who was signed to replace Rouse on Wednesday. Giordano arrived totally unfamiliar with the Packers' schemes after spending four-plus years in Indianapolis' 4-3 scheme in which the secondary played Tampa-2 zone coverage.

Meanwhile, Brandon Jackson's hopes of playing his first game of the season suffered a setback when he said his sprained ankle "didn't respond too well" after practicing on Wednesday. He was limited to spectator status on Thursday.

For the second consecutive week, first-round pick B.J. Raji appears set to make his debut. The defensive lineman, who sprained an ankle in the third preseason game at Arizona, has been a gameday inactive the last two weeks.

"It's been tough watching my teammates, especially when I see guys like (Johnny) Jolly tired. I feel bad that I can't be out there with them," Raji said.

Injury reports

Packers — Safety Atari Bigby (knee), out; safety Jarrett Bush (ankle), full participation; left tackle Chad Clifton (ankle), did not participate; safety Nick Collins (chest), limited participation; kicker Mason Crosby (abdomen), full participation; fullback Korey Hall (shoulder/concussion), limited participation: running back Brandon Jackson (ankle), did not participate: linebacker Aaron Kampman (hand), full participation; defensive lineman B.J. Raji (ankle), full participation.

St. Louis — Center Jason Brown (knee), full participation; safety Craig Dahl (hamstring), full participation; guard John Greco (wrist), full participation; safety David Roach (groin), full participation; tackle Jason Smith (knee), did not participate.

Fired up

During the daily ball-security drill, inside linebackers coach Winston Moss exhorted the defensive players to go after the ball-carrier. The defensive players really got jacked up when Brady Poppinga took the ball from tight end Jermichael Finley.

Ryan Grant and practice squad linebacker Cyril Obiozor got into a shoving match on the final rep of the drill.

Meanwhile, rookie seventh-round linebacker Brad Jones could make his NFL debut this week. Jones, a gameday inactive the first two weeks, worked with the No. 1 unit on the punt return and kickoff return units. Giordano also worked in with the first team on both units.

Four-point stance (NFL edition)

— The New York Giants claimed Rouse off waivers. The Giants are 29th in the waiver pecking order, meaning 27 teams (not including Green Bay) took a pass. The Giants lost former first-round pick Kenny Phillips for the season after a two-interception performance on Sunday at Dallas.

— Not surprisingly, Cincinnati's Antwan Odom was named AFC defensive player of the week after recording five sacks against Green Bay. Charles Woodson, who had two interceptions, was nominated for the NFC honor. The winners for the AFC: Texans QB Matt Schaub (357 yards, four TDs vs. Titans), Odom and Bills K Rian Lindell (4-for-4 FGs vs. Tampa Bay); and the NFC: 49ers RB Frank Gore (207 yards, TDs of 79 and 80 yards vs. Seattle), Vikings LB Chad Greenway (two INTs, fumble recovery, recovered onside kick vs. Detroit), Arizona DE Calais Campbell (blocked field goal).

— The NFL record for most sacks in the first three games belongs to the Jets' Mark Gastineau, who had eight in 1984. Odom has seven in two games.

— Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez attempts to become the fourth quarterback in the last 40 years to start 3-0 as a rookie. Joe Flacco of Baltimore did it in 2008 and John Elway did it for Denver in 1983. The other? How about Ryan Leaf for San Diego in 1998.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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