Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 1/2/12
GREEN BAY, Wis. There is no debate heading into the playoffs for Packers coach Mike McCarthy when it comes to whether Chad Clifton or Marshall Newhouse will be protecting the blind side of Aaron Rodgers."Chad Clifton will be the starter," McCarthy announced Monday morning. "Marshall's done an excellent job. We won a lot of games with Marshall Newhouse. Chad Clifton is a starter; there won't be any gray area for that."He's a good player. Chad Clifton's a damn good player."Clifton returned in the regular-season finale Sunday against the Lions after being out since Week 5 when he injured his hamstring and knee. Over the last three months as Clifton was working his way towards a return, he injured his back while lifting weights and his rehabilitation was delayed.The goal for Clifton on Sunday, according to McCarthy, was to get in 25 plays and that was exactly the number of snaps that Clifton had."I think he's going to be happy with the film," McCarthy said. "There's some things he needs to work on, just some specifics as far as footwork. You could see the injury, the effects of what he still has to work on. Having two full weeks of preparation, I'm confident that he'll get where he needs to be."With several key players getting the day off Sunday including quarterback Aaron Rodgers, linebacker Clay Matthews and cornerback Charles Woodson the Packers were able to escape without any further injuries other than a bruised ankle for backup tight end Ryan Taylor.The biggest question from an injury standpoint for Green Bay is the health of running back James Starks."James Starks is the one person I'm concerned about," McCarthy said.Starks suffered a knee and ankle injury earlier this season, and every time he returned to the field it was re-aggravated.Since the Packers' game on Thanksgiving more than five weeks ago, Starks has gotten only 13 carries spread out over three games for a total of 37 yards. In addition to missing Sunday against Detroit, he was unable to play in Weeks 14 and 15.There was better news when it came to wide receiver Greg Jennings, who has missed the last three weeks with an MCL sprain."I just saw Greg, he's in the training room right now (and) he looks good," McCarthy said. "I'm hoping he'll practice Wednesday and be ready to go full the following week. I don't see Greg missing a beat."Compared to a year ago when the Packers had 15 players on injured reserve heading into the postseason, this year's team is in much better shape. Safety Nick Collins has been out since Week 2 with a severe neck injury, backup offensive tackle Derek Sherrod suffered a broken leg and is out, plus tight end Andrew Quarless and running back Alex Green both had season-ending knee surgeries.But overall, it's a much healthier group."It's where you want to be," McCarthy said. "It's certainly better than the alternative. It's going to be tough making the inactive list for the Divisional playoff game. That's never any fun. But those are good problems to have."The one positional battle that is still without an answer is at right outside linebacker. Erik Walden started most of this season, but Frank Zombo was the starter this week. Also, linebackers Vic So'oto and Brad Jones both got a lot of action Sunday and both recorded a sack."We're obviously playing a number of guys there," McCarthy said. "It's tough when you do roll players (in and out of the lineup). It's like most positions; it's hard to get into a rhythm. It's something that needs to sort itself out and it will before the next game."When asked how it will sort itself, McCarthy responded, "That's why you practice. It's how you prepare. It's why you grade tape. Obviously the defensive evaluation for this game will be very important. There's a lot to correct. It'll all factor in how we go forward."So'oto, who signed with Green Bay after going undrafted, made a big impression on the Packers when he had 1.5 sacks and an interception in the team's final preseason game. However, So'oto was only active for seven games during the regular season and his sack of Matthew Stafford on Sunday was his first of the regular season."Vic's definitely part of the conversation (at right outside linebacker)," McCarthy said.The Packers players are off Monday and Tuesday before two scheduled practices later this week. They will not play their next game until Jan. 15 in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, and could potentially face the New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons or the Lions.Follow Paul Imig on Twitter
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The Worst: NFL Week 2
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Travis Kelce shows off nifty dance moves after TD

Report: Miles fired by LSU; Orgeron named interim coach

WATCH: Allen Robinson does 'hands up, don't shoot' after TD

Jay Gruden sounds off about anonymous locker room leaks

Report: Beckham Jr. one bad penalty away from suspension

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Vikings want Peterson to retire in Minnesota

Jose Fernandez killed in boating accident

Michigan is now all-time winningest program in college football history

Wisconsin Badgers serve notice to Michigan State, rest of Big Ten

Ole Miss Rebels throttle Georgia, remain in New Year's Six bowl race

Broncos brass made right decision on parting ways with QB Osweiler

WATCH: What are the best WR-CB rivalries of all-time?

Bill Belichick may be forced to get hilariously creative to fill his quarterback slot

CFB Crash Course: Week 4 - No ranking is safe

Where does Landon Donovan's return rank among these notable athletes?

Five sports stadiums that should be renamed

WNBA playoffs head into second round after single eliminations

A 25-year award tour: Celebrating A Tribe Called Quest

YB Box Score: 9/23 - Win totals and the jobbing renaissance

WATCH: Is Anthony Davis the best Kentucky big man in the NBA?

NFL Kickoff: Week 3 - Pity the perpetually rebuilding Browns

Questions from reviewing the Vegas 2016-17 NBA win totals

How James Ellsworth jobbed his way into the heart of the wrestling world

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Where does Landon Donovan's return rank?

WATCH: What are the best WR-CB rivalries of all-time?

Bill Belichick may be forced to get hilariously creative to fill his quarterback slot

Five sports stadiums that should be renamed

WNBA playoffs head into second round after single eliminations

CFB Crash Course: Week 4 - No ranking is safe

A 25-year award tour: Celebrating A Tribe Called Quest

WATCH: Is Anthony Davis the best Kentucky big man in the NBA?

A statistical trip thru Vin Scully’s extraordinary career

Questions from reviewing the Vegas 2016-17 NBA win totals

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker