Packers taking advantage of bye

The Green Bay Packers are taking full advantage of their playoff bye this week with four days off till players are scheduled to return Thursday night and begin practicing on Friday for their Jan. 12 game.

Many of the players had the blessing of head coach Mike McCarthy to escape cold, snow-covered Green Bay and unwind for the better part of four days in perhaps more conducive locales.

With the Packers in the midst of a bye week at the start of the playoffs as the No. 2 seed in the NFC, McCarthy gave his charges Monday through Thursday off. Other than an assortment of nicked-up players who were required to report for daily treatments and rehab work at the team's Lambeau Field headquarters, McCarthy gave guys the liberty to retire to their home bases.

All players are expected back in Green Bay by Thursday night and have to report to work Friday morning for the first of two straight days of practice.

"The thing I'm most concerned about is really just the four days of health. Just get away from it," McCarthy said. "From the experience we've had already twice now, because this is the third opportunity we've come back from a couple of days off, the energy will really show up in Friday's practice."

Both upcoming practices will be in pads, but the Packers' on-field time will be mostly devoted to fundamentals as the Packers don't know who they will play in the Jan. 12 divisional-round game.

"I think it's important not to try to do too much, do not get away from who you really are," McCarthy said. "It's important for us to take this time over the next couple of days ... to make sure our house is clean (and) stay true to the aspects of the game that we feel are important. That's why we're going to focus on fundamentals Friday and Saturday and just make sure that we're ready to go. We're not going to put in a new offense or a new defense or anything like that."

With the players away, the coaches have been working a modified schedule around the New Year's holiday and prepping for potential opponents Seattle, Tampa Bay and the New York Giants.

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