Arizona's Smith an old foe in new clothing

When Packers meet the Cardinals Sunday, it will mark only their fourth trip to Arizona since that franchise absconded from St. Louis after the '87 season.<p> Once they arrive, they will see at least one very familiar site -- running back Emmitt Smith. The record-setting running back once terrorized the Pack as a Cowboy. Does he still pack the same punch?<p>

Smith spent 13 seasons in Dallas, where he forged his NFL rushing record. This year he's had 118 yards on 27 carries over two games. That's a hefty average of 4.8 yards, which is better than his career average of 4.2 yards per carry, but it hasn't added up to big numbers because the Cardinals simply don't have time to run the ball. The 0-2 Cardinals have been playing from behind in losses to Detroit and Seattle. They head into Sunday's game coming off a 38-0 embarrassment against the Seahawks.

Despite the fact that Smith is now wearing red, veteran Packers remember all too well the damage he inflicted when it was a blue star rather than a red bird embellishing his helmet. A lot of time has passed since Smith rushed for 150 yards vs. the Packers in the 1995 NFC Championship game -- the third consecutive year Dallas knocked GB out of the playoffs -- but old memories die hard.

"Emmitt's still Emmitt, playing hard, running hard," said Packer nose tackle Gilbert Brown."And he's got a big, athletic group blocking for him."

Packer coach Mike Sherman isn't ready to assume Smith has lost a step, either.

"Emmitt may not possess the burst he had at one time, but he has the vision and explosiveness through the hole," Sherman said.

The Packers best defense against Smith is to take a page from the Lions and especially the Seahawks and bury the Cards before Smith gets a chance to get going.

"We've got to get him more involved, but we've got to manage the game better first," Cardinals coach Dave McGinnis said. "It's hard to get your running back off on a continuous and flowing basis when you're playing from 24 and 31 points down.


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