Saturday, December 02, 2006

Players Playing On

Bob Ryan, father of Packers' first-year punter Jon Ryan, passed away at the age of 54 Friday morning from a rare form of bone cancer. Jon participated in Friday morning's practice after getting the news. Ryan had been back to his home in Regina, Saskatchewan, earlier in the week to spend time with his father. Ryan says he will punt in Sunday's game against the Jets at Lambeau, before leaving Monday morning for the funeral services.

After the news was received, it was not certain whether Ryan would play or not. If he couldn't, third-string quarterback Ingle Martin would have been called upon to handle the punting duties. Martin punted for 2-½ seasons at Florida and Furman. Apparently, Coach McCarthy was comfortable with Martin handling the job. According to the online Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, McCarthy said, "I didn't realize he was that good of a punter. Doing it in a game is a different story, we're all aware of that. But he definitely has some natural punting ability."

The main thing here, though, is to remember the Ryans in your thoughts and prayers.

As for other players who were/are questionable for Sunday, LB Nick Barnett says he's ready to go despite still experiencing pain in his broken left hand. He will be outfitted with a cast with foam rubber taped around it. Dubbed the "club," Barnett says he has been able to grab using both hands. There is still a question as to how effective he will be, as well as how he will handle the pain, which he says rates about a 5 on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of pain. At the least, it would be expected that Barnett would be relieved as necessary by rookie Abdul Hodge who, despite being out of position on a few key plays during his first start last week, also showed some good instincts. That fumble/interception return for a TD sure looked as if it would be the spark for the Pack in that game. (Sigh)

Safety Nick Collins is now listed as questionable for Sunday's game, after being upgraded from doubtful. If his groin pull affects his ability to cover, the decision could still be to go with either Tyrone Culver or Atari Bigby in his place.

Unfortunately, right tackle Mark Tauscher is still out with his groin injury, leaving rookie Tony Moll to once again handle that slot. Tight end David Martin is also out with a rib injury, once again leaving Brett with fewer passing weapons. As some sports reports have noted, injuries for the second year in a row have once again left the Packers with Donald Driver as the only serious receiving threat. Thank goodness for D-squared! And, by the way, if you have not yet voted for him for the Pro Bowl, do so now! Driver is the most underrated receiver in the league. About time he gets his reward. Click here to go the official ballot.

The Jets are currently listed as 2 point favorites going into tomorrow's game. They lead the series 7-2. Who'da thunk it?

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