Morgan Burnett and Brad Jones were the talk of the offseason at various points – now it looks like neither of them will play Sunday when the Green Bay Packers open the 2013 regular season at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.
Both signed significant contracts this past offseason and have been considered linchpins in the Packers defensive scheme. Though both are listed as questionable, which gives them a 50-50 chance of playing, we all know that given the Packers’ past penchant for leaning on the side of caution it’s most likely neither will play Sunday.
“We’ll see how it goes being smart with those guys,” Mike McCarthy said at his press conference this afternoon. “And really, talking about the whole team, you get to that point of 48 hours and it’s important for everybody to get themselves ready to play the game.”
Francois has had some limited playing time at the inside linebacking position with some success. He’s also been used extensively as a special-teamer. McCarthy likes Francois and the team even went so far as to re-sign him this offseason.
Here’s what McCarthy said about Francois today:
“The opportunity now to focus in on one position has really helped him. We played him both outside and inside. He’s always been a tough, hard-nosed football player.”
But while Francois should be an adequate plug-in for Jones, the real question comes with the young safeties. The Packers re-signed Burnett because he’s got a good understanding of the team’s defensive schemes and is the player looked to in making defensive backfield adjustments prior to each play. How Jennings and McMillian adjust to the game situations will be key and is the big question mark heading into Sunday.
The coaching staff has their backs and are confident in their abilities.
Here’s what defensive backs coach Darren Perry had to say today: “Those guys have prepared. Things like this happen. So whatever the outcome may be, we’ll continue and the game plan won’t change, regardless of who’s out there. We’ll just move forward and expect the guys to play at a high level.”
In addition to Burnett and Jones, the Packers also have had cornerback Jarrett Bush on the injury report all week. He is listed as probable. Casey Hayward is listed out as he continues to nurse the hamstring injury he suffered prior to training camp and reinjured during the team’s third preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.
On the other side of the ball, the San Francisco 49ers also have two players listed as questionable, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and running back LaMichael James. Those are two quality players they will miss.
We’ll know more about all these players come Sunday afternoon, but it doesn’t look like they will be suiting up at this point.
Stay tuned …