Packers notes: Roster move takes rookie WR Michael Clark by surprise
GREEN BAY – Wide receiver Michael Clark said he felt he was playing well in practice for the Green Bay Packers, but he didn’t expect to be pulled aside after position meetings last Thursday and told that he was being signed to the 53-man roster.
Clark, the 6-6, 217-pound rookie who played one year of Division I basketball before giving football a try at Marshall for one year, had spent the entire year on the practice squad. He had no idea the Packers were thinking of signing him to the 53.
“Every week I’ve been waiting, being prepared, but I didn’t know exactly when this would happen,” Clark said. “They just told me I was doing a good job and that they felt it was the right thing to do to bring me up.”
Clark, who acts as his own agent, said he was not contacted by any other teams seeking him for their 53-man roster. Any team could have signed him as long as it was to their 53 and not the practice squad.
The Packers might have been worried someone was going to poach him eventually, so they signed him despite having six receivers on the roster.
In training camp, Clark made a number of spectacular plays, especially on deep balls in which he leaped over cornerbacks for the ball. But he was extremely raw and had to learn how to fight off bump coverage.
Clark said he has no idea if he’ll be active for a game this season.
“It could be this week, I’ll never know,” Clark said. “But I’m here now, so for sure they’re thinking about something.”
Solid center: While there are few positives to lean on for the winless Cleveland Browns this season, first-year starting center JC Tretter has been one.
Tretter, a fourth-round draft pick of the Packers in 2013, signed with the Browns this past offseason to be their starting center. He is one of three players on their offense to play every snap, leaving his lengthy injury history in Green Bay behind.
“It’s been long for me,” Tretter said of this season, “because I haven’t been this healthy in awhile. It’s been a long season that way. But I see where we’re building, and I see the improvement week to week. I think we’ve been close, and we’ve just got to finish the job.”
Tretter will make his 13th start this season when the Browns host his former team in Cleveland. It’s already the second-most games Tretter has played in one season.
The only time Tretter played in all 16 games was 2015, making three starts. He started the first seven games at center for the Packers last season, but then his season ended with a knee surgery. Tretter played only eight games in 2014 because of another knee injury.
Tretter missed practices earlier this season with a sprained right knee, but hasn’t missed a snap.
“I think he's done a really good job of solidifying the middle of our offensive line,” Browns coach Hue Jackson said. “He's kind of our quarterback on the field with the quarterback. He's done a really good job of making sure we all stay on the same page. He's been really dependable. Obviously, I know about the injuries in the past, but for so far this has not been an issue this year.”
Injury update: While the Packers are gaining health at quarterback, their corner position continues to be undermanned. Davon House did not practice because of a shoulder injury, and rookie Kevin King (shoulder) was placed on season-ending injured reserve.
Inside linebacker Jake Ryan (flu) and outside linebacker Nick Perry (foot, shoulder) also did not practice. Perry was limited with a foot injury in last week’s practices, but his shoulder injury is new.
On the mend: Running back Ty Montgomery underwent surgery Wednesday to repair his injured wrist.
Montgomery first hurt his wrist against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the problem worsened until he was ultimately placed on injured reserve.
"Surgery was a success," Montgomery tweeted Wednesday evening.
Local product: For all the tackles racked up by inside linebacker Blake Martinez — 111 through the first 12 games — there will be a player on the opposite sideline Sunday who has upended ball carriers at a higher rate: former Wisconsin linebacker Joe Schobert.
While Martinez ranks fourth in the league in total tackles, Schobert is tied for second with 113. He and Bobby Wagner of Seattle trail only Zach Brown of Washington (117 tackles).
“Joe's done a really good job,” Jackson said. “He's playing the Mike linebacker position for us. He's made some plays this year for us.”
The Browns selected Schobert, a Waukesha native, in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. He appeared in all 16 games as a rookie, starting four, and made 28 total tackles.
This season, Schobert’s production has skyrocketed in a starting role. Schobert has played all 795 snaps for the Browns through their first 12 games.
“I think once (defensive coordinator Gregg) Williams and his staff got here they did a really good analysis on our players, they started to fit guys where they felt they fit better,” Jackson said. “Obviously, our scheme changed from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3, and it's been the best fit for Joe.”