Redskins

LB Matthews, S Woodson among sidelined Packers

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LB Matthews, S Woodson among sidelined Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) Mike McCarthy likes the forecast for Sunday night.

``Well, we live in Green Bay, Wisconsin, so snow's going to happen,'' the Packers coach said Friday. ``I hope it does snow. I think it'd be great. It's a great setting. Personally, I think snow's fun to play in, so I think our players will enjoy it.''

The Packers host Detroit on Sunday night and Green Bay will try to stay atop the NFC North without five starters.

The team has ruled out linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring), safety Charles Woodson (collarbone), receiver Jordy Nelson (hamstring), running back James Starks (knee) and defensive end C.J. Wilson (knee) against its NFC North rival.

Woodson returned to practice on a limited basis this week after being sidelined since suffering his injury Oct. 21. Matthews, who leads the team with nine sacks, still hasn't been cleared to practice after he reinjured his hamstring Nov. 4.

``We're getting close (with Matthews),'' McCarthy said. ``But I think it's very important for Clay, no different with Charles, that when we do bring those guys back it's not potentially just a one-week situation.''

And in the big picture, the Packers are vying for a second straight division title with a first-place showdown against the Bears looming Dec. 16 in Chicago. Having playmakers such as Matthews and Woodson back for that game would be ideal for Green Bay, but defensive coordinator Dom Capers isn't looking that far ahead.

``I've always felt that when we get them back let's have them because every game is critical for us,'' Capers said. ``There's not one (game) that's more critical than another. The game Sunday night is the most critical game for us. We've got to find some way to go play our best.''

After rallying in the final minutes for a 24-20 victory at Detroit (4-8) three weeks ago, Green Bay (8-4) will try to extend its league-best home winning streak of 21 games over the Lions with a depleted offense as well.

Right tackle T.J. Lang returned to practice Friday in limited fashion after suffering an ankle injury in the Packers' win over Minnesota last Sunday.

Lang is questionable to play against the Lions. But McCarthy indicated after practice Friday that undrafted rookie Don Barclay would make his first pro start at Lang's spot.

``That's the way we've prepared all week,'' McCarthy said.

McCarthy confirmed Alex Green would be the starter at running back after Starks suffered his injury in the last game.

Green, a second-year player, had been splitting carries with Starks the last few games. Before that, Green was the primary back in a three-game stretch after Cedric Benson suffered what turned out to be a season-ending foot injury in early October.

``It's a blessing to get a second chance to make a first impression again. That's rare,'' said Green, who leads the team with 360 rushing yards.

Veteran Ryan Grant also will see action in the backfield after the team re-signed him earlier this week.

If McCarthy gets his wish for a snow game Sunday night, he could be compelled to take a long look at Grant. He ran for Packers postseason records of 201 yards and three touchdowns on a snow-covered Lambeau turf in their rout of Seattle in the 2007 divisional playoffs.

``He plays well in the snow. History would tell you that,'' McCarthy said. ``I'm comfortable with Ryan Grant.''

Notes: Packers DE Mike Neal didn't practice this week and is doubtful for Sunday. But McCarthy said the news on Neal's injured shoulder from the last game was better than what team personnel initially feared. If Lang and Neal aren't cleared, the Packers would be down to six offensive linemen and four defensive linemen healthy enough for the game. Making a roster move this weekend to provide depth at one or both position groups is possible, McCarthy said. . Green is looking forward to potentially playing in snow for the first time. The West Coast native played in college at Hawaii and missed the final two months of his rookie season with the Packers last year because of a knee injury. ``It's one thing I looked forward to when I was being drafted here - we play in the snow,'' said Green, a third-round pick. ``I know that's a big thing around here.''

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Need to Know: Redskins stock up-stock down during vs. Panthers

Need to Know: Redskins stock up-stock down during vs. Panthers

Here is what you need to know on this Monday, October 15, six days before the Washington Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys.

Talking points

Here are the players who saw their stock go up against the Panthers on Sunday and others who saw their stocks drop. 

Stock up—A few days ago, CB Josh Norman was a penny stock. He had mixed up assignments in the blowout loss to the Saints and take a ton of criticism after the game, much of it warranted. During the Panthers game, he was a blue chip. Norman got his first interception in 20 games and he forced a fumble. There is still a lot of season to be played but for now, at least it’s good to be Josh Norman.

Stock down—They won the game and that’s the quarterback’s main job. But for the second straight game, Alex Smith did not play up to his $18.4 million cap number. He passed for 163 yards. At times you really wondered where he was throwing the ball and/or to whom he was throwing it. They were able to win thanks to Adrian Peterson’s rushing and three takeaways. To Smith’s credit, he protected the ball well and it should be noted he was without favorite targets, Chris Thompson and Jamison Crowder. Regardless, it was not a sharp performance by Smith. 

Stock upPeterson came into the game with an injured ankle, knee, and shoulder. Not only did he fight through the pain, he thrived. Six days after he rushed for just six yards against the Saints and sat out most of the second half, he picked up 97 yards on 17 carries, an average of 5.7 yards per carry. Peterson did rip off a 19-yard run but mostly it was three yards here, six yards there. It was what the Redskins were expecting when the signed him. 

Stock down—With Thompson out, Kapri Bibbs had his big chance to show what he can do. He didn’t do much. Bibbs, who was promoted from the practice squad earlier this season, picked up 11 yards rushing on two carries and he caught one pass for six yards. There were some high hopes for Bibbs among Redskins fans. For today, he didn’t live up to them. 

Stock up—I know that Daron Payne didn’t make a ton of plays and his streak of games with at least one sack ended at two. But he was part of a defensive front that held Christian McCaffrey, who came into the game averaging 82.3 rushing yards per game (fourth in the NFL) and 5.2 yards per attempt, to 20 yards on eight attempts, a 2.5 per carry average. And he made a remarkable play, which is becoming routine for him, when he made the tackle on a tight end who had taken a screen pass well outside of the numbers. He’s a special talent and his stock will continue to rise. 

The agenda

Today: Open locker room 11:30; Jay Gruden press conference 3:00 

Upcoming: Cowboys @ Redskins 6; Redskins @ Giants 13; Redskins @ Eagles 49

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What Adrian Peterson did on Sunday really is absurd

What Adrian Peterson did on Sunday really is absurd

FEDEX FIELD -- Coming into Sunday's game, the Redskins listed Adrian Peterson as questionable for the game against the Panthers. 

And why wouldn't they?

The future Hall of Famer separated his shoulder last week in a loss to the Saints. In that same game, he got blasted in the knee on a play that many thought would cost Peterson the season. And before the Redskins bye, in a 120-yard effort in a win over the Packers, Peterson took a helmet directly off his ankle. 

Calling AP banged up for the Panthers game is unfair to banged up players. 

Peterson was hurt, from top to bottom. 

Yet, despite the injuries, he still went out and rushed for 97 yards on 17 carries, good for a 5.7 yards-per-carry average. 

"I had already made up in my mind Friday, 'Hey, I'm going to give it a go,' and I know it's going to be painful but it's mind over matter and keep pressing," Peterson said following the 23-17 Redskins win. 

"So that's what I ended up doing."

In a remarkable endeavor, Peterson was the most consistent player on the offense. Alex Smith played fine but not necessarily good.

The Redskins offense needs more from Smith, but couldn't even ask for anything else from Peterson. 

"I can't say enough about what he did today, playing through the pain of the shoulder and the knee," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said of Peterson. "What a pro. What a pro he is."

In the second half, when the Redskins pass game really fell apart, Washington leaned on Peterson even more. It wasn't pretty, but the team got enough to eat up possession and pad the lead with field goals. 

"Adrian Peterson ran hard," Carolina coach Ron Rivera said. "I think he created the opportunity for them down the stretch to control the clock a little bit."

Rivera is right. 

Without Peterson, the Redskins probably don't win on Sunday. 

And it's even more remarkable that none of this was supposed to happen. The Redskins seemed reluctant to even give Peterson a tryout after rookie Derrius Guice went down in the preseason. Guice was the plan, and Peterson wasn't even really the backup.

Back then, Gruden explained that Peterson was simply too impressive in his August workout for the team to do anything but sign him to the active roster. 

Now, five games into the season, averaging well more than 4 yards-per-carry and on pace to lead the Redskins in rush yards, it's hard to imagine what Washington's offense would look like without Peterson. 

Sure, he's 33-years-old, but he's also the Redskins most consistent offensive threat. 

Asked what surprised him during his team's loss, Rivera inadvertently summed up the Peterson experience.

"I don't think there was anything surprising. They're a good football team. They run the ball extremely well with Adrian."

Rivera is right.

The Redskins run the ball extremely well with Peterson.

Even with the separated shoulder, the busted knee, the bruised ankle. On Sunday, the Redskins ran the ball extremely well with Peterson.

And that says a lot about Adrian Peterson. 

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