The addition of Mark Tauscher wasn’t the only change to the offensive line.
With veteran Chad Clifton returning to left tackle after missing the last two-and-a-half games with a sprained ankle, Daryn Colledge was back at left guard, Jason Spitz was back at center and Scott Wells was back on the bench.
Getting Clifton back would provide a huge lift, because Colledge wasn’t able to block Cincinnati’s Antwan Odom and Minnesota’s Jared Allen in Clifton’s absence. How Clifton feels on Tuesday and whether he’s able to practice on Wednesday will be a key determiner on whether he will face Detroit on Sunday.
“Chad’s plan today was to go through the individual and, frankly, we’ll see how he responds,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “Tomorrow will be a huge indicator. I’d like to see him work probably at least two days later in the week just to make sure he is ready. So, we’ll see how he feels tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, arguably the Packers’ best lineman against Minnesota, Wells, appears headed back to the bench. Mammoth nose tackle Pat Williams didn’t even get his name on the stat sheet against Wells last week.
“When you lose, it’s hard to comment on that,” Wells said. “In a game, you have your individual battles, but it’s ultimately a team sport. When the team doesn’t do well, it’s hard to feel great about anything.”
Asked where a healthy Clifton and the resulting return of the Packers’ Week 1 line leaves him, Wells laughed and said: “I don’t know. You need to ask other people — the people that make the decisions — where it leaves me.”
A couple weeks ago, running back Brandon Jackson was optimistic he’d make his season debut during the Week 3 game at St. Louis. His sprained ankle suffered a setback during his first practice, however, and kept him out for games against the Rams and Vikings.
With the bye providing an additional week to get healthy, Jackson was back at practice and confident he’ll be ready for Detroit.
“Yeah, I will,” he said matter-of-factly.
Jackson hasn’t played since the Aug. 28 preseason game at Arizona. He has been missed, especially on third downs, because neither starter Ryan Grant nor DeShawn Wynn are good receivers out of the backfield.
“I feel like I can break tackles, run between the tackles, catch the ball and provide blocking and good special-teams play,” Jackson said.
Meanwhile, Atari Bigby (knee) didn’t practice, but McCarthy is hopeful his starting safety will be able to practice on Wednesday and play on Sunday.
The Packers were even at outside linebacker, with Jeremy Thompson (knee) returning after missing the last two games but with starter Brady Poppinga (flu) absent.
— Jordy Nelson will replace Will Blackmon as the kickoff and punt returner.
— With flurries flying, the team practiced inside the Don Hutson Center. The emphasis was on correcting mistakes — specifically sacks and negative plays in the run game — and installing the game plan for Detroit. Punter Jeremy Kapinos, however, did work outside.
— McCarthy gathered the players before practice. The message? “Number one, self-scout, clean up our own house. That was the first message. And the second one was to move on and get ready for Detroit. We break the season down pretty much into quarters. We have two on the road, two at home, and our two home games are division games.”
— With 20 sacks allowed, the pass blocking has been horrendous. Interestingly, however, McCarthy said they’ve done well in picking up blitzes. It’s the standard four-man rushes that have been the problem.
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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.