Packers notes: Rookie Oren Burks could return in nickel linebacker role

Tom Silverstein and Jim Owczarski
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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Green Bay Packers linebacker Oren Burks (42) attempts to tackle Tennessee Titans running back Akrum Wadley (38) in an NFL preseason game at Lambeau Field on Thursday, August 9, 2018 in Green Bay, Wis. 
Adam Wesley/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

GREEN BAY - Rookie inside linebacker Oren Burks, who dislocated his left shoulder in warmups prior to the Aug. 24 exhibition game against the Oakland Raiders, said he’s ready to practice in full with pads Thursday.

Burks returned to practice last week and worked in pads but was not allowed to go full speed and was held out of the opener.

“Just getting out there feels good,” Burks said. “I was trying to take all the scout team reps.

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When Burks got hurt he was a starting inside linebacker. The injury set him back, but he said he has been on top of his playbook and can handle whatever game plan defensive coordinator Mike Pettine delivers.

The addition of veteran Antonio Morrison may result in Burks being brought back as a nickel linebacker. The Packers were hoping to play him there. But Jake Ryan tore his ACL and he was thrust into the starting spot.

Safety Josh Jones remains sidelined with an ankle injury.

It’s a snap

Tackle Jason Spriggs was surfing through his phone Sunday evening when special teams coach Ron Zook came up to his locker and told him he was the backup long snapper.

Spriggs had not tried to long snap during training camp and hadn’t done more than back up the long snapper at Indiana since his high school days.

"I was like, ‘OK,’” Spriggs said.

Zook didn’t even have Spriggs take any practice snaps before the game, but on Wednesday he had the 6-6 tackle working on his delivery. Spriggs said he didn’t expect to ever be used in the role, but would be ready if called upon.          

Punt return duty

With Trevor Davis sustaining a sudden hamstring injury early Sunday, Randall Cobb was tasked with returning punts against the Bears on Sunday night. He made three fair catches and returned one for 17 yards.

Davis was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, leading coach Mike McCarthy to say Wednesday that Cobb was the team’s punt returner “as of today.”

According to a source, the Packers are not planning to waive Davis with an injury settlement. That will allow the team to designate him to return from his hamstring injury if they choose. Davis does has to miss eight weeks, however.  

New corner

Last Thursday, Deante Burton was playing in the NFL’s season-opener for the Atlanta Falcons against the Philadelphia Eagles. On Tuesday, he was flying to Green Bay after the Packers claimed the cornerback off waivers and added him to the 53-man roster when they put Davis on IR.

Burton is a 6-foot, 2-inch, 200-pound defensive back who signed with the Falcons as an undrafted free agent out of Kansas State in 2017. He spent that season on the practice squad. Last week he played five snaps on defense and 18 on special teams for the Falcons before being released.

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“From what I understand the plan was for me to go back to practice squad,” Burton said. “But there’s that 24-hour waiver period, and I think in the final couple minutes or hours of that waiver period Green Bay called, they told me my flight was at 8:50 p.m. and I left for the airport in about 30, 45 minutes.” 

Burton is a converted wide receiver, as he caught 84 passes for 1,085 yards and five touchdowns in his collegiate career.

"Whatever they need me to do is what I can do,” Burton said. “If they need me on special teams, if they need me on defense, offense, whatever it is I can help them out.”

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