Morning Buzz: Packers hurting for home opener
Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at PackersNews.com. It’s game day and the Packers' home opener, so grab a cup of coffee and get caught up on everything you need to know before today’s kickoff against the Lions.
In what is becoming something of a routine early on in this 2016 regular season, the Packers adjusted their injury report Saturday for the third week in a row.
The Detroit Lions were supposed to be the ones hurting the most on defense Sunday at Lambeau Field, but it appears the Green Bay Packers will be much worse off.
They will be without outside linebacker Clay Matthews (ankle/hamstring) and safety Morgan Burnett (groin), both of whom were declared out after the Packers completed their final practice of the week Saturday morning.
In addition, nose tackle Letroy Guion (knee) and outside linebacker Datone Jones (knee) have been downgraded from questionable to doubtful, meaning their chance of playing against the Lions is slim.
It looks like the Packers’ defensive depth will be tested here in Week 3
On the offensive side of the ball, Pete Dougherty offers a compelling look back at a few other times quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense were in a rut or a slump and how Mike McCarthy changed approaches to break out of them.
Will McCarthy make a similar adjustment against the Lions?
Speaking of McCarthy, Michael Cohen takes a deep dive into the preparation the head coach and his staff go through when it comes to the officiating crew and penalties.
It’s a part of the game many fans may not really think about, but it can have a big effect on how each game is played, including Sunday’s contest against the Lions.
I nsignificant though it may seem, this peculiarity of preparation carries legitimate import as the Packers prepare for their home opener against the Detroit Lions. The reasons are twofold: 1) A week ago, at home against the Tennessee Titans, the Lions were penalized 17 times for 138 yards, a display that suggested inattention to detail and potentially exploitable behavior. 2) Sunday’s referee, Carl Cheffers, was also in charge for the Packers’ victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Several days later, the league acknowledged Cheffers’ crew missed 16 calls over the course of the game, many of which, according to a report by ESPN, went against the Jaguars. To think that Sunday’s game might be overly tight is not beyond the realm of possibility.
On the opposite sideline, I sat down with Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press earlier this week to break down Sunday's game from the Lions perspective.
The Lions announced Saturday that they have released former Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson to make room for linebacker Zaviar Gooden.
The move was made necessary by the fact that the Lions have two linebackers, DeAndre Levy and Antwione Williams, who have been ruled out for Sunday’s game.
Speaking of Levy, be sure to read this great-first person account Levy gives the Detroit Free Press about how he has dealt with the bevy of injuries over the last year. It’s sobering stuff and a good window into what players go through when they are away from the spotlight but still very much working, despite some fans’ insistence that they are “just getting paid.”
As fans focused on wanting the team to win, I understand how it may be challenging to fully understand what an injury means to a player. There are the mental aspects that accompany injury, rehab, being patient with your body to heal; the guilt of missing time; the feeling of letting teammates and fans down; the internal questions of opportunities missed and if you’ll ever really bounce back; and a slew of other things that a player has on their mind that will never be reflected in the injury report.
Before being a NFL player, we're people. People that have invested countless hours into this sport. And no matter how long or short we're down because of injury it hurts.
Speaking of injuries, don’t expect to see Sam Shields for a while.
Does it feel like it’s been ages since the Packers played a home game? By finishing on the road the final two weeks of the preseason and then opening the regular season two weeks straight on the road, the Packers have been away from Lambeau Field for a good stretch.
That’s about to change.
If you’re looking for a game preview, Bob McGinn has you covered right here.
Our predictions for the game can be seen by clicking below.