Cornerback Sam Shields didn’t practice on Wednesday, but head coach Mike McCarthy said he’s headed in the right direction. “Shields, meanwhile, has made good progress from the concussion he suffered Sunday, but he’s still going through the NFL’s medical protocol for head injuries,” writes Tom Silverstein of JSOnline. “At some point, an independent neurologist will have to clear him to get back on the field.” It’s assumed Jarrett Bush will continue to take his snaps as the third cornerback as long as Shields remains out.
Dropped passes by Packers receivers have been problematic of late and are analyzed by Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. “According to STATS, the Packers’ nine drops are broken down as follows: Driver and Finley have two drops each, while Jennings, Jones, Nelson, Starks and fullback John Kuhn have one each,” writes Demovsky. “Driver has the highest drop frequency, dropping 9.5 percent of the balls thrown his way. Last season, Driver led the Packers with seven regular-season drops, according to STATS, for a drop rate of 8.1 percent. Jones had six (6.9 percent), while Nelson (6.3 percent) and Jennings (3.2 percent) had four each. Finley didn’t have any drops in his five games played last season. None of those numbers include the postseason.” According to the Packers’ coaches, they’ve dropped even more passes this season, defining a drop as any ball that hits both hands.
This week’s game against the Vikings is being compared to a loss two seasons ago against a poor Tampa Bay Buccaneers team starting a rookie quarterback. “So now we’ll see if coach Mike McCarthy’s team has come full circle,” writes Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Back then, quarterback Josh Freeman made his first start. This time, it’s Christian Ponder. The 23-year-old from Florida State replaces 34-year-old Donovan McNabb in an obvious move for the future. Again an opposing coach is practically signaling SOS. Sunday’s game against the hurting Vikings (1-5) could be another potential pitfall.”
On Wednesday the Packers began to prepare specifically to face Christian Ponder. “The question the Packers care most about is how the change to Ponder will affect the Vikings this week,” writes Pete Dougherty of the Press-Gazette. “On paper, the Packers should have a huge edge with defensive coordinator Dom Capers getting a full week to devise a game plan to confuse a rookie making his first NFL start.” Is blitzing him the answer? We’ll see.
The difference between the Packers and the Vikings at developing quarterbacks is contrasted by Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal. “The Packers have displayed patience, acquiring young quarterbacks, teaching them how to play the position and watching them grow with the team,” writes Oates. “The Vikings, for the most part, have added a string of 30-something veterans to teams they thought were ready to win now.” Amazing how Brett Favre fits on both sides of the equation.
For the first time in three seasons, the Packers won’t have to prepare to face Brett Favre. “For the past two seasons, a Packers-Vikings game meant Brett Favre Week,” writes Paul Imig of Fox Sports Wisconsin. “Although Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers won’t admit the NFC North rivalry was ever that simple, he did say Wednesday that there were certain aspects of the buildup he won’t miss.”
The challenge of playing in at Minnesota is documented by Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel. “Playing at the Metrodome is a challenge for any offense, but it can be worse for the Packers because the fans they bring tend to stir up the Vikings crowd and make for an ear-splitting cacophony inside the dome,” writes Silverstein. “McCarthy said since getting beat in 2008, when his team fell behind, 21-10, and then made a spirited comeback, he has approached things differently at the Metrodome.” Playing without the services of Chad Clifton has been especially difficult, as noted by the author.
More on playing in the Metrodome comes from Fox Sports.
The young tackles of the Packers will have a tough task this weekend. “Newhouse will be charged with blocking Allen, who leads the league with 9.5 sacks, while Bulaga will get Robison, whom the Vikings thought enough of in the offseason that they let starter Ray Edwards leave in free agency,” writes Mike Spofford of the Packers official website. It will be a chance to see how well equipped Newhouse is to playing left tackle in the NFL and how far along Bulaga has come since injuring his knee earlier in the year.
Josh Sitton adds a knee injury one week after dealing with an ankle injury.
The success and records the Packers are setting is featured at Packer Report.
Areas the Packers must improve are listed at CBS Sports.
Safety Morgan Burnett will continue to wear a club cast.
Wide receiver James Jones is set to have a baby soon.
Cornerback Jarrett Bush appeared on an Appleton sports show.
Several Packers volunteered their time in Green Bay.
The Packers are sponsoring a Halloween-themed family event at Lambeau Field this weekend.
Jordy Nelson is the Hall of Fame Player of the Week.
Video: The Insiders preview the Vikings game at the Press-Gazette and Fox 11 looks at games before a bye…
Brian Carriveau is the editor of the Maple Street Press Packers Annual. To contact Brian, email firstname.lastname@example.org.