GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers are going to give receiver Randall Cobb a full week to rehab his injured ankle before deciding whether to practice him Saturday and play him Sunday night.
Unlike Wednesday, Cobb attended practice and was wearing his pads, but during the period open to the media he just caught passes on the jugs machine. He did not take part in the pre-practice stretching and individual drills.
Cobb, who sat out the Minnesota game Christmas Eve, may try to practice Saturday before the Packers fly to Detroit. How he performs then would probably give the coaches a better grasp on whether he's ready to return to the field.
As important as the game is, the offense did not suffer from his absence against the Vikings. Rookie Geronimo Allison filled in nicely with four catches for 66 yards as quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 347 yards and four touchdowns.
The Packers could use his punt-return ability. He has returned only four punts this year, but he's averaging 13.5 per return and his 23-yarder against Houston was the longest return since Trevor Davis' 55-yarder at Atlanta Oct. 30.
Also sitting out practice was linebacker Julius Peppers and James Starks (concussion). Pepper was given a second straight day of rest, which is unusual for him. He typically works at least one day during the week.
Coach Mike McCarthy said Starks is doing better and attending meetings but he's still in the concussion protocol.
Running back Christine Michael, who was given Wednesday off for a personal matter, returned to practice.
The Packers worked in pads and were back on their usual seven-day schedule after not practicing Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
"It's been good," McCarthy said. "But we're in the flow of it, I mean this is a four-day season, that's what we've been talking about all year. Everything we've done to this point has put us in this position to prepare to go win this game. So any extra time, any extra days, extra time to prepare, rest and recovery for your players, it's definitely been beneficial."
The Packers had a few changes in their injury report, none of them dramatic. Tackle Bryan Bulaga (shoulder) and cornerback Damarious Randall (shoulder) went from full participants Wednesday to limited and linebacker Joe Thomas (back) was added to the report as a limited participant.
The Lions did not have any changes on their report.
Proper context: With the Packers and Lions slated for an evening kickoff, McCarthy was asked Wednesday about allowing his players to watch portions of the earlier games that influence the NFC playoff picture.
McCarthy said the Packers will go through their normal pregame routine which includes times when television sets are shut down.
“We have a system of when TVs are on and when they're off,” McCarthy said.
But outside linebacker Clay Matthews said he plans to watch games throughout the day and follow scores closely. He does not want to be left in the dark.
“I'll watch 'em all,” Matthews said. “I want to know exactly what's happening. I'm not going to give you any sound bites about me, 'I'm not watching to keep the edge.' No, I think it's important to watch and as a fan of the game, I want to watch.”
Speed zone: The combination of the fast turf, high energy and Detroit's style of offense is going to require the Packers to wear their track shoes.
The Lions went into Dallas on Monday night and moved up and down the field in the first half, possibly taking the NFC's No. 1 seed by surprise.
"It’s going to be a fast game – you’re in a dome, you’re own turf, you’re playing against an athletic team that spreads you out," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. "Much of the game becomes a space game. You’ve got to be ready for all of those things. You’ve got to be ready for the quick pace. They run a lot of no-huddle.
"I think you saw at Dallas Monday night their pace. The first three drives, they just went right down the field and scored. You’ve got to make sure that they don’t shock you with their pace. Obviously, our offense runs a lot no huddle so we get an opportunity to prepare against that."
Study hall: The Packers hadn't seen Minnesota for 14 weeks and when the two teams met Saturday, the Vikings threw some new looks at the Packers.
The Packers and Lions also have 14 weeks between their first meeting and Sunday's game and so it's logical to think Detroit will have something new for the Packers.
"You would anticipate new looks, and you have some assumptions and make sure you're prepared for those things," offensive line coach James Campen said. "You've got to rely on your training and what you've done in the past and things of that nature to make sure that when something unusual comes up, you can spot it out, make a call or do an adjustment and move on from there.
"But these guys study hard and we'll do our best to find every look we can find, you know what I mean?"