Quarterback Aaron Rodgers, arguably the most integral player on the entire Packers roster, has some bumps and bruises coming out of the NFC Championship game. “Rodgers took a nasty helmet-to-jaw hit from Chicago defensive end Julius Peppers in the second half of Sunday’s NFC Championship Game victory over the Bears, and while that didn’t bother him on Monday, he was feeling the effects of a hard hit to his right shoulder on his touchdown run on the Packers’ opening possession of the game,” writes Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin. Head coach Mike McCarthy said he’s fine in yesterday’s press conference.
The most significant injury to come out of Sunday’s game was to outside linebacker Erik Walden. “Walden was diagnosed with an ankle sprain, an injury that knocked him out of Sunday’s game,” writes Bill Huber of Packer Report. “Walden, who has started five of the past six games on the right side, has been given ‘a chance’ by coach Mike McCarthy to practice Friday,” writes Huber. Having the extra time off before the Super Bowl will benefit Walden, but depending on the severity of the injury, he may continue to be limited. Stay tuned.
The only player currently on the Packers with a Super Bowl ring is fullback John Kuhn. “It’s at home here,” Kuhn is quoted as saying by Gary D’Amato of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I keep it in the safe. I don’t look at it all that much. I was on the practice squad.” Kuhn did not play in that game and says it’s been a goal of his to get back to the Super Bowl to win one as an active player.
With the Packers taking on the Steelers in the Super Bowl, Mike McCarthy was asked to revisit his formative years growing up in Pittsburgh. “Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy had just won the biggest game of his life, a 21-14 victory over the Bears to secure the NFC title, when he reverted to the wide-eyed kid who grew up in Pittsburgh in the late 1960’s and ‘70’s,” writes Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “He was being handed the Halas Trophy by none other than Steelers Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw.”
Left tackle Chad Clifton was another player to sustain an injury against the Bears, but it doesn’t appear serious. “Tackle Chad Clifton was dealing with a sore neck after suffering a stinger against the Bears. He left the game for a while but was able to return,” writes Gary D’Amato. Clifton said he doesn’t anticipate missing any practice time.
The Packers will practice starting Friday this week. “Upon arriving in Arlington, the Packers will have a media session on Monday afternoon or evening and then the full-blown media day on Tuesday at the stadium before resuming practice on Wednesday,” writes Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “The Packers will use Southern Methodist University as their practice site while in the Dallas area. The Steelers will be in Fort Worth, practicing at TCU.” McCarthy emphasized that the team will virtually be ready to play the game before even heading to Dallas.
As far as before arriving in Dallas, the practice schedule this week will go a little something like this: “The players have Monday and Tuesday this week to take care of tickets and travel arrangements and the like for family and other Super Bowl guests,” writes Mike Spofford of the Green Bay official website. “Then Wednesday will become like a Monday, the day after the game, with film study and some meetings. That’s the day everything gets back to football.”
B.J. Raji took some good-natured ribbing after the NFC Championship game from friends, teammates and even the head coach. “Green Bay Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji may have scored the game-winning touchdown, but he managed to get downgraded on his 18-yard pick-six interception return on two fronts Monday: For showboating and holding the ball out before crossing the goal line, and for the hula dance he did after scoring,” writes Jason Wilde.
Rookie cornerback Sam Shields receives a boatload of praise from Cliff Christl and Eric Baranczyk of the Press-Gazette. “If there was a draft do-over today, Shields not only would be selected, he might well be a first-round pick,” according to their article. “Combine Tramon Williams’ improvement this year with Shields’ meteoric rise from nowhere, and it’s an amazing development.” The Packers got first-round talent beyond the seventh round. Hard to believe.
General manager Ted Thompson is featured in an article by Jason Wilde. Quotes from Mike Holmgren. Highly suggested reading.
Television ratings for the NFC Championship were a 57.0 rating and an 85 share. “The telecast of the New York Giants 23-20 overtime victory over the Packers for the 2007 season NFC title had a slightly higher rating but lower share in the Milwaukee market,” writes Bob Wolfley of the Journal Sentinel. “That game had 58.5 rating and 78 share on Channel 6. That game on Jan. 20, 2008 kicked off around 5:40 p.m. Sunday’s game kicked off about 2:05 p.m.”
An Australian Packer fan shares his feelings on the team.
The cast of the Lombardi play are celebrating the Packers performance.