GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Cornerback Davon House, a key backup in the Green Bay Packers' sub packages, was added to the injury report on Saturday.

The team said House had an illness, but he is listed as probable to play in Sunday's game at the Minnesota Vikings.

House, who started two games this season while Sam Shields was out with a knee injury, also plays a key role on the Packers' special teams units.

There were no other changes to the injury report following Saturday's practice. Click here for the full injury report from Friday.
Each week, readers are invited to submit questions about the Green Bay Packers via Twitter using the hashtag #PackersMail. As the Packers prepare to travel to Minneapolis for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings, let's address some of this week's key topics:

Demovsky: It may not take $9 million a year to re-sign Randall Cobb. The Giants gave Victor Cruz a deal that averages about $7.3 million per year total (including what was left over from his previous contract). As I wrote this week, that's probably the ballpark for a new deal, and the feeling around the league is the Packers will get it done. That said, the longer Cobb continues to produce at the rate he has been, the higher the price could go. But Cobb is exactly the kind of player GM Ted Thompson likes to keep. He's young (24), productive and home-grown (a second-round pick in 2011). They do have a lot of young receivers in house but other than Davante Adams, who among them has proven anything yet?

Demovsky: That's because it has not been much of an issue. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Packers' drop percentage is on pace to be the lowest that it has been in coach Mike McCarthy's nine seasons. So far, they have dropped only 3.5 percent of passes. Their second-lowest rate was last season (3.9 percent). They were at their worst in 2012, when they had a drop rate of 6.8 percent, which was tied for the second-worst in the NFL. However, dropped passes contributed to several key plays this season. All three of Aaron Rodgers' interceptions have come off tipped passes that can easily be graded as drops. Also, outside linebacker Julius Peppers has one of the drops when used as a goal-line receiver in the loss at New Orleans.

Demovsky: I asked McCarthy that question Friday. Not that I expected to get a firm answer since he's not going to reveal his game plan, but reading between the lines it seemed like they would still use Clay Matthews at inside linebacker even if Nick Perry can't play because of his shoulder injury. It would open up more playing time for Mike Neal and possibly even Jayrone Elliott at outside linebacker. Matthews on the inside has been too productive to scrap until they find a better full-time option at that spot.

Demovsky: In short, no. It does not seem like a long-term solution. It was born out of necessity after the Packers did not get a shot in the draft at the inside linebacker they wanted most, Alabama's C.J. Mosley, and were unhappy with the productivity from Brad Jones, Jamari Lattimore and Sam Barrington. They surely will be on the lookout for help at that position next season. That doesn't mean Clay Matthews won't still move around but eventually, probably next season, he will go back to playing on the edge more often than inside.

Demovsky: Dom Capers has done some of that with Julius Peppers but not to the degree he has with Matthews, and he probably won't. Don't forget that for 12 years, Peppers played defensive end. He had to learn outside linebacker this offseason. It would probably take away from his effectiveness to now start teaching him inside linebacker. Also, Matthews is probably more fluid in the open field than Peppers.  
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- If Dom Capers' defensive system can be boiled down to a basic principal, it's this: Blitz as often as necessary to disrupt the rhythm and timing of an opponent's offense.

So it should come as no surprise that since he came to Green Bay as defensive coordinator in 2009, the Green Bay Packers have ranked as one of the NFL's most frequent blitz teams (see accompanying chart).

But there's much more that goes into it than just turning linebackers, safeties and cornerbacks loose.

Some of Capers' best defenses in Green Bay have been those that have blitzed the least (see 2009 and 2010).

"I'd say we're probably normally [blitzing at] around 38 to 40 percent of the time," Capers said.

But with worst defense he fielded, the 2011 unit that ranked last in the league, he blitzed the most.

"We couldn't get any pressure on the quarterback that year," Capers said.

That trend is hardly universal.

Take this season, for example. One of the best defensive performances came in Week 5 against the Minnesota Vikings. In the Packers' 42-10 victory, Capers blitzed on 47.2 percent of the Vikings’ dropbacks, according to ESPN Stats & Information (which defines a blitz as sending five or more pass-rushers at the quarterback). Only three other times this season has Capers blitzed at a higher rate -- at Miami in Week 6 (53.1 percent), against Carolina in Week 7 (50 percent) and against the New York Jets in Week 2 (47.3 percent). All were victories

Then there was 19-7 loss against the Detroit Lions in Week 2, when the defense allowed just 10 points. Capers blitzed a season-low 12.8 percent of the time.

This season, the Packers' defense ranks just 25th in yards, but second in takeaways (22), tied for eighth in Total QBR (50.4) and 11th in sack percentage (7.0).

Here is a look at the Capers' philosophy through the eyes of some of his coaches and players:

Offensive coordinator Tom Clements

Before they were on the same side, Clements coached against Capers. One game stands out: Dec. 8, 2002 in Pittsburgh. Clements was the Steelers' quarterbacks coach, and Capers was the Houston Texans head coach.

"That was a weird game," Clements said. "Our defense held them to about a total of 60 yards. We had about 400 yards, and they beat us by three touchdowns."

[+] EnlargeDom Capers
Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY SportsDefensive coordinator Dom Capers has made his mark by adapting his calls to each opponent.
Actually, the numbers were these: The Steelers had 422 yards and the Texans had 47. Houston's defense scored three times, two interception returns and a recovered fumble return, in a 24-6 upset.

Which goes to show that when preparing for a Capers' defense, anything is possible.

"Multiple looks, multiple pressures," Clements said. "It requires a lot of film study by the coaches and the players, because you never know what you’re going to get."

Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac

Trgovac, the Panthers defensive coordinator from 2003-2008, knows what it's like to call plays.

He says it's an oversimplification to simply call Capers a blitzer.

"Just to call 100 blitzes, when you start getting in that rhythm of the game, that's actually the easiest part of the game to call," Trgovac said. "The hard part is trying to pick the blitzes based on what you're seeing in the game. You have something set in your mind early and have to adjust from there."

Trgovac says he often finds Capers alone in his office or a film room calling a mock game to try to anticipate those situations.

"He puts in the hours that's required to have knowledge to make a play call," Trgovac said.

Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt

Whitt, who like Trgovac has been with Capers since 2009 in Green Bay, also says it's unfair to label their defense as just a blitzing scheme.

"I wouldn't say that," Whitt said. "I would say it's a week-to-week deal, but we're going to try to do anything we can to win that week. If we have to bring five or six guys, we will."

But then Whitt pointed to one of the biggest defensive plays in last Sunday's win against the Eagles, Julius Peppers' 52-yard interception return for a touchdown. Capers rushed only three players -- defensive linemen Datone Jones, Josh Boyd and Mike Neal -- and dropped Peppers, Clay Matthews and A.J. Hawk into coverage.

"It's whatever's needed," Whitt said.

Outside linebacker Peppers

The 13-year NFL veteran has never been used like this. In his eight seasons in Carolina and four in Chicago, he more or less had one job: put his hand on the ground and rush the quarterback as a defensive end.

"They wanted me to rush for the majority of the time," Pepper said. "Every now and then there was a fire-zone call where I was dropping, but primarily I was rushing."

Perhaps said that's why Eagles coach Chip Kelly said they weren't expecting Peppers to drop into coverage. He said it was "a great call" by Capers.

"I don't think it's anything new," said Peppers, who leads the Packers with 5.0 sacks and is tied for second on the team with two interceptions. "He's been doing that since he's been here as far as I'm concerned."
GREEN BAY, Wis. – JC Tretter's leg whip of Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker Trent Cole cost him $16,537, the largest known fine for a Green Bay Packers player this season.

It happened in the fourth quarter on Sunday, when Tretter finished the game at left tackle after the Packers pulled several starters in the blowout victory.

The NFL announced the fine on Friday.

Tretter said his leg whip was not intentional and planned to appeal the fine. On the play, Tretter's assignment was to cut block on the backside of a pass play to the right. He was penalized on the play.

"I grabbed [Cole] right after the final kneel down to tell him it was totally accidentally," Tretter said Friday. “I didn’t know my leg was even up that high.”

The fine was more than half of Tretter’s weekly salary, which is $29,117.65 before taxes.

The only other Packers players known to have been fined this season were tight end Andrew Quarless ($8,268) for his role in a Week 2 scuffle against the New York Jets, and outside linebacker Julius Peppers (amount unknown) for wearing unauthorized shoes.
GREEN BAY, Wis. – No player has benefited more from Clay Matthews ' move to inside linebacker than Nick Perry, who has started the last two games at Matthews' old right outside linebacker spot.

Now, the Packers might have to turn to someone else if Perry's shoulder injury doesn't allow him to play on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings.

Or perhaps they'll have to use Matthews more outside than inside.

Perry has not practiced all week, and the Packers listed him as questionable on Friday’s injury report.

"He's improving," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Friday. "Just probably get him out there tomorrow and get through the practice. It'd be a limited participation if we get to that."

Perry has played 63.5 percent of the defensive snaps in the last two games. Before that, his season playing time percentage in the first 10 games was just 31.7 percent.

If he can't go, it could mean more snaps for Mike Neal, who has split time recently at outside linebacker and defensive end. However, it could also force the Packers to abandon, or at least limit, Matthews as an inside linebacker.

"It will adjust, no doubt," McCarthy said of the defensive plan. "Certain reps will go to different players, obviously. But we're prepared for that. That's really why you operate in the different personnel groups during the week, which we have. We'll be ready to go either way.”

The Packers added defensive end Datone Jones to the injury report. McCarthy said he reinjured the sprained ankle that kept him out of three games earlier this season. He originally sprained it in the first meeting with the Vikings.

Here's the full injury report:

TE Brandon Bostick (hip)

CB Jarrett Bush (groin)
LB Jayrone Elliott (hamstring)
LB Nick Perry (shoulder)
DE Datone Jones (ankle)

LB Clay Matthews (groin)
G T.J. Lang (ankle)
G Josh Sitton (toe)
Aaron Rodgers has owned just about everyone this season, but he's been especially efficient in division games. In four division games, the Packers quarterback has 14 touchdowns without throwing an interception. His passer rating of 138.3 against NFC North foes is the best by any quarterback against divisional opponents this season.

And now it appears the Packers have a confident, capable defense to go with him. In the last two games, the defense has held opposing quarterbacks to a Total QBR of just 10.0. Only the Arizona Cardinals' defense (9.3 Total QBR allowed) has been better than that the last two weeks. And now the Packers get to face a rookie quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater, who has never played against the likes of Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers.

Preditcion: Packers 31, Vikings 17
A roundup of what's happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- When a team has two receivers as productive as Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb, it's going to be tough for anyone else to get much action.

But Davante Adams, the Packers' second-round pick this year who has settled into the No. 3 slot, has done well compared to the No. 3s on the other teams with prolific receiving duos -- the top-six of which can be found in a chart to go along with this story from Thursday about how the Packers are expected to lock up Cobb to a long-term deal like they did with Nelson this summer.

Among the No. 3 receivers behind the top-six No. 1 and No. 2 combinations in the league, Adams ranks second in receptions (with 27), third in yards (286) and tied for second in touchdown catches (three).

Only Denver's Wes Welker, who plays behind the top receiving duo of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, has more catches (30). And only Pittsburgh's Martavius Bryant (who is No. 3 behind Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton) and Atlanta's Devin Hester (who is No. 3 behind Julius Jones and Roddy White) have more yards. Bryant has 321 and Hester 302.

"If it came down to it, he'd be ready to go out and make the plays," Nelson said of Adams. "He's made the most of his opportunities, and that's all you can ask him to do."

In case you missed it from Best of the rest:

Cousin Sal makes his picks for week 12 in the NFL.
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The last time Clay Matthews was coming off a groin injury, the Green Bay Packers linebacker returned an interception 40 yards against the Chicago Bears before veering out of bounds.

That was in Week 4, one game after he dropped out of the loss at the Detroit Lions late in the fourth quarter.

Matthews went back on the injury report this week with the same ailment, but thinks it's better this week than it was going into that Bears game.

How much better?

"I might go 50 yards and not 40," Matthews said.

Matthews was listed as a limited participant in practice on Thursday.

"I think we’re just being more cautious than anything," Matthews said. "I was able to go out there against Chicago, cautiously, of course. I feel like the progression I'm making this week as opposed to maybe Week 3 and 4 is ahead of where I was."

Perhaps more of an issue is the status of outside linebacker Nick Perry, who has a shoulder injury and did not practice for the second straight day, leaving his status in question for Sunday's road game against the Minnesota Vikings. Perry has started the past two games at Matthews' old outside linebacker position while Matthews has moved inside on early downs.

"Nick Perry is definitely important," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. "Just that whole group, you talk about Nick and Mike Neal and Julius [Peppers], their ability to move around and play the elephant position has been very important. That was a big part of our change, and definitely fits with the movement of Clay."

However, Matthews said he doesn't think his role would change if Perry can't play Sunday.

"I think it's more of a 'next man up' type of mentality around here," Matthews said. "I'm sure [Jayrone] Elliott will have more opportunities as well as Mike and J.P. As we have seen in weeks prior, I rush off the edge and play in the middle, so wherever they need me, I will be there."

Here's the full injury report:
  • TE Brandon Bostick (hip, did not practice)
  • CB Jarrett Bush (groin, did not practice)
  • LB Elliott (hamstring, limited participation)
  • G T.J. Lang (ankle, limited participation)
  • LB Matthews (groin, limited participation)
  • LB Perry (shoulder, did not practice)
  • G Josh Sitton (toe, limited participation)
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Stopping Aaron Rodgers is one of the great challenges in football. And in the view of Minnesota Vikings secondary coach Jerry Gray, it falls on so many more than just the defensive backs.

"Your offense has got to play just as well as their offense. Your defense has to play as well as their defense," Gray said. "And then, you can't turn the ball over. And hopefully you get some turnovers, and then you get the upper hand. You can't give them the upper hand, because they've got a good quarterback."

The Minnesota Vikings' best defense against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday might be an offense that can hold the ball and take a lead, keeping Rodgers on the sideline, minimizing the role of running back Eddie Lacy and allowing pass rushers to come after Rodgers when he is on the field. But that's a tall task for an offense that's 22nd in the league in time of possession, and even the most recent team to beat the Packers -- the New Orleans Saints -- did so with the help of two deflected interceptions, as Gray admits.

[+] EnlargeAaron Rodgers
AP Photo/Bill HaberGreen Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers likes to take shots on deep passes, and he's been cashing in all season.
In reality, Rodgers will put a unique degree of stress on the Vikings' defense on Sunday at TCF Bank Stadium, and as the Vikings try to recover from giving up 468 yards against the Chicago Bears last week, Gray has a simple directive for his young secondary as they face the top-rated quarterback in the league: Don't give up anything cheap.

That, too, is easier said than done. Rodgers has been the league's best deep passer this season, completing 14 of his 27 throws that traveled at least 20 yards. According to ESPN Stats & Information, those throws have covered 652 yards. Eight have gone for touchdowns, none have been intercepted and Rodgers' 24.15-yard average on such throws is the best in the league by nearly six yards.

The 66-yard shot he hit to Jordy Nelson on Oct. 2 put the Packers ahead 14-0, and while Rodgers only attempted two more deep balls the rest of the night, "one is too many," safety Harrison Smith said.

On the deep ball to Nelson, Rodgers faked a handoff to Lacy while Nelson cleared Captain Munnerlyn in zone coverage, stemming to a corner route before breaking back inside on Smith, catching a 55-yard throw from Rodgers and jogging into the end zone.

"That's the thing that any safety has to understand: You've got to respect him, especially when they put guys close to the core, and they're trying to protect all the edges," Gray said. "It's a two-man route, and they run it every week. If you bite on a '7' [corner] route, he runs a post. You stem on the post, he runs a '7.' He's got the option of both worlds."

Rodgers has only tried six passes of 20 yards or more when the Packers have trailed by at least seven points this season; he's taken 17 when Green Bay is ahead. It goes back to Gray's belief that beating Rodgers is a total team effort, but if Green Bay gets ahead on Sunday, the Vikings have to be ready for Rodgers to let it fly.

"If he can go down and beat you with a 15-play drive going 80 yards, that's one thing," Gray said. "But 80 yards on one play, that's no good in the NFL."
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Offensive linemen don't usually get much credit, but several members of the Green Bay Packers' unit – along with linebacker Clay Matthews – will have their names in the credits of the new "Pitch Perfect" movie.

When the trailer for "Pitch Perfect 2" was released Thursday, there was David Bakhtiari, T.J. Lang, Josh Sitton and Don Barclay in a scene in which Matthews gets the sleeves his sport coat ripped off. Aaron Rodgers' brother, Jordan, also is in the scene. Their part is just past the 1-minute part of this trailer:

Of course, they also have a singing part, although none of the players involved would reveal exactly what song they sang.

The movie will be released next summer. Their part was shot over four days in June in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and they were sworn to secrecy until the trailer came out.

Much of it was due to the legwork of Bakhtiari, the second-year left tackle. He professed his love for the first movie on Twitter and eventually connected with producer Max Handelman.

"Max told me it originally started with a tweet," Bakhtiari said.

"He had to do a lot of lobbying but he came through and more power to him," Matthews said. "I was a little leery at first. This stuff doesn't happen too often. I think the last was maybe Brett Favre and '[There's] Something About Mary.' But that stuff doesn't happen every day and when it does, you obviously have to jump at it."

None of the players has seen any more than what was released Thursday, but Lang estimated he has seen the first movie 20 to 30 times.

They all had to join the Screen Actors Guild and now have their SAG cards, but their paychecks from the movie pale in caparison to a weekly NFL salary.

"For us, it was such an honor, we would've done the whole thing for free," Lang said. "We would've paid to be in the movie to be honest with you. We didn't make a lot of money."
GREEN BAY, Wis. – As big a problem as Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb have created for opposing defenses, the Green Bay Packers' ultraproductive pair of receivers has put general manager Ted Thompson in a bit of jam, too.

With $14.25 million already committed to Nelson this season as part of a four-year, $39 million contract extension he signed in July that broke him into the top-10 in receiver money, Thompson has to figure out how to keep Cobb in the fold as well.

And the longer the fourth-year receiver goes without a contract extension, the higher the price becomes.

Together, Nelson and Cobb have developed into one of the top pass-catching combinations in the NFL. But in order for it to anything other than a one-year wonder, Thompson must procure a deal with Cobb, who is in the final season of his rookie contract. Thompson has the salary-cap space – $8,794,417 according to the latest figures from ESPN Stats & Information – but that's not the only factor. There are other potential free agents to sign.

"I think everyone wants Randall to be here," Nelson said. "I think any player wants to play their whole career in the same spot, but it's a business on both sides. Sometimes people think it's a one-way business, but he's going to do what's best for him and what he thinks is the best situation for him."

Cobb almost certainly won't command Nelson’s $9.75 million-per-year average, but a deal averaging in the neighborhood of $6 million to $7 million isn't out of the question. At just 24 years old, Cobb is the definition of a young, productive, homegrown player that Thompson typically keeps around.

The feeling around the league is that there's no way the Packers would let him hit free agency next March.

"It will get done," said an NFL personnel executive. "He's a Ted guy."

Although the Packers' roster contains another young, potentially productive receiver in rookie Davante Adams (who has 27 catches for 286 yards and three touchdowns through 10 games), there's little proven talent behind him.

Even if Adams develops into the receiver the Packers think he can become, he's not the same type of complement to Nelson that quarterback Aaron Rodgers has in Cobb. With Nelson dominating on the outside with 60 catches (seventh in the league) for 998 yards (third) and nine touchdowns, he has typically drawn an opponent's best cornerback with a safety also shading that way. That leaves Cobb – the prototypical slot receiver at 5-foot-10, 192-pounds and all kinds of shifty moves – to work in the middle of the field in the short and intermediate routes.

"I think that's why they go well together," Packers safety Micah Hyde said. "With Randall, he controls the inside. Don't get me wrong, Jordy can go inside, too. But Randall does a good job, and the matchups that he creates is remarkable. And then for Jordy to be outside, with a guy like A-Rod getting them the ball, it's going to be hard to stop."

After a slow start, which Cobb said was caused in part by self-imposed pressure to produce in a contract year, he has been nearly unstoppable. Beginning with his seven-catch, 113-yard, two-touchdown game in Week 4 against the Vikings, Cobb has eclipsed with the 100-yard mark four times in the last seven games. In that stretch, he ranks sixth in the NFL with 653 yards, ahead of even Nelson, who ranks seventh with 647. For the season, Cobb ranks second in the league with 10 touchdowns and only a tight end, Denver's Julius Thomas, has more (with 12).

There are other great receiving duos in the league, with Denver's Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders leading the way; and even other great combinations in the Packers' own division, with Chicago's Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall. Nelson and Cobb are new to that list, but could remain there for years to come.

"I do feel very confident that I wouldn't want any other guys than the guys we've got," Rodgers said.

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- This has become the norm for T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton, the Green Bay Packers' starting guards, who are battling ankle and toe injuries, respectively.

After not practicing on Wednesday, both were on the field in pads for Thursday's workout.


Neither has missed a start since they were injured in the Oct. 26 game in New Orleans. They had the bye the following week to recover and played in the Nov. 9 game against the Chicago Bears with almost no practice time.

Last week, they were limited participants in Thursday's session leading up to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Both were listed as probable for that game, and likely will be in the same category for Sunday's road game against the Minnesota Vikings.

"It's the same, if not a little bit better," Sitton said Wednesday of his toe. "Nothing worse. As long as we're not regressing, then I'm happy."

Only three players were not practicing during the portion that was open to reporters. They were: tight end Brandon Bostick (hip), cornerback Jarrett Bush (groin) and linebacker Nick Perry (shoulder).

Linebacker Clay Matthews, who was on Wednesday's injury report with groin strain, was in full pads and practicing.

The full injury report will be available following practice.

Inside Edge: Packers-Vikings

November, 20, 2014
Nov 20


ESPN NFL Insider Mike Sando delivers stats to help you make a pick for Green Bay at Minnesota.

Aaron Rodgers is outscoring opponents 128-9 in the first half at home in the last four games.