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Life without the Claymaker

by Mark Daniels

Today was spent not so much on a big game against, oh by the way, the reigning Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens, but on the month long, maybe more absence of Clay Matthews thanks to the broken thumb suffered last Sunday against the Lions.  From Mike McCarthy, to Aaron Rodgers and virtually every defensive and offensive player was asked about the impact Matthews' injury will have going forward.  McCarthy said you can't understate it, "He's the best player on our defense", he said. This is the same regime that won a Super Bowl with 15 players on injured reserve and lost the emotional leaders on both sides of the ball in Charles Woodson and Donald Driver during that game.  They all know how it works.  There's 53 on a team for a reason and when your time is called, it's time to produce.  Matthews won't be the only linebacker watching in Baltimore.  Brad Jones has also been declared out.  Jones pulled his left hamstring against Detroit, it was the right hamstring that sidelined him for a spell during camp.  So much for the likelihood of re-injuring the same hamstring, team's most talked muscle this  year.   Half the starter's in the Pack's 3-4 are out for the Ravens.  Enter Mike Neal and Jamari Lattimore.   Neal admitted he played his best game as a pro last week.   Lattimore has had splashy training camps for two years running and has waited for this chance.   Here are comments from both of those linebackers from the locker room today.

Audio: Mike Neal and Jamari Lattimore.

Two more players were ruled out after the first big practice of the week, James Starks is still down with his knee injury and Greg Van Roten will miss another game with his foot sprain.  Jarrett Bush didn't practice because of yes, a hamstring, nor did Casey Hayward but at least hasn't been ruled out yet for the 5th straight game.   Backup outside backer Andy Mulumba didn't practice either with an ankle he rolled last Sunday but McCarthy was hopeful he'll go on Thursday.  Enough despressing medical news already.

Mason Crosby's 5 for 5 day against Detroit earned him the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week award.  Crosby is 9 for 9 on the season, the most makes without a miss among all NFC kickers.  It's the fifth time he's won the award in his 7 year career, tying him with Ryan Longwell for the most in team history.