GREEN BAY, Wis (WBAY) – Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said today he is preparing to use as many as 21 different personnel groupings on offense this Sunday in Tennessee. And those groupings could be bolstered by the return of two starters. Running back James Starks and tight end Jared Cook did more in practice today than they have done since being injured. And if they respond well tomorrow and Saturday, they could be on the field Sunday.
Cook felt very encouraged after his first padded practice since suffering a foot injury on September 25th against the Lions. “Good, really good. I did some scout team reps, got a little bit of individual wraps, so it went well. The doctors are happy with my progress, trainers are happy with my progress, so no complaints. This is my first time actually going through it. A lot of things that I had to get used to, and a lot of things I had to do different. It’s really tough, it’s hard.”
Starks has not played since the Giants game on October 9th. He played that entire game, only to have some knee issues the following day, ultimately requiring surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He looked good in practice but is not ready to commit to playing Sunday. “ I take it like day by day, you know what I’m saying? I go out there and I push, and being at the running back position is tough. You have a lot of things coming at you at once, and you have to be able to perform and help the team. Right now, I feel like I can do that.”
If Starks does return Sunday, he will still take a backseat to Ty Montgomery in the backfield. Montgomery’s yards per carry average is three times what Starks was when he was healthy.
The Packers pass rush, however, could be without Clay Matthews for a third consecutive game. He did not practice on Thursday because of his hamstring injury.
Here is the Packers injury report for Thursday: