Veteran offensive tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher struggled against Chicago on ...
"I don't know who told you that, because I didn't get sacked, so I'm happy with the way they played,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said.
Tauscher, 33, was less complementary toward himself. He was responsible for three of the Packers’ team-record 18 penalties against the Bears, none bigger than his holding of Julius Peppers that wiped out Rodgers’ touchdown pass to Jermichael Finley to start the third quarter. It was a seven-point penalty after the Bears blocked the ensuing field goal.
“I just need to play better,” Tauscher said. “I understand that I didn’t have a great game, and obviously I need to play better than I did last week.”
Rodgers wasn’t sacked and was hit just three times on 48 dropbacks. He had a big night with 34-of-45 accuracy, 316 yards, one touchdown and one meaningless interception on an end-of-half Hail Mary. Still, because of the tackles’ struggles, Rodgers was forced into quick-hitting passes. The long completion of the night was 28 yards on a bootleg to Jermichael Finley. James Jones had the second-longest completion, 18 yards, but most of that was run after the catch, as well.
Clifton, 34, played most of the game on Monday, a week after being benched because of sore knees. Bryan Bulaga got most of the first-team reps during Wednesday’s low-impact practice, but coach Mike McCarthy said Clifton is “ahead of where he was last week at this time, so that’s a positive.”
Zombo moves into starting lineup
Frank Zombo has gone from undrafted rookie long shot to the starter at right outside linebacker.
Whether it’s permanent or not remains to be seen, but Jones’ constant injury problems mean at least a temporary demotion.
“Frank Zombo is the starting outside linebacker today, in my opinion,” McCarthy said. “It is something we have talked about here since I have arrived. You have to be available and you need to be accountable, and Brad is going through an injury situation right now. I’m not sure if he is healthy enough to play Sunday, so we’re going to play the prepared players. We’re going to play the experienced players. I felt as a staff, particularly the last two weeks, that we have been way too up-and-down during the course of the week of trying to prepare players based on their health situation, and waiting on a certain number of individuals to get healthy by the end of the week. So it is something that I actually addressed in the team meeting today, the ability to prepare and play the prepared player over going back and forth all week. Frank Zombo is the starting outside linebacker today.”
Jones was limited at practice all of last week because of a knee injury that he played through against Buffalo. He was inactive for the Chicago game, and Zombo responded with one sack and two tackles.
"Frank’s a tough kid,” McCarthy told reporters during his conference call with Detroit media. “He’s earned every opportunity he’s been given here. He came here as a free agent. He went through training camp with a significant ankle injury and he didn’t miss a whole lot of time. Every time we put him in a situation, whether it’s practice or preseason, he just kept producing. It’s been no different than Monday night."
Packers injury report
Did not participate: LB Brandon Chillar (shoulder). Limited participation: T Chad Clifton (knee), S Nick Collins (knee), S Charlie Peprah (quad), CB Charles Woodson (toe). Full participation: DE Cullen Jenkins (hand), LB Brad Jones (knee), S Derrick Martin (ankle), DE Mike Neal (side/rib).
Asked if he was worried about any players being held out for Sunday, McCarthy said: “Not at this point. Coming off a Monday night game, we were in a jog-through-type practice. So, I think tomorrow will be a key day for us from a health standpoint.”
Lions injury report
Did not participate: RB Jahvid Best (toe), RB Aaron Brown (finger), WR Nate Burleson (ankle), S Louis Delmas (groin/biceps/calf), DT Sammie Hill (ankle), LB DeAndre Levy (groin), QB Matthew Stafford (throwing shoulder). Limited participation: DE Cliff Avril (knee/finger), S C.C. Brown (forearm), LB Zack Follett (concussion), CB Chris Houston (knee), LB Landon Johnson (neck), G Stephen Peterman (foot).
Stafford will not be rushed back into action, coach Jim Schwartz told Packers beat reporters during a conference call. His throwing shoulder was injured during a first-half sack by Peppers in the opener.
“He’s making progress,” Schwartz said. “Hopefully, we can get him going a little bit more each week. I think I’ve said this a bunch of times, we’re not going to rush him out there before he’s ready. When he’s ready and doing well, we’ll get him back on the field and not a second before. We’re talking about a throwing shoulder. Last year,he dealt with a similar injury to the non-throwing shoulder and was able to get back three or four days later. This is a little different circumstance. He’ll be ready at some time.”
— Seattle signed offensive tackle Breno Giacomini off the Packers’ practice squad on Tuesday. To fill the void, they brought back offensive tackle Chris Campbell.
— Former Packers defensive tackle Corey Williams, who Detroit acquired from Cleveland for a draft pick during the offseason, picked off Brett Favre last week. He seems to be a better fit in the Lions’ 4-3 scheme than Cleveland’s 3-4. “I think Corey is definitely more comfortable in this scheme, just competing against Corey in Cleveland,” McCarthy said. “He had an excellent play there on the big screen play he makes up there in Minnesota, I think it tells you a lot about Corey as an athlete. I think he is off to a good start.”
— The challenge of playing on Monday means a short week to prepare for the next game. McCarthy was pleased with what was accomplished. “I think they’re definitely focused. We’ve been in the building since 6:30, 7:30 this morning, so I would definitely say they’re mentally taxed. When you have an opportunity to really go back through a correction phase that you normally do on Monday, and then turn the page and go through a full game-plan session, and then go out onto the field. They’ve put in a lot of work today. I was pleased with the focus and really the amount of work we were able to get done today.”
— Running back Dimitri Nance, who was active for Week 2 but inactive on Monday, might be active against Detroit. He has impressed the coaches with his work on special teams.
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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 email@example.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.