Though head coach Mike McCarthy wouldn't commit to Atari Bigby or Al Harris playing this weekend, he didn't rule it out either. "How the Packers will use Harris, meanwhile, could be a bit trickier," writes Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin. "With his replacement, Tramon Williams, playing magnificently opposite Charles Woodson, McCarthy does have the option to bring Harris back as the third cornerback in the nickel defense, using Harris and Williams outside and working Woodson at his customary spot on the slot receiver. Harris, who would replace undrafted rookie Sam Shields, would still see extensive action because the Packers have played their nickel defense on significantly more than half their snaps this year." I can very well see the Packers using Harris as a nickel back as they try to limit his snaps. It would mean he won't start, but that's a decision the Packers have to make.
A couple other previously injured players returned to the practice field on Wednesday as well. "In better news for Sunday night’s key game against Minnesota, Clay Matthews, Ryan Pickett and Brandon Chillar were back at practice," writes Bill Huber of Packer Report. Of the three, Pickett would seem to be the biggest question mark for Sunday. If I had to guess, I'd say both Matthews and Chillar play on Sunday.
The case is made by Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette for the Packers to put a bigger pass rush on Brett Favre. "Favre’s 72.1 passer rating ranks No. 28 in the NFL, and he’s already thrown as many interceptions (seven) as all of last season playing behind a leaky offensive line and without his favorite receiver, Sidney Rice," writes Dougherty.
In somewhat of a counterpoint to bringing pressure on Favre, Greg Bedard of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reminds that it may be counterproductive. "[Defensive coordinator Dom] Capers also knows that Favre, like most veteran quarterbacks, is better when he's blitzed. Favre is experienced enough to know where the pressure is coming and where the defense has left itself vulnerable." Bedard generally says it will be important to players to one-on-one battles to get to the quarterback.
A Packers-perspective to the issue of flagrant hits in the NFL is brought to us by Michael Martinez and Bill Huber of Scout.com. "I want to say this: My job first of all is to make an interception, knock the ball away from the receiver, do whatever I can for that receiver not to come up with the ball,” safety Atari Bigby is quoted as saying. “That's my job, you know what I mean? So, when you think about getting fined opposed to not being in position to get fined, it's tough, it's tough. I'm known to be a hitter, and I enjoy hitting, I think that's part of the game. It's a thin line as far as helmet to helmet blows.”
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers responded to his 1-11 record in games decided by four points or less on Wednesday basically debunking that close games are decided at the end of games. "These games come down to really a handful of plays," Rodgers told Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com, "a small handful of plays that don't always happen at the end of games. Sometimes they happen in the first quarter, the second quarter, the first possession of the second half." To an extent, Rodgers is correct. But the fact is, good quarterbacks can comeback from a deficit, something Rodgers has rarely done.
The way the Packers handled games against Favre a year ago is re-visited by Jason Wilde. "It turns out that, as much as the Green Bay Packers tried publicly to downplay the significance of facing Brett Favre – their former quarterback, the one-time face of their franchise – twice last season, the hard feelings between the organization and Favre altered the mood around 1265 Lombardi Ave. in a way that distracted everyone there," writes Wilde. The basis for that statement was brought to light by Aaron Rodgers in a season-preview Sports Illustrated article.
Favre suggested it could be his last game at Lambeau Field on Sunday. “That’s a good question,” Favre is quoted as saying by Kareem Copeland of the Press-Gazette. “You know, it is. Just hold your pen. We’ll see what happens. But that’s probably why everyone’s like, ‘yeah we’ll wait and see.’ But let’s get through this game, and we’ll figure out what happens the rest of the year, but that’s the way I plan on ending it.” I wouldn't say Favre "insisted" it was his last game as suggested by the Press-Gazette headline, but I wouldn't doubt for a second that this is Favre's last year.
Some fans have gone as far as considering the next coach of the Green Bay Packers. "The most prevalent has to be Bill Cowher former Steelers coach who currently is unemployed," writes Patrick Castleberg of Packershow. "Another frequently referenced coach is John Gruden of ESPN’s Monday Night Football."
John Rehor of Green Bay Packer Nation says there's an air of finality about this week's game. "The Packers need a win in the worst way," writes Rehor. "They need a win to put the "W" in the standings and keep pace with the Bears in the standings. This game can be the game which gets the offense on track (Vikings defense giving up 294 YPG) and doing so against a tough defense is exactly the type of game which can spin confidence for the rest of the season ala the Dallas game in 2009."
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