Defensive lineman Mike Neal's practice status was officially categorized as "limited participation" by the Packers on Tuesday. Whether or not he'll play against the Saints tomorrow is still up in the air. "Neal made it through the entire week of practice but couldn’t proclaim himself a lock to play against the Saints," writes Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. The guess here is he'll be listed as questionable for Thursday's game.
Mike Neal talked about his eagerness to play and his motivation in a feature article written by Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "People are writing me off," Neal is quoted as saying. "I read what people are commenting on stories and how they're feeling. If I was in this to please the fans, I wouldn't play. I could care less what anybody's saying or how they feel about me. My thing is just to come in here and do my job." Jarius Wynn is said to be the starter at defensive end on Thursday. Whether or not Neal sees action as a reserve is up in the air.
After briefly switching numbers, linebacker Vic So'oto is back to no. 97. "Once So’oto does make his NFL regular-season debut, he will be wearing the No. 97 jersey he wore in preseason, not the No. 56 jersey he switched to after the final cuts were made on Saturday and he made the 53-man roster," writes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com. So'oto has been ruled out for Thursday's game against the Saints.
The wait is almost over. Tomorrow the Packers will begin to defend their Super Bowl championship, and they're excited. "With the football world waiting in breathless anticipation for the 2011 NFL season to kick off with a showdown pitting the last two Super Bowl champions, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy and cornerback Charles Woodson are among those feeling the excitement with Thursday night approaching," writes Bill Huber of Packer Report.
More on the anticipation for Thursday's game is at the Packers official website.
The Packers have been prepping to face an improved Saints ground game. "Going into Thursday night's season opener at Lambeau Field, the Green Bay Packers' defense is preparing to face a Saints team with a renewed commitment to the running game and the players to make it happen," writes Chris Jenkins of the Associated Press. "Reggie Bush is gone, but Pierre Thomas returns after being slowed by an ankle injury last season. He's joined by free agent addition Darren Sproles and first-round pick Mark Ingram."
Stopping Saints quarterback Drew Brees is a focus as well.
The Saints offense is potent, writes Eric Goska in a column for the Press-Gazette.
On the offensive side, the Packers are readying to face several Saints blitzes, according to Tyler Dunne. "With 3,000-plus snaps under his belt now, that’s a great benefit for him,” offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said of Aaron Rodgers. “I think we do the best we can. We spend a lot of time on pressure. Even when we’re in the gym or in jog-throughs, we do our best to simulate things but there’s no replacement for real live fire and speed of things.
An offensive line that gave up six sacks to Aaron Rodgers in the preseason is a concern, according to Rob Demovsky.
The last time the Packers played the Saints, the outcome wasn't positive. "Three years ago - one defensive scheme and a Super Bowl ago - the New Orleans Saints waxed the Packers, 51-29, in the Superdome," writes Tyler Dunne. "It wasn't pretty. The blowout was a low point in Bob Sanders' tenure as defensive coordinator. Saints quarterback Drew Brees moved the ball at flag-football will, burning the Packers for 323 yards and four touchdowns."
A Q&A with B.J. Raji is conducted by Kareem Copeland of the Press-Gazette.
A practice report with information on tackle Chad Clifton's practice schedule appears at JSOnline.
Wide receiver Donald Driver is featured in an article at Packer Report (subscription required).
A potent offense with one ball to go around is the focus of an article by Jason Wilde.
Super Bowl champions are 7-0 in the Thursday opener, a trend the Saints would have to overcome, writes the Associated Press.
Linebacker Jamari Lattimore is ready for a special teams role, according to Bob McGinn of the Journal Sentinel.
The Packers' rich quarterback history is detailed by Cliff Christl for the Press-Gazette.
The Packers are Super Bowl bound according to several NFL personnel executives.
The Packers are one of only 13 NFL teams that enter the season with only two quarterbacks.
Former Packers Antonio Freeman and Ahman Green took part in an NFL Play 60 event at the Resch Center in Green Bay.
Video: Last night's preview of America's Game was covered by Green Bay ABC affiliate, WBAY-TV...
Brian Carriveau is the editor of the Maple Street Press Packers Annual. To contact Brian, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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