Senior writer jclombardi highlights Packers headlines.
LB Jones on I.R. and 3 LBs & NT added to roster: Outside linebacker Brad Jones became the team’s third linebacker and 10thplayer overall to land on season-ending injured reserve Wednesday. Jones suffered a shoulder injury and will require surgery. When the team claimed NT Green, a sixth-year nose tackle, Jones was placed on IR to make room on the 53-man roster. The 6-foot-2, 340-pound Green played 12 games with the Jets in ’09. He saw action in two of the Jets’ games this season before being waived this week. With Jones and Poppinga both out, rookie Zombo will start opposite Matthews. LB Francois becomes the primary backup at both outside spots. Newcomers Briggs and Walden likely to fill in on special teams if they’re on the 45-man game-day roster Sunday. The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Walden played 11 games for the Dolphins in 2009 and two games for them this season before being released. Walden joins Briggs, whom the Packers claimed off waivers from Denver on Tuesday, as emergency backups outside. LB Wilhelm is an eight-year veteran inside linebacker. He’ll back up ILBs Hawk and Bishop along with Chillar.
Notes–LB Jones on I.R.; Packers claim NT Green: The Packers claimed Jets defensive tackle Howard Green from waivers. The 6-2, 340-pound Green has played in 51 games with 12 starts. The urgency to acquire Green came from doubt about defensive ends Cullen Jenkins (calf) and Ryan Pickett (ankle) being ready for the New York Jets on Sunday. Nose tackle B.J. Raji played 65 of 68 snaps last Sunday. If Pickett isn’t available, Raji would be in danger of being worn down. The bottom line here is that the Packers don’t think DE Pickett (ankle) is going to play this week. DE Wilson and DE Wynn are not big enough to compete down after down against the Jets’ running game. Green is a big body to help stop the run against a power-running team like the Jets. With Green next to B.J. Raji, they at least have bigger beef in the middle. Green should be able to fill in for a dozen snaps. Green should be available for Thursday practice. Of the three linebackers that were signed, Wilhelm has the best chance of being active Sunday. In fact, the eighth-year veteran, who has spent the better part of his career playing on special teams, was with the top units in practice.
Veteran OT Clifton: Yet here’s 34-year-old “Big Cliff,” still standing. Among the foremost concerns for the Green Bay Packers heading into the season were the knees of left tackle Chad Clifton and the calendar working against the 11-year veteran. He has had a long history of battling, repairing and playing through injuries “I feel good. I feel so much better than I did coming into the season,” Clifton said. It has really showed. Clifton held Minnesota’s Jared Allen at bay, playing him one-on-one for most of Green Bay’s 28-24 victory Sunday. Clifton and the rest of the offensive line gave quarterback Aaron Rodgers plenty of time to work and kept him from getting sacked. “That’s priority No. 1 for an offensive lineman. We’re definitely proud of that,” said Clifton. Rodgers appreciated it, especially after getting sacked 14 times in the two Minnesota games in 2009. Rodgers said the play of the tackles, with the play calling of coach Mike McCarthy, kept Minnesota’s defensive line of Allen and Kevin and Pat Williams off-balance. McCarthy mixed the screens with straight drop-back throws.