Packers are loose, confident, focused

So far, playoff atmosphere doesn't faze postseason newcomers

Something was amiss when head coach Mike McCarthy brought his players together in the team meeting room Tuesday morning, before they ventured over to the practice field for the first time in this important week.

"There was silence," McCarthy related. "Usually, they're a pretty loud group."

McCarthy took the unusual hush to mean one thing: "They're ready to go," he said.

So, four days before the Packers become participants in the playoffs for the first time in three years, second-year leader McCarthy had little concern that his squad of predominant postseason newcomers is up for the challenge.

Green Bay, which had a bye in the first round, hosts Seattle in the NFC divisional playoffs Saturday.

"There's no denying the playoff atmosphere is outstanding," McCarthy said. "It doesn't just start on the game day. The energy today was very, very good. The attention to detail was excellent."

Only 17 players on the 53-man roster have been in a playoff game.

Quarterback Brett Favre, whose 20 postseason appearances comprise more than a fifth of the players' playoff experience, likes going to battle with a team that perhaps doesn't know what it is getting itself into the rest of the season.

"We won 13 games (in the regular season), and there was no experience, and I was as shocked as anyone," Favre said Tuesday. "I hope that we go into this game playing the same way that we have played. It's worked up to this point.

"The most experienced team doesn't always win. It does help to have experience and chemistry. Talent sure helps, too, but I think when you play ... not knowing any better sometimes worked in our favor - not realizing the odds that you're up against. Sometimes, you get a veteran team that's been around a while, they kind of go, 'I don't know, we don't stand a chance.' A younger team's like, 'Bring them on.'

"We've made mistakes at times that, I think, show our inexperience, but we've been resilient, too," he added. "Maybe in past years we were not as resilient and able to overcome. I attribute that to coaching and this naiveness, if you will."

Cornerback Al Harris, tied with long snapper Rob Davis for second on the short list of postseason veterans with 10 appearances, agreed that the naivete permeating the locker room has given an identity to the team.

"It has helped that we're not walking around tight and just worried about everything," Harris said. "We're loose because we're confident, and we're confident because we work hard and we prepare hard. It's not a cocky confidence. It's a confidence that, OK, we've prepared, we've worked hard, and you play exactly how you practice. So, we have a good week of practice, we expect to go out and play well that week."


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