Worthy Causes Headaches

Worthy (Joe Robbins - Getty)

It was only one week, but Jerel Worthy, who's coming back from a torn ACL, impressed while practicing on the scout team this week.

The Green Bay Packers have two more weeks to make a decision on Jerel Worthy, but his first week of practice was filled with positive signs.

"He did good. A lot of energy by him. We'll have to start thinking about where he fits," defensive line coach Mike Trgovac said on Friday.

Worthy remains on the physically unable to perform list after tearing his ACL at Minnesota in Week 17 of last season. He was cleared to practice this week. The Packers have until Dec. 3 to activate Worthy or put him on injured reserve.

"No, I don't think about the IR," Worthy said this week. "I just try to do my best to go out there and perform. I think health-wise, running around, I feel great, my legs feel fresh. Cutting, running, stopping on a dime is not a problem at all. I feel like I got my explosiveness back, if not taking the next step in that area. I just want to make sure that everything gets cleaned up as far as the technique. But I think that's the only thing that's holding me back from seeing the field right now."

Worthy said he was ready to start practicing last month. The Packers, who have been battling injuries all season, have stayed healthy at defensive line. They feel good about their run-stopping package of B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly, with Mike Daniels and Datone Jones providing the interior rush. Worthy would fit as a rusher, though he made a minimal impact last season with 2.5 sacks and five quarterback hits as a second-round rookie.

"There's always room," Worthy said. "I feel like I bring a different style to our defense. I feel like I can do various things within our scheme. Dom (Capers) and those guys upstairs have trusted me in previous games to do those things. I feel like I just add an element that's different than the bigger guys that we have upfront. It's my job to add a little mixture to the already-good pass rush that we have."

Trgovac was pleased with what Worthy showed — and lost — this week.

"One thing I told Jerel, he came back a little bit bigger than you would normally like," Trgovac said. "I told him, ‘Look, we've got a bunch of 310-, 315- (3)20-pounders, we don't need any more of those. We need your elusiveness and your quickness.' He's done a nice job of getting his weight back down. He's at his fighting weight now. He looked good and quick out there. Just had him on scout team and I know he had all kind of fresh legs and I know the offensive line probably didn't like seeing him out there. He looked good. One of the things that he'll fit in is getting into the pass-rush rotation. Particularly with all these injuries that we've had at outside linebacker, (we could be) plugging some different guys in."


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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 packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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