Greg Jennings’ days and nights are being occupied with something other than rehabbing his groin so he can play on Sunday.
The Green Bay Packers’ Pro Bowl receiver and his wife, Nicole, welcomed their fourth child on Friday morning. Aice Gregory Jennings and Nicole still haven’t come home and Jennings said he’s been spending some “long nights” on a pullout mattress at the hospital.
“I’m a family-first guy, anyway,” Jennings said on Thursday. “I’m definitely going to have to take care of what I need to take care of to get back on the field, but family always takes precedence. That’s always been my stance, it will always be my stance.”
While his family is doing “much better,” the same isn’t necessarily true for the groin injury sustained in Week 1 against San Francisco, aggravated in Week 4 against New Orleans and prevented him from playing last week at Indianapolis.
Coach Mike McCarthy said it’s possible Jennings could play on Sunday at Houston without practicing this week, though Jennings sounded as if he would like to give the injury another week to heal.
“We always give ourselves a chance (of playing),” Jennings said. “Likelihood of that chance, we’ll know come Sunday. There’s still a chance, but again, you work to make progressive changes.”
After feeling like he came back too soon last time, Jennings said he hasn’t tested his groin this week. The emphasis has been strengthening the area around the groin and working out the in the pool to fatigue the injury more than stress it.
Given Jennings’ game is based on his ability to gain separation more than blazing speed or overwhelming size and speed, he doesn’t want to come back until he can be the kind of player who scored 21 touchdowns over the past two seasons.
“I think anyone can create a little separation,” he said, “but when you’re accustomed to creating a lot of separation — or a lot more — it’s frustrating when you watch yourself on film and it’s like, ‘OK, that was OK, but it’s just not what i’m accustomed to seeing.’ That’s the frustrating part, so that’s what we’re trying to get back to.”
Packers injury report
Did not participate: TE Jermichael Finley (shoulder); WR Greg Jennings (groin); DT B.J. Raji (ankle); S Sean Richardson (hamstring); TE D.J. Williams (hamstring). Full: CB Davon House (shoulder).
Williams was injured at the end of Wednesday’s practice. He didn’t think it was a big deal but, having never had a hamstring injury, had nothing to compare it to. He’d clearly be a big loss given Finley’s iffy status.
“I knew something,” he said. “I was like, ‘What the hell is this?’ It was a little nag in the lower part of leg, but it wasn’t like excruciatingly pain. I didn’t get carted off and helped off the field, I walked off the field and said something didn’t feel normal and that was it.”
Texans injury report
Did not participate: S Quintin Demps (thumb/forearm). Limited: NT Shaun Cody (back); WR Lestar Jean (knee); DE Antonio Smith (ankle); RB Ben Tate (toe). Full: CB Alan Ball (ankle); G Antoine Caldwell (ankle/foot); RB Justin Forsett (thigh); RB Arian Foster (knee); K Shayne Graham (right calf); WR Andre Johnson (groin); CB Johnathan Joseph (knee); S Shiloh Keo (neck); OLB Jesse Nading (foot); G Wade Smith (foot).
Texans coach Gary Kubiak is hopeful Tate, the team’s No. 2 back, will be ready after missing Monday’s game against the Jets.
— The Elias Sports Bureau, the NFL’s official statistician, took away one of J.J. Watt’s sacks against Miami on Thursday. The Texans played the Dolphins in Week 1. That means Green Bay’s Clay Matthews leads Watt, 7.5 to 7, in sacks.
“I’m just wondering why they didn’t go back and take Michael Strahan’s sack away from him when he broke the record,” Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips told reporters in Houston, alluding to Brett Favre’s infamous dive in the 2001 finale. “It wasn’t a sack. At the time, I said, ‘Well, they’re not going to give him a sack because it was a running play. Quarterback fell down. He tackled the quarterback for loss.”
Actually, Watt has 11 tackles for losses; Denver’s Von Miller has 12.
— After tying Jacksonville with an NFL-low (and 16-game franchise record) 76 penalties last season, the Packers rank 29th with 40 penalties. “We've really focused on the penalty breakdown the last two weeks and, obviously, they were high this past weekend in Indianapolis,” McCarthy said. “I think the first three weeks we were dealing with a different level of administration to our game. We'll break it down offense, defense, special teams, pre-snap and so forth.”
— The team practiced outside on a damp, chilly, breezy day that had most of the players in sweatpants. “We had a heck of a practice,” McCarthy said. “We had a little rain, some wind. I thought the third-down periods were extremely sharp, probably our best periods of the year. So, we're getting better.”
— John Kuhn said the Packers are getting their opponents’ best shot: “We could definitely tell teams are playing their best football against us. But we like it that way. In order for us to excel and get better, we don't want to play cheesy games, games that don't mean anything. We want to play teams that are giving us their best shot. That makes us better and that gets us ready for later in the season.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.