Green & Gold


Rookie DL ready for larger role

Rookie Kenny Clark is poised to take the next step in his young career with the Green Bay Packers.

If defensive tackle Letroy Guion can’t play on Sunday against Detroit because of a knee injury, Clark should be in line for much more playing time in the home opener at Lambeau Field.

This could be a momentous weekend for the 20-year-old Clark, the Packers’ first-round draft pick from UCLA.

“He definitely made a big jump from Week 1 to Week 2, and he has to take another step this week,” coach Mike McCarthy said.

Clark filled in admirably after Guion got hurt in last week’s 17-14 loss to Minnesota. Guion and fellow defensive lineman Mike Daniels have spearheaded the Packers’ strong start against the run, holding opponents to a league-best 1.63 yards per carry.

Last week, Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson was held to 19 yards on 12 carries before leaving the game with a knee injury .


McCarthy has not lost faith in Rodgers

Packers coach Mike McCarthy is confident that quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay’s struggling offense will get better.

Two games into the season, the results have been uncharacteristically ugly.

The Packers (1-1) are ranked 29th in the NFL in total offense and a 31st in passing. Rodgers and the rest of the offense looked out of sync in last week’s loss at Minnesota.

“I have great confidence in Aaron,” McCarthy said before practice Wednesday when asked how his veteran quarterback bounces back from subpar games.

“I’ve never trusted a quarterback or an individual as a player more than I trust Aaron Rodgers.”

His overall resume is outstanding. A two-time NFL MVP, Rodgers’ 103.8 career passer rating is the best in NFL history.


Bradford trumps Rodgers in debut as Vikes beat Pack 17-14

Aaron Rodgers has two NFL MVP awards and one Super Bowl ring, and he's in his ninth season as the starter for Green Bay.

Sam Bradford was never on a winning team over his first six years in the league. He had 15 days to learn Minnesota's offense, then lost his Hall of Fame caliber running back to injury in the third quarter.

Guess who was the more productive quarterback on Sunday night?

Bradford's debut was almost as dazzling as the new $1.1 billion building itself. He completed 22 of 31 passes for 286 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers to lead the Vikings to a 17-14 victory over the Packers.

"We won, and at the end of the day that's all that matters," Bradford said.

The new guy was sharp, though, and that matters a lot for the Vikings and their Super Bowl aspirations that took a hit when Teddy Bridgewater went down on Aug. 30 with a massive injury to his left knee. That triggered the bold trade with Philadelphia to bring in Bradford.


Depth at cornerback little concern for McCarthy

The Green Bay Packers’ roster is running short on healthy cornerbacks going into an important game this weekend at Minnesota.

Top cornerback Sam Shields remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol after getting hurt late in the season-opening win over Jacksonville. Backup corner Josh Hawkins hasn’t practiced yet this week because of a hamstring injury that kept him out last week, too.

It left coach Mike McCarthy with three healthy corners in Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter going into practice Thursday ahead of the showdown on Sunday night against the Vikings.

McCarthy said that he’s comfortable with the depth.

“Yes, just the way we’re working yesterday and today, so far so good,” he said Thursday before practice.

Having jack-of-all-trades defensive back Micah Hyde at the ready helps. The fourth-year player can play corner or safety. He’s comfortable in the box or on the perimeter.


Green Bay expects to see Bradford at QB

As if figuring out how to slow down Vikings running back Adrian Peterson wasn’t tough enough, the Green Bay Packers must prepare for two unique variables when they visit Minnesota this weekend.

The Vikings are opening a sparkling new stadium when they host the Packers. They’re also trying to keep mum about who will be playing quarterback on Sunday night.

It could be Shaun Hill. It could be Sam Bradford.

“We’ve taken the approach that we could see either one of the quarterbacks. My understanding is that it’s probably going to be Sam Bradford, but I have a lot of respect for Shaun Hill,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday.

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer had other ideas.

“You’ll have to wait until Sunday,” he told reporters in Minneapolis.

Let the mind games begin between these longtime NFC North rivals. Even Peterson got in on the fun.


Lacy eager to prove himself again

Eddie Lacy is rolling again.

The Green Bay Packers’ fourth-year tailback is eager to carry the momentum from a successful training camp into the season opener on Sunday at Jacksonville. Tweaks that Lacy made to his offseason conditioning program appear to have paid off.

“Physically, yeah. Mentally, totally,” Lacy said after practice on Wednesday. “We’ll see it how it goes come game day, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be all right.”

The Packers would love for Lacy to return to the form that made him one of the NFL’s toughest running backs in his first two years in the league. Lacy rushed for at least 1,100 yards in both the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

But the production fell off last year to 758 yards and three scores in 15 games. At one point, James Starks started over Lacy after he had missed curfew the night before a game. Coach Mike McCarthy called out Lacy after the season for his weight.


Nelson a full go in season opener

Jordy Nelson’s knees aren’t going to keep him from playing football on Sunday.

How much the receiver is on the field in the Green Bay Packers’ season opener at Jacksonville might simply come down to how much he can stand the heat.

Otherwise, Nelson is ready and eager to play for first time in more than a year.

“I’m playing football,” Nelson said Tuesday in a brief response when asked if his knees were an issue.

Nelson tore the ACL in his right knee in a preseason game last summer at Pittsburgh, an injury that knocked him out for the 2015 season.

He arrived this preseason with what he described as a minor issue in his left knee. It was concerning enough to the coaching staff that Nelson only started practicing again a few weeks ago. He didn’t play in any preseason games.


Callahan almost goes distance in loss

Packers coach Mike McCarthy got everything he wanted out of the preseason.

Two series for Aaron Rodgers and a bunch of work for his backups.

That includes rookie Joe Callahan, who capped a strong preseason by throwing for 143 yards and a touchdown as the Packers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 17-7 in their preseason finale Thursday night in Kansas City.

“I thought it was a quality training camp. I thought like we accomplished a lot,” said McCarthy, who, like Chiefs counterpart Andy Reid, played almost entirely backups on Thursday night.

Callahan played almost the entire way in a game featuring second- and third-teamers on both sides. The product of Division III Wesley College has been trying to earn the No. 3 job behind Aaron Rodgers and Brett Hundley, who has been sidelined by an ankle injury this preseason.


Packers, Chiefs leave battle to backups

Only the most ardent fans of the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers will likely care much about what transpires in their preseason game at Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday night.

Then again, the guys on the field will care very much about what happens.

The Chiefs and Packers are expected to play few, if any, starters in their fourth preseason game, turning the proceedings over to their backups instead.

And in some cases, not even the backups will see game action — the Chiefs are resting quarterbacks Alex Smith and Nick Foles, and Aaron Rodgers and ailing Packers backup Brett Hundley will enjoy the night in a ball cap.

“Young guys will get most of the work,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid acknowledged this week.

He stopped just short of saying “all of the work.”

Some coaches have said they will play their starters for a series or quarter Thursday night, if only to knock off the last vestiges of rust.


Wide receiver battle heads into home stretch

It’s a toss-up at receiver for the Green Bay Packers after Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.

The Packers’ final preseason game on Thursday against the Kansas City Chiefs could help sort out the pecking order to catch passes this fall from two-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

“The good news is we have another preseason game to give guys an opportunity to go out there and do it the right way and make plays and make the most of their opportunity,” offensive coordinator Edger Bennett said. “That competition is extremely high right now in that room.”

There is little need for the Packers to risk playing their stars against the Chiefs, even with Nelson coming back from a knee injury. Rodgers isn’t playing, either.

Nelson returned to practice last week. He took part in 11-on-11 drills on Tuesday, at one point breaking off cornerback Robertson Daniel at the goal line to catch a back-shoulder throw from Rodgers for a touchdown.


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