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Notebook: Rookie Jones Gets The Call

Outside linebacker Aaron Kampman will miss his first game due to injury in over six years on Sunday, and with veteran backup Brady Poppinga also ruled out, rookie Brad Jones will make his first NFL start against the Cowboys. - More Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 13

Outside linebacker Aaron Kampman will miss his first game due to injury in over six years on Sunday, and with veteran backup Brady Poppinga also ruled out, rookie Brad Jones will make his first NFL start against the Cowboys.

Kampman, who left last Sunday's game at Tampa Bay in the fourth quarter with a concussion sustained on the fourth play of the game, did not practice Friday for the third straight day and has been ruled out for Sunday. The last time he was sidelined due to injury came in Weeks 3-6 of the 2003 season when he was out with a sprained ankle.

Kampman has started 97 of the last 98 games for the Packers, missing only the 2007 regular-season finale when several starters rested with Green Bay being locked into a No. 2 playoff seed. Although he said he has felt better each day since sustaining the concussion, Kampman also acknowledged that the best decision was to sit Sunday's game out.

"You appreciate that here they are caring about player safety," Kampman said. "(Someone) just asked if this is the right decision. It probably is the right decision. As much as it hurts (and) I want to be there for this one, this is obviously probably the right thing to do."

Brady Poppinga came in for Kampman at left outside linebacker against the Buccaneers, but sustained a quad injury that has sidelined him all week in practice and will keep him out of Sunday's game.

Poppinga will join Kampman in seeing an impressive games-played streak come to an end on Sunday. Poppinga has played in 56 straight contests going back to the end of his rookie season in 2005 when he missed the final three games with a torn ACL.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Poppinga has an unusual amount of swelling in his quad after either landing on or being stepped on by a cleat against the Buccaneers, and "kind of took a step back" on Friday.

The injuries to the two veterans create an opportunity for Jones, whose snaps this season have been limited to special teams. The seventh-round pick out of Colorado has been productive there as he is tied for third on the team with eight tackles despite missing the first two games as a healthy scratch, and is getting the starting nod over second-year player Jeremy Thompson.

"We just like some of the things that Brad's done in terms of rushing the passer," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. "He's played well on special teams. Normally, good defensive players that are perimeter players, you put them on special teams, they show up on special teams, because it's the same type of thing.

"You have to be able to break down, you have to be able to make plays in space, you have to have a feel for going to the ball with leverage angles, those types of things. I think Brad's done well to this point. We'll give him an opportunity to see what he can do on Sunday."

Jones showed some of his pass-rush ability during the preseason, posting a sack/forced fumble in his debut against Buffalo in the second week of the preseason. McCarthy said Capers compared him to a player he coached in Pittsburgh when he was the Steelers defensive coordinator, linebacker Chad Brown.

"My comment was I think he's got some naturalness rushing the passer," Capers said. "Some of the good pass rushers have flexibility in their body where they can kind of contort their body. You can get on them, and they can get skinny, get their hips around, get their shoulders by a guy.

"Those are the things I noticed about Chad Brown when he first came to the Steelers, and I've seen some of those same types of things with Brad in terms of his rush ability."

Jones will be starting opposite fellow rookie outside linebacker Clay Matthews, which would be the first time the Packers started two rookie linebackers in the same game since A.J. Hawk and Abdul Hodge both opened a Monday night contest at Seattle on Nov. 27, 2006.

"Every game I have excitement," Jones said. "I don't get nervous before too many games, maybe one, like in Pop Warner or something. I'm always excited.

"When game time comes around, you practice all week and you do so much stuff all week, and when the game comes around it's like a relief almost. You get to show what you've got."

Switching sides

Rookie T.J. Lang, who started two games earlier this season at left tackle when Chad Clifton was sidelined with an ankle injury, will get the start against the Cowboys at right tackle.

"I thought he had a good, solid week of practice," McCarthy said. "There's some things going from the left side to the right side that's an adjustment for him.

"We had a pass under pressure period yesterday that I think there was a look that our defense gave him that I'm glad he saw during the practice structure. I think he'll get in there and compete and do a good job."

This will be the sixth different starting combination the Packers have used on the offensive line this season in nine games because of injuries. Allen Barbre started the first seven contests at right tackle before Mark Tauscher got the call last Sunday in Tampa Bay.

{sportsad300}Tauscher is out with a knee injury sustained early in the second half last Sunday, and although Barbre is probable for Sunday with a concussion suffered at Tampa Bay late in the game, the Packers are going with Lang.

"I think Allen needs to reset himself," McCarthy said. "We've taken a step back with him, and we're giving T.J. a chance based on production. It's a little bit of a challenge, a little bit of a forecast, I understand that. But that's kind of the realm that we're in with this offensive line right now. It started obviously because of the injuries, but we're trying to build some continuity and consistency."

Chillar has a chance

Linebacker Brandon Chillar practiced for the first time since breaking his hand two weeks ago against Minnesota, albeit on a limited basis, and is questionable for Sunday.

Chillar practiced with a club-like cast on his hand and McCarthy said the team will take the next 48 hours before making a final decision on Chillar's status for the game, and if he does play, what kind of a role he will have. When healthy, Chillar is one of two inside linebackers when the team goes to nickel.

"If they clear me, I'm ready to go," Chillar said. "I've been doing everything, working my legs and doing as much as I can and paying attention in meetings. So hopefully they'll let me go. Obviously I want to play against the Cowboys, so we'll see what happens."

Chillar is known for his coverage abilities, and the Cowboys have one of the top tight ends in the league in Jason Witten, who ranks third in the league among tight ends with 44 receptions. In the Packers' Week 3 contest last season against Dallas, Witten led the Cowboys with seven catches for 67 yards.

Chillar said he will have to wear the club on his hand for at least a few weeks whenever he returns to the field, but hopes that he can downsize to a smaller one each week.

"It's one of those things where you get used to it more the more you do it," Chillar said. "Today was my first day. It didn't feel too bad but it didn't feel too good. I'm just going to have to make it work. I've seen a lot of people play and play well with it, so I plan on being one of those guys."

Injury/participation update

In addition to Kampman, Poppinga and Tauscher, tight end Jermichael Finley (knee) is also out for Sunday.

Barbre, wide receivers Jake Allen (quad) and Jordy Nelson (knee), fullback Korey Hall (calf), defensive end Cullen Jenkins (ankle), safety Derrick Martin (concussion), quarterback Aaron Rodgers (feet) and cornerback Charles Woodson (hip) are probable.

Clifton was added to the injury report as a limited participant (not injury related), but the team is not required to list his status. McCarthy said Clifton sat out part of Friday's practice per the usual routine.

For Dallas, cornerback Allen Rossum (hamstring) is out. Running back Marion Barber (thumb), center Andre Gurode (ankle), safeties Ken Hamlin (groin) and Gerald Sensabaugh (thumb), and linebacker DeMarcus Ware are all probable.

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