Packers notebook

Grant falls short of 1,000 yards; prep work under way for playoff game; 2008 opponents set

Second-half standout Ryan Grant's bid to finish the season with 1,000 rushing yards was foiled by a stinger injury late in the first quarter Sunday.

Grant, who didn't become the featured back until Week 8, fell 44 yards short of a benchmark he quietly coveted.

Coach Mike McCarthy acknowledged Monday that he was ready to let Grant take a run for 1,000 before pulling him, as McCarthy did early and often with several starters in the 34-13 win over Detroit that ended the regular season.

"We would've taken a crack at it," McCarthy said. "(Offensive coordinator) Joe Philbin and I talked about it, if he could break one early, I was going to give him a chance, and he did that. He would've had an excellent chance."

Grant indeed had a couple big gains in the early going, including a 27-yard touchdown in Green Bay's first possession. He had six carries for 57 yards before going out with the injury.

Although Grant was deemed OK by the medical staff to return to the game, McCarthy kept him out.

"But, as soon as he came off to the sideline hanging his arm, that's all I needed to see," McCarthy said. "He could've went back in, but we did the right thing."

Rookie Brandon Jackson, who opened the season as the starting halfback, picked up the slack with a career-high 113 yards on 20 carries.

Prep work under way for playoff game
The coaching staff didn't waste any time in conducting early preparations for potential opponents in the divisional round of the NFC playoffs.

The Packers, who have a first-round bye as the No. 2 seed in the conference, could face any one of three teams in Round 2 on Jan. 12: No. 3 Seattle, No. 4 Tampa Bay or No. 5 New York Giants.

The coaches finished their prep work for Seattle on Monday and turned their attention to Tampa Bay. Although the staff will be on a modified work schedule with the players excused until Friday, it planned to be moving on to studying the Giants and even sixth-seeded Washington by the end of the week.

McCarthy said formation and pressure tendencies for the Seahawks and Bucs would be incorporated in the team's practices Friday and Saturday.

The Packers might know their opponent Saturday, when Seattle plays Washington. A Seahawks win would send them to Green Bay the following weekend.

"We'll sit here Saturday, just like everybody else, and watch the game," McCarthy said. "We're just prepared for all of those teams."

2008 opponents set
Green Bay's road to the playoffs will be a little tougher in 2008. The Packers will face six playoff teams, including three from the powerful AFC South Division.

The Packers will play host to the Indianapolis Colts (13-3) and Houston Texans (8-8). The Dallas Cowboys (13-3), Carolina Panthers (7-9) and Atlanta Falcons (4-12) also will be traveling to play the Packers at Lambeau Field.

On the road, the Packers will play inter-conference games against Jacksonville (11-5) and Tennessee (10-6). The Packers also will travel to play Seattle (10-6), Tampa Bay (9-7) and New Orleans (7-9).

As usual, Green Bay will play home-and-away series against NFC North opponents Minnesota Vikings (8-8), Detroit Lions (7-9) and Chicago Bears (7-9).

The AFC South had the best composite record of the eight divisions (42-22).

Green Bay's opponents for 2008 have a winning percentage of .531 (136-120).

In 2007, the Packers were 4-0 against teams from the AFC West, which tied the NFC West for poorest record by a division (26-38).

Packer Report Top Stories