Packers coach Mike McCarthy says QB Aaron Rodgers is ‘making really good progress’

It was just some jogging and taking snaps with a trainer, but it was also a glimmer of hope for the Green Bay Packers.

On Wednesday, two-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers was back out on the practice field for the first time since undergoing surgery to fix a broken collarbone last month. He didn’t practice or even throw a ball. And yet, he had all eyes on him, with both the media and his teammates taking note of his presence.

“I was peaking over there, looking at him, too,” wide receiver Davonte Adams told reporters. “He looked good so far. Once he gets healed up, I know we will be excited to have him back.”

The work on the field, which didn’t include him throwing a football, was just the latest step in Rodgers recovery from a broken right collarbone, an injury he suffered against the Minnesota Vikings on Oct. 15. He remains on injured reserve, meaning he’ll be out until at least Week 15 when Green Bay travels to Carolina. But Rodgers can start practicing in two weeks and Wednesday could serve as a sign that it’s possible he’ll be healthy enough to do that.

“I think he’s making really good progress,” coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday morning. “I know the training staff and the strength and conditioning staff are very pleased where he is. He’s moving right along.”

Report: Packers WR Davante Adams could play this week against Dallas

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams took one of the most brutal shots to the head that you’ll ever see in a football game, but the fourth-year pro could very well be back on the field this Sunday when the team travels to Dallas to take on the Cowboys.

According to ESPN’s Adam Shefter, a source told him that he believes Adams will play this week.

Adams took a vicious hit to the head from Chicago Bears linebacker Danny Travathan in the third quarter of last Thursday’s game, left the field on a stretcher and spent the night in the hospital. He was placed in the NFL’s concussion protocol, but Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Friday morning that Adams was rambunctious and ready to move forward.

This wouldn’t be the first time Adams has bounced back quickly from a big hit to the head. Last season, he was knocked out of a game against Dallas, but cleared the concussion protocol and played on a short week against the Bears. He ended up catching 13 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns in that game.

As for Trevathan, he was suspended two games for his hit on Adams, but he plans to appeal.

Packers 35, Chicago 14: 2-minute drill

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Chicago quarterback Mike Glennon turned the ball over four times, while Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdowns in what turned into a 35-14 blowout win for the Packers on Thursday night at Lambeau Field.

Play of the Game

Green Bay led 7-0 after its first drive and the Bears were looking for an answer. They didn’t get it. Instead, outside linebacker Clay Matthews came off the edge on Chicago’s first snap and knocked the ball loose from Glennon. Linebacker Jake Ryan recovered at the Bears 3-yard line, and three plays later the Packers were in the end zone to claim a 14-0 lead.

Game Balls

Offense: Offensive line

A patchwork group that had Lane Taylor playing left tackle for the first time ever, an undrafted free agent in Lucas Patrick making his first career start at left guard and another undrafted free agent in Justin McCray getting the nod at right tackle, the Packers were able to get movement in the running game and kept Rodgers upright for most of the night, allowing just two sacks. It was a dire situation the line faced and they held up.

Defense: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Clinton-Dix had one of the two interceptions that Glennon threw, and finished with eight solo tackles. On a wet field that could have proven disastrous for the defense, Clinton-Dix and company got the job done in forcing a total of four turnovers.

Special Teams: Justin Vogel

The rookie punter had a fantastic night in tough conditions. He punted five times, and finished with a net of 46.2 yards. He dropped one inside the 20 and never allowed the dangerous Tarik Cohen to burn them in the return game.

In their own words

Green Bay wide receiver Davante Adams took what many are calling a clear cheap shot to the head by linebacker Danny Trevathan in the third quarter. It sent Adams’ mouth guard flying, and he ended up being taken off the field on a gurney and to a local hospital.

While Adams was said to be doing fine and all early signs were positive, the fallout from the hit poured into the locker room, where Trevathan was engulfed by reporters. He reportedly told them that while he was sorry that Adams got hurt, it wasn’t intentional and he doesn’t believe he should be fined or suspended.

In the Green Bay locker room, most of the players wouldn’t comment on whether the hit was dirty or not, but the one guy that always speaks his mind — tight end Martellus Bennett — let everyone know his feelings on the matter.

“I thought it was f**ked up,” Bennett said. “No matter what team they’re on, you don’t want anyone to go through that situation. They have families and things like that.

“What we thought was f**ked up was he was celebrating that play. You’re getting your ass kicked, you take a cheap shot and then celebrate when a guy goes down. That’s what really pissed us off.”

In Case You Missed It

— During the national anthem, both teams lined up on the sideline with arms interlocked in a show of unity. However, the call by Rodgers during the week for fans to join them went largely unanswered. Bennett, who sat during the anthem on last Sunday, told reporters he could hear someone in the crowd yelling at him.

“Some motherf**ker yelling, ‘Put your hand on your heart.’ That’s all I heard,” Bennett said. “Someone just kept saying, ‘Put your hand on your heart! Put your hand on your heart!’ I’m like, my arms are locked, back the f**k up.”

— Play was suspended at the end of the first quarter due to serve weather in the area. The delay lasted 46 minutes.

— Green Bay was hammered by injuries, including losing starting running back Ty Montgomery early in the game. It was reported by the NFL Network that Montgomery sustained broken ribs and will be out an undetermined amount of time.

Other injuries:

Blake Martinez (concussion | returned)
Josh Jones (back — returned)
Jamaal Williams (knee)
Joe Thomas (ankle)

— Cornerback Damarious Randall was benched after allowing a touchdown late in the first half and was replaced by Josh Hawkins. Randall spent the first part of the second half with arms stretched out sitting on the bench. He later walked back to the locker room by himself and the team said he was not injured. Asked afterwards about Randall, coach Mike McCarthy said, “That’s an internal matter that we’ll keep internal.”

Inside the Numbers

75 — That’s the number of sacks Matthews has in his career — now the most in team history.

24 — That’s the total number of yards that Aaron Rodgers’ last seven touchdowns have traveled.

4 — That’s the number of offensive line combinations Green Bay has used through the first four games of the season.

3 — That’s how many pass deflections that Hawkins had in what was essentially two quarters of work.

What’s Next

Green Bay (3-1) will travel to take on the Dallas Cowboys (2-1) Oct. 8. at AT&T Stadium.

Packers OLB Nick Perry out indefinitely

The Green Bay Packers are going to be without one of their top pass rushers indefinitely.

Coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Thursday that outside linebacker Nick Perry is scheduled to undergo hand surgery.

“That’s something we’ll continue to work through,” McCarthy said of how long he’ll be out.

“Until we get through the surgery, I don’t really have a timeline for you.”

This is the second straight year Perry has suffered a hand injury that required surgery. In 2016, he missed two games and played with a cast the rest of the year, yet still managed to put up a career-high 11 sacks. That effort landed him a 5-year, $60 million contract.

“He’s a violent football player. He’s physical. He plays the game the right way,” McCarthy said of Perry. “If you look at his play style, that’s really part of his game, the violence that he plays with his hands.”

Though Perry is out, veteran Ahmad Brooks is expected to be able to play this week after missing the Atlanta game with a concussion. Brooks was signed to provide depth at outside linebacker, but now is likely going to be counted on much more.

“I think he’s a great fit for what we’re doing,” McCarthy said of Brooks, who didn’t sign with the team until the week leading into the season opener. “His role will definitely be bigger this week.”

RB Eddie Lacy set for return to Green Bay, ponders whether to ‘Lambeau Leap’

Former Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy makes his return to Lambeau Field this weekend as the Seattle Seahawks come to town to open the 2017 season. And while Lacy doesn’t seem to have put much thought into what his return means, he has spent time pondering whether he should perform a Lambeau Leap if he makes it to the end zone with his new team.

“Honestly, I’ve been thinking about that for the past two days,” Lacy told the Seattle media on Thursday. “Part of me wants to, but I don’t want to get pushed down. I really don’t know how the crowd will react to that. Maybe I can find a small patch of Seahawk fans and do it there.”

In reality, Lacy’s return is a lot more than whether he’ll leap or not. Green Bay wanted the former second-round pick back this offseason, but he reportedly wanted to go elsewhere. It just so happened he ended up with a rival of the Packers that figures to be in the way of the organization’s effort to earn a fifth Super Bowl title in franchise history.

“I thought I would be back there,” Lacy said. “I was there for four years. I thought it would continue. But sometimes it just doesn’t work out like that and sometimes a change of scenery isn’t bad.”

It’s not clear how much Lacy’s decision to leave impacted what Green Bay did in the offseason, but it stands to reason the Packers wouldn’t have drafted three running backs in April if the man that ran for the 10th most yards in franchise history hadn’t bolted.

As for Sunday, the Packers are expecting a slimmed down and motivated Lacy. He earned three weight-related bonuses this summer and there are several more he can earn during the season. His weight was a constant story in Green Bay, with coach Mike McCarthy even making mention of it during his season-ending press conference in January of 2016. But in Seattle, the talk has been almost universally positive.

“During the time he’s been with us, all of the work he’s done has really been kind of an ascent,” coach Pete Carroll said this week. “He really hasn’t missed anything. He’s been great about his conditioning work and all that stuff. He’s done a fantastic job. He’s ready to play.”

Packers beat Los Angeles 24-10 in preseason finale

Brett Hundley threw one touchdown and ran for another as the Green Bay Packers finished up the preseason with a 24-10 win against the Los Angeles Rams Thursday night.

Starting for Aaron Rodgers, Hundley played the entire first half, finishing 11 of 21 for 99 yards and the one score. For the preseason, the third-year quarterback threw for 482 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, while also rushing for two more scores.

“I thought he did some good things, made plays,” coach Mike McCarthy said afterwards. “It’s exactly what Brett needed. He needed to play, he needed reps, and we got that done.”

Hundley was replaced by rookie Taysom Hill, who continued to impress. He was 4 of 4 on the night, including a 25-yard touchdown to Aaron Peck, while also rushing for 19 yards. Second-year pro Joe Callahan came in to finish things off.

After not working much on the running game in the first 3 ½ games of the preseason, McCarthy went ground-and-pound in the second half on Thursday. And it resulted in some solid work for the three rookie running backs – Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones and Devante Mays. The trio combined for 97 yards, including 48 for Jones.

Twenty-eight players sat out of Thursday’s game, but several members of the starting secondary did suit up and play. Among them was cornerback Davon House. He had missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury, but started and played one drive against Los Angeles. The free agent signee said he expects to be good to go for the opener against Seattle on Sept. 10.

“I’m ready,” House said. “I’ll be out there.”

The Packers attention now turns to making roster cuts. They must go from 90 players to 53 by 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Former Packers WR Greg Jennings says Brett Favre quit on the team in a 2007 game

Greg Jennings is at it again.

The former Green Bay Packers wide receiver, who has taken shots at quarterback Aaron Rodgers and coach Mike McCarthy in the past, turned his attention to Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre when he was on FS1’s ‘Undisputed’ on Wednesday.

While discussing Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott’s decision to say it didn’t matter who played running back with Ezekiel Elliott’s looming six-game suspension, Jennings referred back to a 2007 game against the Cowboys when Favre got knocked out early, allowing Rodgers a chance to show he could play at a high level. Jennings said, like Prescott, he gave words of encouragement to Rodgers while likely thinking he’d rather have Favre behind center. That’s when he veered off course.

“I’m going to be honest right now. I thought Brett quit on us,” Jennings said of Favre, who injured his elbow in the second quarter. “He [had] told me to shoot up [with painkillers] before. I’m (in my second year) now, so I didn’t say it, I’m thinking, ‘Man, just shoot up. Do something.’”

The 2007 season, which ended up being Favre’s last in Green Bay, came 11 years after he entered a drug rehab facility due to an addiction to pain killers.

As for Jennings, it could be argued that the three men he’s trained his focus on – Rodgers, McCarthy and Favre – were largely responsible for helping him the reach the heights he did.

In seven seasons playing with the Packers, he averaged 61 catches, 933 yards and eight touchdowns per year. In the other three seasons he played – two with Minnesota and one in Miami – Jennings averaged 48 catches, 585 yards and four touchdowns.

Packers: Bryan Bulaga leaves practice with an injury

The Green Bay Packers saw one their more important offensive pieces leave practice early on Wednesday.

Veteran right tackle Bryan Bulaga reportedly suffered an ankle injury during a team drill, left the field and did not return. The severity of the injury is unclear.

Bulaga started all 16 games in 2016 and has started 76 of the 80 games he’s played in during his seven years in Green Bay. He’s missed time in the past, including the entire 2013 season after suffering a torn ACL.

With Bulaga sidelined, the Packers inserted Kyle Murphy at right tackle. Now in his second year, the former sixth-round draft pick has been rotating between guard and tackle during training camp.

“The more you can do [the better]. We’re trying to increase his value as a player,” coach Mike McCarthy said earlier on Wednesday about Murphy playing guard and tackle. “Kyle has that ability to play inside and out there at tackle. I think Kyle is having a heck of a camp.”

Biegel to miss more time

According to a report by Packers beat writer Rob Demovsky, Packers linebacker Vince Biegel will not be practicing this week or playing this weekend against the Denver Broncos.

Biegel hasn’t been able to play in any preseason games or participate in a practice since having surgery on his foot during rookie minicamp.

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said if he’s able to practice at all before the regular season, it wouldn’t be until the last week of preseason work.

If he is unable to practice before the start of the regular season he would be PUP list eligible. If he starts the season on the PUP list he won’t be able to play until after week six.

Badgers and Packers fans will have to continue to wait to get their first look at Biegel this season.

Ted Thompson on anthem protests: ‘Free people can do what they like’

The Green Bay Packers haven’t yet been forced to react to one of their players not standing for the national anthem, but we now know what general manager Ted Thompson thinks about it.

At his weekly press conference on Thursday, the 64-year-old was asked about the form of protest that has seen former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett and others not stand during the anthem as a way to bring attention to what they believe is the oppression of people of color in the United States.

“If you’re asking me from a personal standpoint, [it’s] not what I would,” Thompson said. “[But] this is a free country in my opinion. Free people can do what they like.”

Coach Mike McCarthy has put an emphasis on teaching his team each year what the national anthem is about, going so far as to give a Powerpoint presentation.

“Our approach has always been to give the history and the understanding of what the national anthem means and why it’s played before any [NFL] game,” McCarthy said Wednesday. “I go through the whole history and the importance of what it means to you personally.

“That’s something we did right before Family Night, which is the norm.”

Bennett’s brother, Martellus, plays for the Packers, and he told reporters this week he backs Michael’s stance, but stopped short of saying he’d follow suit.

“I’m more of an in-the-moment type guy,” Bennett said Tuesday. “I don’t pre-plan anything like that. If it happens, it happens.”

Green Bay plays its second preseason game on Saturday night at Washington.