Sam Shields: Shields suffered a concussion after getting kneed or elbowed in the head by running back Brandon Bolden in the first quarter and did not return. As with all concussions in the NFL now, Shields will go through independent testing throughout the week and but will have a chance to play against the Falcons. On the positive side, while Shields did look shaken up after the play, he did not appear to be disoriented (such as the case with Aaron Rodger’s first concussion that he sustained in Detroit in 2010) nor did he appear to blackout. Add to that Shields will have an extra day to pass the concussion test since the Packers play on Wednesday and there is a good shot that he will be ready to return next week. In the event that he does not pass his concussion test, Davon House will be the first man up (as he was against the Patriots) with Casey Hayward also seeing an increase in playing time, however Shields is typically a outside cornerback while Hayward is a slot cornerback.
Jamari Lattimore: Lattimore suffered an ankle injury in the 2nd quarter while covering a return. While the camera wasn’t in an optimal position at the moment of the injury, Lattimore’s injury is likely fairly severe as he spent quite some time on the ground and was not able to leave the field under his own power and required two trainers to help him off the field. As he was being helped off the field, Lattimore was able to put a little weight on his feet, but naturally did not return. To be honest, the inside linebacker position is a little bit of a conundrum; it’s pretty hard to come up with a steady player at inside linebacker for the Packers; while Clay Matthews is perhaps the most talented of the bunch, Matthews also spends a sizable portion of the time in his old outside linebacker position. AJ Hawk has been a steady presence on the defense for many years now, but this game saw a back seat to Sam Barrington, who played below average overall but probably still better than Hawk. Really the only players to be definitely out of the mix are Brad Jones, who has definitely lost his chance and Carl Bradford who typically isn’t even active. Its also quite possible that Hawk is hiding an injury of some sort as he looked slower than usual against the Vikings and was protected somewhat by only playing in the base defense against the Patriots. With Lattimore out, I’d expect to see more of Sam Barrington and AJ Hawk rotate while Carl Bradford may see some playing time on special teams.
Jarrett Bush: A mysterious groin injury sustained in the Eagles game, did not practice for two weeks before finally getting on the practice field in a limited basis on the Friday before the Patriots game. Furthermore, Bush was inactive against the Vikings and Demetri Goodson was the man called up from the inactive list and actually played pretty well on punt and kickoffs except for a penalty. Interesting against the Patriots Goodson was again inactive but Bush did not receive any snaps on defense (which is not unusual) and on special teams (which is unusual), with Tramon Williams surprisingly playing some snaps on defense, which is the first time in the year that Williams has appeared on special teams. My only guess is that Bush was very close to playing or could have played on special teams if an injury occurred but the Packers opted to give Bush another week to heal up. The more interesting point is how little faith they put in Demetri Goodson, by instead opting to put one of their starting cornerbacks into harms way on returns instead of relying on their 6th round rookie. This likely means that Goodson either doesn’t have a full enough grasp of special teams (which is pretty unusual since tons of rookies around the league play on special teams) or he wasn’t good enough as a backup cornerback to justify activating him and the Packers decided to use the active roster spot on someone else. Either way, expect Bush to make his return against the Falcons, but in case he doesn’t I’d expect Jeff Janis or maybe Justin Perillo to get a shot at replacing Bush on special teams before they go back to Goodson again.
Josh Sitton & TJ Lang: Lang suffered an ankle injury during the first series of the 1st quarter against the Saints while Sitton’s suffered a torn ligament in his left big toe in the same game. Sitton and Lang both appear to be dealing with injuries fairly well, both grading out well despite their injuries. Both have also settled into “recovery” practice schedule of not participating on Wednesday and then practicing in a limited fashion on Thursday before their recovery day on Friday. Not much has changed as Sitton and Lang continue to fight through their injuries, although the Packers did get a scare when Lang had to step out and get his ankle retaped against the Vikings. Expect both Sitton and Lang to start against the Falcons with Lane Taylor as the top backup.
Nick Perry: Perry suffered a shoulder injury against the Vikings and while he has been viewed somewhat as a bust since being drafted in the 1st round; Perry’s availability and above average play was one of the reasons why the Packers were able to shift Clay Matthews into the middle. While some people have made a big deal about the Packers inability to stop the run against the Vikings and attributed mostly to the loss of Perry, it should be noted that Perry isn’t exactly a stalwart run stuffer on his own (he has a -0.5 run defense rating for the season according to ProFootballFocus) and that Mike Neal grades just about as well as Perry when it comes to run defense. Perry did return to the field against the Patriots but saw only 11 snaps, a sizable departure from the last two games he played in where he got 40 and 53 snaps respectively. At this point, I’m guessing the Packers had Perry on a snap count and played him only in obvious passing situations (out of 11 snaps, 8 were passing plays) Either way, Perry appeared to leave the game healthy and will be counted on to be part of the outside linebacker rotation alongside Julius Peppers along with Mike Neal and Jayrone Elliott.
Brandon Bostick: Bostick injured his hip after scoring his first touchdown against the Bears last week and did not practice all week leading up to the Eagles game. Bostick was ruled out quickly for the Eagles game, a rarity for Mike McCarthy press releases but did manage to practice on a limited basis this week. Bostick was able to practice on Wednesday and Thursday as a limited participant before being upgraded to a full participant on Friday. Nevertheless, Bostick did not see any plays on offense on a night where both Andrew Quarless and Richard Rodgers made big plays for Aaron Rodgers and it’s pretty clear that Bostick is no longer considered part of the offense. While Bostick might be fully healthy, his injuries and lack of experience on offense might have finally closed the door on his potential with the Packers.
Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.