Notebook: Coston Questionable, Moll Ready At RG


There could be two fill-in starters on the offensive line for the Packers on Sunday.

Right guard Junius Coston sprained an ankle during a goal-line drill during Thursday's practice, and he sat out practice on Friday. He is listed as questionable on the injury report, and second-year pro Tony Moll would start in his place at right guard if Coston can't play.

That comes on top of a change at center this week, with Jason Spitz stepping in for Scott Wells, who fractured an eye orbital bone in last week's loss to the Bears.

"We expect them to go in and play at a high level," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said on Friday. "We're not going to change anything we're doing as far as our approach to the game. It's a product of how you rep your linemen during the course of training camp and so forth. When you're the sixth, seventh, eighth lineman on the football team, you have to play multiple positions, and it prepares you for these situations."

Both second-year linemen got extensive playing time as rookies. Spitz started 13 games at guard last year, but coming out of Louisville many scouting reports indicated he might be better at center, and he's received extensive practice time there the past few weeks, with Wells nursing a balky hamstring before the eye injury.

Moll started 10 games a year ago, five at right guard and five at right tackle. This year, he has worked mostly at tackle, though he doesn't expect to have any issues re-adjusting to the guard spot.

"I feel like I've been there," Moll said. "Been there, done that, and I'm ready to get back to work."

Moll missed a significant portion of training camp with back-to-back neck stingers that put his roster spot in jeopardy at final cutdown time. He was admittedly frustrated, saying he talked the medical staff into letting him return to practice, only to sustain another stinger and miss more time.

But he said there have been no physical setbacks with the neck, and that's been helping him get over the mental hurdle as well.

"I don't feel it, not at all," he said. "Every once in a while I feel like I'll try to be a little safe on blocks or something, and try to protect my neck, but I think that's something I need to overcome because I don't feel it at all, it doesn't hurt at all. I'm ready to go, and I'm pumped up if I need to get in there."

Backfield trio set, for now

McCarthy said the halfback rotation would be the same as last week, with rookie DeShawn Wynn getting the start and being the primary back. Vernand Morency, who is listed as probable on the injury report, will handle the situational packages, such as certain third downs, and Ryan Grant will back up both players and play primarily on special teams.

{sportsad300}That leaves rookie Brandon Jackson as the odd man out. Jackson has missed the last two games with a shin injury, but was not on the injury report this week and practiced mostly on the opponent, or scout, team.

McCarthy said the coaching staff has to make decisions early in the week on how the backfield load will be divvied up and who's going to get which reps. So Jackson wasn't factored into the game plan on Monday and Tuesday because it was unclear whether he'd be able to practice starting on Wednesday.

That, combined with the fact that Wynn and Morency were so productive in the first half last week against Chicago (Wynn had 59 yards rushing while Morency had 43 rushing and 36 receiving at halftime), made McCarthy lean toward keeping the same rotation for now.

"As far as the comfort and continuity, we really kind of hit our groove last week in that first half and will continue to get better," McCarthy said. "I think it's just a product of reps.

"We just don't have a lot of experience in that group, and it's hard to get them all ready."

That said, the current rotation isn't set in stone when the team returns from the bye week. Theoretically, the more time that passes, the less the medical issues will intervene.

"It could change as we move forward," McCarthy said.

In addition to Morency, tackle Chad Clifton, tight end Bubba Franks, cornerbacks Al Harris and Charles Woodson and receiver Greg Jennings are all listed as probable on the injury report and are expected to play.

Wells (eye), cornerback Will Blackmon (foot) and defensive end Michael Montgomery (knee) are out.

Tough guy

In a Sports Illustrated NFL players' poll, Brett Favre was voted the toughest quarterback in the NFL, getting 30 percent of the vote from across the league.

Indianapolis' Peyton Manning (19 percent), New England's Tom Brady (13), Baltimore's Steve McNair (13) and Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb (5) rounded out the top five.

The magazine also pointed out that Favre has been sacked 433 times, the most of any active quarterback and the eighth-most all time.

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