Notebook: Rouse Stepping In For Injured Collins

The news on safety Nick Collins’ injured knee wasn’t as bad as feared, but the third-year pro will be out at least a couple of weeks and rookie Aaron Rouse will be taking his place in the starting lineup. - More Audio | Video | Packers-Chiefs Game Center Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 5


The news on safety Nick Collins' injured knee wasn't as bad as feared, but the third-year pro will be out at least a couple of weeks and rookie Aaron Rouse will be taking his place in the starting lineup.

Collins injured his knee early in the third quarter in Kansas City on Sunday, getting his feet caught underneath him while making a tackle on Chiefs receiver Samie Parker. Collins' leg was bent backward in rather awkward fashion, but further tests on Monday at Bellin Health MRI determined the injury is a knee sprain that will keep Collins out only temporarily.

"It looked a lot worse on film," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "The MRI was positive, because we all figured the worst the way he went down."

Collins was replaced by Rouse, a third-round draft choice this past April out of Virginia Tech, for the rest of Sunday's game. Rouse was credited with three tackles, two on receivers and one against the run, in his first extended action with the defense.

Rouse will get his first NFL start on Sunday against Minnesota, the same team against whom he made his pro debut.

"He works hard in the classroom so hopefully our communication and everything will be good back there," defensive coordinator Bob Sanders said. "He's enthusiastic and he'll be ready to go."

An injured hamstring forced Rouse to miss the final preseason game in August, and he was inactive for the first three games of the regular season before playing for the first time at Minnesota on Sept. 30. He saw action on special teams and as a temporary injury substitution at safety.

The coaching staff was pleased with how Rouse finished up the game in Kansas City, and both McCarthy and Sanders said the time he missed didn't set him back considerably. He'll presumably take the majority, if not all, of the snaps with the No. 1 defense in practice this week.

"If you go back to the OTAs, he picked up the defense very quickly," McCarthy said. "It's his opportunity, and a lot of young players get their opportunity this way. I have no concerns about him. You don't really know until they play in the real games, and it's his time."

Other injury updates

McCarthy confirmed that starting halfback Ryan Grant did sustain a concussion in the fourth quarter on Sunday, but he did not indicate whether it would affect his playing status for this week.

Defensive tackles Ryan Pickett and Corey Williams both have knee injuries, but neither appears to be serious. Special teams ace Tracy White sustained an ankle injury, but he continued to play in Sunday's game and should be fine.

Tight end Bubba Franks is still a couple of weeks away from returning from his knee injury.

Game ball

McCarthy said tight end Donald Lee received the game ball on offense for his performance in Kansas City, which included four receptions for a career-high 78 yards. Lost somewhat in the excitement of the fourth-quarter shootout were a couple of key plays by Lee early in the game.

On the Packers' second possession, Lee caught an 11-yard pass to convert a third-and-3 by reaching as far as he could on a crossing route, making the difficult grab, and keeping his feet to get the first down.

Then on a drive that resulted in a field goal in the second quarter, Lee caught a pass over the middle, broke away from the defense and turned it into a 48-yard gain, the second long catch-and-run he's made in the last three games.

"Donald Lee is a young man that's totally bought into the offseason program," McCarthy said. "He's taken advantage of every opportunity through the offseason. He's really stepped up since Bubba has gone down. He's been very consistent, even when Bubba was in there when we were playing both of those guys. I can't say enough about him. I'm very happy with his production the first eight games."

All four of Lee's catches on Sunday resulted in first downs, and three of them came on third down. On the season, Lee has 29 catches for 382 yards and one touchdown. His yardage total is already a career-high for one season, and he's just five receptions from surpassing the 33 he had in 2005.

{sportsad300}Penalties mounting of late

For the second straight game on Sunday, the Packers were penalized 13 times for more than 100 yards, with the infractions against the Chiefs totaling 115 yards. The Packers also had 13 penalties for 103 yards last Monday night in Denver.

The ones that bother McCarthy the most are the pre-snap and poor judgment penalties, because they're more mental errors than competitive mistakes. Of the 26 penalties in the last two games, eight of them would fall into those categories.

Nine of the 26 have been against the defense for holding, illegal contact or pass interference, and those are a direct result of the physical, in-your-face pass defense the secondary plays. While McCarthy isn't thrilled with having so many flags, some of them simply have to be accepted as a by-product of the team's style of coverage, and the good that coverage has produced has far outweighed the bad thus far.

"We're running into some situations where we feel the defender has established his territory and there are collisions there," McCarthy said. "Some of them have gone against us of late, and I'm hopeful that they'll balance out.

"But we're not going to change the way we play. That's the way we play, that's who we are. We're always going to err on the side of being physical. We're a bump-and-run team. We teach the technique, get your hands inside, every single day, and we'll continue to do that."

See it again

Sunday's victory over the Chiefs can be seen again on NFL Network's NFL Replay on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. CT. The game will be re-broadcast in a 90-minute format.

The Packers' next opponent is also featured on NFL Replay this week. Minnesota's win over San Diego, during which rookie running back Adrian Peterson set a league record with 296 yards rushing, will air prior to the Green Bay game at 7 p.m. CT on Tuesday.

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