QB Nall cramming to learn offense after injury to Rodgers
That didn’t seem like a big deal over the weekend, when Nall was brought back to the Pack to fill the third-string quarterback spot that has been vacant all season.
But after No. 2 quarterback Aaron Rodgers hurt his hamstring in practice on Monday and could be out a week or two, Nall suddenly faces the unexpected possibility of going into Sunday’s game against Oakland as the backup to Brett Favre – who is still recovering from the elbow and shoulder injuries that knocked him out of last Thursday’s loss at Dallas.
With Favre limited to throwing a few short passes and handing off in practice on Wednesday, Nall took the majority of snaps.
So much for easing his way back into things.
“I come in here with the expectations of being told, ’Hey, you’ve got to come in here and help Brett hunt a little bit, because the guys he’s hunting with aren’t very good at it,’ to taking all the reps today,” said Nall, a frequent hunting buddy of Favre’s during his first stint with the Packers. “You know, I just have to do what I have to do. There’s really no easy way around it. I think having to go in there and take all the reps helps me not think too much, just go in there and react and play ball.”
Nall, the Packers’ fifth-round draft pick in 2002, left Green Bay as a free agent after the 2005 season. He spent last year in Buffalo, didn’t play, and split this season between Buffalo and Houston before being cut by the Texans late last month.
“It’s exciting,” Nall said. “Better than sitting on the couch.”
McCarthy praised Nall for his ability to pick up new offensive terminology quickly.
“Craig Nall did an excellent job,” McCarthy said. “He took every rep today in the passing game. For him to come in with a new language, it’s different from his time here in the past, I thought he did a good job with that.”
Nall said he’ll continue to cram to learn the offense, but still expects to be holding a clipboard come Sunday.
“The focus really isn’t on me,” Nall said. “Brett’s going to be healthy, going to be able to play this weekend. I’m just trying to help out any way I can to keep this team on a roll.”
And yes, Nall and Favre might actually go hunting this week – assuming Nall can borrow some camouflage clothing.
“He’s talked about it,” Nall said. “I don’t have anything up here, but I’m sure he’s got some stuff laying around in the corner that I can throw on.”
JOLLY NOT-SO-GOOD: Packers defensive tackle Johnny Jolly might miss the rest of the season after the results of an MRI test on his shoulder “didn’t look good,” McCarthy said.
“We’re going to take some more time,” McCarthy said. “It was not as positive as we would have liked. I’m disappointed for Johnny.”
Jolly, a sixth-round draft pick last season, started seven of the Packers’ first 10 games at right defensive tackle before hurting his shoulder in the Packers’ Nov. 18 victory over Carolina.
McCarthy wouldn’t elaborate on the specifics of Jolly’s injury, but acknowledged that team officials have talked about shutting him down for the rest of the season.
Defensive line depth has been one of the Packers’ strengths this season, and McCarthy said he wasn’t concerned that losing Jolly would prevent the Packers from rotating their defensive tackles frequently to keep players from wearing down.
McCarthy said increased contributions from first-round draft pick Justin Harrell and another backup, Daniel Muir, would help keep starters such as Corey Williams and Cullen Jenkins fresh.
“We would like to get more reps and get prepared for that so that Corey and Cullen and those guys aren’t taking as many reps as they did (against Dallas),” McCarthy said.
RESTING RODGERS: McCarthy said he wasn’t quite sure how long Rodgers might be out because he doesn’t have a history of hamstring injuries.
“It could be a week,” McCarthy said. “It could be two weeks. We’re kind of up in the air on how bad he did it.”
Rodgers got hurt on the final play of Tuesday’s practice while scrambling during a red zone drill. He tried to return to practice on Wednesday but left early after struggling to throw the ball, McCarthy said.
NOTES: TE Bubba Franks attended the funeral of Washington Redskins safety Sean Taylor on Monday. Franks continues to be hobbled by a knee injury and did not practice on Wednesday. LB Tracy White (ankle) also did not practice on Wednesday. ... Favre, Rodgers, LT Chad Clifton (knee), WR Koren Robinson (knee), RT Mark Tauscher (ankle), CB Charles Woodson (toe) and DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (ankle) all were limited in practice on Wednesday. ... McCarthy said Woodson took part on the jog-through portion of practice on Wednesday. “He’s pushing it a little more each day,” McCarthy said. ... McCarthy said Gbaja-Biamila “practiced hard.”