Packers' Rodgers, Raji are on the mend
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- One day of limited participation at practice was enough for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. After admitting Wednesday that the calf injury he suffered in the Week 6 win over the Houston Texans was still "a little tight," Rodgers was feeling better Thursday as he took part in every phase of Green Bay's practice.
"He's been getting a lot of treatment," coach Mike McCarthy said of Rodgers. "Just talking to him this morning, he wanted to go today, felt it was important to get on it and see where he was. Once we started practicing he said he felt like he needed to take all the reps, and he did.
"Aaron had a good practice."
Nose tackle B.J. Raji, who missed last weekend's game in Houston with an ankle injury, practiced Thursday for the first time in nearly two weeks.
"B.J. definitely took a step today," McCarthy said. "As always when the player does come back for the first day, the examination tomorrow obviously will be very important. But it was good to have him out there."
Tight end Jermichael Finley, who, like Raji, was questionable against the Texans, was able to play 24 snaps in that game. Finley has practiced on a limited basis the last two days and impressed McCarthy in the process.
"First off, for Jermichael even to play in the game I think says a lot about him," McCarthy said. "I know the training staff didn't think he was going to be able to play after his exam Sunday and even Monday morning. For what he did between Monday and Friday to get on the field and show what he could do it is a huge credit to Jermichael.
"We put him on a rep count in the game. Once again, he's ready, he wants to go, he wants more. But I know our doctors are a little reluctant based on his examination and what they're seeing and the history with the AC joint. We're trying to be smart with him, but he's champing at the bit to play more."
Wide receiver Greg Jennings (groin), outside linebacker Nick Perry (knee) and cornerback Sam Shields (shin/ankle) were all unable to practice Thursday.
Nelson downplays significance of 3-TD game: Wide receiver Jordy Nelson had only one touchdown through five games this season. Considering he was third in the NFL a year ago in touchdown receptions, it was quite the slow start.
But in the Packers' 42-24 Week 6 win, Nelson caught three touchdowns from Rodgers and looked every bit as dangerous as he did last season.
However, when asked Thursday what that performance against the Texans did for his confidence, Nelson replied, "Nothing."
Nelson's 121 receiving yards were more than he had in all but two games in 2011, but he wasn't making much out of it.
"We're a confident team," Nelson said. "We just need to go out and execute like we did, and we've just got to put two weeks together. We prepared well the first two days here, and we've got another one tomorrow and we've got to go execute again on Sunday."
Preparing for a new Rams team: Over the past five seasons, the St. Louis Rams – Green Bay's Sunday opponents -- have been one of the worst teams in the NFL. They've won only 15 games in the last five years combined. That's as many wins as the Packers had in 2011 alone.
But under new coach Jeff Fisher, the Rams appear to have turned a corner. St. Louis has the same record as Green Bay so far this season at 3-3, with two of its losses coming by a total of seven points.
The Rams' strength has been their defense, which ranks fifth in the NFL in points allowed. They're also fifth in passing yards allowed and seventh overall in total defense.
"I think they're definitely improved," Packers right tackle Bryan Bulaga said. "They've got a lot of good football players. Coach Fisher has done a great job. The overall makeup of the team, just looking at their defense from last year to this year, they're just a completely different defense and they're playing great. The defense is playing really good football."
Watch out for cheap shots: McCarthy acknowledged that St. Louis cornerback Cortland Finnegan has a history of playing a bit chippy, but the Packers' receivers are not specifically preparing for that this week.
"We haven't seen any clips," Nelson said. "Our receivers do know about it. We've watched enough to get what's gone on, so we know about it and you've just got to make sure you stay level-headed.
"We've just got to play football. We're going to play whistle to whistle. Everyone knows what goes on, so we'll just stay under control and play football.
"You've got to just stay focused on your job. Know that you can't do anything that's going to hurt the team, as 15-yard penalties are huge, or even worse than that. You've just got to play football. Like I said, I'm not too worried about it."
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