Davon House doesn't know how many more chances he'll get to prove his worth to the Green Bay Packers.
That's what makes his next opportunity always the most important.
An unrestricted free agent after the season, the fourth-year cornerback has made a career of making the most of what's in front of him at the most congested position in the Packers' locker room.
His biggest assignment of the season could come Monday night against the pass-oriented Atlanta Falcons if Sam Shields isn't cleared from his concussion. Conversely, House might not see a defensive snap if Shields is able to go.
That's how things go when you have former Pro Bowler Tramon Williams, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde and House all rustling for reps. The competition makes patience becomes just as important as preparation.
There was no better example of that than last year's playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers. After playing all of five defensive snaps last December, House was called on after Shields injured his knee on the first series. House ended up playing 61 snaps in their most important game of the season.
House was summoned back onto the field last week against New England after Shields left early in the second quarter. Coincidentally, he told his told his wife, Leatricia, to stay home with their infant son because of the game-time weather and the uncertainty of how much playing time he'd receive.
He played 44 snaps on defense.
"I felt like it was big. I haven't played in forever really on the defensive side of the ball unless it was garbage time," House said. "I felt like I needed it. I felt like the team needed it. I feel like it was big for me. Last year of my contract, trying to do the best I can to stay on this roster for next year."
House's presence could come in handy again with Shields listed as questionable. He didn't practice Thursday or Friday and was estimated as a non-participant Saturday since the Packers now conduct their final run-through the day before games.
Atlanta veteran receiver Roddy White returned to practice in limited fashion Friday, but is still questionable with the ankle injury that held him out in Sunday's 29-18 win over Arizona. If he's able to go, Green Bay's secondary would have to contend with Matt Ryan and both of his top receivers with Julio Jones.
"The medical staff has told me he still has a chance to play," said Packers coach Mike McCarthy of Shields. "He'll be given the opportunity to play in the game if everything goes right."
House has started four games in the Packers' secondary this season. As defensive coordinator Dom Capers and cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt point out, he's had some good performances (see: Carolina) and a forgettable one (see: New Orleans). Overall, they've been pleased with how House has responded on the fly.
Williams, House and Bush are all scheduled to hit free agency after the season. Any remaining spot starts during the remainder of this season could open doors for him once it's over. Right now, his job is to be ready whenever the Packers need him.
"I don't think about it too much," said House of free agency. "I truly believe winning takes care of everything. Hopefully, I'm praying that we do go to the Super Bowl and we win because that's what our goal is. Hopefully, they like what they see out of us and out of me and decide to keep me here. If not, who doesn't want a Super Bowl corner?"
Defensive linemen Mike Daniels (back) and Josh Boyd (knee) are probable to play against the Falcons after missing practice time due to soreness this week.
Boyd returned for Thursday's padded practice, while Daniels was estimated as a limited participant after previously sitting out.
"I think Mike is going to be full strength and I think Josh is going to be full strength by Monday," McCarthy said.
Inside linebacker Jamari Lattimore (ankle) and defensive lineman Luther Robinson (calf) have been ruled out. McCarthy said he doesn't expect Lattimore's injury to be season-ending.
Robinson injured a calf during Thursday's practice. McCarthy said the team was still awaiting scans as of Saturday morning, but Robinson was optimistic.
"I was just in a block and it got tight on me. That's pretty much it," said Robinson, who's been a healthy scratch in three of the last four weeks. "I just look at it as a little setback. Come back and get ready."
Offensive linemen Josh Sitton (toe), T.J. Lang (ankle) and Lane Taylor (illness) are probable, along with outside linebacker Nick Perry (shoulder). Perry returned last week against New England, but played only 10 defensive snaps.
"I think he'll be ready for more," McCarthy said. "Nick's had a good week of practice. Definitely, I think the extra day off will help him."
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