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Notes: Defense running a little low

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by wischeez, Oct 4, 2008.

  1. wischeez

    wischeez Cheesehead

    Dec 4, 2004
    Key players will be out with injuries
    Posted: Oct. 3, 2008

    Green Bay - The absence of defensive end Cullen Jenkins, linebacker A.J. Hawk and strong safety Atari Bigby would leave the Green Bay Packers vulnerable to any running game, let alone the top-ranked running game in the National Football League.

    That’s why some of the Packers’ defenders are prepared for a heavy dose of running back Michael Turner on Sunday when the Atlanta Falcons visit Lambeau Field.

    “No doubt,” defensive tackle Ryan Pickett said Friday. “That’s their strength. That’s how they’ve been winning the games they’ve won.”

    The Falcons have rushed on 53.5% of their plays, with the 244-pound Turner carrying 77 times for 422 yards, a 5.5-yard average and five touchdowns. They average 181.8 as a team.

    “Real physical back,” linebacker Nick Barnett said. “Runs hard. He’s got some speed on him.”

    Turner will face a defense missing three of its best run stoppers.

    Jenkins went on injured reserve Tuesday with a torn pectoral muscle.

    Listed as questionable with a groin injury, Hawk sat out Friday and is expected to miss the first game of his NFL career.

    And Bigby will miss his third straight game with a hamstring injury that has left him unsure when he might return.

    Jenkins will be replaced by Michael Montgomery, who at 270 is 35 pounds lighter. Hawk will be replaced by Brandon Chillar, who at 235 is 13 pounds lighter. And Bigby will be replaced by Charlie Peprah, who at 203 is 10 pounds lighter.

    Peprah, the team’s No. 4 safety, will be making his first start because top backup Aaron Rouse (knee) is out, too.

    Montgomery also will be starting for the first time as a Packer.

    Not only does Turner move piles with his explosive leg action, he also is so fast that safety Nick Collins said he wasn’t sure he could catch him.

    “We’ll see,” Collins said. “He’s a great back.”

    The Falcons relieve Turner with scatback Jerious Norwood, who has rushed 34 times for 237 yards, a 7.0 average and one TD.

    “Fast. Slasher,” Collins said. “Just going to come downhill and try to get on the outside.”

    Line rotation: With Jenkins and defensive end Jason Hunter (hamstring) out, the Packers probably will activate Jeremy Thompson and Kenny Pettway in their place.

    Pettway, 6 feet 3 inches and 248 pounds, probably will replace Hunter on special teams and also play some at end.

    For Jacksonville, he played 77 defensive snaps and 116 special-teams snaps in 2006 and 154 defensive snaps and 190 special-teams snaps in ’07.

    “He was an OK (special) teams player,” an AFC personnel director said. “Really not strong enough for a D-end and probably not good enough as a rusher. Has some toughness to him. He’s best if he’s coming off an edge and has a straight shot to the quarterback. He has trouble redirecting.”

    Pettway ran 40 yards in 4.69 seconds at the 2005 combine, had a 35½-inch vertical jump, bench-pressed 225 pounds 22 times and scored 18 on the Wonderlic test.

    “He’s raw and undersized but plays with good energy,” an NFC personnel director said. “He has limited strength playing the run and shows inconsistent reactions. Because he lacks strength he will get controlled when an offensive lineman locks on and gets physical. He shows burst out of his stance but lacks overall sequence. Can slip and avoid using quickness but will struggle once he has to work through contact.”

    The Houston Texans drafted Pettway in the seventh round in ’05.

    Thompson (6-4½, 257) will make his debut after four straight games as an inactive. Thompson said he would back up left end Aaron Kampman and might also rush inside in nickel.

    “There will be a lot of different mixes and matches inside,” Pickett said. “We don’t know what the coaches are going to do. I’m going to have to do some pass rushing this week. I’m excited. I really can do it. It will be a long day for me.”

    Pickett played 101 snaps in the last two games, his most in a span of two games since mid-2006.

    “It’s definitely different from what I’ve been used to since I’ve been here,” Pickett said. “We’ve always been in a rotation and the most I get is 35. There will be times when everybody’s tired.”

    Before signing Pettway, the Packers also worked out end Patrick Chukwurah. A seven-year veteran, Chukwurah has nine sacks for three teams.

    “Chukwurah is a better ‘teams’ player than Pettway,” the AFC scout said. “And I would think he is a better rusher.”

    Injury list: Others sitting out for Green Bay will be fullback Korey Hall (knee) and running back Kregg Lumpkin (hamstring).

    Cornerback Al Harris (spleen) spent the week conditioning in Green Bay.

    “The next step is to take a scan, which will be in a couple weeks,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “I talked to Al at length today about where he is. He’s a little bit frustrated. He feels like he’s making progress, not feeling any pain. But there’s a protocol our doctors are trying to follow.”

    Cornerback Charles Woodson missed his fourth week of practice with a broken toe but was listed as probable and will play.

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