Bay Packers tackle David Bakhtiari, left, works against
defensive tackle B. J. Raji during NFL football training
camp at Ray Nitschke Field, Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2013, in Green
GREEN BAY —
Coach Mike McCarthy wouldn't say Thursday how long his starters
will play in the Green Bay Packers' preseason opener.
But key players
such as quarterback Aaron Rodgers aren't expected to be on the
field long when the Packers host the Arizona Cardinals on Friday
ones will definitely start the game," McCarthy said after
Green Bay already
is undermanned for the game with several top contributors out with
Among those who
won't play are receiver Jordy Nelson, left tackle Bryan Bulaga and
cornerback Tramon Williams. All three players have significant
knee injuries, and Bulaga will likely miss the entire season after
he undergoes surgery for a torn ligament next week.
The attrition at
several positions two weeks into training camp has given the
Packers plenty of opportunities to put the "next man up"
theory to the test.
think we've ever really said, 'Here we go again,'" Rodgers
said about the rash of injuries. "We believe in the next guy
up. We've seen a lot of that — a guy getting an opportunity and
making the most of it and emerging as a big-time contributor.
That's the expectation around here. That's why we like to have a
lot of depth."
Bay Packers quaterback Aaron Rodgers gestures during NFL
football training camp at Ray Nitschke Field, Tuesday, Aug.
6, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis.
recent injury woes on the offensive line and how they are going
about plugging holes is one example.
Bakhtiari, a fourth-round draft pick, has been thrust into a
critical starting role as the replacement for Bulaga to protect
Rodgers' back side. McCarthy indicated Bakhtiari would play longer
than some of the other starters Friday with an eye on getting the
newcomer settled at the spot.
to play," McCarthy said. "He needs to learn to play the
position at this level and speed and see the things he's going to
see in Week 1."
The Packers had
only nine offensive linemen in practice Thursday. Right guard T.J.
Lang was held out with a sore back, and McCarthy wasn't sure
whether Lang would be available for the game.
McCarthy said he
hopes to play all four quarterbacks, including newly signed
veteran Vince Young, in Friday's game. Young last played in the
2012 preseason with the Buffalo Bills. After practicing the last
three days, Young said he would be ready to play against Arizona.
"I had an
opportunity to play a lot of games in the NFL," Young said.
"So I feel like that's the help part that's kind of making me
feel that if I do go in and play I will be comfortable. I just
want to make sure I've got the right plays, and I want to make
sure I get the guys out of the huddle."
With Nelson out
and the playing status of fellow injured playmaker Randall Cobb up
in the air, several young receivers will get their chance to make
a good first impression Friday.
Cobb is nursing a
biceps injury and said he is prepared to play against the
Cardinals if he's given the OK. If not, the third-year player
knows how important playing time and playing well in the preseason
is for young prospects trying to make the team.
lights come on, some guys shine, some guys kind of fall
under," he said. "Practice is one thing, and we've had
some guys doing really well in practice. But once the lights come
on, it's going to be really the test for them."
James Jones, who
could be the only veteran receiver in uniform for the Packers as
they welcome first-year coach Bruce Arians and the Cardinals to
Lambeau Field, is looking forward to seeing the likes of young
receivers Jarrett Boykin and Jeremy Ross get an extended look.
to see them get an opportunity to make plays, to go out there and
put some good film on tape, to finally see some new faces and play
against some other people," Jones said.
The offense also
might be without rookie running back Eddie Lacy, who ran the
football well in a scrimmage Saturday. Lacy, a second-round draft
pick, has been bothered by a hamstring injury and didn't practice
the last two days.
As for Green
Bay's defense, which will see a new-look Arizona offense with
veteran additions Carson Palmer at quarterback and Rashard
Mendenhall at running back, Williams is out indefinitely with the
knee injury he sustained July 28.
Lang, offensive linemen added to the no-practice list Thursday
were T/G Andrew Datko (concussion) and rookie G Lane Taylor, who
was excused from the team. Taylor tweeted Wednesday night his
wife, Kasey, was getting ready to have their baby.