Packers may be without WRs for next game

BY foxsports • August 24, 2011

Aaron Rodgers is expected to play the first half at Indianapolis on Friday, perhaps without two of his top pass-catchers.

Coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday that promising rookie Randall Cobb will be held out of the preseason game because of bruised knees. And veteran Greg Jennings has what McCarthy called a knee bruise from practice Tuesday and didn't participate in the team's final workout of the week Wednesday.

McCarthy hasn't ruled out Jennings from playing.

Even if the Packers are missing two of the receivers they intend to take into the season, Rodgers won't have a shortage of quality targets to throw the football in what could be his longest outing of the preseason. Green Bay's depth at receiver is perhaps the best in the league.

''It's nice, definitely,'' center Scott Wells said.

The established quartet of Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones and Jordy Nelson from last season's Super Bowl-winning team has been augmented by an influx of talented young players in camp. Among them are Cobb, a versatile second-round draft pick, as well as first-year player Chastin West and undrafted rookie Tori Gurley.

West, a practice squad player for Green Bay in 2010, busted out with five catches for 134 yards in the Packers' 28-20 win over Arizona last week. West caught a 97-yard touchdown pass from No. 2 quarterback Matt Flynn in the fourth quarter.

Gurley is the team's tallest wideout in camp this year at 6-foot-4 and also could be in contention with West and veteran Brett Swain for the No. 6 receiving spot, if the Packers keep that many.

Green Bay also has some tough roster decisions to make at tight end, where as many as six players could be worthy of keeping.

''We feel good about the receiver group,'' McCarthy said. ''The younger guys are getting better. They just need reps.''

McCarthy said he won't play his starters past halftime against the Colts.

''We need more information on our younger players, our newer players,'' McCarthy said. ''I know you traditionally play into the third quarter. We will not do that. Our starters will not come out (to play) in the second half. I'm looking for productivity in the first two quarters, and we'll see where we are in the middle of the second quarter.''

Wells said the expectations for the starting offense to be productive Friday won't go away just because some players might be out with injury.

''We've got to do our job up front. We've got to give Aaron time,'' said Wells, speaking for the offensive line. ''Aaron does an outstanding job of getting the ball to everybody, spreading it around. It's great having that many tools, but at the same time, everybody still has to do their job.''

Cobb didn't practice this week and is considered day to day by the team. McCarthy wouldn't speculate whether Cobb could be sidelined for a longer period, possibly jeopardizing his availability for the final preseason game Sept. 1 and the season opener Sept. 8.

''He will not play this week, I do know that,'' McCarthy said. ''I'm hopeful that he'll be back at practice next week.''

NOTES: McCarthy said he anticipates All-Pro LB Clay Matthews will play Friday. Matthews returned to practice this week after missing last week's game because of a tight hamstring. The defense, however, will be without DE Mike Neal (knee sprain). Neal, who missed most of his rookie season in 2010 with a shoulder injury, had been projected to replace departed free agent Cullen Jenkins in the starting lineup. ... McCarthy said three players who have been out with concussions - DEs C.J. Wilson and Lawrence Guy and S Anthony Levine - also won't play Friday. . P Tim Masthay, who has been having a solid preseason, had two punts blocked in special-teams drills Wednesday and a total of three for the week. ... First-year LB Cardia Jackson stood out Wednesday with two. Jackson is battling for a backup job at the inside positions.



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