Morgan Burnett sits out Thursday's practice
Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy wasn’t addressing Morgan Burnett’s injured calf during his news conference prior to Thursday’s padded practice.
“What’s today, Thursday? We’ll see how it goes,” McCarthy said.
However, Burnett’s inactivity on the practice field speaks volumes. The starting safety was again the only player on the 53-man roster who didn’t practice Thursday, leaving his status uncertain for Sunday’s regular-season opener against Chicago.
If Burnett can’t go, the Packers likely would start third-year defensive back Micah Hyde, who returned to practice this week after experiencing neck spasms following the Packers’ third preseason game against Philadelphia on Aug. 30.
Hyde, who’s been a full participant in practice this week, started in place of Burnett against Pittsburgh on Aug. 23 when the sixth-year safety was dealing with a personal matter.
Hyde saw his most work with the starting defense in camp as the slot cornerback in the nickel subpackage, which the Packers deployed on roughly 75 percent of their defensive snaps last season. Still, they have flexibility to replace him. Second-round pick Quinten Rollins and safety Sean Richardson received snaps there in camp.
Casey Hayward also could be a candidate to shift inside even though he’s slated to be the outside boundary cornerback opposite Sam Shields. That would enable first-round pick Damarious Randall or undrafted rookie LaDarius Gunter to play on the perimeter.
Hayward rotated outside and inside in the sub packages throughout camp.
Burnett was the only missing party at practice. Starting offensive linemen T.J. Lang (concussion), Josh Sitton (ankle), David Bakthiari (knee) and Bryan Bulaga (ankle) continued to practice like Wednesday. Receiver Randall Cobb, who said he plans on playing against the Bears, worked for the first time in pads since he sprained his shoulder against Philadelphia.
— firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.