Notebook: Short Week Challenges

The coaches have been working on the game plan since Thursday; the Packers hope to enjoy a mini-bye week with a 7-4 record; Fan Fest is set for March 12-13; opening injury reports; plus more from Monday.

The Green Bay Packers' players and coaches have been working overtime with a short week between Sunday's victory over San Francisco and Thursday's game at Detroit.

From one perspective, the Packers caught a break by having a common opponent. A lot of the scouting work done for the Packers' 26-0 victory over the Lions on Oct. 18 can be carried forward to this week. On the other hand, there's little carryover between the 49ers' 3-4 defense and the Lions' 4-3 scheme.

"How much can you carry over from one week to the next is what you are looking for," coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday. "So, our volume was a little higher going into San Francisco than it has been because the things that we can carry over, we will carry over, and it's no different for defense and special teams. You try to go a little heavier the week before a Thursday game in my experience to take it into the next game. Our coaches have been here Thursday, Friday, Saturday and after the game Sunday getting ready for Detroit. So, we'll finalize our game-planning throughout (Monday) and Tuesday, and really Tuesday will be more like a combination of Wednesday and Thursday for us and we'll have a good plan for the Detroit Lions."

Of course, the Lions are battling some of the same issues, so the playing field is basically level.

McCarthy gave the players Monday off. With a younger team that is building from the ground floor, Lions coach Jim Schwartz put his players through a 75-minute walkthrough practice. Both teams will put in an extensive practice on Tuesday — the Packers are scheduled to practice for about two-and-a-half hours.

"When you squeeze five days into two, that's a challenge," McCarthy said. "Frankly on Wednesday, I think everybody will be excited to get on that plane because the fun part is playing the games. So, when the plane ride happens, you can see the light of getting ready to play again. You just have to get your work done. There is a lot of prep planning really from the support staff and the coaching staff that we feel like we're way ahead."

The benefit of a short week

In the grand scheme, a short week can be a big asset for a team. While the Packers and Lions are grappling with the same issues this week, both will benefit from having a few extra days of rest next week. For the Packers, they get an extra day because they don't return to the field until Monday, Dec. 7.

The Packers have gone from life support to the thick of the NFC playoff chase with two key wins. A victory on Thursday would cap a pivotal stretch to the season.

"This is a target that we've been keeping our eye on, definitely, being 7-4 with another bye week," McCarthy said. "A chance to regroup, get healthy, that's what you're looking for. Thursday games, it's a national TV game, it's the tradition of playing on Thanksgiving. We had the opportunity to play up there a couple of years ago so we're excited about that. But definitely, I think both teams would echo a second bye week will definitely help you before your final run."

Fan Fest set for March 12-13

Fan Fest returns to the Lambeau Field Atrium on Friday and Saturday, March 12-13.

Among the many players and alumni scheduled to participate in the sixth annual event are Brandon Jackson, James Jones, Willie Davis and Ron Wolf.

Doors will open at 3:30 p.m. on March 12, with a kickoff event at 4 p.m. and programming until 8 p.m. On March 13, doors will open at 9:30 a.m., with programming from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The first Fan Fest Kids Camp, for children ages 6-14, will run from 9 to 11 a.m. on March 13 in the Don Hutson Center.

Tickets again are $85. For information click here.

Packers injury report

The Packers did not practice on Monday, so these are an estimation.

Out — CB Al Harris (knee); LB Aaron Kampman (knee). Did not participate — T Allen Barbre (ankle); T Chad Clifton (knee); RB Ahman Green (groin); DE Cullen Jenkins (ankle); C Scott Wells (knee); CB Charles Woodson (hip). Limited participation — RB Ryan Grant (neck); DE Johnny Jolly (back); G Josh Sitton (back). Full participation — LB Brandon Chillar (hand); FB John Kuhn (hand).

"We may have some guys that may miss some practice time, but really our practices the next two days are not going to be ... we won't be in pads." McCarthy said. "We've got a bunch of bumps and bruises like you always do on Monday."

Lions injury report

The Lions held a walkthrough practice so these are estimations, too.

Did not participate — WR Calvin Johnson (hand and knee); S Kalvin Pearson (hamstring); LB Ernie Sims (hamstring); S Ko Simpson (knee); QB Matthew Stafford (knee and left shoulder); DE Dewayne White (toe). Limited participation — DT Joe Cohen (ankle); S Louis Delmas (ankle); LB Jordan Dizon (neck); LB Zack Follett (neck); DT Grady Jackson (knee); T Daniel Loper (back); RB Kevin Smith (hip); WR Derrick Williams (hip).

Four-point stance

— The Packers are 12-18-2 on Thanksgiving, including 6-11-1 at Detroit. The Packers won on their last Turkey Day trek to Detroit, 37-26, in 2007. They've alternated wins (1986 at Detroit, 1994 at Dallas, 2007 at Detroit) and losses (1984 at Detroit, 1994 at Dallas, 2003 at Detroit) in their last six Thanksgiving games.

Donald Driver needs four catches to post his eighth consecutive 50-catch season. That would break a three-way tie with James Lofton and Sterling Sharpe for most in team history.

— The Packers have won eight straight over Detroit, and McCarthy is 7-0 against the Lions.

— Browns coach Eric Mangini is irked about the pass interference call that set up Detroit's winning touchdown.

"Well, they don't know what they're talking about and you can quote me on that," Schwartz said. "That's as clear a case of pass interference — not only did they interfere with Bryant (Johnson) but they interfered with Calvin (Johnson) who was trying to make the play. The one guy was intercepting the ball but the other guy is undercutting Calvin's legs."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at and Facebook under Bill Huber.

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