With a healthy Ahman Green and a young Vernand Morency with one Packers start under his belt, Head Coach Mike McCarthy is hoping his team will have a strong "one-two punch" in the backfield the rest of the season.
McCarthy said Wednesday he expects Green's hamstring to be healed enough to allow him to play this weekend, noting he believes Green's hamstring troubles are a residual effect of coming off the severe quadriceps injury from last season.
But the first hamstring Green hurt two weeks ago appears to be all better now, and the second hamstring tweak continues to improve as well.
"Frankly I was surprised he didn't play Monday night," McCarthy said. "I'll be surprised if he doesn't go this week."
Even with Green's return, McCarthy still expects to use Morency on a regular basis after he battled for a tough 99 rushing yards against Philadelphia. He had a critical fumble, just like Green did in each of the previous two games, but McCarthy liked the burst and decisiveness he saw throughout the game.
"The turnover is the black eye in his performance, but he put his foot down and ran and made good decisions," McCarthy said. "He bounced the ball a couple of times when the opportunity presented itself. But you can see him, he wasn't totally comfortable in some spots, but I thought he ran tough, I thought he played hard. He stuck his nose in there in pass protection, so we'll continue to roll him in there."
Since the season opener, the number of total touches (rushes and receptions) for the feature back has steadily increased. Against New Orleans, Green had 22 touches, follwed by 30 against Detroit. This past Monday in Philadelphia, Morency had 32.
If that level of workload keeps up, the Packers expect to need two regular backs to share at least some of those opportunities.
Favre a little stiff and sore
Brett Favre still doesn't know exactly what happened on his last play against Philadelphia when he was hit in the head, but he doesn't expect it to keep him from playing this week.
"I'll be fine," Favre said.
He explained that he may have sustained a slight concussion, but the more lingering issue is an apparent pinched nerve in his neck that makes it painful for him to turn his head to the right.
"The only thing I remember was my right arm and neck were tingling and kind of going numb," Favre said. "A pinched nerve or whatever. My head was ringing pretty good too. It felt like I got smushed between two helmets."
Favre made some light throws during the opening jog-through portion of practice on Wednesday, but McCarthy said he sat out the rest of the workout. Favre said there's nothing he can really do for it treatment-wise, but he hopes it just gets better on its own.
"It feels fine for the most part when you're walking around," he said. "But turn a certain way or put your arm or shoulder in different position, you can feel it."
For now, McCarthy plans to continue rotating rookies Tony Moll and Jason Spitz at right guard so that both continue to develop, along with fellow rookie Daryn Colledge at left guard.
Moll and Spitz shared time at right guard against the Eagles, the first playing time for Spitz since sustaining a bruised thigh in the season opener. McCarthy feels that all three guards are improving by getting playing time, and he wants to continue to see that growth.
"I need to be in touch with the development of all three players," he said. "That group is improving. I'm pleased with the growth of the offensive line. If there's a position on our football team that's improving week to week, it's definitely the offensive line."
Kenderick Allen's foot injury suffered against Detroit two weeks ago turned out to be worse than originally thought, landing the big defensive tackle on injured reserve and ending his season.
McCarthy didn't know precisely the extent of the injury, but said a test showed a "separation" of some kind within the foot that could require surgery.
Allen had provided good depth in the middle of the defensive line and his absence will leave the Packers one short in the defensive tackle rotation. Rookie Johnny Jolly has been inactive in all four games thus far but could potentially be called upon as the season moves forward.
"He was in a very competitive situation there with the interior, but I think he was progressing," McCarthy said of Allen. "I had an opportunity to be around him his rookie year in New Orleans, and I think he's in much better physical shape now, a lot more mature. I was happy with his participation to this point."