Green & Gold


Nelson a full go in season opener

Jordy Nelson’s knees aren’t going to keep him from playing football on Sunday.

How much the receiver is on the field in the Green Bay Packers’ season opener at Jacksonville might simply come down to how much he can stand the heat.

Otherwise, Nelson is ready and eager to play for first time in more than a year.

“I’m playing football,” Nelson said Tuesday in a brief response when asked if his knees were an issue.

Nelson tore the ACL in his right knee in a preseason game last summer at Pittsburgh, an injury that knocked him out for the 2015 season.

He arrived this preseason with what he described as a minor issue in his left knee. It was concerning enough to the coaching staff that Nelson only started practicing again a few weeks ago. He didn’t play in any preseason games.


Callahan almost goes distance in loss

Packers coach Mike McCarthy got everything he wanted out of the preseason.

Two series for Aaron Rodgers and a bunch of work for his backups.

That includes rookie Joe Callahan, who capped a strong preseason by throwing for 143 yards and a touchdown as the Packers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 17-7 in their preseason finale Thursday night in Kansas City.

“I thought it was a quality training camp. I thought like we accomplished a lot,” said McCarthy, who, like Chiefs counterpart Andy Reid, played almost entirely backups on Thursday night.

Callahan played almost the entire way in a game featuring second- and third-teamers on both sides. The product of Division III Wesley College has been trying to earn the No. 3 job behind Aaron Rodgers and Brett Hundley, who has been sidelined by an ankle injury this preseason.


Packers, Chiefs leave battle to backups

Only the most ardent fans of the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers will likely care much about what transpires in their preseason game at Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday night.

Then again, the guys on the field will care very much about what happens.

The Chiefs and Packers are expected to play few, if any, starters in their fourth preseason game, turning the proceedings over to their backups instead.

And in some cases, not even the backups will see game action — the Chiefs are resting quarterbacks Alex Smith and Nick Foles, and Aaron Rodgers and ailing Packers backup Brett Hundley will enjoy the night in a ball cap.

“Young guys will get most of the work,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid acknowledged this week.

He stopped just short of saying “all of the work.”

Some coaches have said they will play their starters for a series or quarter Thursday night, if only to knock off the last vestiges of rust.


Wide receiver battle heads into home stretch

It’s a toss-up at receiver for the Green Bay Packers after Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb.

The Packers’ final preseason game on Thursday against the Kansas City Chiefs could help sort out the pecking order to catch passes this fall from two-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

“The good news is we have another preseason game to give guys an opportunity to go out there and do it the right way and make plays and make the most of their opportunity,” offensive coordinator Edger Bennett said. “That competition is extremely high right now in that room.”

There is little need for the Packers to risk playing their stars against the Chiefs, even with Nelson coming back from a knee injury. Rodgers isn’t playing, either.

Nelson returned to practice last week. He took part in 11-on-11 drills on Tuesday, at one point breaking off cornerback Robertson Daniel at the goal line to catch a back-shoulder throw from Rodgers for a touchdown.


Rodgers throws TD pass to lead Packers past 49ers 21-10

Aaron Rodgers made the most of his only appearance of the preseason, throwing a touchdown pass to Randall Cobb in the Green Bay Packers' 21-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Friday night.

Colin Kaepernick did not fare as well as he looked extremely rusty in his first game action since last November. He completed 2 of 6 passes and generated one first down on three drives.

Rodgers was held out of the first two preseason games despite being healthy and won't play the exhibition finale next week; the veteran quarterback needs little game work to get ready for the regular season.

Rodgers played two drives against the 49ers, going 6 for 9 for 60 yards.

After the first drive stalled because of penalties, Rodgers looked sharp the next time Green Bay got the ball. He moved around easily in the pocket and drew a 12-men-on-the-field penalty when he operated out of the hurry-up offense.


Harrison, Matthews, Peppers talk PEDs with NFL

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison and Green Bay Packers defensive players Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers met this week with NFL investigators looking into allegations linking them to performance-enhancing drugs, the players’ union said Thursday.

Matthews and Peppers met with league representatives on Wednesday, while Harrison did so on Thursday, according to the NFL Players Association.

Last week, the league threatened Harrison, Matthews, Peppers and free agent Mike Neal with indefinite suspensions if they did not meet with investigators. All of them were mentioned in an Al-Jazeera television interview with Charlie Sly, who worked as an intern at an anti-aging clinic. In the December report, Sly made claims of PED use by several athletes, including Harrison, Peyton Manning and the three others, but later recanted his claims.


Rodgers preparing for 1st preseason action

Aaron Rodgers is tempering his expectations for himself and the Green Bay offense Friday night.

All Rodgers is expecting is to finally play a game this preseason when the Packers visit the San Francisco 49ers.

“Whatever Mike wants me to do,” Rodgers said Tuesday, referring to coach Mike McCarthy.

Though playing time for the two-time MVP quarterback won’t be set until Wednesday, the goal, according to McCarthy, is to play Rodgers, who was a healthy scratch the previous two weeks.

“I think I’m going to play,” Rodgers said after McCarthy put the team through its longest practice of training camp, nearly 2 hours, 45 minutes. “I’m not sure how long he wants me to play, but it’ll be good to get out there and get some work with the guys.”

Not that Rodgers needs much work as he enters his 12th NFL season and ninth as a starter.


Lacy, offense power through Raiders

Eddie Lacy’s powerful running early on helped propel the Green Bay Packers to a 20-12 win over the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night at Lambeau Field.

Lacy had nine carries for 45 yards, capped by a 1-yard touchdown dive on third-and-goal, to highlight a 14-play, 74-yard drive to start the game as the Packers again played without quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

The night was over at that point for Lacy, who made coach Mike McCarthy happy in the offseason by slimming down after the coach was critical of the lead back’s playing weight at the end of last season.

With a healthy Rodgers again held out of game action, second-year backup Brett Hundley made the start in his preseason debut.

But after directing the early touchdown drive, which used more than half of the clock in the first quarter, Hundley left the game early in the second quarter with an ankle injury.

An injured ankle sidelined Hundley for two weeks until he returned to practice this week.


Green Bay still needs Peppers to be productive

No matter what the plan is for Julius Peppers this season, the expectations aren’t changing for the oldest player on the Green Bay Packers roster.

“It’s not like we’re going to put him out to pasture or sit him over on the bench a whole lot,” general manager Ted Thompson said Wednesday.

Peppers is beginning his 15th NFL season; whether this will be the final one for the 36-year-old defensive stalwart isn’t known.

Of more immediate attention, as the Packers prepare to play their first preseason game Friday night against the Cleveland Browns, is just what role Peppers will have when the season starts in a month.

Peppers is listed as a starter on the depth chart this week. But another former first-round draft pick, Nick Perry, not Peppers, has been taking most of the reps at the outside linebacker spot opposite Clay Matthews in Green Bay’s base defense early in training camp.


Offensive line looking to get healthy

Right guard T.J. Lang is optimistic a starting offensive line that hasn’t been on the field together in seven months can jell in time for the start of the Green Bay Packers’ season.

“We haven’t all been out there, but I don’t think there’s any concern that we’re going to lose any chemistry,” Lang said Tuesday. “Us five, we’ve played a lot of football together, and we trust each other, we know what we’re doing.”

The Packers have had their preferred starting five since 2014, but this could be their last year together.

Contracts for three starters are up after this season, and the team has some options in reserve after taking two linemen in this year’s draft.

After missing the first week of training camp and then practicing in limited fashion last week, Lang felt a sense of urgency to be more active when the team returned to the practice field Tuesday night following the canceled Hall of Fame game two days earlier.


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