Jclombardi highlights Packers vs Dolphins & headlines.
Guest senior writer jclombardi @ http://lombardiave.com
Packers vs Dolphins: Teams: Packers (3-2) vs. the Miami Dolphins (2-2). Time: Noon CT, Sunday. Place: Lambeau Field, Green Bay. Injury report: Packers–LB Chillar (shoulder) and TE Finley (knee) are out. LB Matthews (hamstring) and RT Tauscher (shoulder) are doubtful. DE Pickett (ankle) and DE Neal (shoulder) are questionable. LT Clifton (knee), S Collins (knee), WR Driver (quadriceps), DE Jenkins (hamstring/hand), FB Johnson (glute), TE Lee (chest), QB Rodgers (concussion), CB Shields (calf) and CB Woodson (toe) are probable. Things to watch: Health care crisis--The Packers’ injury problems have been most debilitating on defense where they’ll be without Burnett and Barnett, and may be without Matthews (8.5 sacks), DE Ryan Pickett, and rookie DE Mike Neal. It will be interesting to see how defensive coordinator Dom Capers calls the game to compensate for the thin group he has to work with. Offensive headaches–QB Rodgers is good to go. Now, he can focus on fixing the offense. The lack of productivity has vexed the coaching staff, with problems ranging from dropped passes (seven) to decreased yards after the catch by receivers to a spike in turnovers. Special education: The Dolphins might have produced the worst single-game special teams performance in NFL history the last time they played, a 41-14 Oct. 4 loss to New England. The Packers’ special teams units will have their own challenges, with so many core special teamers moving into positions on offense and defense because of injuries, forcing lesser players into more vital roles in the core units. Marshall plan: The Packers figure to match CB Woodson on WR Marshall, although Woodson hasn’t had the kind of brilliant season he put together a year ago. Entering Sunday’s game, he’s been assessed seven accepted penalties in five games. Prediction--The Dolphins come in with a better record away from home. They’re also coming off a bye and much healthier than the beat-up Packers. Sounds like a recipe for a Miami victory. Dolphins 24, Packers 20.
Williams near perfect play could net long term contract: Williams made his desire for a long-term deal known when he skipped the offseason program. He waited until the 11th hour to sign his one-year, $3.043 million restricted free agent tender, putting his signature on the paperwork just before the June 15 deadline when teams can reduce tenders for unsigned players. His play, however, speaks for itself, and it screams dollar signs. Through five games, the Packers’ starting right cornerback has played near perfect football.
Notes: McCarthy says there’s nothing wrong with how his players are trained. QB Rodgers looks ready for Sunday. Injuries mean shakeup on defense. Defensive shakeup–The Packers figure to be out with two key defensive starters, NFL sacks leader Matthews (hamstring) and defensive end Pickett. Matthews didn’t practice all week and almost certainly won’t play. LBs Zombo, Poppinga and Jones will rotate through the two outside linebacker positions. Pickett didn’t practice all week and the unit’s primary backup, second-round pick Neal, didn’t practice the last two days. The Packers put Barnett on season-ending injured reserve and re-signed defensive end Montgomery.