Sept. 18, 2016, file photo shows Green Bay Packers defenders
Mike Daniels (76), Kenny Clark (97) and Jake Ryan (47) getting
set for a play during the first half of an NFL football game
against the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis. he Packers have
the league’s best run defense through two games, allowing just
1.63 yards per carry. Daniels is leading a stout effort in spite
of depth questions in the front seven.
GREEN BAY — Rookie
Kenny Clark is poised to take the next step in his young career with
the Green Bay Packers.
If defensive tackle
Letroy Guion can't play on Sunday against Detroit because of a knee
injury, Clark should be in line for much more playing time in the home
opener at Lambeau Field.
This could be a
momentous weekend for the 20-year-old Clark, the Packers' first-round
draft pick from UCLA.
made a big jump from Week 1 to Week 2, and he has to take another step
this week," coach Mike McCarthy said.
Clark filled in
admirably after Guion got hurt in last week's 17-14
loss to Minnesota. Guion and fellow defensive lineman Mike Daniels
have spearheaded the Packers' strong start against the run, holding
opponents to a league-best 1.63 yards per carry.
Minnesota's Adrian Peterson was held to 19 yards on 12 carries before
leaving the game with a
knee injury .
Clark had two tackles
and played in 66 percent of the defensive snaps, up from 12 percent
the previous week against Jacksonville.
Clark was slowed in
training camp by a hamstring injury. Against Jacksonville, the rookie
said he was "filling into the game too much," or not really
"I just needed
to just come out and go," Clark said this week. "I felt
pretty good out there when I played Minnesota, and as the pace started
going on, I felt more comfortable out there."
He has a pretty good
mentor lining up alongside of Daniels, a bulldozer of a lineman who is
playing the best football of his five-year NFL career. Daniels
consistently wins matchups in the trenches.
"I've liked our
aggressiveness with the guys up front. ... It's not been sit and read,
they've been attacking," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said
Thursday. "It comes down to lining up and whipping your man a lot
It's not just against
the run, either.
Daniels has one of
the Packers' six sacks this season. The pass rush has been strong, and
the front seven, especially has played well.
"Being able to
stop the run the way that we have definitely opens up the pass rush
much more," Daniels said.
"You can see by
our productivity that the run game is definitely complementing the
pass rush very well."
Defensive depth will
be tested, though, on Sunday.
Besides Guion, hybrid
lineman-linebacker Datone Jones hasn't practiced so far this week
because of a knee injury.
Another lineman, Mike
Pennel, is halfway through a four-game suspension from the NFL for
violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
To help fill depth,
the Packers activated defensive tackle Brian Price from the practice
squad on Thursday. But expect Clark to get the first chance to line up
next to Daniels if Guion can't play.
"You see signs
of what Kenny can do. And so, those young guys have to grow up in a
hurry because we need them," Capers said.
The Packers' best
pass rusher, LB Clay Matthews, missed practice again because of ankle
and hamstring injuries suffered in the Vikings game. S Morgan Burnett
(hamstring) also sat out on Thursday. ... Starting CB Sam Shields
(concussion) remains out. ... OL T.J. Lang was added to the injury
report on Thursday with a hip injury.
"He's got some
testing to do or something. He'll be fine," offensive line coach
James Campen said.
S Chris Banjo and LB
Jayrone Elliott, each with hamstring injuries, were full participants
in practice for a second straight day. The special teams standouts
missed the season's first two games. "Well, you've kind of got
two core guys that know the scheme, know what we're doing, have got
experience," coordinator Ron Zook said. "I think it helps an