Green Bay Packers cornerback Charles Woodson (21) tackles Philadelphia Eagles receiver Jason Advant (81) in the third quarter during Sunday's game at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. / File/Press-Gazette
The Green Bay Packers forced only one turnover in last Sunday’s season-opening victory at Philadelphia, but that lone turnover was perfectly executed and has become commonplace for Charles Woodson.
On the opening drive of the second half, the Packers’ cornerback punched the ball out of the hands of Eagles running back Eldra Buckley. It was vintage Woodson, who had Buckley wrapped up with his left hand and jarred the ball loose with his right. He did the same thing to Arizona Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald in last season’s wild-card playoff game.
“We call it the Woodson move,” Packers safety Derrick Martin said. “I’ve tried and tried, and it doesn’t work for me. They teach you to secure the tackle first and then try to punch it out, but he does it almost simultaneously, so you don’t know if he’s going to try to make the tackle or punch it out.”
By now, opposing players are ready for it, but that doesn’t mean they can prevent it.
“He’s always done that,” said Buffalo Bills receiver Lee Evans, who likely will be matched up against Woodson during Sunday’s game at Lambeau Field. “He’s a ball hawk. Whether the ball is in the air or in your arms, he’s going after it. I’ve seen him do it over the years, and we certainly make the rookies conscious of it throughout the game and anytime he’s around.”
Woodson took a boxing class this offseason with safety Nick Collins, who didn’t discount the notion that it improved Woodson’s ability to punch out the ball.
“You’re working on your jab, that’s for sure,” Collins said.
Woodson nearly had a second turnover against the Eagles but his second-quarter interception was overturned by a replay challenge. He played with a sore toe he injured in practice more than a week ago. That injury kept him out of practice all of this week until Friday, when he was a full participant and was listed as probable.
“I thought he looked fine,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “Went through a full practice. He’s ready to go.”
Left guard Daryn Colledge skipped practice on Friday because of an illness. He said he thinks it was something he ate.
“I don’t know if it’s a 24-hour thing or where he stands,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “We’ll see how Daryn is in the morning.”
Rookie Bryan Bulaga took Colledge’s snaps in practice and would start if Colledge couldn’t play.
Colledge was one of five players the Packers listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report. The others were linebacker Desmond Bishop (hamstring), fullback Korey Hall (hip), defensive end Mike Neal (side/rib) and cornerback Brandon Underwood (shoulder). None of those players practiced on Friday. Hall was added to the injury report Friday but said the injury first occurred in practice on Wednesday, and he practiced full go on Thursday.
Left tackle Chad Clifton (knee) was a full participant after being limited early in the week. It’s the opposite of what Clifton usually does. He typically goes full early in the week and rests on Friday.
McCarthy said a decision hasn’t been made whether to activate newly acquired running back Dimitri Nance, who was signed off Atlanta’s practice squad on Tuesday.
If Hall can’t play, then perhaps Nance will be active.
“I really can’t answer that question,” McCarthy said. “I think he’s a very bright young man just from my conversations with (running backs coach) Edgar Bennett. But he is coming from a terminology offense that’s a lot different than ours. But it’s still football. If he was to be up on Sunday, we would definitely have a package for him.”
The Packers see the Bills only once every four years, so the AFC East squad will be a bit of an unfamiliar foe, although the two teams played in the preseason last year.
But they have a new staff this year under first-year coach Chan Gailey. However, that’s where having an experienced defensive coordinator like Dom Capers comes in handy. Capers coached in the AFC East with New England (2008) and Miami (2006-07).
“In 2008 at New England, we opened up against Kansas City when Chan was the offensive coordinator with the Chiefs,” Capers said. “Over the years, if you study the coordinators, you get a pretty good feel. He’s got different personnel, but some of the same concepts you can see carry over. And I worked with Chan back in Pittsburgh. When you’re in it as long as I’ve been, you’ve worked with most of the guys.”