Notebook: Jones, Jennings On Drops

Receivers James Jones and Jordy Nelson engage in some playful banter about dropped passes; plus much more from Wednesday.

The Green Bay Packers presumably have little margin for error against the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons on Saturday night. So, the Packers can't afford a reprise of what happened last weekend, when James Jones dropped what would have been a 63-yard touchdown pass.

On Tuesday, quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he still has faith in Jones, who has dropped touchdown passes against the Cowboys, Jets and Giants, as well.

"I hope he still does," Jones said on Wednesday. "I've caught more than I've dropped. At the same time, when you drop a ball like that, it hurts you because you feel like you let your team down. You've got a chance to make a play and you feel like you've let your team down. That's probably the main thing that will probably eat you up until you make another play. It hurts. Shoot, I couldn't sleep after the game or nothing like that. So, hopefully there are better days to come."

On Monday, coach Mike McCarthy revealed that Jones has been playing with a bad thumb. Jones tried to downplay it but fellow receiver Greg Jennings interceded and took over the interview.

"Before he answers that, I'm going to tell you that his thumb is beat down," Jennings said, "but that is no excuse because all our fingers are beat up."

The friends exchanged some playful needling, with Jones turning the tables on Jennings at one point.

Jones: "My thumb hurts, but at the same time that's no excuse for the drop. It's a clear drop. Perfect ball, clear drop, I felt like a total, yeah. I let the team down."

Jennings: "Why does that keep happening?"

Jones: "You know what, I don't know, man. I can't even put it on, I'm just a sorry player."

Jennings: "No, I don't think you're a sorry player. Lack of focus?"

Jones: "No, it's definitely not a lack of focus. My focus is there. You know, it happens to all of us. Detroit, the Giants, it happens to all of us, it happened to you, it happened to Jordy, it happened to Donald. But it just happened to me on Sunday."

Jennings: "Is it the weather?"

Jones: "This ain't no joke, man, because I'm hurt about that drop."

Jennings: "I know. Is it the weather?"

Jones: "No. Was it the weather in Detroit?"

Jennings: "No, that's what they're going to ask. It's not the weather."

Jones: "I told them no excuses already, so they shouldn't ask about the weather."

Jennings: "Do you want to stop talking about it?"

Jones: "No it don't matter. I'll answer the questions about it, it was a drop."

With Jennings turning his attention to his own questions, Jones said he still had a stomach ache about blowing an opportunity to put away the Eagles before halftime.

"Saturday can't get here fast enough,' he said. "I wish it was (Saturday) so I could go out there and make a play so I could get this taste of my mouth."

Packers injury report

Did not participate: C/G Jason Spitz (calf); LB Frank Zombo (knee). Limited participation: S Atari Bigby (groin); T Chad Clifton (knees); FB Korey Hall (knee); DE Cullen Jenkins (calf); LB Clay Matthews (shin). Full participation: WR Donald Driver (knee); DE Ryan Pickett (ankle); CB Charles Woodson (toe).

Driver, who missed the end of the Eagles game last week, was full-go and looked good. Hall and Bigby are "pushing to play," McCarthy said. However, Zombo's hopes are "fading" after not practicing and Spitz, who was injured on Tuesday, looks like a long shot.

Asked about his shoulder, Bulaga said: "It's good. It's just sore. Just some soreness in it. Nothing that's too big of a deal."

Falcons injury report

Did not participate: CB Brian Williams (knee). Limited participation: DE John Abraham (groin); DT Jonathan Babineaux (shoulder); S Thomas DeCoud (ankle); LB Curtis Lofton (knee); C Todd McClure (ankle); WR Roddy White (knee).

Top coaches

Falcons coach Mike Smith was named the Coach of the Year by The Sporting News. With a 13-3 record this season, the Falcons earned the top seed in the NFC playoffs. In his three years, Smith boasts a 33-15 record.

Additionally, Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey was named the Coordinator of the Year. The Falcons' offense ranked fifth in scoring with 25.9 points per game while avoiding turnovers and penalties.

Voting was based on a survey of 617 NFL players, coaches and executives.

Four-point stance

— McCarthy showed his sense of humor a few days before a huge game. Asked about the dramatic reduction in penalties since the 18-flag embarrassment at Chicago in Week 3, the coach explained: "It's coaching, it's all coaching. Players had nothing to do with it. It's just the discipline of the coaching staff, taking care of business."

— Jarius Wynn, a defensive end taken in the sixth round out of Georgia in 2009, grew up in Augusta, Ga. He says he was a Georgia fan but never a big Falcons fan, unlike some of his family members who will attend the game. "Most of my family got their own tickets. Some of them are Falcons fans, so it'll feel good to shut them up."

— This is what the Packers are up against Since 1990, No. 1 seeds in the NFC are 18-2 in the divisional round. Only once has a No. 6 seed beaten a No. 1: 2008, when the Eagles knocked off the defending-champion Giants.

— Calling it a "token of sportsmanship" after last week's playoff victory, Campbell's delivered more than 150 cans of condensed chicken noodle soup to the Packers' players and coaches on Wednesday. "At this stage in the NFL season, most players are dealing with nagging injuries and coaches are going back to the basics to keep their players healthy," the company said in a press release.

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

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