Offensive line and outside linebacker groups are hurting
NOV 15, 2013 3:01p ET
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The entire week went by without Green Bay Packers starting right tackle Don Barclay taking a single snap in practice because of a knee injury. But don’t count the second-year undrafted offensive lineman out from Sunday afternoon’s game against the New York Giants just yet.
“Don is getting better,” coach Mike McCarthy said Friday. “I had a chance to talk to Don Barclay earlier, the improvement each day throughout the week. We’ll see if he’ll be available. Don will be close.”
McCarthy’s hope earlier in the week was that a brace would have allowed Barclay to be practicing by Thursday, but that never happened. Barclay is officially listed as questionable, but McCarthy won’t hesitate to start him Sunday even without any practice time.
“He’s very conscientious,” McCarthy said. “He’s on top of it. He’s here around the clock trying to get healthy. He hasn’t missed a meeting, he’s in the walkthroughs in the gymnasium, and so forth. So, yeah, I’d have no problem playing Don.”
If Barclay is not ready to play, Marshall Newhouse would start in his place. Newhouse played 43 snaps at right tackle in last weekend’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, first entering the game when starting center Evan Dietrich-Smith suffered a knee injury, which shifted Barclay to right guard.
“I’ve always viewed Marshall Newhouse as a starter, no different today than in training camp coming out,” McCarthy said. “When Don Barclay won the job, I’ve always felt Marshall was deserving of being a starter as far as his level of play, so we won’t change anything.”
Barclay would not start at right guard against New York because Dietrich-Smith’s knee injury wasn’t as bad as it originally looked when he hobbled off the field. That means T.J. Lang can stick to his regular position at right guard and won’t be needed at center. Dietrich-Smith was a limited practice participant Wednesday and Thursday, but he sat out Friday. He’s listed as probable.
“Just his workload yesterday, we felt it was best to shut him down today,” McCarthy said of Dietrich-Smith. “I feel confident about what he’s been able to accomplish (this week), but it was in his best interest not to practice today (Friday).”
The Packers will have undrafted-rookie interior offensive lineman Lane Taylor to use, if necessary, and it’s possible that Derek Sherrod will be on the 46-man game-day roster for the first time since December 2011. Sherrod was added to the active roster last week but was not one of the 46 players made available for the Eagles game.
More importantly, but not at all surprisingly, quarterback Aaron Rodgers will miss his second consecutive start as he recovers from a broken left collarbone.
“He’s on top of every inch of his rehab,” McCarthy said of Rodgers. “He feels better. He’s definitely made a big improvement from last week to this week, but I don’t have a plan (as to when he’ll return).”
On defense, Green Bay will be without cornerback Casey Hayward, who reinjured his hamstring Sunday. The Packers will also likely not have outside linebacker Nick Perry, who had just recovered from a broken bone in his foot when he injured his ankle in the last game. Perry is listed as doubtful.
Two other outside linebackers, Mike Neal (probable) and Andy Mulumba (questionable), have made that a position group of concern. Clay Matthews (probable) will definitely play, but this time with a smaller cast instead of the giant club he wore in the Eagles game.
Cornerback Sam Shields didn’t practice Friday, but he’s probable and will likely play.
“I sure hope so, yeah,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said when asked if he expects Shields to be ready. “I think Sam’s played very good football for us. He did a nice job with the physical part, the tackling, last week. There’s times where he’s matched up on very good receivers and done a really nice job for us. I hope he’s ready to go.”
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