2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Packers try to get better grip on 4th quarters

By GENARO C. ARMAS - AP Sports Writer
    2013-11-14 17:36

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Clay Matthews' fingers on his right hand are free.

Maybe that will give the Packers' defense a tighter grasp on shutting down opponents in the fourth quarter.

Green Bay has been outscored 83-46 in fourth quarters this year. It's a season-long problem especially exposed the last two weeks when long drives by the Bears and Eagles chewed away fourth-quarter minutes in victories over the Packers at Lambeau Field.

Last week's game-ending 15-play, 75-yard drive in the final 9:32 of the 27-13 loss to Philadelphia was especially painful.

''We're on the next week,'' Matthews would only say when asked about that finish.

Otherwise, it was a typically colorful Matthews on Thursday. He might be in an especially good mood because he no longer has a large, heavy wrap, or ''club'' encasing his right hand to protect a thumb healing from surgery. He's still wearing a protective cast for the thumb, but it appears as if it will offer Matthews more mobility with his other fingers.

Time to get better grip on shedding blockers.

''I'm hoping with my fingers back, I'll be like a feline who got his whiskers back and then I'll be able to be more spry out there,'' the pass-rushing specialist said Thursday.

A healthier Matthews is always better for the Packers, who have been weighed down by injuries all year.

This week, fellow outside linebacker Nick Perry (foot/ankle) and cornerback Casey Hayward (hamstring) have been sidelined again. Defensive tackle Johnny Jolly hasn't practiced yet this week, too, with a groin injury. He said Thursday he would be ready for Sunday's game against the Giants.

LB Mike Neal (abdomen) and DT Ryan Pickett (knee) are two other key defenders on the injury report. Coach Mike McCarthy said earlier this week that the team, in part, hasn't overcome the changes that come with the rash of injuries.

They're also not using injuries as an excuse for the subpar fourth quarters.

''We're always talking about who's not there; we need to focus on what the hell we're doing,'' McCarthy said Monday. He had promised a heightened emphasis on tackling this week.

A lack of turnovers has also hurt. The Packers have just three this season.

''Those interceptions are going to come as long as you play with the right technique doing your job, because when they come, they come in bunches,'' safety Morgan Burnett said about the lack of interceptions.

A lack of picks, though, is a problem the whole game, not just late. Burnett said he doesn't think problems are being compounded in the fourth quarter.

''No it is just do your job, play the defense and put (the Eagles game) behind us and move forward,'' Burnett said.

Same with Pickett, who doesn't think there's ''magic formula'' to playing better late.

Cornerback Davon House said it might come down to mentality. ''Everyone has just got to know and buckle down when it's the fourth quarter,'' he said. ''So it's changing the culture.

''Right now, the Green Bay Packers are known as, when the fourth quarter comes along, we're giving up late scores and late yardage,'' House said. ''I guess it's just a mentality-type thing.''

It's a message especially emphasized on the team this week.

''Oh yeah,'' House said. ''Not just this week, the last couple weeks.''

With quarterback Aaron Rodgers still on the mend from a fractured left collarbone, the margin of error is smaller for the rest of the Packers, no matter the time of the game.

Notes: Center Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee) was limited a second straight day of practice, while RT Don Barclay (knee) missed a second straight practice. The team had ordered a knee brace for Barclay. ''He didn't probably feel as good today as we had hoped. So we'll see how he is tomorrow. I'm going to give him a chance, the full week to try and give it a go,'' McCarthy said. ... Rodgers watched in sweats while watching Scott Tolzien and newly-signed Matt Flynn in practice. Tolzien, who was on the practice squad two weeks ago, is expected to start Sunday against the Giants. ... McCarthy said Hayward could miss a few weeks again after re-aggravating his hamstring injury. Hayward missed the season's first six games with the injury.

----

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Pierre ThomasOct 30 07:22p

New Orleans Saints RBs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) are both inactive in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, Oct. 30.

David HawthorneOct 30 07:12p

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB Austin Johnson, LB David Hawthorne, C Jonathan Goodwin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 9.

Amini SilatoluOct 30 07:12p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, CB Bene Benwikere, OT Byron Bell, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Philly Brown, FS Thomas DeCoud, OG Trai Turner inactive for Week 9.

Brandon BrownerOct 30 04:32p

New England Patriots DT Alan Branch (non-injury related) and DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Nate Ebner (finger), DL Dominique Easley (knee), OL Cameron [ More ]

Brandon ThompsonOct 30 04:22p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring), LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring) and OG Kevin Zeitler (calf) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DT Domata Peko (toe) and OT Andre Smith [ More ]

Dwight FreeneyOct 30 04:22p

San Diego Chargers LB Manti Te'o (foot), CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) and S Jahleel Addae (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring) was limited. CB [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 30 04:12p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) practiced fully Thursday, Oct. 30.

Terrell SuggsOct 30 04:02p

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (foot) and LB Terrell Suggs (neck) all did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Marshal Yanda (knee) [ More ]

Brett KeiselOct 30 03:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) and SS Ross Ventrone (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Ike Taylor (forearm) and FS [ More ]

Bruce CarterOct 30 03:22p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (finger) suffered a broken ring finger during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, but expects to play in Week 9. He will wear a splint on his finger for protection.

Cullen JenkinsOct 30 03:12p

New York Giants DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back, hamstring) and P Steve Weatherford (ankle) were both limited in practice.

Brandon BoykinOct 30 03:12p

Philadelphia Eagles FS Nate Allen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. TE Brent Celek (back) and WR Brad Smith (groin) were both limited in practice. CB [ More ]

D'Qwell JacksonOct 30 03:12p

Indianapolis Colts LB D'Qwell Jackson (toe), DT Arthur Jones (ankle), LB Erik Walden (quadriceps) and LB Josh McNary (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Vontae [ More ]

Rashad JenningsOct 30 02:42p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) said he is on track in terms of his rehab, but there is no timetable for his return. Jennings said he has [ More ]

Jordan CameronOct 30 02:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Anthony CollinsOct 30 02:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Oniel Cousins is working at left tackle with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, because OT Anthony Collins (foot) is sitting out practice.

Doug MartinOct 30 02:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (ankle) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Jason VerrettOct 30 01:52p

San Diego Chargers CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) is expected to miss two to three weeks with a torn labrum, according to two sources.

DeAngelo WilliamsOct 30 01:52p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (ankle) will start the team's Week 9 game against the New Orleans Saints Thursday, Oct. 30, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 01:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) received most of the work with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, and will start in Week 9 if he [ More ]

Jaylen WatkinsOct 30 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles SS Earl Wolff, FS Chris Maragos and CB Jaylen Watkins could be options to start at safety if FS Nate Allen (hamstring) is not able to play in Week 9.

Giovani BernardOct 30 01:22p

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 01:02p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) didn't take part in the walk-through Thursday, Oct. 30, and will not practice with the team. However, head coach Jason Garrett remains hopeful [ More ]

Trent RichardsonOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Reggie WayneOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 12:22p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo's (back) status is making head coach Jason Garrett feel optimistic about his availability for Week 9.

Dallas ThomasOct 30 11:43a

Miami Dolphins OG Dallas Thomas would be the most likely candidate to start at left guard if OG Daryn Colledge (illness) is not able to play in Week 9.

Rashad JenningsOct 30 11:12a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) has been ruled out for Week 9.

Phil BatesOct 30 10:52a

The Cleveland Browns signed free-agent WR Phil Bates (Seahawks) to the practice squad and released CB Marcus Cromartie Thursday, Oct. 30.

Charles SimsOct 30 10:13a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims could have 10 or more touches in Week 9, in the opinion of beat writer Greg Auman.

Ryan MathewsOct 30 09:52a

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) is likely to sit out of the Week 9 game and return after the Week 10 bye.

Dennis PittaOct 30 09:52a

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) may never be able to play football again after two surgeries on a fractured and dislocated hip in as many seasons.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group