It's only a brief practice, but it may speak volumes about how various players are recovering from injury. The Green Bay Packers took the field today, and we got the first look at the team's health after the bye week. Fortunately, some of the news is good, as running backs Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin were practicing along with safety Morgan Burnett.
Unfortunately, the list of concerning absences was longer than the list of returning players:
#Packers practice: Burnett, Franklin and Lacy practicing. Still out Matthews, Hayward, Starks, Kuhn, Bush and Finley (who was present)— Wes Hodkiewicz (@WesHod) September 30, 2013
Starks' absence likely was one motivating factor for the Packers promoting running back Michael Hill to the active roster today, but having the two rookies back at practice likely means that Hill would be relegated to special teams duty. Burnett's return, if it holds up through the week (knock on wood) would send Jerron McMillian and Chris Banjo back to the bench and special teams (though McMillian may be called on in the nickel or dime packages). Finley's top replacement would obviously be Andrew Quarless, but with Kuhn out as well Quarless may be called on to play more of a hybrid tight end/fullback role. That would necessitate more production from Brandon Bostick.
The most concerning injury, however, is to Clay Matthews. The Packers have gotten little pass rush from Nick Perry on the left side of the defense, and relying on Perry and likely rookie Andy Mulumba sounds like trouble. It's no coincidence that the Packers' defense struggled without Matthews last week in Cincinnati. Hopefully he will return during the week and be able to play on Sunday against the Lions.
More from Acme Packing Company:
- Packers Sign Michael Hill to 53, Add Reggie Dunn to Practice Squad
- NFC North Recap, Week 4: Lions Knock off Bears to Take Division Lead
- Cheese Curds: Green Bay Packers News and Links for September 30, 2013