GREEN BAY – Jerel Worthy feels like himself again, and his timing couldn’t be better.
The Green Bay Packers rookie defensive end, who missed the team’s Nov. 4 pre-bye victory over Arizona with a concussion suffered the previous week against Jacksonville is ready to return to action against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
An Ohio native, Worthy starred at Michigan State, just down the road in East Lansing, and he wanted to be back for this game.
“I’ve got a lot of supporters in the state and I’ve got a lot of friends and family who have seen me play over the years,” Worthy said Wednesday. “It would be good to go back and give them a good show.”
Worthy’s coaches would like him to show them something, too. While Worthy has played 344 snaps in eight games – the most snaps among Packers defensive linemen – he has 16 tackles and two sacks entering Sunday and has been inconsistent in his play.
“I think like any rookie, he’s an energetic kid out there. He’s got a ton of energy, he loves football, sometimes he’s just a wild guy running out there where he doesn’t really have a plan,” defensive line coach Mike Trgovac said of Worthy. “We put together a plan for him and just like any young rookie, sometimes they get out there and he wants to please so much and play too hard that sometimes he’s running out there without thinking too much.
“I’d rather have it that way than the other way, where you’re going, ‘C’mon, you’ve got to bust your ass.’ You don’t need to do that with him. He plays hard, he loves the game, it’s just he has to take his game to the next level. The worst thing you can do is try to speed that along too much, because he is still a rookie out there. If you give him too much information … if you try to force that in on him too fast, you can actually hurt his production.”
Thus, the staff wants to see Worthy more focused.
“(Trgovac) just wants me to be a little more precise with my moves,” Worthy said. “Sometimes, he thinks that I’m going 100 mph, which the game’s 100 mph, but I’ve got to make sure I’m a little bit more calm in how I do my pass-rush moves, really take my time and develop myself and my pass-rush moves. He’s working on me with that through the week and I think I had a good day of practice today learning how to slow things down and put a bigger emphasis on the details.”
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