Thursday, September 25, 2008

Harris might not be done yet

While saying that Packers cornerback Al Harris has a "serious" spleen injury, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy also said, "I’m hopeful he’ll be back. The time frame just hasn’t been established." McCarthy also said, "I think that’s obvious to everybody (that it's a serious injury). And really, as we move forward, it’s a different type of injury. And we will take a cautious approach, and everything we’ll do will be in his best interests.”

Harris is definitely out this week. But how long before he returns is the question. According to McCarthy, Harris got at least three medical opinions this week and there’s a “good chance” he can avoid surgery. If so, he might be able to return before the end of the season; if not, not only is Harris' season done but his career might also be in jeopardy given his age.

In Harris' absence, Tramon Williams will get the start against the Buccaneers. You can be sure Tampa Bay will test him often on Sunday. And Williams knows it. While he's performed well as the nickel back, he has been burned a few times already this season, by Calvin Johnson in Detroit and Miles Austin in the Dallas game. But remember that Williams has only played in 11 games going back to last season. So one expects to see more of the good plays and less of the bad as he gets more playing time. Will Blackmon will take Williams' spot in the nickel scheme. It's possible that intriguing rookie Patrick Lee might also get some playing time in dime packages.

No doubt about it, this injury to Harris -- apart from the personal health and career aspects for Harris himself, which are of the most concern, of course -- means the defense has to perform at an even higher level than before. But after the game against the Cowboys, that should have been one of the results anyway.

You can read more on this situation here and here and here.