Morning State Sports Briefs: Packers' Jennings frustrated by injuriesWisconsin Sports
-- Green Bay Packers’ receiver Greg Jennings says he’s frustrated by his recent injuries – but he says he’s trying not to let it overwhelm him.
GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers’ receiver Greg Jennings says he’s frustrated by his recent injuries – but he says he’s trying not to let it overwhelm him.
The seventh-year pro missed two weeks of training camp with a concussion. In the season opener, Jennings suffered a groin injury – and he aggravated it last Sunday in the win over New Orleans. He’s expected to miss this Sunday’s Packer game at Indianapolis. He says he won’t return until he’s back to 100-percent. This is the final year of Jennings’ contract, and he knows he’s missing a golden opportunity to make a great impression – if not for the Packer front office, then for other teams. Jennings has 12 catches this year, averaging just six-and-a-yards. In his first six years, he averaged almost 16 yards per catch. Meanwhile, quarterback Aaron Rodgers says he can see just fine, after he got poked in the eye last Sunday. He said he felt good as soon as he got some eye drops on the sideline. Rodgers only missed one play in the win over the Saints. And he says he will not wear a protective shield on Sunday when the Packers play at Indianapolis. Besides Jennings, rookie safety Sean Richardson was the only Packer to sit out yesterday’s practice.
Packers’ nose tackle B.J. Raji was fined $7,800 by the NFL for throwing a punch at a New Orleans offensive lineman last Sunday. Raji said the fine was not as bad as he expected. He said it could have been higher – and he could have been ejected for throwing his punch. Raji said he was upset that the Saints’ lineman threw a block at his knees on a field-goal try. Raji was flagged for a personal foul on the play. He admitted after the game that it was wrong to react by punching the opponent.
Green Bay Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy said today that his special teams’ units have been the most consistent in the first four weeks of the season. He said the kick coverage teams have been very physical – and they’ve developed a strong attitude. McCarthy said the younger players are now making solid plays on the special teams’ units – and it’s an emphasis which has not always been there. The coach said the Packer offense is just starting to click, and the defense needs to find ways to get turnovers. Also today, McCarthy got his first look at defensive tackle Mike Neal, who returned to practice after a four-game drug suspension. He said Neal has fresh legs, and he looked to be in great shape. Receiver Greg Jennings did not practice today, due to the groin injury he aggravated in last Sunday’s win over New Orleans. Rookie safety Sean Richardson also missed practice with a lingering hamstring injury. Defensive lineman Ryan Pickett was also limited. Defensive backs Davon House and M.D. Jennings were both full participants at today’s practice. House is coming off a bad shoulder, and Jennings had a neck injury. The Packers are getting ready for their Sunday road contest at Indianapolis.
Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been named the NFC’s offensive player-of-the-week. The reigning MVP had his best performance of the season last Sunday in Green Bay’s one-point home win over New Orleans. Rodgers completed 76-percent of his passes – and he threw for four touchdowns with an interception. He was not sacked at all, and his passer rating against the Saints was 119-point-nine. Rodgers helped the Green Bay offense churn out 30 first downs in that contest – the most by the Pack since 1989. This is the sixth time Rodgers has won the player-of-the-week honors. He won it three times last season.
It appears that Cedric Benson will remain the Green Bay Packers’ starting tailback as long as he stays healthy. In the first four games, the veteran Benson had 91-percent of the running plays called by coach Mike McCarthy – and that doesn’t count the scrambles in which quarterback Aaron Rodgers gets out of jams. Benson had 64 carries in the first month of the regular season for 228 yards. Fullback John Kuhn has only had four carries for eight yards. That includes a fake punt in which he charged for a first-down last Sunday deep in Green Bay’s territory against New Orleans. Second-year pro Alex Green was expected to get at least some action, but he’s only had two carries for two yards. Running back James Starks has been out for the entire season so far with a turf toe injury. Offensive coordinator Tom Clements calls Benson a “workhorse” who keeps getting better as he gets more carries. Clements says he’d like to get the other rushers some work – but after he tries to get Benson going with his early carries.
One of the four PGA playoff tournaments will be played closer to Wisconsin next year. The Western Golf Association says the 2013 BMW Championship will take place next September 12th-through-15th at the Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, Illinois. That’s along Lake Michigan, about 25 miles south of the Wisconsin border. It’s the first time since 1972 that a PGA tournament will be played on Chicago’s North Shore. Tickets are now available online at BMWChampionshipUSA.com The BMW is the third of four Fed-Ex Cup tournaments which help determine a season champion with a $10-million first prize. Rory McIlroy will be the tournament’s defending champion. Steve Stricker of Madison is one of just three golfers to make the Top-30 in each of the six years the playoffs have been held. The Top-70 golfers compete in the BMW Championship, with the 30 best to advance to the Fed-Ex finale in the final weekend of next September.
Catherine Guido of Saint Norbert College has been named the Midwest Conference defensive volleyball player-of-the-week. Guido, a senior, had 69 digs in 13 sets in victories over River Falls and Eau Claire at the Saint Norbert Tournament last weekend. Kathleen O’Connor of Cornell was named the top player on offense. The Midwest Conference also recognized Abigail Pellett of Carroll in women’s tennis, and Sam Stevens of Lawrence in men’s cross country.