Thumbs-up decision

Packers will see more than different-colored jerseys

Green Bay Packers coach Mike Sherman was first approached by Buffalo Bills coach Mike Mularkey about scrimmaging against each other at the NFL Combine in February. Sherman said he initially was against the idea, but thought some more about it and decided to go for it.

Great decision by Sherman.

The scrimmages against the Bills, which begin early this evening in Green Bay, will provide more for the Packers than practicing against new faces, or different colored jerseys. The two teams will practice against each other Friday morning, then meet before 70,000 fans and an NFL Network audience in the team's annual Family Night in Lambeau Field.

While Packers fans, who snapped up Family Night tickets in three hours, are excited about the scrimmage against the Bills, the players are, too.

"I've been excited about it coming in," said quarterback Brett Favre. "We've always been practicing against ourselves. It's nice every once in a while to hit someone else besides your own guys. It's like us going 7-on-7 and you see how you stack up. The defense wins one day. We win one day. It goes back and forth. This will be something different. It'll make two-a-days go by quicker. We'll see where we stack up. It'll be fun to do something different."

The Packers haven't seen "another color" in training camp for 14 years, when New England traveled to Green Bay a few days before the teams' preseason opener at Lambeau Field. In 1990, then head coach Lindy Infante invited the Cleveland Browns to Green Bay for practice before the clubs kicked off the 1990 preseason.

"I was reluctant initially, but I thought about it, and thought about our team needs and what we need to accomplish in camp," said Sherman. "I thought it would be a great change-up. I've been in camp with these guys for five years, going on our sixth season and it's nice to throw 'em a little wrinkle every once in a while so it's not always the same. For me, to do something different ... with a 16-game season things can get old fast, and I don't ever want it to get old. I think going against a different colored jersey will spice things up a bit. I know they're excited about it. The players are talking about it."

The scrimmages will be beneficial for Green Bay's offense and defense, allowing each side to react to different formations, Sherman said.

"Our defense now runs a certain front and coverage that can be static at times," Sherman said. "It does a lot of different things but presents the same look. Buffalo is very multiple in their scheme and technique. They play an eight-man front, and we're going to see a ton of eight-man front (this season). We don't play an eight-man front very often in practice. It gives me a chance to expose our guys to things they're going to see throughout the season.

"It's the same thing offensively for our defense. We have our core of plays with play-action movement, screens, draw, run-game type team. Buffalo will give them different looks – shifting and motion that we haven't exposed them to. The exposure that both the offense and defense is going to get from an X's and O's standpoint is invaluable."

The Packers' exhibition opener is a week from today in Lambeau Field against the San Diego Chargers. The Packers will face the Bills in a preseason game at Buffalo on Aug. 20.

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