Packers defensive end Cullen Jenkins won’t play against the Detroit Lions on Sunday because of a calf sprain suffered against San Francisco, according to Packers coach Mike McCarthy, and could also miss the game after that against the New England Patriots.
Jenkins was carted off Lambeau Field in the second half on Sunday after re-injuring the calf that has bothered him for much of the season.
McCarthy said at his press conference this morning that Jenkins feels better today than he did yesterday, but he is expected to miss a couple of weeks. That likely means Jenkins will miss the Packers’ road game at New England on Dec. 19.
Jenkins has been playing well, according to McCarthy, and losing him will be significant to the Packers’ defense. Jenkins recorded two sacks against the 49ers to boost his season total to a career high seven.Fullback Korey Hall sprained his knee against San Francisco and is also expected to miss the Lions game. Receiver Brett Swain suffered a knee contusion but could possibly play in Detroit. Other highlights from McCarthy’s presser: *Brandon Jackson is still the Packers’ main running back, according to McCarthy, even though James Starks carried 18 times against the 49ers while Jackson had four carries. McCarthy said he would like to use a three-halfback rotation that includes Jackson, Starks and Dimitri Nance. *Regarding Starks, McCarthy said it was the right move to put him on the physically unable to perform list and give him enough time to get ready after he injured his hamstring early in the summer. He said Starks graded out well in the run game and pass protection vs. the 49ers. *The Packers can definitely improve on punting in cold weather. McCarthy said he expects punter Tim Masthay to learn from the experience. Masthay had a net average of 33.0 on three punts. His kicks were low line drives with very little hang time. *There was a protection breakdown on Mason Crosby’s 29-yard missed field goal, according to McCarthy. *On the intentional grounding call against Aaron Rodgers, McCarthy said he was told the quarterback threw the ball too high. McCarthy didn’t elaborate, but it appeared obvious he didn’t agree with the call. *Frank Zombo is improving, and McCarthy thought he played very well vs. the 49ers. *Clay Matthews hasn’t been getting many sacks lately, but McCarthy said he has opened up a lot of opportunities for other players on defense. Matthews is playing winning football, according to McCarthy. *McCarthy won’t reflect on the logjam in the NFC playoff race. His only focus is on the next game at Detroit. He believes the Packers’ best football is still ahead of them. He said the Packers must make sure their house is clean and they keep improving. *He likes the new schedule that emphasizes division games late in the season. He said it was “awesome” the Packers are playing the Chicago Bears in the final regular-season game. *Aaron Rodgers is selective and smart when running with the football, and McCarthy doesn’t worry when his quarterback takes off running. He doesn’t want Rodgers to take hits like he did in the Cowboys game. But he likes when Rodgers utilizes his athletic ability. Overall, he said Rodgers is playing at a high level with a lot of confidence and is making excellent reads and throws. *Donald Driver was better today, McCarthy said. His hand was wrapped after the game. *The Packers gave up four sacks vs. the 49ers. McCarthy said there was miscommunication on one and technique problems on the others. He also said he called too many dropback plays that might have contributed to the sacks. Once the Packers went to a run-pass mode, the protection was better. *The T-formation the Packers used successfully fits perfectly with John Kuhn’s running style. *Defensive ends Jarius Wynn and C.J. Wilson have been neck and neck recently to get on the 45-man active roster and will battle for playing time in Jenkins’ absence. *Game balls went to Rodgers, Jenkins, Diyral Briggs and Quinn Johnson.