Packers are 'full speed ahead' for Thursday vs. 49ers

Team not changing plans due to player on reserve/COVID-19 list, will adjust accordingly

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Team huddle

GREEN BAY – Until further notice, the Packers are planning to travel to the West Coast on Wednesday and play the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday night.

The placement of rookie running back AJ Dillon on the reserve/COVID-19 list Monday has not derailed any of the Packers' plans for this short week leading up to the rematch of last January's NFC title game.

"We are preparing to play on Thursday," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said while wearing a mask during his Monday afternoon Zoom session with the media. "As far as I know, we are full speed ahead."

The team is waiting for all the contact tracing to be done via the NFL's protocols to see if any other players must be put on the reserve/COVID-19 list due to exposure that's deemed high-risk.

The team's other running backs – Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams and practice-squad member Dexter Williams – would naturally be the highest risk, so the Packers can't be sure who might or might not be available to carry the ball Thursday night until they hear back from the league.

LaFleur said players have been diligent about spacing themselves out at least six feet apart during position meetings, and when players came to the facility Monday for their day-after-game workout, they were limited to groups of 10 at a time in the weight room or locker room.

"We'll see what the reports say when they all get done doing all the research that the league has to do," LaFleur said. "But we feel confident that we've handled everything as well as we could have.

"I think the league has confidence that we've been handling things the right way in our building."

The team's plan for Tuesday is to have meetings and a walk-through in the morning and then repeat that schedule in the afternoon, essentially cramming the normal Wednesday and Thursday installation practices into one day without a full-speed workout to allow the players to recover from Sunday's game.

Another meeting and walk-through sequence Wednesday morning will be followed by a short practice before the team heads to the airport.

That's the typical preparation schedule for a Thursday game and it hasn't been altered at all due to the team's current COVID situation. What's uncertain is if that situation will get any more complicated over the next couple of days.

"It's the situation that we're presented with, and we're going to make the best of it," LaFleur said. "It's not an excuse to go out there and play bad or anything like that.

"We'll have a plan for whatever comes our way. It doesn't change the expectation or the standards that we have for ourselves. We'll adjust accordingly."

On the field, the biggest issue facing the team heading into the San Francisco game is the run defense, which allowed Minnesota's Dalvin Cook to have a monster game in the Vikings' 28-22 triumph at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

In discussing his review of the film, LaFleur suggested several issues contributed to the poor defensive performance beyond missing tackles and losing gap integrity. Players not rallying to the ball, getting tired and not subbing out, and/or trying to do too much rather than sticking to their job were also evident, according to the head coach.

"It was a combination," LaFleur said. "We had too many missed tackles. We have to make sure we have 11 hats rolling to the football, playing relentlessly with that intent on every play."

View some of the best photos from the Week 8 Packers-Vikings matchup at Lambeau Field on Nov. 1, 2020.

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