Packers to be without top running backs vs Baltimore

The Green Bay Packers will almost surely be without both of their top running backs on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

Rookie Aaron Jones is expected to miss 3 to 6 weeks with a knee injury, and on Friday, coach Mike McCarthy told reporters that he thought Ty Montgomery would miss the game with a rib injury.

“I think Ty will be out this week,” McCarthy said before adding he doesn’t believe it’ll keep the running back out long-term.

Montgomery first injured his ribs against the Chicago Bears on Sept. 28, but after missing one game, returned and played in the last four games before re-injuring himself last week.

With Jones and Montgomery sidelined, it will mean more work for rookie Jamaal Williams. He came on in relief last week against the Bears, carrying the ball 20 times for 67 yards. It could also lead to the debut of Devante Mays, a rookie seventh-round pick from Utah State this past April. He has yet to carry the ball in his short career.

A full injury report will be released Friday afternoon.

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.”

Packers snap 3-game losing streak with 23-16 win at Chicago

Brett Hundley got the first win of his young career Sunday, as the Green Bay Packers snapped a three-game losing streak with a 23-16 victory over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.

After struggling in his first two starts filling in for an injured Aaron Rodgers, Hundley was better, especially in the fourth quarter. He made a Rodgers-like throw to Davante Adams for what proved to be the winning touchdown and then dropped another dime on a third-and-10 pass to Adams that help to extend a time-consuming drive.

Hundley, who injured his hamstring in the game, finished the day 18 of 25 for 212 yards and a touchdown, finishing with a passer rating of 110.8.

Much of his success came when throwing Adams’ way. The wide receiver caught five of the eight passes thrown his way for 90 yards, including the touchdown.

Helping the offense was a running game that was extremely productive even after losing starter Aaron Jones (knee) and Ty Montgomery (ribs). Green Bay ran for 160 yards, tied for the second-most this season. Rookie Jamaal Williams had 67 yards, with Montgomery chipping in 54, Hundley 16 and Jones 12.

Defensively, the Packers got after rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky, sacking him five times, including three from outside linebacker Nick Perry. They also limited a Bears rushing attack that was averaging 130 yards coming in to just 55.

The win pushed Green Bay to 5-4 on the year, tied with the Detroit Lions in the NFC North and two games behind division-leading Minnesota. The Packers will host Baltimore next Sunday.

Former Packers TE Martellus Bennett tells his story

Martellus Bennett has spoken.

The now former Green Bay Packers tight end took to Instagram Friday afternoon to tell his side of a story that concluded with him being cut by the team with a failure to disclose a physical condition designation and ending back up with the New England Patriots.

Here’s all of his posts transcribed (some grammar and punctuation edited):

“The Packers examined my shoulder on my [free agent] visit March 10 and cleared it. They even gave me an x-ray as well.

“It [got] worse during the season, specifically against the Cowboys, so I asked to have it check and we checked it. After a few days of contemplating to play with it or get surgery, I chose surgery. Now we are here.

“They tried to (expletive) over me. [Team doctor Pat] McKenzie trying to cover his own (expletive) after trying to persuade me to play thru a major injury and me choosing to get surgery. They have access to all my medical records. My shoulder wasn’t where it is now at the beginning of the season. I (expletive) it up playing for the Packers.

“Dr. McKenzie didn’t make [me] feel safe and was pushing to play, which I thought was weird. Not that he was trying to get me to play through it, but the way he was saying things. I didn’t trust him. So I got three other opinions from doctors who all said I need to get it fixed. So I decided to do that. And they decided to waive me with some (expletive) excuse. Failure [to] disclose.

“Every week we do a body evaluation sheet in the weight [room] and pretty much every week I circled my shoulder. I just kept playing but it got worse.

“During the bye week I got off anti-inflammatories to clean my system and could really feel the pain. So I asked to examine it the first day back in. And that’s when we found out it was really (expletive) up.

“They knew. They panicked. Thinking that I was trying to go on IR and be on their books next year. When I mentioned that I would possibly retire. So they tried to (expletive) me before they thought I would (expletive) them. This was all about money. All about money. I get it. But don’t lie homie. You knew [what] was up.

“I had intentions of playing all eight games, as I mentioned in the post during the bye week, but found out it was worse that I felt after getting it checked out. Now, I’m like (expletive) it.

“I chose my health over the “team.” They chose money over me.

Report: Bryan Bulaga done for the year

The Green Bay Packers offensive line has been devastated by injuries this season and that continued Monday night against Detroit.

The NFL Network reported Tuesday that right tackle Bryan Bulaga tore the ACL in his right knee and will miss the rest of the season. The injury happened in the fourth quarter of Monday’s 30-17 loss to the Lions.

Bulaga’s time in Green Bay has been interrupted numerous times by injury since being the team’s first-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. That included missing the entire 2013 season with a torn ACL in his left knee.

The injury means the Packers will have had their preferred five starters along the offensive line for less than two games this season.

Justin McCray replaced Bulaga in the lineup after he went down and could be the full-time starter moving forward, though with former second-round pick Jason Spriggs now healthy, he could also be an option.

Green Bay will travel to Chicago on Sunday.

Brett Hundley isn’t the problem for the Green Bay Packers, but he also hasn’t been the solution

GREEN BAY — Mike McCarthy believes quarterback Brett Hundley is not the Green Bay Packers issue right now. And the head coach is right. A sieve-like defense, significant injury concerns on both sides of the ball and a special teams unit that has offered little to the equation are all major concerns for a squad that fell to .500 on Monday night with a 30-17 loss to the Detroit Lions.

And yet, as it has for the past 25 years in Green Bay, the play of the quarterback is the focus and will largely determine whether the team is successful. Right now, with Hundley under center, it hasn’t been good enough. And he knows it.

“I didn’t play well enough to win,” Hundley said. “That’s my only concern, and that’s my only goal.”

In his second career start in place of an injured Aaron Rodgers, who watched from the sideline, Hundley was better than he was in his first game against the New Orleans Saints. After completing fewer than 50 percent of passes and not even throwing for 100 yards two weeks ago, Hundley threw for 245 yards and ran for a touchdown. But much of his success came late with the Lions largely willing to let him dink and dunk his way down the field. In the first half, with Detroit ratcheting up the pressure and forcing him into difficult throws, he completed a large number of passes — 13 — for minimal yardage — 80 — and only a last-second field goal kept the Packers from being shut out.

“Everybody wants to score five touchdowns, have a perfect quarterback rating and win,” Hundley said. “This game was a step in the right direction. Think I did some good things. Obviously, it wasn’t enough of them.”

It wasn’t and it certainly wasn’t enough to overcome all the other problems facing Green Bay, the ones that Rodgers has so often been able to cancel out. No one really needed a reminder how great the two-time NFL MVP was, but we’re certainly getting one. Things he made look so easy — firing a quick strike to Jordy Nelson with the blitz coming or putting a perfect deep ball right in the hands of Davante Adams — are no longer sure things. Hundley had the chance to make both of those plays Monday and couldn’t, though, to be fair, he didn’t necessarily get the help he needed from those around him.

“I believe in Brett and that’s not just a press conference statement,” McCarthy said afterward. “He’s got what it takes. He has it in his body, has it in his mind and he definitely has the heart.”

Still, when your defense gives up 417 yards, allows the opposing quarterback — in this case Matthew Stafford — to complete 78.8 percent of his passes and fails to get any pressure all night, the lack of success by your offense will be magnified. That’s certainly not to give the defense a pass. Dom Capers’ unit was horrendous against the Lions’ passing game, especially on third down, where Detroit converted 62 percent of the time. Heck, coach Jim Caldwell’s club didn’t punt in a game for the first time since 1971.

“It’s embarrassing,” cornerback Davon House said. “It’s Monday Night [Football]. It was time to show out tonight. It wasn’t the case.”

Fellow cornerback Damarious Randall was more blunt, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Michael Cohen.

“We just the [crapped] the bed. Point blank,” Randall said as relayed by Cohen in a series of tweets. “It was a lack of coverage, a lack of pass rush, a lack of everything. They just flat out played better tonight. Period.”

The special teams wasn’t much better. A promising opening drive — 15 plays, 58 yards — resulted in no points after a low snap led to a subpar hold and a low kick from Mason Crosby, which got blocked. And only once — after a missed field goal by Detroit — did the Packers start with better field position than their own 30-yard line.

But struggles on defense, special teams and injuries aren’t new for Green Bay. They’ve all existed during Rodgers’ tenure as starter and yet the team still managed to make the playoffs every year since 2009, and were averaging 27.4 points per game during a 4-1 start to this year. Without him, the Packers are 0-3 and averaging 14.6 points per game.

All of this is to say that while, yes, Hundley is not the problem for Green Bay, he also hasn’t been the solution. And unless he turns into that, the Packers chances to still be in playoff contention when Rodgers is potentially healthy enough to return late in the year aren’t realistic.

Mike McCarthy responds to report of Packers being interested in QB Brian Hoyer

GREEN BAY — If the Green Bay Packers were indeed thinking about signing free agent quarterback Brian Hoyer this week, coach Mike McCarthy claims he wasn’t aware of it. Asked Thursday morning about an NFL Network report that they had pursued Hoyer after he was cut by the San Francisco 49ers and before he signed with the New England Patriots, McCarthy denied having any knowledge of it.

“First off, I can’t confirm it,” McCarthy said of the report. “From the time Aaron (Rodgers) has been injured, I’ve never once been involved in a conversation about bringing in a veteran quarterback.”

The report on Wednesday stirred up a lot of interest considering just two weeks ago McCarthy was very adamant in sessions with the media that with Rodgers suffering a broken collarbone against Minnesota, that Brett Hundley would be his starter and Joe Callahan would be his backup.

“That was really clearly the vision from the time we had to address it there in Minnesota,” he said.

All of this isn’t to say the team didn’t kick the tires on Hoyer or other veterans, something McCarthy acknowledged.

“I’m not naive to the fact that player personnel people talk around the league,” McCarthy said. “Was there a conversation on other free agents, particularly leading up to the deadline of trading? That’s those guys doing their jobs. As far as pursuing any player, I was not personally involved in any conversations, especially with a veteran quarterback.”

McCarthy and the Packers are dealing with life without Rodgers for a second time since he took over as a starter in 2008. They managed to go just 2-4-1 back in 2013 when he wasn’t in the lineup. Those memories had many asking questions almost immediately about potentially adding a veteran, and that noise grew even louder after Hundley struggled in his first start against the New Orleans Saints. The third-year pro threw for less than 100 yards and complete fewer than 50 percent of his passes.

“I think the sample size on Brett Hundley is way too small to come conclusions about what you think he is as a quarterback,” McCarthy said. “I’m fortunate to work with him each and every day. I believe in him as a quarterback. I believe in our system. But it’s about winning.”

Green Bay hosts the Detroit Lions on Monday night at Lambeau Field.

Aaron Rodgers set to appear on ‘Conan’ Thursday night

For the first time since fracturing his right collarbone on Oct. 15, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will talk about the injury — sort of.

The 2-time MVP is set to appear on Conan O’Brien’s late-night show Thursday for a segment called “Clueless Gamer,” in which O’Brien and Rodgers play the new “Assassins Creed” video game. Perhaps more important for fans of the Packers is that Rodgers also talks about the injury and the surgery he underwent to fix it.

The show airs at 10 p.m. CT on TBS.

Here’s a quick preview clip of the appearance:

The Packers placed Rodgers on injured reserve last week, meaning he won’t play for at least another seven weeks, though ESPN reported the team is hopeful that he can start throwing in five. When asked about Rodgers’ timeline on Monday, coach Mike McCarthy said nothing had changed, and it remains possible that the quarterback’s season is done.

Following the 26-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints last Sunday, Green Bay fell to 2-6-1 in games Rodgers didn’t start due to injury.

Green Bay is on its bye this week. The team will return to action Nov. 6 against the Detroit Lions.

Packers bring back WR Max McCaffrey, cut OL Don Barclay

Max McCaffrey is back with the Green Bay Packers.

The wide receiver was signed to the practice squad on Tuesday after being released by Jacksonville over the weekend. The 23-year-old caught one pass in five games with the Jaguars.

McCaffrey was first signed to the Packers practice squad late in the 2016 regular season and he then spent the entire 2017 offseason with the club before being cut at the end of training camp. During the preseason, he had eight catches for 85 yards.

While McCaffrey is joining the team, veteran offensive lineman Don Barclay is leaving. Placed on injured reserve prior to the start of the regular season with a leg injury, the Packers announced Tuesday he had been released. Barclay had played in 70 games for Green Bay since being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2012.

The Packers are on their bye week. They’ll return Nov. 6 against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field.

New Orleans 26, Packers 17: 2-minute drill

GREEN BAY — For the first time since 2013, the Green Bay Packers experienced life without Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, and it’s just as rough as everyone remembered. With the future Hall of Fame signal caller recovering from collarbone surgery, Brett Hundley made his first career start, running for one touchdown but largely struggling in a 26-17 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Play of the Game

With the Saints leading 19-17 midway through the fourth quarter, Trevor Davis, instead taking the ball at the 25-yard line on a touchback, returned a kickoff from five yards deep in the end zone. He brought it all the way back to the 40-yard line, but only got there because one of his guys held on the return. After the penalty, the Packers started at their own 10. Three plays later, Green Bay was punting, and by the time the Packers got the ball back, they were down two scores.

Game Balls

Offense: Aaron Jones

The rookie was fantastic, running for a career-high 131 yards, including 64 yards on the opening drive that he finished off with a 46-yard touchdown run up the middle. It’s clear Jones is the most explosive of Green Bay’s running backs and has the confidence of the offensive line in front of him.

“He’s hungry. I enjoy seeing him run the ball,” left tackle David Bakhtiari said. “He’s got an extra gear [and] he can take the top off on a run, which is nice. I enjoy getting him touches. We’re going to keep doing our best anytime we call on thirty-three.”

Jones now has a pair of 100-yard games in his first three starts.

Defense: Blake Martinez

The Packers defense wasn’t great by any stretch, but Martinez was a busy man. He recorded a career-high 15 tackles, including 12 solo stops.

Special Teams: Justin Vogel

The Green Bay punter was put to work on Sunday, and he delivered by averaging 47.6 yards on his five kicks, with a net of 46.2. The dangerous Ted Ginn was held to just one return for seven yards.

In their own words

WR Randall Cobb when asked about trying to get on the same page as Hundley:

“It’s going to be important for us to continue to build confidence in him to throw it to us in different situations. There were opportunities today. Jordy (Nelson) and Davante (Adams) got on top [of guys] all day. There were a few inside as well with myself. We just have to continue to build that chemistry with Brett.”

Hundley when asked about trying to keep the team afloat while Rodgers is out:

“All I can say is don’t write us off. I think that’s the biggest thing. We’ve got to get better and we will get better. But we’re not out. Just because of this game and we’re 4-3 now. We still have everything in front of us. We’ve got our division games in front of us. We can still win the division, make the playoffs. Down the road, if Aaron is healthy and comes back and we’re still rolling, he’ll be available. But we’ve just got to win games and keep this season rolling.”

Coach Mike McCarthy on the struggles in the passing game that produced just 79 yards:

“It was a challenge I didn’t meet today. He didn’t get comfortable in the pocket and that’s my responsibility. Did a poor job coaching.

“Our passing game, we can sit here and pick it apart all you want. Let’s just blame it on the head coach today, OK?

In Case You Missed It

— ESPN’s Adam Shefter reported Sunday morning that the Packers feel Rodgers will be able to start throwing in six weeks, meaning a late-season return is possible. Because he’s on injured reserve, the earliest he could play is Week 15 at Carolina.

— One of Green Bay’s captains was guard Jahri Evans, who played his entire career with the Saints before this season.

— The Packers honored the 1967 NFL Championship team and many of the players were on hand. That included quarterback Bart Starr, who has overcome serious health issues in recent years.

— Former Wisconsin offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk started at right tackle for the Saints. He was the team’s first-round pick in April’s NFL draft.

Inside the Numbers

— Jones’ 46-yard touchdown was the longest score on a running play for the Packers since 2015.

— Green Bay dropped to 2-6-1 in games that Rodgers has missed due to injury since he took over as the starter in 2008.

— Drew Brees threw for 331 yards on Sunday. He’s now thrown for at least 300 yards in each of the seven games he’s faced the Packers in his career.

What’s Next

Green Bay (4-3) has its bye next week. The Packers will return to action Monday, Nov. 6 against Detroit at Lambeau Field.