Packer Notes: Burnett out for season
By: By Chris Jenkins, AP Sports Writer, Superior Telegram
GREEN BAY — Green Bay rookie safety Morgan Burnett will miss the rest of the season after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in the victory over Detroit, leaving the Packers scrambling for a backup.
The third-round pick out of Georgia Tech started the Packers” first four games after veteran Atari Bigby had surgery on his left ankle at the beginning of training camp and began the season on the reserve/physically unable to perform list.
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Burnett had to grow up fast and was getting better every week before Sunday”s injury.
“You could see he was really comfortable,” McCarthy said. “For a first-year player, being in a key communicating spot in our defense, I thought he did an exceptional job. He was getting more comfortable and you could see his athletic ability taking over. You feel bad for Morgan.”
McCarthy says the team has not yet decided who will take Burnett”s place in the starting lineup for Sunday”s game at Washington.
Derrick Martin took over for Burnett against the Lions. McCarthy said he played “OK,” but a lack of consistent practice time might have hindered his ability to communicate and get in the proper alignment on every play. That may have played a role in the Packers” difficulty stopping the Lions” passing game.
“We need to play better on defense,” McCarthy said Monday. “That was not our best performance by far this year.”
Other options include Charlie Peprah, who has been inactive for two straight games because of a quadriceps injury; Jarrett Bush, who has played both cornerback and safety but has struggled in coverage at times; and practice squad member Anthony Levine, an undrafted rookie free agent.
Bigby will be eligible to return in two weeks, but it”s not clear how soon he will be ready to play.
“We”re going to have to really look at how we”re going to do it for the next two weeks for sure,” McCarthy said. “As far as Atari Bigby, he”s been working out, he”s been attending the meetings. We won”t really know until we see Atari on the field. We haven”t had Atari on the field since last year to see exactly where he is.”
McCarthy said it wasn”t clear when Burnett”s injury happened — although it was clear that Burnett kept playing for a while after he was hurt.
“It”s remarkable to watch the tape,” McCarthy said. “He played 23 snaps in the game. I want to say it probably happened somewhere between probably his ninth and 12th snap in the game. There”s no real clear-cut picture when he did it. To watch him play, I think it was at least two full series after that, and also on the punt protection.”
McCarthy didn’t come out and say that Jordy Nelson would lose his job as the team’s kick returner, but it’s clear other options will be explored heading into Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Md.
Nelson lost two fumbles against the Lions, ruining what had been a good start to the season for the third-year player out of Kansas State.
“We’ll look at that,” McCarthy said. “There’s accountability back there. You have to hold onto the ball.
“I think Jordy’s done a good job the first three weeks. I think he’s doing a good job of recognizing what we’re trying to do from a return standpoint. I think we’re doing a much better job blocking on the return game. But there’s no excuses for having the ball on the ground twice. We’re not going to play like that.”
McCarthy mentioned three players — cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Pat Lee, and running back Dimitri Nance — as potential replacements if the staff decides to take Nelson off kickoffs.
“We’re going to spend a little more time this week, particularly with our specialists throughout our special teams,” McCarthy said. “We have to do a better job handling the football.”
Portis may miss game
ASHBURN, Va. — Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis doesn’t think his injured groin will allow him to play in this week’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
Portis told 107.7 The Fan on Tuesday that he’s still awaiting the results of an MRI on his left groin, which he injured in Sunday’s 17-12 win over Philadelphia.
Portis said he doesn’t think the team will let him attempt to play against the Packers. He said he’s going to take his time and make sure he’s healed.
Portis has only 195 yards on 49 carries for the Redskins this season.
Ryan Torain, recently promoted from the practice squad, split time with Portis and ran 18 times for 70 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles.