Packers notebook

Changing of the guard? Favre nears another Marino record; Crosby has been consistent

One lineup change is a certainty for Sunday's game against Minnesota at Lambeau Field. A couple more could be in the offing.

Rookie Aaron Rouse is penciled in to make his starting debut at free safety. Nick Collins is out at least two weeks because of a strained ligament in his left knee.

Rouse replaced Collins for most of the second half Sunday at Kansas City and came out of the game a little worse for the wear. He experienced shoulder soreness and was limited in practice Wednesday but should be OK to play against the Vikings.

"He has a good opportunity for us this week," coach Mike McCarthy said. "It's our job to make sure he's in a position to be successful. The thing with younger players anytime they get an opportunity, especially at the back end, is communication. He needs to make sure the communication is clear, that he's vocal and that we're lined up and ready to go."

Still left to be determined at week's end, however, is who gets the starting nods at the two guard spots on the offensive line.

McCarthy was critical after Sunday's game of Daryn Colledge, who has started every game at left guard. Tony Moll and Jason Spitz, who split time at right guard in the game, also were culpable of numerous blocking and protection lapses that occurred in the contest.

As such, four players are being rotated through with the first unit in practice this week -- Colledge and untested rookie Allen Barbre at left guard and Junius Coston and Spitz at right guard. Coston is working his way back from an ankle injury that kept him out of the starting lineup the last three games. Moll aggravated a neck injury and isn't being counted on to contribute this week.

"It's not ideal," McCarthy said of splitting the practice reps at the two positions. "You'd like to think that you're beyond that at this point in the season, but that's where we are. The productivity and performance level of that position needs to improve. We're going to give the (four) guys an opportunity and see where we are at the end of the week."

Ryan who?
The matchup with Minnesota on Sunday at Lambeau Field calls to mind the fact that the Packers are set at kicker, less than two years after all-time leading scorer Ryan Longwell last kicked for them before signing with the Vikings in 2006.

Mason Crosby fell in Green Bay's lap in the sixth round of the draft this year, and the former Colorado standout has been a vital component in the Packers' 7-1 start.

Crosby has connected on 16 of 20 field-goal attempts and made all 20 of his extra-point kicks for 68 points. That puts him on pace at the midway point to eclipse Longwell's team record of 131 points in 2000.

Longwell made 33 field goals in 2000, equaling the club standard set by rookie Chester Marcol in 1972. That record also could fall by the wayside if Crosby continues to get opportunities and remains efficient.

He became the first Packer since Longwell in November 2005 to boot four field goals through the uprights in Green Bay's 33-22 win at Kansas City on Sunday.

Crosby, though, was kicking himself over his one miss, which he pushed to the left from 52 yards.

"I'm a perfectionist. I want to make every kick," Crosby said. "So I just have to clean it up and make sure every one I have the same stroke."

Favre on pace to break another major record
QB Brett Favre also has positioned himself nicely through eight games to take a shot at another hallowed NFL milestone in his season filled with record achievements.

Favre entered the season needing 3,861 passing yards to match Dan Marino's record of 61,361. Favre already has thrown for 2,406 yards. If he maintains that rate, he'll shatter his season high of 4,413 from 1995 and overtake Lynn Dickey's team record of 4,458 in 1983.

Favre has 308 pass attempts this season, putting him on pace to surpass his own club record of 613, set last year.

Impressive numbers for Kampman, Ryan
Other statistical notables at the halfway juncture include DE Aaron Kampman's share of the NFL lead with nine sacks. No Packer has led the league in sacks for a season.

Kampman had an NFC-best 15.5 sacks last season. The team record is 19.5 by Tim Harris in 1989.

-- Second-year P Jon Ryan has a gross average of 45.1 yards. No. 1 on the team's single-season list is Craig Hentrich, with an average of 45.0 in 1997.

Home sweet home
The game Sunday will be the Packers' first at home in 28 days. They last played at Lambeau Field on Oct. 14 against Washington, then had their bye, followed by road games against Denver and Kansas City.

It's the longest stretch between home games for Green Bay since it also was out of Lambeau for four weeks in the first half of the 2005 season. The Packers lost the homecoming game, 20-10 to Pittsburgh.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 -- Runs of 20-plus yards allowed by the Packers defense through eight games this season, compared to nine accumulated by Vikings rookie Adrian Peterson in eight games. He had a 55-yard run against Green Bay in the teams' first meeting in Week 4.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's sloppiness. It's embarrassing, to be frank with you. We can't get an exchange on a handoff. We trip when we're running an exchange. The game's on the line, and we get a 5-yard procedure penalty. I mean, c'mon! That's high school stuff. It's a poor reflection on me and a poor reflection on our offense that we're doing that."
-- Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin on a rash of penalties and other fundamental breakdowns that the Green Bay offense was able to overcome in the comeback win at Kansas City on Sunday.

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