GREEN BAY - There’s a decent chance Green Bay Packers rookie linebacker Vince Biegel will come off the physically unable to perform list this week and make his NFL debut against the Detroit Lions.
But don’t count on his major contribution being on defense.
At Wisconsin, Biegel played special teams all four years and has been working all four units with the Packers in practice.
“Even my last year, I was on onside kickoff, I played punt, I played some reps on punt return and I had kickoff reps,” Biegel said of last season with the Badgers. “I'm very familiar with special teams and I'm sure they'll be using me in that aspect as well."
The Packers have until the end of the business day Wednesday to activate Biegel, put him on injured reserve or cut him. So, if they don’t play him against the Lions, they can activate him Tuesday or Wednesday.
Spriggs returns: Tackle Jason Spriggs became eligible to return to practice from injured reserve Thursday and the Packers wasted no time in getting him back on the field.
By doing so, the Packers automatically triggered one of the two “designated to return” options they have for players on injured reserve. Players must sit out a minimum of eight weeks when on IR, but they are eligible to practice after six.
Spriggs would be eligible to play against the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 19. The other “designated to return” move is being saved for quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Injury report: Tight end Martellus Bennett missed a day of practice for the first time as a Packer because of a shoulder injury.
The injury report came out after coach Mike McCarthy spoke so he did not address Bennett’s injury.
Bennett was one of five players who were listed as not participating in practice. The others were linebacker Ahmad Brooks (back), linebacker Joe Thomas (ankle), defensive lineman Quinton Dial (chest) and safety Kentrell Brice (ankle).
Guard Lane Taylor (ankle) and safety Morgan Burnett (hamstring), both of whom missed the New Orleans game, were limited participants. Also limited was long snapper Taybor Pepper (foot).
Mike check: Burnett will wear the communication helmet for the Packers on Monday night, according McCarthy, which should restore some order to the defense.
Burnett has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury after dropping out in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys.
“Our No. 1 focus is communication’s got to be better,” McCarthy said. “So from the boundary to the players getting things set, so we can take advantage of the things to work on during the course of the week — the mannerisms, the tips and so forth. So we’ll be better this week for that.”
The Packers handed Burnett the communication helmet for the first time this season in what was a very smooth transition. The same could not be said for the switch to Ha Ha Clinton-Dix after Burnett’s injury. There were multiple occasions when the defense looked confused, slow to line up and even played with only 10 men during the loss to the Saints.
“We'll throw the mike back in his helmet and have him be in charge of getting everybody lined up, getting the call out there,” outside linebacker Clay Matthews said. “Usually when he's in front, very rarely do we have those '10 guys on the field' (situations) or personnel issues, so (it will be) huge having him back.”