PACKERS ROUND-UP:Tolzien to start Packer-Viking game
GREEN BAY - Scott Tolzien will start his second straight game on Sunday, when the Green Bay Packers host Minnesota.
Tolzien threw for 339 yards in Sunday's loss to the Giants at New York. But the Packers only got 13 points from that performance, due to Tolzien's three interceptions and the Pack's inability to run the ball and finish drives. Still, coach Mike McCarthy is impressed with the former University of Wisconsin quarterback. The coach says he's never seen a quarterback hit all of his big throws in a game. Tolzien completed nine passes of 16 yards-or-more against the Giants. Still, the Packers didn't try to throw off the Giants' tight interior defense with a no-huddle scheme. Offensive coordinator Tom Clements said he believes Tolzien could run the no-huddle, but he's not sure when McCarthy will allow that. Meanwhile, quarterback Aaron Rodgers now says he feels good after suffering a broken collarbone 15 days ago against Chicago. On the "Packers Live" TV show last night, Rodgers told host Larry McCarren that he'll return when there's a low-risk of a reinjury -- and he's not sure when that will be.
The Minnesota Vikings have new injury problems going into their Sunday contest at Green Bay. Coach Leslie Frazier said yesterday that corner Josh Robinson would be out for 4-to-6 week with a fractured sternum, and center John Sullivan has a concussion. Both were hurt in Sunday's 41-to-20 Vikings' loss at Seattle. Sullivan will need to pass the NFL's concussion tests before he can return. Running back Adrian Peterson has been bothered by a groin injury, and he'll be checked out during the week. The Vikings are 2-8 going into Sunday's game against the fledgling 5-5 Pack.
The Green Bay Packers' running game has suffered without Aaron Rodgers at quarterback. Opponents are putting extra defenders in the box, and daring the inexperienced Scott Tolzien to tear apart their secondary. Tolzien did manage to make some big throws in yesterday's loss to the Giants at New York, when he threw for 339 yards in his first NFL start. However, Tolzien is not nearly the big-play threat that Aaron Rodgers is -- and opponents are adjusting accordingly to putting a clamp on the Packers' solid running game this season. Green Bay rushers were held to a season-low 55 yards on 20 carries against the Giants. Rookie starter Eddie Lacy only had 27 yards on 14 carries -- and his longest was just five yards. Guard T.J. Lang said the Giants were bringing a corner or safety in to help stuff the rushing lanes, and it was at least one more rusher than his line could handle. The Giants had nine men in the box at times, as the Giants held Green Bay to about half its season average for defensive rushing yards. Packers defensive end Johnny Jolly left in the second quarter with the groin injury he suffered last week against Philadelphia. Back-up corner James Nixon hurt a knee, and did not return for the second half.
Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy says the Packers still have a chance to have a special season, after falling to 5-and-5 with yesterday's loss to the New York Giants. The Packers still control their own destiny in claiming the NFC North, with two division games coming up -- but they would undoubtedly have to win both those contests to have a chance. Green Bay hosts last-place Minnesota on Sunday, and then has a short week before playing at Detroit on Thanksgiving. The Packers have already beaten both the Vikings and Lions once -- and Green Bay is just one game behind co-division leaders Detroit and Chicago. The Packers agree it would be an easier road with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who's still getting over a broken collarbone. He may not return until the December 8th home contest against Atlanta. The Packers have a second shot at the Bears in the regular season finale in Chicago. For now, Green Bay is one of 10 teams at .500 or better in the battle for six playoff spots.