GREEN BAY — The work Jeff Janis does this week in practice will determine whether the Packers third-year receiver will play Sunday in Jacksonville, according to Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy.
Janis sat out of all four of the Packers’ preseason games due to a broken hand sustained early in training camp, but has been practicing for the past two weeks with a protective club.
While it may be difficult for Janis to catch a pass in a game with the club, the coaching staff is using this week’s practice to figure out whether he could contribute on special teams.
Janis developed into one of the NFL’s top gunners last year in punt coverage, which is where he recorded a majority of his 16 special-teams tackles.
Based on what he’s seen in practice, McCarthy doesn’t think it’s out of the realm of possibilities that Janis could play with it.
“I think he proved that yesterday,” McCarthy said. “That’s really what yesterday’s practice was about for Jeff – can he operate with the club? We’ll see how he feels today and frankly I think his work tomorrow will determine if he even has a chance or will be considered to be up.”
Janis, who was listed as a full participant in Wednesday’s practice, could provide a lift to special teams with fellow gunner Demetri Goodson set to miss the first four games due to a suspension, and Chris Banjo and Jayrone Elliott nursing hamstring injuries.
Overall, McCarthy has been pleased with the first week of regular-season practice. While the team will conduct its final practice on Friday, it will travel Saturday morning to allow players to get used to the Jacksonville weather.
“It’s not a long flight, but felt it would better to get down there early enough,” McCarthy said. “We’ll do a light workout at the Sawgrass Resort (on Saturday), so they can put the plane ride behind them.”
McCarthy also said he’s optimistic tight end Justin Perillo (knee) will play in Jacksonville, but his availability will be determined by his participation in Friday’s practice.