GREEN BAY - Another week, another cornerback down with an injury for the Green Bay Packers.
First Quinten Rollins (Achilles), then Kevin King (shoulder) and now Davon House (shoulder/back), who was ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Carolina Panthers.
House suffered a transverse process fracture when he took a knee in the back during a win Sunday over the Cleveland Browns. He did not practice this week and told reporters Friday that “it doesn’t feel good.”
However, House said the medical staff has told him the injury is not long-term. His goal is to return next weekend against the Minnesota Vikings.
“Doctor says it’s really a day-to-day type thing,” House said, “so I’m thinking Minnesota.”
A transverse process is “a bony protrusion from the back of a vertebrae bone in the spine,” according to the Virtual Sports Injury Clinic. There are two transverse processes attached to each vertebra, with one on either side.
Without House, the Packers will turn to Damarious Randall and Josh Hawkins as their top two cornerbacks. Randall, who has played terrific football of late, is likely to shadow wide receiver Devin Funchess, the top target for Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. Hawkins would man the other side of the field.
With so few corners, defensive coordinator Dom Capers is likely to continue his recent trend of using two safeties in the slot positions for nickel and dime defense. Veteran Morgan Burnett could draw the assignment of tight end Greg Olsen, who caught seven passes for 66 yards and a touchdown against the Packers in 2015, while Whitehead would play as the second slot corner in the dime.
“We’re going to have to make plays on the ball,” Capers said. “This is one of those games where we’ve got to find some way to go out and get the ball taken away, whether it’s swarming and punching at the ball or tipped balls for interceptions. That’s got to be a priority for us, and that’s something our guys have done a pretty good job of.”
The mystery man for the Packers is cornerback Demetri Goodson, who is questionable with a hamstring injury. Goodson has not played since tearing his ACL against Washington in November of 2016, but under ideal conditions, the coaching staff may trust him more than Hawkins, who plays with boom-or-bust volatility. Asking Goodson to play significant snaps at corner during his first game in more than a year is likely too steep a task, which puts extra pressure on Hawkins to perform.
“The kid plays hard,” cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr. said a week ago. “He’s competitive. I wish he would have intercepted those two balls he had (against Tampa Bay), but he didn’t. We need to make those types of plays to win games.”
Outside linebacker Nick Perry (shoulder/foot), inside linebacker Jake Ryan (knee) and right tackle Jason Spriggs (hip) are questionable. Coach Mike McCarthy said Spriggs’ injury is minor.
“Not a concern for Jason,” McCarthy said. “Just following the procedure of if someone has to come out of practice for a few reps. So I look for him to be fine.”
For the Panthers, starting right guard Trai Turner (concussion) and starting linebacker Shaq Thompson (foot) have been ruled out. Funchess (shoulder) and center Tyler Larsen (foot) are questionable.