McCarthy: As Expected, Packers Will Play it Safe vs. Lions on Sunday

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McCarthy wants to see all three quarterbacks play on Sunday.

Despite giving a few signs earlier in the week that his team might go full throttle after 15-1, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy confirmed Friday that the Packers will play it safe with a good chunk of his starters, including quarterback Aaron Rodgers, against the Detroit Lions.

Several key players dealing with lingering dings will be held out on Sunday.

Receiver/returner Randall Cobb (groin), running back James Starks (ankle) and receiver Greg Jennings (knee) were all ruled out for Sunday, and tackle Bryan Bulaga (knee) is doubtful.

Both Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews are questionable. The duo are both healthy, but each could be a scratch on Sunday to save them from any additional wear-and-tear. McCarthy said that both will be evaluated tomorrow morning regarding their playing status for Sunday.

On the issue of how much quarterback Aaron Rodgers will play, however, McCarthy was mostly mute. He said the decision to start Rodgers was still under review as of today. However, McCarthy did proclaim a want to play all three quarterbacks on Sunday, which gives credence to the idea that Rodgers won’t see much of the field. Matt Flynn should see extensive action, and Graham Harrell could get some late snaps.

It appears as if the Packers will get a chance to take an extended look at left tackle Chad Clifton, as he is listed as probable after practicing the entire week without a set back. Clifton hasn’t played or practiced since Week 5 after tearing his hamstring against the Atlanta Falcons. McCarthy has said all week how important it was to see Clifton in live action, and they should get that opportunity on Sunday.

Tight end Jermichael Finley (knee) and Ryan Pickett (concussion) were also listed as probable.

As long as no flare-ups occur between now and Sunday, Finley will almost surely play. With both Cobb and Jennings out, expect to see a big dose of the Packers four tight ends on Sunday to cover the lack of depth that they have at the receiver position. Rookies D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor should both see their highest snap totals of the season.

Also, the Packers have practiced with both Jordy Nelson and Tramon Williams at returner this week. Pat Lee might also see some work returning kicks.

UPDATE: ESPN Milwaukee’s Jason Wilde tweeted tonight that Pat Lee will return kicks, with Sam Shields potentially taking the punts. 

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Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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  • Steve Cheez

    If we are worried about injuries to key starters, why would we have Jordy or Tramon running back kicks?

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      Fortunately, they came to their senses on that one. (see update at end of article)

  • Makarschuk

    I agree. Why risk two key players. Put Lee back there and I am happy.

  • Steve

    Maybe they are expecting a lot of touchbacks or fair catches.

  • Ron LC

    To quote Doris Day, “What will be will be.

  • Bubbaloo

    Lee sounds good, Tramon and Jordy not so good! We can’t afford injuries to these two guys!

  • ELo

    Beat the Lions.

  • Big O

    I know we have to well protect the players from injury if possible, but I’d realy like to see the lions get smoked!!!!! go Pack!!

  • Oppy

    Another poster on another Packers fan blog wondered if, with Woodson ruled out, we finally get to see a glimpse of Davon House.

    I certainly hope so, it would be fun to see if the Packers have been afforded the luxury of not having to rush the development of a very good player… Or if the Packers have just been lucky enough that they haven’t had to force a young man onto the field who has not developed as they had hoped he would thus far.

    Hope we get to see some House action, and hope he is a pleasure to behold!

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      I’d like to see your guy So ‘oto on a more extended basis, warts and all. let’s see if he can put some pressure on Stafford. If he can, maybe the Packers use him in selected pass rush situations moving forward.

      • Oppy

        With Matthews ruled out on Sunday, I’ve got to think that we’ll be seeing a lot of So’oto filling in that void.

        Even though So’oto may not technically be the “next guy” behind Matthews in terms of the depth chart, I wouldn’t be shocked if he got the lion’s share (no pun intended) of Matthews’ snaps while the other guys rotate through that ROLB spot.