After dealing with an avalanche of injuries for four months, coach Mike McCarthy finally got some good news on Monday. The Packers come out of their game with Chicago unscathed, and there’s growing optimism that defensive end Cullen Jenkins, linebacker Frank Zombo, fullback Korey Hall and safety Atari Bigby could be ready for next Sunday’s Wild Card game in Philadelphia. “They’ll be evaluated on Wednesday morning,” an upbeat McCarthy told the media. “They’re making progress and we’re hopeful that maybe they can have a trial return for Wednesday.”
While it would be nice to get Zombo, Hall and Bigby back on the field, the player Green Bay needs most is Jenkins. The former Central Michigan star is one of the most athletic 3-4 ends in the league, and with Mike Vick at quarterback for the Eagles, coordinator Dom Capers will want to get as many athletes on the field as possible. Speed on defense, along with a strong pass rush, is the best way to defend the
ex-con Pro Bowl starter.
Quick thoughts from yesterday:
-Outside linebacker Erik Walden played very well, but let’s keep things in perspective. One game doesn’t make him the real deal. Is it possible that three different teams were wrong about the former Middle Tennessee State star? Sure it’s possible, but it’s not very likely. What’s far more likely is that Walden simply had one of those games where everything went right. If he can do it again – against a team that actually knows his name – then maybe he’ll be more than the Packers’ version of Gerardo after all.
-The number on the back of the jersey is the same, but the player wearing it looks completely different than he did a few months ago. After playing solid football in place of Mark Tauscher for seven games, right tackle Bryan Bulaga is really struggling down the stretch. And while the first-round draft pick from Iowa has been heavily criticized the past few weeks for his inconsistent pass blocking and penalties, truth be told, he hasn’t put forth a particularly good performance since Thanksgiving.
-The more you watch linebacker Desmond Bishop, the more you hope the potential unrestricted free agent will be back in 2011. Nothing against Nick Barnett, but the defense is much more physical without him on the field. That’s not a surprise. What is a surprise, however, is how well Bishop has fared against the pass. While he lacks the speed and athleticism of Barnett, he relies on instincts to get the job done in space. Isn’t it ironic that some people didn’t think Bishop had the mental capacity to start at this level? Of course anyone who watched him play at Cal knew that was complete and utter nonsense.