Packers still plugging holes on O-line

The Vikings sacked Aaron Rodgers a career-high eight times earlier this month, and the Packers are still trying to figure out who will play where on their offensive line when the two teams meet Sunday. Plus, an update on Rodgers' injury, other injuries and many more notes.

The Packers are getting four offensive tackles ready to man the two spots in Sunday's critical game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field.

Veteran bookends Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher took some snaps with the No. 1 unit at left tackle and right tackle, respectively, in the jog-through at the start of practice Wednesday.

The majority of the reps went to rookie T.J. Lang on the left side and Allen Barbre on the right side as the Packers began cranking up their on-field preparations for the battle between the top two teams in the NFC North. Still, head coach Mike McCarthy hasn't ruled out getting Clifton back in the lineup after he's missed three of the last four games because of a recurring ankle injury and plugging in Tauscher for the first time since he suffered a season-ending knee injury last December.

"I'm looking for continuity and cohesiveness," McCarthy said. "I think that's clearly what you look for in every offensive line, the ability to play next to the same guy more than one or two weeks. We've had a hard time hitting that target."

McCarthy, though, has been encouraged about the overall play of the line the last two games, after the Vikings sacked Aaron Rodgers a career-high eight times in their 30-23 win Oct. 5 in Minneapolis. Rodgers wasn't sacked in Green Bay's 31-3 win at the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, when Lang made his first pro start.

NOTES

  • Head coach Mike McCarthy revealed Wednesday that quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a sprained foot.

    The injury occurred in the Oct. 18 win over the Detroit Lions, and Rodgers was listed on the injury report last week for the first time this season. It wasn't serious enough to keep him from making the start and performing at a high level in Sunday's road rout of the Cleveland Browns.

    "He's having some tenderness with it," McCarthy said. "There's just some particular movements where it bothers him."

    Hence, Rodgers was held to limited work in practice Wednesday and also will be on a similar schedule Thursday in advance of the showdown against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

    McCarthy said the injury isn't related to the season-ending broken foot he suffered as an in-game replacement for an injured Brett Favre in a game against the New England Patriots on Nov. 19, 2006.

  • Rodgers on Wednesday was named NFC Offensive Player of the Month for October, which McCarthy felt was deserving but a bit odd for his second-year starter.

    "It reminds me a little bit of the way my father raised me. You never really knew where you stood," McCarthy said. "Aaron Rodgers, he just won the NFC Offensive Player of the Month, and we haven't even given him a game ball yet (this season). So, I think we need to take a closer look at how we're judging him."

    Rodgers said the league award isn't as significant as being presented a game ball.

    "It's great to get a game ball in the locker room because that means you've won," Rodgers said. "We've lost two games, so it's kind of disappointing still."

  • The Packers replenished some of their depleted depth at wide receiver by promoting first-year player Jake Allen from the practice squad Tuesday.

    The 6-foot-4, 196-pound Allen took the roster spot of fellow wideout Brett Swain, who was placed on injured reserve after suffering a major knee injury Sunday.

    Allen figures to be activated this weekend as the No. 4 receiver, since Jordy Nelson has been ruled out for the second straight game with a knee sprain.

    Green Bay also added two receivers to the practice squad - Biren Ealy and Patrick Williams.

    The 6-2, 212-pound Ealy, a second-year player, played in four games with the Tennessee Titans in 2007. The 6-1, 204-pound Williams was with the Packers in the offseason as an undrafted rookie.

  • The possibility the Packers will be without athletic tight end Jermichael Finley on Sunday compounds matters in the passing game, but McCarthy is high on Spencer Havner as a capable fill-in.

    Havner, a converted linebacker, replaced Finley after he suffered a knee sprain early in the last game and responded with his first NFL touchdown on a Finley-esque 45-yard catch-and-run.

    "He's an instinctive football player," McCarthy said of Havner, who spent most of the previous three seasons on Green Bay's practice squad. "He's a young man that's taken full advantage of his opportunities. You love to see guys like Spencer have success."

  • RB Ahman Green is in line to make his season debut as a backup to Ryan Grant on Sunday. The Packers signed Green, their No. 2 all-time rusher, as a free agent last week after he had been out of football since last season.

  • C Jason Spitz continues to be bothered by lower back spasms but might be able to return to practice Thursday. Spitz hasn't been able to play the last two games, other than make a cameo appearance on special teams in the last outing.

  • C Scott Wells likely will remain the starter Sunday. Wells didn't practice Wednesday, however, because he had what was classified as a "positive" personal matter to which he was tending involving his pregnant wife. Rookie Evan Dietrich-Smith handled the starting reps in Wells' absence.

  • WR Jordy Nelson has been ruled out for the second straight game because of a knee sprain. Nelson also probably won't be recovered in time for the Nov. 8 game at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

  • FB Korey Hall has been declared out for the third game in a row because of a calf strain.

  • S Derrick Martin didn't practice Wednesday. He is on the mend from a hamstring injury sustained in the last game.

    BY THE NUMBERS: 102.0 — Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre's cumulative passer rating in going 7-0 against teams for which Dom Capers was a head coach or defensive coordinator. Favre won the first six meetings as a member of the Packers, then won as a Viking against Green Bay with Capers as its defensive coordinator in the teams' first meeting earlier this season.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm very comfortable where we are today as a football team. It seems like he's happy over there in Minnesota. That's really my focus. As far as his situation over there, and if he's happy, that's great. But, going back to that time for everybody, really, in my view, it has nothing to do with Sunday's game." — Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, on reacting to comments made by Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre on Wednesday that things worked out the best for both sides a year after Green Bay traded Favre in an acrimonious split after 16 years as its starter.


  • Viking Update Top Stories