Notebook: Havner Back With Pack

Popular Spencer Havner returns to Green Bay as a tight end and the coaches put together the team's "profile," plus more as the Packers get back to work after their bye week.

Spencer Havner can add another chapter to his adventurous career.

Most of three years on the Green Bay Packers' practice squad as a linebacker. A move to tight end. Folk hero status with five touchdowns last season. His surprising release in September. Being claimed on waivers by Detroit and playing linebacker for the Lions.

And now back to Green Bay, where he's back to playing tight end.

"I think," he said with a laugh.

Havner was signed on Friday — filling Mark Tauscher's roster spot — and practiced on Monday as the Packers returned from their hard-earned bye week.

"I'm back," Havner said on Monday. "(My career is) still alive, I guess. It's still going."

Havner was waived by the Lions on Oct. 14 because of a hamstring injury. He took a physical with the Packers a couple weeks ago and worked out for them on Tuesday. Havner said the hamstring felt fine at practice.

The Packers could use exactly what Havner provided last season. He caught four touchdown passes in the regular season — all during Jermichael Finley's absence — and another in the playoffs. Finley is out for the season with a knee injury and neither Donald Lee, Andrew Quarless nor Tom Crabtree have provided a consistent threat in the passing game. Plus, he finished third on the team with 20 tackles on special teams.

"Yeah, I think I can help out a lot," he said. "Just probably going to take it slow this week, I don't know what they have in store for me or the offense or whatever, but yeah, I'll try to help out where I can."

Back from the bye

How do you beat the Packers?

Ask coach Mike McCarthy.

"I think it is very important to be extremely critical of yourself, and we have done that," McCarthy said of the team's "profile" that the coaches put together during the first couple days of the bye.

"We have gone through the first nine games. You'll see some adjustments as we move forward. You may notice them, you may not. We have been very much in tune with the personnel groups we are using, how we are using people, how we can better use them as we go down the stretch."

And what did that profile say?

"I read our profile to the team today, what we look like to the rest of the league as far as where we rank statistically, but more importantly, how we can improve in those areas," McCarthy said. "Statistics to me are excellent barometers to look at a certain area and break it down and apply it appropriately. You can overreact to statistics. It's not that we don't look at them. We look at all of that stuff weekly, but we just had a little more time to break down the film and really apply it to our game-planning. Just more schematic adjustments I would say."

Injury updates

Donald Driver (quad) was absent for personal reasons, and McCarthy didn't have an update on an injury that's slowed or held him out of the last four games.

— McCarthy said he hopes Ryan Pickett (ankle) will practice on Thursday. Pickett, who sprained the ankle against Washington in Week 5, aggravated the injury against Dallas. Pickett had no regrets, though.

"Oh, none. It's hard to sit back and say, ‘I'm going to wait until it's 100 percent.' Things like ankles, I don't know if it'll ever be 100 percent this year. I like to play. I don't regret it at all."

Clay Matthews (hamstring/shin) is "about the same," McCarthy said.

— McCarthy said he'll be "smart" with Quarless (shoulder) while cornerback Pat Lee (ankle) is looking better.

Four-point stance

— The Packers are 3-1 after byes under McCarthy. "We needed this bye. We do want to pick up where we left off as far as winning. That's the most important thing, don't get me wrong, I'm stating the obvious here. But more importantly, we need to improve. So, the opportunity to practice in pads today, the opportunity to practice the right way, to have a pretty healthy football team to me has always been the focus coming out of the bye. It's about winning games, it's about improving. You've got to play your best football in November and December. That's always been our plan, which I am sure is everybody's plan, but that's the way we'll structure our practices."

— For a player's perspective on the bye, James Jones said: "It's a bye week but as long as the season is, a week off really isn't too much. All your pains and all of your little injuries don't go away in a week."

— Does a coach watch football on the Sunday of his bye? "Well, I watched one game this Sunday, yeah," McCarthy said of the Minnesota-Chicago game. McCarthy expects a different Vikings team on Sunday than lost at Chicago because they'll be on turf and have the domefield advantage.

— As we reported on Tuesday, the Packers added linebacker Robert Francois to the practice squad. He played in Weeks 6 through 8 before being inactive against Dallas. He was released so the Packers could add running back James Starks from the PUP list.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


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