GREEN BAY - Darnell Savage was surprised to hear that Washington running back Darrius Guice accused the Green Bay Packers rookie safety of a cheap shot on a tackle that knocked Guice out of the game Sunday and landed him on injured reserve this week.
The oft-injured Guice was coming off his best game as a pro when Savage cut him down near the sideline at the end of a 23-yard run.
Guice left the field with a knee injury and did not return.
On Tuesday, he tweeted: “I think it was a cheap shot. He knows the history of my knee injuries and he went straight at them.”
Guice soon after took the tweet down.
Savage said he doesn’t spend much time on social media and seemed taken aback when told of what Guice tweeted.
“I’m sure you guys can (see), I’m not a dirty player,” Savage told a group of reporters. “In my career, I’ve never done anything to hurt anybody. It’s unfortunate it happened. I actually told a couple of my teammates, ‘I hope he’s good,’ after it happened.
“But if he feels that way, it is what it is.”
Savage said he would never target another player’s injury and said part of the reason defensive backs have to go low is that they risk a helmet-to-helmet foul if they go high.
“It’s tough, it’s definitely tough,” Savage said. “We’re put in a bind with that. You have to make do. It’s unfortunate it happened. He’s a great back and I know he’s battled some injuries, but when you’re out there on the field I’m not targeting a guy because of injuries he’s had or anything like that.”
Rodgers savors Urlacher rivalry
Brian Urlacher played only one quarter in the 2009 season, a dislocated right wrist in the opener at Green Bay sending him to injured reserve, but it was enough to leave a lasting impression on Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers said Wednesday his all-time favorite Chicago Bears opponent was Urlacher. It wasn’t Urlacher’s hits or interceptions that Rodgers remembers most – although he remembers both – but the Hall of Fame linebacker’s sense of humor.
Like during their 2009 matchup.
“We were playing them at home,” Rodgers said, “and every time I checked, he checked to something. And the checks he was saying were super inappropriate. I think it was pre kind of mic-ing up of the guards, where every single word was heard, because I promise you if that happened today, some of that stuff would had to have gotten bleeped out. But we had a lot of fun with it.”
Rodgers, who declined to give examples because they were not family friendly, said he always wondered whether Urlacher’s vulgar checks actually had meaning behind them, or if they were dummy calls. So he asked when the pair played golf together near Lake Tahoe.
“He said a lot of them were real,” Rodgers said. “They would come up with those specifically for Packers week, because he knew, he had a bead on – well, he said, but I told him we were dummy checking sometimes – but he said he had a bead on when we were checking. And they would come up with specific dirty checks to combat anything we were trying to do.”
Preserving the roster
The Packers practiced at a light, walkthrough pace Wednesday, not wearing any pads or helmets, something coach Matt LaFleur has done before this season.
NFL teams often treat Wednesdays and Thursdays as primary practice days, but the Packers have made an occasional habit of saving the rigors of their work for Thursday. LaFleur believes these Wednesday walkthroughs have helped preserve his roster, and he has evidence to back it up.
Every player on his 53-man roster participated Wednesday.
“I think it has something to do with it, for sure,” LaFleur said. “You just don’t want to beat your guys into the ground. You want the players available for Sunday because there’s plenty of banging that goes on, on game days. We’re always mindful of what we’re asking our guys to do, and we try to take care of them, and I think we’ve got a lot of great people around here to really help them be physically at their best.”
The Packers listed eight players as limited Wednesday, among them cornerback Kevin King. King missed last Sunday' game against Washington because of a shoulder injury. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga, cornerback Tramon Williams and tight end Marcedes Lewis received veteran’s rest. Right guard Billy Turner (knee), tight end Jimmy Graham (wrist), receiver Geronimo Allison (knee) and fullback Danny Vitale (calf) all were limited.
The Packers rank second in the NFL behind the Minnesota Vikings (6-0) in home record this season with a 6-1 mark.
Rodgers is 9-2 against the Bears at home and has won three straight against them at Lambeau Field.
A year ago, the Bears were running away with the NFC North and the Packers needed a victory at Chicago in Week 15 to stay alive in the playoff hunt. This year, the Packers are in command of the division and the Bears need a victory in Week 15 to stay alive in the playoff hunt.
“I think there’s those type of opportunities just about every year we play each other,” Rodgers said of knocking the other team out. “You’re usually always playing for something when you play division opponents, but especially Chicago because last year I think it was kind of us getting our season officially ended down there in Week 15.
“So, it’s part of the rivalry.”