Packers notebook

Offensive line hurting; Brooks tries out; McCarthy's impressive Lambeau start

A week after resorting to a rotation of four players in practice to shore up run-blocking deficiencies at the two guard spots, the Packers returned to the field Wednesday with further line concerns.

Three of their five starters were out for at least the bulk of the practice.

RT Mark Tauscher is nursing a sprained left ankle that he sustained in the third quarter of the win Sunday against Minnesota.

LT Chad Clifton was given his customary Wednesday off to rest chronically sore knees.

LG Daryn Colledge had to drop out after the jog-through at the start of practice when a sore back with which he played Sunday flared up.

Coach Mike McCarthy acknowledged things were "a little disjointed" with the patchwork line that was assembled, which included practice-squad player Orrin Thompson at left tackle.

The Packers are hopeful of having Tauscher and Colledge available for Sunday's game against Carolina.

If their conditions don't progress by the weekend, however, the improved conditions of Junius Coston and Tony Moll would soften the blow. Coston is nearly recovered from a sprained ankle that knocked him from the starting spot at right guard a month ago. Moll is getting over a recurring neck stinger.

On Wednesday, Jason Spitz, the recent starter at right guard, shifted to left guard. Moll filled the void at right tackle.

Brooks returns for tryout
One-time Packers QB Aaron Brooks had a tryout with the team Tuesday.

Head coach Mike McCarthy has a history with Brooks. McCarthy was Green Bay's quarterbacks coach in 1999 when the Packers selected Brooks in the fourth round of the draft.

They reunited a year later with New Orleans, which traded for Brooks early in training camp. McCarthy was in his first year as offensive coordinator with the Saints and turned Brooks into a solid starter before leaving the organization after the 2004 season.

Brooks, 31, fizzled with Oakland last year. He missed about half of the season because of a strained pectoral muscle and was released in February this year.

McCarthy didn't watch Brooks' workout this week but met with his former pupil for a brief time.

"My understanding is that he's in shape. He threw the ball pretty well," McCarthy said. "He's still rehabbing from (the pectoral injury), so he didn't throw the ball as well as he's capable of throwing it. That's what he said in the conversation. He seems to be doing well. We just wanted to see what kind of shape he was in."

The Packers have gone with durable Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers as their only quarterbacks since the start of the season. Receiver Ruvell Martin is the emergency backup.

Seniors Day at Lambeau Field
Should Vinny Testaverde make the start at quarterback for Carolina, Sunday's matchup at Lambeau Field would be one for the record book.

Testaverde turned 44 on Tuesday. Counterpart Favre turned 38 on Oct. 10.

Their combined ages Sunday would be 82 years and 44 days, making them the oldest starting quarterback duo for any NFL game.

"I was joking with (wife) Deanna (on Tuesday) night that, 'Hey, for the first time in quite a while, if Vinny starts, I will not be the oldest quarterback starting in that game,'" Favre said. "I can remember when I was going up against all of the older guys.

"I think what Vinny's doing is amazing. I can remember my first game I ever played in (as a Packer in 1992) was against Tampa (Bay) and he was the starter and had a phenomenal game. How far we've come since then."

McCarthy tops Lombardi, Sherman
McCarthy downplayed a claim to fame in the Packers' 89-year history.

The second-year coach is 16-9, tops among all of the team's head coaches after their first 25 games. Vince Lombardi and Mike Sherman, McCarthy's predecessor, each went 15-10. Mike Holmgren was 14-11.

"Those records, those are nice," McCarthy said. "(But) I think they're nice when you get to Brett Favre's point in his career. I'm sure he'll appreciate them when he's done. My focus is on winning the world's championship. That will always be the focus, regardless of how many games it takes to get there through the regular season and so forth. Because when you win championships, everything else takes care of itself."

McCarthy is tied with Washington's Joe Gibbs for the best 25-game start among active NFL coaches.

On a 1962 pace
A Packers win Sunday would put them at 9-1, marking the team's best start since the 1962 club won its first 10 games under Lombardi on the way to winning the league title.

Green Bay failed to build on its most recent 8-1 starts. It lost 27-20 at Kansas City in 1996. The 2002 team had a seven-game winning streak halted by a 31-21 defeat at Minnesota.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1 -- Times the Packers have produced back-to-back shutouts since 1935. It happened in 1962. Green Bay is coming off a 34-0 win over Minnesota as it hosts Carolina on Sunday.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I guess there's not a time at least once during the course of a day where I don't go, 'I can't believe we're 8-1.' I'm sure everyone in here (in the Lambeau Field media auditorium) probably says the same thing -- 'They've far exceeded all of our expectations.' But, it's not impossible. When we went 4-12 (in 2005), I thought that was impossible; I really did. Being 8-1, to me, is a surprise, but I could see going 8-1 way before going 4-12. So, anything's possible. Anything's possible from here on out. ... If we can put it together more so like we did this past week (in a 34-0 rout of Minnesota), we might scare some people."
-- QB Brett Favre on his outlook for the rest of the season with the Packers tied with Dallas for best record in the NFC, a season after Green Bay finished 8-8.

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