Packers get good news with banged-up defense
The Packers defense will be close to full strength when Green
Bay takes on the Chicago Bears.
Linebacker Clay Matthews, defensive end Ryan Pickett and
cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams participated in
Friday’s practice and are listed as probable for Sunday’s game.
”I have no reason to believe that they won’t play,” coach Mike
The lone missing starter is Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins, who is
out for the season with a neck injury sustained in last week’s
victory over the Carolina Panthers.
The status of Woodson and Matthews was up in the air until they
practiced for the first time, albeit on a limited basis.
Woodson, who had a big game with two interceptions and a fumble
recovery against Carolina, aggravated a foot injury. Matthews, who
recorded his first sack of the season, sustained a quadriceps
”To see Clay out there, that always makes you feel a little bit
better,” Capers said.
Pickett, an 11th-year veteran, left the game in the fourth
quarter with a bruised foot and didn’t return. He didn’t know when
and how the injury occurred but said he played hurt most of the
Now, he feels a sense of urgency to play Sunday because the
Packers will be without Collins, a three-time Pro Bowl selection,
as the Packers try to resolve their leaky pass defense. They have
given up a league-high 851 yards through the air after ranking No.
5 against the pass last season.
”We pretty much need everybody,” Pickett said. ”We’re going
to have to rally up, missing a big-time player like Nick back there
in the secondary. That makes every guy that much more
”We haven’t been playing up to our standard on defense. It’s
the bottom line. There’s no excuses. We just haven’t, and we’ve got
to get back to playing our style of football.”
Williams, who led the team last season with a career-high nine
interceptions, bruised a shoulder in the season opener against New
Orleans and didn’t play against Carolina. He said Friday it was the
first time he has missed a game at any level in any sport going
back to his childhood.
”I could have made the decision to go (last Sunday), but I
thought it was best that I stay out. I didn’t want to risk more
injury,” said Williams, who revealed he sustained a bruise of a
nerve in his shoulder.
Williams said he will wear a protective harness over the
shoulder if he plays. He tried it out in practice this week and is
eager to get things turned around for the defense.
”It’s hard to watch, especially when things aren’t in synch,”
The Packers overcame 400-yard passing performances by New
Orleans’ Drew Brees and Carolina rookie Cam Newton to win the first
Capers isn’t overly concerned about those high numbers since his
defense has limited the damage on the scoreboard with strong play
in the red zone.
Capers laughed off a suggestion in an interview with reporters
Friday that there’s no way Bears quarterback Jay Cutler throws for
400 yards Sunday.
”As long as we win the game, he can throw for as many yards as
he wants to,” Capers said.