GREEN BAY - Thin depth has crumbled to thinning ranks at outside linebacker for the Green Bay Packers.
Starter Clay Matthews (groin tightness) joined Nick Perry (ankle) and Jayrone Elliott (back) as players who dropped out of Saturday’s game against the Denver Broncos and did not practice Tuesday.
Matthews, who dropped out after seven snaps in Denver, was not seen at the team’s final public practice, but coach Mike McCarthy said he is not overly worried about his star pass rusher.
“No long-time concern there,” McCarthy said.
The short-term concern, however, is a barren cupboard of outside linebackers for practice and the final exhibition game against the Los Angeles Rams. Associate head coach/linebackers Winston Moss had only four players to work with during Tuesday’s practice: Kyler Fackrell, Reggie Gilbert, Johnathan Calvin and Josh Letuligasenoa.
Everyone else was hurt.
“I mean, we have a couple guys who won't practice today and none of those guys I have really any long-term concern,” McCarthy said.
One exception could be rookie outside linebacker Vince Biegel, a fourth-round pick earlier this year. Biegel did not practice Tuesday and remains a member of the rehab group off to the side of the field.
Biegel underwent foot surgery in May and has not practiced since. At this point, with a week and a half remaining until the season opener against Seattle, it would be somewhat surprising if Biegel began the year on the 53-man roster. Instead, he seems destined to remain on the PUP list and miss at least the first six games of the regular season.
Even if Biegel returned later this week, Moss said the process of getting him ready to play would be extremely difficult.
“Major challenge, major challenge,” Moss said with a chuckle. “I guess you guys have to see it from my end or see it from the perspective of if Vince Biegel was to be placed on the 53 and we were in position get him ready to play, he would only be placed in situations where he could, at best, put himself in position to help the team. We wouldn’t call upon him to do something out of his range, out of his comfort zone, something that he’s not ready for. We’re not going to ask him to do anything that he cannot do before he’s ready to. We would all love for him be in game-ready, be in season-ready condition, but that’s not the case.
“But we’ll take it a day at a time, we’ll take it a week at a time, and whatever it takes. If he’s on the 53, we’ll work with whatever process and whatever measures it’s going to take for him to evolve into getting into condition, getting into shape, getting his techniques honed down. Or if he’s put on the PUP, then we’ll deal with that as it comes. We’re going to coach the guys that we have right now and Vince, even though he wants to get out there, I want him to get out there, you guys want him to get out there I hope, we’ll just take it as it comes.”
Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who was held out of the Denver exhibition with what the team described as a minor knee issue, did not suit up for practice Tuesday. On the plus side for the Packers, cornerback Davon House (hamstring) and defensive lineman Dean Lowry (knee) returned to practice.