Old Comment Sets Off Bickering

Aaron Rodgers didn't think the Falcons showed enough respect to the Packers after last year's playoff game. In return, Atlanta receiver Roddy White thinks Rodgers is "reaching" for motivation. That and much more from Thursday.

While Aaron Rodgers refused to fan the flames after Brett Favre's comments earlier in the week, he did manage to set a brush fire in Atlanta.

After the Green Bay Packers beat the Atlanta Falcons 48-21 in a divisional playoff game, star Falcons receiver Roddy White said: "We were a better team than those guys. We went out there, and we didn't perform at our highest level."

Rodgers was asked about that almost-9-month-old comment during his conference call with Falcons beat reporters on Wednesday.

"I just think that some of the general comments that I heard that that game was kind of a fluke maybe," Rodgers said. "I would just say that I think you need to respect your opponents. We definitely respect the Falcons. We were fortunate enough to go down there and play a clean game. I just felt like that maybe the respect level, just as far as those comments were concerned, maybe weren't there at times."

Talking to reporters at the team's facility in Flowery Branch, Ga., on Thursday, White said Rodgers is "reaching" to find motivation and didn't back off his premise.

"We didn't give our best effort on that day," White said. "They are a good football team. They are the champs. What can you say bad about those guys, they are 4-0. If he has to use that as motivation ... he's been using that for the last three weeks. It is what it is."

Dome sweet dome?

On Wednesday, we provided the statistical and anecdotal evidence that showed that Packers are a superior offensive team in domed stadiums.

However offensive coordinator Joe Philbin wasn't exactly buying that theory.

"Nov. 28 in Atlanta, we had a bunch of yards and not a lot of points," Philbin said. "Dec. 12, we went to Detroit and probably played our worst game. It was a blizzard everywhere else but we were inside. The quarterback got hurt but we played terrible all the way around. I go back to (20)09, we went up to Minnesota and got sacked eight times. If you block guys and guys run good routes and you throw the ball accurately, we'd probably play well anywhere."

Packers injury report

Out — S Nick Collins (neck); DE Mike Neal (knee). Did not participate: RT Bryan Bulaga (knee); LB Clay Matthews (quad); TE Andrew Quarless (knee); CB Charles Woodson (foot/knee). Limited — LB Brad Jones (hamstring); LB Jamari Lattimore (shoulder); CB Pat Lee (back); CB Tramon Williams (shoulder); LB Frank Zombo (shoulder). Full — LT Chad Clifton (knee); WR Donald Driver (shin); RB Ryan Grant (kidney); TE Ryan Taylor (shoulder).

Driver did not participate on Wednesday but was full-go on Thursday and "looked like Donald," coach Mike McCarthy said.

Meanwhile, McCarthy said if Bulaga doesn't practice on Friday that he won't play on Sunday. That means Marshall Newhouse likely will make his second consecutive start.

Falcons injury report

Did not participate — DE Cliff Matthews (knee); C Todd McClure (knee). Limited — DT Jonathan Babineaux (knee); S William Moore (neck); LB Stephen Nicholas (calf); TE Michael Palmer (ankle); WR Roddy White (thigh). Full — CB Christopher Owens (ankle); RB Jason Snelling (concussion).

White was upgraded after not participating on Wednesday.

"It felt good going out there today and getting with my team," White said. "We went over situational football today. It was good for me to go out there and get the looks that I need to get that are going to be in the game. It was good. I felt good. I ran around pretty good. I'll be ready on Sunday."

Four-point stance

— Think Grant is ready to roll after missing last week's game with a bruised kidney? "He's punchy as hell today in practice," McCarthy said. "That's a good sign. He's ready." Added Philbin: "I thought he looked pretty good. It looked like he's running hard. Obviously, the big thing, we'll have to see how he responds to the first whack. That might be the most telling fact about where he is preparation-wise. But he looked good today. Thought he looked like himself."

— The Packers won the Super Bowl but last year's playoff game at Atlanta was the highlight of Tramon Williams' career, with his end-zone interception and a pick-six just before halftime. "I think it was reality to most of the people here in Green Bay that the Super Bowl was a reality at that point. Everyone that I talked to, that's the first thing that they brought up. After that play, they felt the Super Bowl was going to be a reality. It was definitely a play that stands out."

— NFL Network's Michael Irvin was in the Packers' locker room on Wednesday. "He's a funny guy," Finley said on Thursday. "He was just telling me to joke around with your running backs and tell them to try to run the ball a little harder and get that extra guy that's on you, try to get him in the box. He was just joking around and dropping knowledge at the same time.

— With their 4-0 start, the Packers are overwhelming favorites to win the Super Bowl. They're listed at 15/4, according to Bodog.com. The Lions, the only other undefeated team, have surged to 12/1 after starting the season 30/1.


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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.


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