Packers News: Worthy out for season, Woodson set to return

Packers DL Jerel Worthy
Packers DL Jerel Worthy
Packers DL Jerel Worthy

Packers defensive end Jerel Worthy suffered a significant knee injury against the Minnesota Vikings and will not play in the postseason.

Worthy left the locker room Sunday wearing a full leg brace and relying on crutches. The extent of his injury has not yet been released.

The Packers selected Worthy with the No. 51 overall pick in last April’s draft and played in 14 games as a rookie. Worthy tied for sixth on the team with 2.5 sacks in the regular season.

Without Worthy in the mix, the Packers will rely on their normal starting three-man line consisting of B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and C.J. Wilson. Mike Neal and rookie Mike Daniels will be the team’s top reserves moving forward. Neal has proved to be effective as a pass rusher, racking up 4.5 sacks this season, while Daniels has been a pleasant surprise as well.

Jordan Miller, a recent call-up from the practice squad rounds out the Packers’ six defensive linemen on the current roster.

Although Worthy will not play again this season, veteran defensive back Charles Woodson appears set to return against the Vikings this week in the playoffs. Woodson was medically cleared to return Jan. 1 after suffering a broken collarbone Oct. 21 against the St. Louis Rams.

Prior to getting injured, Woodson played strong safety in the Packers’ base 3-4 defense and bumped inside to slot cornerback in the team’s nickel formation. But since Woodson has been out, rookie Casey Hayward has risen to the occasion and could be this year’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Now, with Woodson set to return, it’s unlikely the Packers would take Hayward off the field. This could mean Woodson’s role would primarily be the second safety alongside Morgan Burnett, replacing rookie Jerron McMillian and M.D. Jennings.

Although Woodson isn’t the same, dynamic playmaker he once was, getting him back on the field will certainly be a nice boost for the defense.

Randall Cobb also returned to practice on Tuesday and says he will be “100 percent” for Saturday night’s playoff game against Minnesota. Barring any setbacks, the Packers will have Cobb, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Jermichael Finley on the field together for the first time since week one.


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Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.


17 thoughts on “Packers News: Worthy out for season, Woodson set to return

  1. Woodson is key, and could likely be instrumental in getting passed the Vikings. He often takes the tight end and Rudolf was been a thorn in our side. Woodson will also be coming in fresh, which may help.

  2. Just hope Worthy is healed in time for training camp next year. Get well!
    Woodson will be a pleasant surprise–he won’t miss those interceptions that seem to go through Jennings’ hands.

  3. Worthy has been a bit of a disappointment this year imo. Hasn’t really made the impact a lot of people were expecting from him. I don’t think there should be any rush to label him a bust, however… see Mike Neal. The 3-4 lineman is a totally different type of player than the 4-3 and I’m sure he will only continue to get better. Hopefully the injury isn’t as bad as it seems.

    1. “Hasn’t really made the impact a lot of people were expecting from him.”

      Therein lies the problem. We can’t let ourselves expect too much from rookies, even top draft picks with a lot of hype. Even great players need time to learn the system and the technique that goes along with it.

    2. You really need to check your expectations of rookie defensive lineman. Outside of Cortez Kennedy and Warren Sapp what rookie defensive lineman have had any impact their rookie season in the last 3 decades? They tend not to, it’s the most difficult position to transition from the amateurs to the pros. It’s amazing that Daniels and Worthy have even done what they’ve done this season, it’s exceeded my expectations.

      Worthy is doing all the right things. He was a ‘soft’ 305 lbs. when he walked into camp, now he’s trimmed the fat down to a leaner 288 lbs. With an off-season, including rehab, he’ll be a solid 295-300 lbs. next year with a better understanding of technique and the defensive concepts.

  4. Worthy… Heal up.

    Woodson, huge gain… This week. Do what you do. Stick your nose in there and TACKLE AD. I couldn’t care less about coverage skills this week. It’s all about getting AD down.

    GBP 4 LIFE

  5. Woodson being ready to play may help with AP even though Woodson misses a good number of tackles but,it’s his holding penalties and PIs that worry me more covering Rudolf on those 3rd down plays.
    Especially if the Refs call those they usually let him get away with so often.

  6. D-tackles picked high in the draft by Ted (Harrell-Neal-Worthy)were all questionable choices. Raji at NT looks like a winner, considering Bishop is not behind him he has been playing with great desire and flat out moves O-Lineman backwards. Best route in 13 is adding weight to Wilson and moving him inside and letting Perry play his position, Perry has Julius Peppers skills. That means moving Jones moves outside to replace Walden (should not start for any NFL team). Woodson needs to be on the field, Williams has to read the riot act, tackle or sit.

  7. I hope worthy has a speedy recovery. I think worthy will be a serviceable vet as he develops, but, for now, he’s the least important D lineman of the 6. One of the starting 3 or Neal/Daniels would have been a bigger blow.

  8. seems like they’ve had an incredible stretch of bad luck. since 2010, they’ve drafted 9 players in the first 3 rounds. 6 of them have now experienced significant injuries in their short careers. Add that to the other numerous injury issues the team has had and I start to wonder if it is purely coincidental or if there is something else wrong. Every team has injuries but it seems few have them to this extent

    1. Here’s the comprehensive injury list from last week, every team is dealing with injuries, some even in worse shape than the Packers:

      Packers aren’t unique here. If anything, they’ve had sufficient depth to compete every week whereas the Panthers, Jets, Bears, Lions, (the list goes on) collapsed due to injuries, inactives and a lack of depth/talent.

      1. That’s not a comprehensive list. What about all the players on IR? I’m not just talking about the Packer’s health at this moment in time. I’m talking about all the injuries over the past 3 years. Find me a list of all the games projected starters have missed. What about games missed by high draft picks?

        1. Go to the individual team pages and look at their IR list. Even playoff teams like the Bengals have a ton of injuries, including IR.

          I’ll give you one, look the rest up on your own:

          Too many Packer fans level a blind criticism at medical staff or GM’s without looking at the rest of the league this time of year. And it’s not just IR, it’s quality starts missed by some of your stars like Gronkowski or Hernandez (for example). It’s everywhere by week 17.

  9. Love Woodson, but does anyone really think he is going to come in cold and make such a huge impact. This will be his last season too. Poor guy strains to hard to fart and his clavicle snaps..

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