According to Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press Gazette, starting safety Morgan Burnett returned to practice today after sitting out in the season opener with a hamstring injury. But in surprising news, Vandermause also reported that Josh Sitton and Jermichael Finley did not practice.
Not practicing today: Sitton, Finley and Hayward. Burnettt practiced. #Packers
— Mike Vandermause (@MikeVandermause) September 11, 2013
The team reported this afternoon that Finley has a toe injury and Sitton is dealing with a back injury. These injuries come as a bit of a surprise because neither player was on the team’s injury report following Sunday’s game against the 49ers. Their injuries are not believed to be serious, however, and the Packers will announce later in the week each player’s status for the game on Sunday.
In Sitton’s place, starting right tackle Don Barclay moved over and played left guard on the first-team offensive line, and Marshall Newhouse took his place at right tackle. Reserve linemen Greg Van Roten and Lane Taylor are also options at left guard if Sitton is not ready to play on Sunday.
Andrew Quarless took reps with the first-team offense at tight end in Finley’s absence and will play a bigger role on the field if Finley has to miss time. Athletic tight end Brandon Bostick may even get some playing time on Sunday if Finley is not ready to play. Bostick was one of the few inactives in the season opener.
However, it’s not time to panic yet. There is no indication so far that either Sitton or Finley won’t be ready to play against the Redskins on Sunday. The team may be just taking precautions with some minor injuries the two players are dealing with.
As far as the Packers’ secondary, it’s a good sign Burnett has returned to practice. This bodes well for him playing on Sunday. However, the team may decide to sit him out one more week to rest his hamstring. If that’s the case, Coach Capers did say they would like to give undrafted rookie safety Chris Banjo more looks on the field.
Dom Capers told me this: “We’ll have to make sure we get young Chris Banjo ready to go too. I think he’s capable of doing some things for us
— Mike Vandermause (@MikeVandermause) September 9, 2013
The Packers were disappointed with the play at safety in the season opener. Neither Jerron McMillian nor M.D. Jennings did much to impress in the game. They both missed tackles, didn’t play the ball well in the air, and gave up way too many passes over the middle of the field.
With Casey Hayward already likely to miss Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury, the young Packers secondary could really use Burnett’s leadership and experience on the field come Sunday when the Packers face another tough challenge in stopping Robert Griffin III and the Redskins’ offense.