GREEN BAY — An
unusually early bye week did the Green Bay Packers some good.
The team returned to
work Monday and practiced for about 90 minutes at nearly full strength
as a few key defensive players returned from injury.
couldn't have come at a (more) perfect time," veteran safety
Morgan Burnett said. "Now we're getting guys back, getting guys
healthy, and that's what you really want going down the stretch."
Burnett joined star
linebacker Clay Matthews, nose tackle Letroy Guion and defensive
end/linebacker Datone Jones in practice after they were sidelined for
Green Bay's pre-bye win over the Detroit Lions on Sept. 25.
The improved health
of the team after a week off comes as the Packers (2-1) get ready to
host the New York Giants on Sunday night.
everybody out there," defensive back Micah Hyde said. "It's
going to be a competitive game."
Coach Mike McCarthy
said earlier Monday that he would have to wait to see how the injured
players who returned to the field fared in practice before assessing
just how healthy the Packers will be for their next game.
Sam Shields still hasn't been cleared to resume football activities
after missing the past two games because of a concussion.
improving," McCarthy said. "I know the break was good for
him. He was able to go home."
indicated the team is being very cautious with Shields, who has a
history of head injuries. A concussion kept him from playing four
games toward the end of last season.
"No stone has
been left unturned," McCarthy said. "I think we have a very
good handle on why and how and really the process for him to come
The Packers' pass
defense has struggled without Shields, giving up numerous big plays
and allowing an average of 307.3 yards through the air to rank 29th.
it was that easy, anybody would be doing it," cornerback
Damarious Randall said.
cornerback was picked on by quarterbacks Sam Bradford of Minnesota and
Matthew Stafford of Detroit the past two games, during which the
Vikings' Stefon Diggs had nine catches for 182 yards and the Lions'
Marvin Jones Jr. had six receptions for 205 yards and two touchdowns.
"I know we've
been struggling — me, in particular, has been struggling,"
Randall said. "The great thing about that, I'm not struggling
because of the (opposing) receivers. I'm struggling because of myself.
I know I'm going to bounce back.
the best part about the bye week, to know that it's me. If it was the
other way around, then I'd be in trouble."
McCarthy and his
staff devoted the team's meetings and practice time Monday to
self-improvement with a focus on cleaning up the fundamentals.
The preparations for
the upcoming game will start after the Packers get a chance to watch
the Giants play the NFC North-leading Minnesota Vikings on Monday
And Green Bay's
players are unfazed that having the bye after only three games means
the team will have to finish the season with a long, uninterrupted
stretch of 13 games and possibly more once the postseason comes.
"Near the end of
the bye week, I was kind of bored. I was like, 'I kind of want to be
back already,'" said rookie linebacker Blake Martinez, a Stanford
product who spent part of the week in California.
NOTES: FB Aaron
Ripkowski also practiced Monday. He suffered a back injury in the
previous game. TE Jared Cook, who left that game with an ankle injury,
remains out. WR Jeff Janis practiced without the club-like cast he
wore on his surgically repaired right hand the first three games. ...
The Packers signed FB Joe Kerridge to the practice squad. Kerridge, an
undrafted rookie from Michigan, previously was on the Washington
Redskins' practice squad.