By: Mark Lane (@therealmarklane)
FRISCO — The Green Bay Packers declared No. 1 receiver Jordy Nelson out for Sunday’s divisional playoff game with the Dallas Cowboys.
The four-time Pro Bowler sustained a rib injury in last week’s 38-13 victory over the New York Giants in the wildcard round and was unable to finish the game. After Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said the team would wait until Saturday to see how Nelson practiced, the team stated Friday he would be out.
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said Friday in his press conference that whether Nelson played or not had no bearing with how the team approached the first divisional home playoff game in nine years.
“We’re focused on us,” said Garrett. “They do a great job using their different guys a lot of different ways. You see him use them the same way from week to week. You see them have different wrinkles every week in terms of where they line up, what they do.
“So regardless who’s in the lineup for them, we anticipate having to deal with some of that. That’s one of the reasons they’re so good at what they do.”
Cowboys owner, president, and general manager echoed similar remarks on his weekly show on Dallas-Fort Worth 105.3 The Fan Friday.
Said Jones: “I think how much that would affect them is offset by the playing in the playoffs, going to another level. And you really can plan on somebody else taking up another spot.”
The only player Jones said would affect their play by being absent would be quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Other than Rodgers, Jones expects the “next man up” philosophy and the intensity of the playoffs to galvanize their other remaining skill position players.
Guarding Nelson would have been either fifth-year cornerback Morris Claiborne, who has missed nine games since Oct. 30 with a groin injury, or rookie cornerback Anthony Brown out of Perdue. Garrett praised Brown for his ability to step up in Claiborne’s absence.
Said Garrett: “Anthony’s done an outstanding job over the course of the year going into a ball game, thinking he might be in one role and then he has another role. Sometimes that role even changes one more time in the game. He’s handled that really well.”
As for Claiborne, the sixth-year head coach with a 1-1 playoff record said he is “excited” to see the sixth overall pick from the 2012 draft back in practice with full participation.
“He has been out but he’s worked very hard on the side,” Garrett said. “He’s practiced well over the last couple of days. Last week he did a good job in practice getting himself ready for this week so I think he’s confident. We’ll see how he does the next couple of days but excited to see him back out there.”