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might need most on defense is more pressur
GREEN BAY Carlton Davis Jersey Buccaneers , Wis. (AP)
A week of missing practice with a groin injury allowed Clay Matthews to get an up-close view of injured quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ rehab work after
Matthews might be back this week for the Green Bay Packers. If the linebacker had any say, Rodgers might follow him back to the field in a few weeks,
First things first for the Packers: Green Bay must beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday to keep flickering playoff hopes alive. Getting the veteran
pass rusher back would help.
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”I’m feeling good actually,” Matthews said after practice Wednesday. ”But every day I was getting exponentially better, so I feel really good
today … granted it was a light practice, but I definitely envision seeing myself out there Sunday.”
Matthews returned to practice as a limited participant after missing all of last week leading up to the 31-28 loss Sunday to the Pittsburgh Steelers
that left Green Bay at 5-6. It’s two games out of a wild-card spot in the NFC.
In a 1-4 tailspin since Rodgers got hurt on Oct. 15 at Minnesota, the Packers might need to win their last five games while other contenders falter.
Rodgers is first eligible to practice starting Saturday Isaac Yiadom Jersey Broncos , assuming he’s even healthy enough from right collarbone surgery to be cleared by the team
If that happens, the earliest Rodgers would be able to return would be Week 15 at Carolina. The Packers from the start have said Rodgers’ injury
could end his season.
While there are no guarantees, Matthews has been impressed with Rodgers’ rehab.
”This past week, being a part of that rehab group, to watch Aaron, what he’s been doing in there, I think we probably should have kept him off
(injured reserve) the way he’s coming along Youth Connor Williams Jersey , some of the balls he’s throwing,” Matthews said. ”Accuracy-wise, everything a quarterback
has to do is pretty remarkable.”
But where the Packers are in the playoff picture may also determine Rodgers’ future the rest of the year. It will be up to backup Brett Hundley, who
showed progress in the loss to Pittsburgh, to guide the offense for at least the next couple weeks.
Getting more three-turnover games like the one the defense produced against Pittsburgh’s prolific offense would help. Green Bay forced takeaways
even without Matthews and run-stuffing defensive lineman Kenny Clark (ankle).
In his second year in the league, Clark has turned into an important piece up front next to Mike Daniels. After being carted off the field, Clark
thought his season was over.
He’s hoping to come back Isaiah Oliver Jersey Falcons
, too, against Tampa after returning to practice Wednesday.
”It was ugly. My ankle was swollen,” Clark said. ”I thought it was worse than what it was, honestly. I’m happy it was a high ankle
What the Packers might need most on defense is more pressure on the quarterback after coming up with one sack against the Steelers. The defense rarely
blitzed while concentrating on stopping receiver Antonio Brown, putting the onus on pass rushers to win matchups. Other times, the Packers rushed
three but kept a defender close to the line to spy on crossing routes.
”But we have to win this week … after all these losses,” Matthews said. ”But it starts with a win. We were close on Sunday night Youth Carlton Davis Jersey , but close
doesn’t cut it. This is the week.”
Notes: RB Aaron Jones (knee) returned to practice for the first time since getting hurt on Nov. 12 against Chicago. The team’s leading rusher was
limited. … RB Ty Montgomery (ribs/wrist) missed practice, as did CB Kevin King (shoulder).
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