Packer News Briefs: Pack expect Woodson to be back by Dec. 16 game vs. ChicagoWisconsin Sports
-- Green Bay Packers’ defensive back Charles Woodson is expected to return for the December 16th game at Chicago.
GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers’ defensive back Charles Woodson is expected to return for the December 16th game at Chicago.
The veteran Woodson has missed five games with a broken collarbone. Packers' head coach Mike McCarthy says Woodson is itching to play this Sunday night against Detroit at Lambeau Field. But he has not been cleared yet, and more testing needs to be done.
Once he’s ready, the Packers will need to determine how to re-incorporate the 36-year-old Woodson into their defense. Rookies Casey Hayward and Jerron McMillian have filled in admirably, as have second-year pros Davon House and M.D. Jennings. Hayward, the Packers’ second-round draft pick this year, has had five interceptions and 15 pass break-ups.
Meanwhile, receiver Jordy Nelson is not expected to play against the Lions. He aggravated a late October hamstring injury while warming up for last Sunday’s Packer home win over Minnesota. He tried playing, but couldn’t make through the opening quarter. McCarthy said he’s not sure how long Nelson will be out – and it’s uncertain whether right tackle T.J. Lang will be ready for the Lions’ contest. He hurt an ankle against the Vikings, but McCarthy says the injury is not as serious as Nelson’s.
Rookie tackle Don Barclay might have earned a starting job on the Green Bay Packers’ offensive line for the rest of the season. But we won’t know for sure until T.J. Lang returns from an ankle injury that forced him to leave Sunday’s home victory over Minnesota. Lang moved to the right tackle spot after Bryan Bulaga went out for the year with a hip injury – and Evan Dietrich-Smith took Lang’s normal spot at left guard. But Packers’ coach Mike McCarthy said Barclay played well enough against the Vikings to at least consider giving him the right tackle job. That would move Lang back to his original spot – as soon as he can return from his injury. McCarthy is not sure yet whether Lang will be recovered enough to return on Sunday night, when the Packers host Detroit. Offensive coordinator Tom Clements says the decision to use Barclay instead of Dietrich-Smith on the line won’t be made until Lang returns. Dietrich-Smith has been inconsistent in three starts. Last Sunday against Minnesota, he had a false start and a holding penalty. The Packer players are off today, and they’ll start practicing for the Lions’ game tomorrow.
For the fourth week in a row, a Green Bay Packer has the prospect of being fined by the NFL. Corner Tramon Williams said he thought he put a clean hit on Minnesota’s Toby Gerhart on an overthrown pass in the third quarter yesterday. But Williams was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness – and Fox TV analyst and former officials’ supervisor Mike Pereira said it was the right call because there was helmet-to-helmet contact. But that contact was not clear on several replays. Williams said he thought it was clean – but he won’t say too much because quote, “The league is going to do what it wants to do ... I’ll just sit back and watch.” Williams says he agrees that officials are cracking down on higher hits this year and quote, “Unfortunately, some teams have had to pay for it.” Last week, Packers safety Jerron McMillian was fined $21,000 for a late hit. The week before, Brad Jones was fined $15,700 for a hit near the head of Detroit’s quarterback. And tight end Ryan Taylor was fined 21-thousand for an illegal block on a kickoff return. The Packers’ win over Minnesota put Green Bay at 8-4, in first place in the NFC North.
It’s too early to tell whether Green Bay Packers’ kicker Mason Crosby has worked out his bugs. But he had to feel good knowing that his three field goals were the difference yesterday in the Pack’s nine-point home victory over Minnesota. Crosby has been on the biggest slump of his six-year career, as he made just 7-of-15 field goal attempts going into yesterday’s game. And many fans had their doubts as Crosby clanked his first field goal off the left upright, then missed a 53-yarder. Crosby said he misjudged the wind where he was kicking toward Lambeau’s north end zone. And he corrected it later by hitting a 47-yarder. He later booted a 41-yarder to give Green Bay its margin of victory. Crosby said the Vikings have a reputation for blocking field goal attempts – and the Packer line did a great job of protecting him. Crosby said he felt good about how he was striking the ball – and his holder, Tim Masthay, said those kicks had to boost Crosby’s confidence.
Packers’ rookie safety Jerron McMillian was a college teammate and a good friend of Jovan Belcher, the Kansas City Chiefs’ linebacker who killed his girlfriend and himself on Saturday. The two played together for two seasons at Maine. And when he heard the news on Saturday, McMillian called some of his teammates to look for answers – but no one had any. McMillian said he never believed that Belcher could do what he did – shooting his girlfriend and then going to the Chiefs’ complex where killed himself in front of his coach and general manager. McMillian said he caught up with Belcher when the Packers played the Chiefs during the pre-season this year – and he said shows that you never know what another player is going through off the field. McMillian said he privately dedicated yesterday’s Packer win over Minnesota to Belcher – but he wishes he had the opportunity to do something to help him.