Green & Gold


Raji ready to contribute again

Veteran nose tackle B.J. Raji knows well the challenging path that injured Green Bay Packers teammate Jordy Nelson must take the next several months.

“Like anything else in life, you have to acknowledge it, accept it and then move forward,” Raji said Thursday. “So the sooner you can acknowledge and accept it and just accept the situation, the better off you’ll be.”

Like Nelson, the Packers’ big-play receiver who suffered a torn ACL in a game last weekend, Raji had to face a full season without football after suffering a major injury in the preseason.

A torn biceps in Green Bay’s second-to-last exhibition game last August ended what had the potential to be a comeback season for Raji, who had re-signed with the team on a one-year deal.


Bakhtiari plans to return against Bears in week 1

Injured Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari has missed the last two weeks of practice, but he plans to take his usual spot up front once the regular season begins.

That’s about as specific as Bakhtiari got on Wednesday about why he has been sidelined in training camp.

“Um, progress. It’s doing all right,” the third-year veteran said.

The team has termed Bakhtiari’s injury as knee soreness. It appears unlikely that the guy who protects MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ blind side will play in the third preseason game, on Saturday against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field.

Then again, Bakhtiari has a pretty good idea of what’s expected of him. He has made 35 consecutive starts since taking over left tackle as a rookie fourth-round pick in 2013.

Start No. 36 would come on Sept. 13 when the regular season begins against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.


Packers look for group effort to replace Nelson

The task of finding receivers who will fill the void left by Jordy Nelson’s season-ending injury has started in earnest in Green Bay.

Coach Mike McCarthy said no one man can pick up the slack.

Randall Cobb caught 91 passes last year from MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers, second on the team to Nelson’s 98. Now Cobb is clearly the top option with Nelson out with a right knee injury.

That doesn’t necessarily change Cobb’s role.

“I think it’s very important for everybody — Randall, the coaches — just to stay focused on what we need to do,” McCarthy said Wednesday before practice, “and that’s not try to ask or put pressure on any individual to try to do more.”

Not that Cobb would necessarily slide into Nelson’s exact role anyway. They were used differently last season.


McCarthy: Pack will stay course without Nelson

The shock of being out of the year has already worn off for Jordy Nelson.

One of the first things to cross Nelson’s mind upon returning to Lambeau Field on Tuesday was to get into the classroom to help get the younger receivers up to speed at training camp.

There’s a huge void to fill in the Packers’ potent offense with Nelson sidelined for the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee on Sunday during a preseason game in Pittsburgh.

“They’re going to be running the same plays we’ve always ran so (there are) little tidbits I can give them. I hope it would that it wouldn’t be any different from than when I was playing,” Nelson said. “I’d still be trying to coach them up as much.”

It would be so much easier for the Packers if MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ top receiving target was around to torment secondaries again. Nelson led the highest-scoring team in the league with 98 catches for 1,519 yards and 13 touchdowns a year ago.


Nelson hurt as Packers fall to Steelers 24-19

Jordy Nelson caught the ball, spun and prepared to dart downfield.

Two steps later, Green Bay's Pro Bowl wide receiver was on the turf, his left knee injured and his season very much in doubt. While Nelson was able to gingerly walk to the sideline early in the first quarter of Sunday's 24-19 exhibition loss to Pittsburgh, it might be the last sign of Nelson in his familiar No. 87 jersey this year.

While Packers coach Mike McCarthy stressed the defending NFC North champions "will look for good news" when Nelson is re-evaluated in Green Bay on Monday, quarterback Aaron Rodgers expressed equal parts frustration and mystification.

"It's difficult to lose a guy like that in a meaningless game," Rodgers said.


Packers’ running backs bring change-of-pace style

The Green Bay Packers have a lot of options with Eddie Lacy and James Starks at running back.

“Different style of runners,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “Eddie is very powerful, downhill, but shifty as well. James is a slasher. He’s got that different type of running style.”

Starks gave a knowing smile when asked about those differences Friday, as the Packers prepared for their second preseason game Sunday at Pittsburgh.

“It’s always an advantage,” said Starks, who’s in his sixth NFL season.

The change-of-pace Starks noted how he’s been able to speed up defenders when he’s gone in to spell the rugged Lacy, who has rushed for more than 1,100 yards each of his first two years in the league.


Diverse career shapes Packers’ Mark Murphy

Mark Murphy played with such intelligence while with the Washington Redskins that Joe Gibbs didn’t need to talk to him, the ultimate sign of respect from the Hall of Fame head coach.

Murphy watched, listened and learned during four seasons playing safety for Gibbs in the 1980s. The experience would help shape Murphy’s diverse career in sports, culminating in his tenure in one of the most influential positions in the NFL, president of the Green Bay Packers.

“Yeah, looking back on it, it was probably the best thing that happened to me in my career, because all of a sudden we became a very good team,” the 60-year-old Murphy joked in a recent interview at Lambeau Field.

Murphy was a four-year veteran by the time Gibbs took over in 1981 in Washington, which finished 8-8 that year. The next season, the Redskins won the Super Bowl.


Fully healed, Rodgers on the move for Packers

Eight months after being limited by a sore left calf, Aaron Rodgers is fully healed.

So opponents must again stay on their toes against a quarterback known for his ability to extend plays.

The NFL MVP had no issues in the offseason. He said he worked hard on his training regimen.

No reason to worry now.

“This was a significant calf injury, but we’re talking about eight months later,” Rodgers said after practice Thursday. “I have zero inhibitions out there, and I’m playing the way I want to play.”

Rodgers was terrific last season, throwing for 4,381 yards and 38 touchdowns to just five interceptions. His mobility was limited late in the season by a calf injury that forced the Packers to get away from part of their playbook.

The offense operated mostly out of a shotgun or pistol formations, where a quarterback is lined up at least a few yards behind center.


Adams catches on in 2nd Packers camp

Davante Adams would tackle a game of Monopoly with the intensity level that he would apply to a Green Bay Packers practice.

Preparation is important. Mistakes are corrected and banked into Adams’ brain so that he doesn’t repeat them.

Going into his second year in the league, Adams appears to be on the cusp of taking another step forward in the Packers’ potent offense.

“I’m a competitor. When it comes to anything I can do to enhance my performance — in board games or whatever — I just want to be the best that I can be,” Adams said after practice Wednesday.

He certainly put on a show with a few highlight-reel catches, including one in which he laid out for a one-handed grab that had fans gushing in the stands.

Selected the Packers’ offseason MVP, Adams’ hard work is carrying over to training camp.


Packers’ Randall picking up corner on the fly

Damarious Randall is learning about life as an NFL cornerback on the fly.

If the Green Bay Packers’ first-round draft pick is going to make mistakes, it might as well happen in training camp against some of the best offensive playmakers in the business in teammates Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson.

Having to face that kind of test each day helps make the high points of his first NFL camp stand out, like when he picked off Rodgers in practice earlier this week.

“Just the pace of everything, just trying to learn how fast the NFL is really played,” Randall said Tuesday. “Everything is starting to slow a little bit.”

It’s a solid start for the defensive back out of Arizona State, where he played safety out of necessity. But Randall played cornerback earlier in his career, and he said he’s still comfortable at that position.


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