GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Receivers in general, they say, get away with too much. That's football in 2013.
But the Chicago Bears' wide receivers -- those two large, physical ones on the perimeter? They truly know how to push the envelope.
"Some of it is really, really blatant that you wonder, 'How do they get away with this?'" Green Bay Packers cornerback Tramon Williams said. "But you have to adjust to some of the tactics and figure out ways to get it done on your own."
This will be the game within the game Monday night at Lambeau Field.
Brandon Marshall is 6 feet 4 inches tall and 230 pounds. Alshon Jeffery is 6-3, 216. And combined they already have 1,101 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Watching film, the Packers corners see a key reason why. Both use their hands. Both are more aggressive than your average wide receiver.
To counterpunch, the Packers plan to stick to their game. Williams doesn't want the two pass-interference calls on him from last week -- one very suspect -- to dull his approach. If the tone of the game forces his hand, so be it.
"You just have to keep playing your game," Williams said. "Obviously, if they keep calling those things then you have to make adjustments. In the process, you hope you don't hurt your team that much. But you just have to keep playing your game."
Officiating crews call games differently. Williams tries to speak to officials beforehand to see how they're going to call holding and pass interference.
"And I say, 'OK, Mr. Referee, game after game I've heard this same thing from you before and it goes the opposite direction mostly all the time,'" Williams said. "So you have to have a backup plan. It's just the game."
A year ago, there was no leeway for Jeffery. He was flagged for three costly offensive pass-interference calls the final 16 minutes of the game at Soldier Field, and the Packers clinched the NFC North with a 21-13 win.
Cornerback Davon House's mind-set is that it's not a penalty if the officials don't call it. Period. He'll return the aggression.
"I guess you could say they get away with some stuff," House said. "It's part of football. In the interior, they hold all the time. Receivers push off all the time. And if you're a smart DB, you're going to grab all the time until they warn you and tell you not to do it anymore.
"There's some stuff that's blatant that they just don't call. I guess that comes with the territory of a big receiver. I don't know what the refs see for them not to call it."
House continued, "They're going to push, I'm going to hold."
It's on the officials to call what they see. A long, aggressive corner himself, House doesn't want to think too much.
"When you start worrying about it," House said, "it's going to slow you down and you can't play fast like that, which is not good, because that's when you start getting beat deep."
Not taking bait: For Williams, specifically, this week has been deja vu. Again Marshall challenged him to match up in single coverage. Late last season, the Bears receiver took shots at "Tray-mon" and Green Bay's coverage plan.
Williams didn't take the bait in 2012. He's not in 2013.
"I've been through this last year with him," Williams said. "I'm not going there with him this season with the same foolishness. The thing is, we're going to do what we do. We're going to play what we play. He's not going to dictate what we do. Our coach is going to dictate what we do and that's the bottom line."
And that's typically tilting some help over the top on Marshall. The plan worked to a "T" last season. As Williams said, too, the Packers have played Marshall one on one.
Whatever Green Bay did last season, it worked. Two of Marshall's four worst statistical games came against the Packers.
"Frustration talks," Williams said "When you're frustrated, it tends to bring out a little extra in you. I guess we're doing something right."
James Jones 50-50: James Jones (knee) is nearing his return. The wide receiver practiced more this week and is officially listed as questionable for Monday night.
Jones will see how the knee responds Sunday morning to an active Saturday practice, and the team will make a decision.
"I don't know if I'll go this week, next week, but it felt better," Jones said. "It felt a little better than last week, so I'm excited about that.
"If I was a betting man, 50-50."
Officially listed as a "limited" participant, Jones did take part in a team drill during the portion of practice open to reporters. He sprinted and planted without problems.
The main test now is seeing how the knee reacts to the increased workload.
Whenever Jones returns, the Packers will again have to fit receivers together. When all are healthy, Randall Cobb is the slot receiver, while Jordy Nelson and Jones excel outside. With Cobb and Jones out, Jarrett Boykin had 14 receptions for 235 yards with one touchdown the last three games. In the slot, Myles White had 35 yards on five catches last week.
On Saturday, Jones said all receivers know all positions. And Nelson did score both of his touchdowns last week from the inside.
"We all play all of them," Jones said. "That's what I've been saying from Day 1. I believe we have the best receiving corps in the league because we all play every position."
White knows how much it'd mean to get Jones back, even if it comes at his expense.
"Obviously we'd get a playmaker back," White said. "I'd be happy to have him back. If I have to take a back seat, I'll take a back seat. It's my job to be ready....He was playing great. He's a Pro Bowl player week in and week out. Any time you can have him on the field is another great opportunity."
Elsewhere, outside linebacker Nick Perry (foot) is listed as doubtful and inside linebacker Brad Jones (hamstring), cornerback Sam Shields (toes) and tight end Ryan Taylor (knee) are probable. Shields had his toes stepped on Friday and sat out Saturday as a precaution.
Lattimore's value: A logjam at inside linebacker seemed to loom all off-season. A returning Desmond Bishop was set to join 2012 starters A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones.
Before training camp began, Bishop was released, and the starters were entrenched.
Now, the Packers have another decision to make. With Jones sidelined the last three weeks, Jamari Lattimore delivered. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers said Saturday the Packers will need to monitor Jones' snaps. There's no reason to rush Jones back from his hamstring injury with Lattimore playing well.
"You'll see Jamari at times," Capers said, "because he's played well enough to warrant some time."
Despite sticking to special teams his first two seasons, Lattimore has played at a high speed. There's minimal hesitation on blitzes and run fits. In three games, he has 23 tackles and two sacks.
"Jamari's like a lot of our guys in that we talk about this being a game of opportunity," Capers said. "You have to seize that opportunity. I think he stepped in and proved to everybody that he's very capable of playing and playing at a high level."
Lattimore said it started in practice. Stuck on special teams, he tried to treat practice as his game.
"I made some (plays), but not as much as I wanted to," Lattimore said. "I think I've shown that I can play. I'm always looking to better my game and I'm always critical of judging myself harder than others."
No decision: Maybe they're simply being coy. But cornerback Micah Hyde isn't sure if he's the kick returner or if it remains Johnathan Franklin.
"No idea. I have no idea," said Hyde, who added he did the same amount of reps as always at kick returner during the week. "Ask the head man, maybe he'll be able to give you an answer. Other than that, I have no idea coming into Monday night. If I'm back there, I'll love the opportunity. If not, I'm sure my teammates will get it done."
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