GREEN BAY – Packers defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson needed surgery on his injured ankle on Sunday night in Washington, D.C., and did not return to Green Bay with the team.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday that Wilkerson’s injury was “significant,” but he did not elaborate.
Following Sunday’s 31-17 loss at FedExField, the Packers are also dealing with injuries to starting offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga (back) and Justin McCray (shoulder), while outside linebacker Nick Perry is in the concussion protocol.
McCarthy did not have any updates and said it could be until Wednesday or Thursday before the lineup at those spots for Sunday’s home game vs. Buffalo takes shape.
“We’re beat up coming out of the game,” McCarthy said. “You look at the course of these first three weeks, they’re battling like hell. We’re going to have to see how it sorts out. (The injury report) will be part of our game-planning.”
Discussion also continues this week on roughing-the-passer calls, which have frustrated Clay Matthews and the Packers.
McCarthy said he’s been in communication with President/CEO Mark Murphy, who is on the league’s competition committee, in search of more clarity to rules that the officials don’t appear to be applying consistently.
Shortly before Matthews was flagged for another hit he felt was within the rules, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was tossed down for a sack on which his helmet hit the ground.
“I think we can all safely say, without criticizing, the play with Aaron definitely could have warranted a flag,” said McCarthy, who regretted getting as visibly upset on the sideline as he did after the Matthews call.
“You have definition and you have application, and I think the definition is clearly being talked about. The officials need indicators. What are the indicators, and are those indicators exactly what everyone wants, particularly what the league office wants? That’s what we’re going through right now.”
Much like last year, the Packers may be going through some adjustments on the offensive line again, depending on the severity of the injuries to Bulaga and McCray. Jason Spriggs, Byron Bell and Lucas Patrick are the backups in line to fill those two spots.
Bulaga was injured on the 64-yard touchdown pass to Geronimo Allison late in the first half, and the veteran right tackle did not return to the game.
Allison’s TD was one of a handful of bright spots, and an opportunity to get back in the game from a big deficit, but the offense couldn’t sustain any momentum despite the defense recovering from a rough first half to force four straight punts after halftime.
“Our defense, as a whole, the performance in the second half is exactly what you’re looking for,” McCarthy said, attributing some of the first-half struggles to adjusting and tweaking the new scheme under coordinator Mike Pettine. “We’ll grow from this experience.”
That was McCarthy’s message for a team in general that has gone through several ups and downs already through three weeks.
There are many “outstanding plays” and individual performances on the film to go along with the costly breakdowns, and each game has provided valuable crunch-time experience, even if not all the results were to Green Bay’s liking.
“You look at the adversity we fought through the first three weeks, it will pay dividends as we move forward,” McCarthy said.
“A lot of character, intangibles … I think this team is ahead of the curve, but in the end it’s about winning. You are who you are, and we’re 1-1-1. That’s what Mondays are for. You flush out the things you don’t want to carry forward and make sure you’re on top of the good things.
“We have to get to work.”