Just in time for Philadelphia’s fast-and-furious offense, the Green Bay Packers might be getting back their starting outside linebackers.
Clay Matthews practiced on Wednesday for the first time since breaking his right thumb against Detroit on Oct. 6. Nick Perry, who sustained a broken foot against Baltimore on Oct. 13, practiced on the Friday before the Oct. 27 game at Minnesota but didn’t practice last week.
Both players were listed on Wednesday as limited participation for a jog-through workout that lasted maybe 75 minutes.
Matthews had the pins removed on Monday and practiced with a club cast on his hand. During the short portion of practice that was open to reporters, he did some light work on a blocking sled and talked extensively with outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene.
“Just spent a couple minutes with Clay,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “You know, the first time wearing the club, there obviously needs to be adjustments that will occur during the week. So, that will be the case for him to participate tomorrow.”
Perry understands what Matthews is going through. He played most of his abbreviated rookie season with a club to protect an injured wrist that eventually needed surgery and ended his season after six games.
“It’s very difficult but I think he’ll get put in situations where he can utilize both the club and his strong hand,” Perry said. “It’s kind of nerve-wracking thing just to have one but you still can do things with it.”
Asked if he had any advice for Matthews, Perry joked: “He’ll figure it out.”
Just what Matthews can do with full use of one hand remains to be seen, but simply being back on the field should provide a lift.
“With Clay on the field, he's going to create attention. History tells you that,” McCarthy said. “I'm just curious to see him practice with it. He's in a good mind-set. He has a pretty good feel what he needs to do and how he needs to play with the club from a technical standpoint both in the run and the pass rush. It would be nice to get two days of practice under his belt, but he'll be ready to go.”
Perry said he simply wasn’t ready to go last week after practicing once the week before. He said he “definitely” feels better this week.
“I'm hoping Nick can go this week,” McCarthy said. “Tomorrow when we get into a normal practice environment we'll know more.”
Packers injury report
Did not participate: G T.J. Lang (concussion), QB Aaron Rodgers (collarbone). Limited: OLB Clay Matthews (thumb), OLB Andy Mulumba (ankle), OLB Nick Perry (foot). Full: DT Ryan Pickett (knee).
McCarthy said Lang was “confident” that he’d be cleared for Sunday’s game.
Eagles injury report
Did not pariticpate: DE Cedric Thornton (knee). Limited: CB Bradley Fletcher (pectoral), LB Jake Knott (hamstring), QB Michael Vick (hamstring). Full: CB Roc Carmichael (groin), S Patrick Chung (shoulder), WR Riley Cooper (illness), WR Damaris Johnson (ankle), LB Mychal Kendricks (ankle), T Jason Peters (pectoral/shoulder), RB Chris Polk (shoulder/knee).
-- The Packers signed Scott Tolzien to the roster, as Packer Report reported on Wednesday morning, and he’ll be the No. 2 quarterback behind Seneca Wallace. Tolzien was signed after the final cuts so doesn’t have much background running Green Bay’s offense. But he’s put in the time to get ready. “That’s my job,” he said. “It’s a work in progress but that’s why you put in the time during the week. You win the week so that when the game comes, you’re ready to go. That’s my job. Guys are counting on me.” Tolzien’s spot on the practice squad was filled by receiver Alex Gillett. Gillett spent training camp with the Packers as an undrafted free agent out of Eastern Michigan, where he played quarterback for most of his career before moving to receiver during his senior season.
-- Safety Sean Richardson (neck) and defensive end Jerel Worthy (knee) will not be cleared to practice this week. Both players remain on the physically unable to perform list.
-- Derek Sherrod took his first reps as a member of the 53-man roster since the Kansas City game in December 2011, when he broke his leg. “He's on the 53 now,” McCarthy said. “Really, I look at him just like the rest of the guys. He's competing to be part of the 46. We normally keep seven offensive linemen, and I look for him to compete to be one of those guys up.”
-- McCarthy, on if the game plan Wallace tried to execute against Chicago was scaled back: “Nah, to be honest with you, we have a game plan, there were other young players that were on the field with Seneca. This wasn't about Seneca going out there with 10 veterans. Let's not forget what's going on with our team. There's a whole other element. The right guard is out of the game, so you've got two guys that moved on the line there. James Jones, obviously a little concerned with the number of reps that he was going to get. There is a menu of things that I was going to stay in. Now was that menu perfect for Seneca Wallace? You know, maybe not. At the end of the day, you have to call clean plays that players can execute. You know, in hindsight, I feel plays were there in that game to be made.”
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.