Notebook: Facing Teeth of Defense

Aaron Rodgers recalls getting bit last year at Seattle. Plus, Ryan Pickett and Nick Collins are iffy for Sunday's game; dealing with the Pittsburgh hangover; and much, much more from a busy Wednesday at 1265 Lombardi Ave.

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers offered an interesting nugget when asked about the Seattle Seahawks' defensive line on Wednesday.

"I think up front they're playing pretty well," Rodgers said. "I think Colin (Cole) is doing a nice job for them, and my Cal buddy Brandon Mebane has put together a couple good years playing the three-technique for them. And they've got a couple good ends, (Darryl) Tapp and (Patrick) Kerney. Tapp actually bit me last year through my jersey. I wasn't too happy about that."

Without missing a beat, Rodgers went on to talk about the importance of the offense "control(ing) the line of scrimmage" against Seattle's front four, which includes Cole, who has started 13 of 14 games this season after leaving the Packers in free agency.

Not surprisingly, the focus shifted back to Tapp's teeth and their Oct. 12, 2008, game at Seattle.

"There wasn't a whole lot of words spoken," Rodgers said. "I looked down and my arm was hurting like a bee sting, and I looked down and he was biting my arm. I had to get his teeth off my shoulder. ... Luckily, I was wearing a long sleeve, so I don't know if he actually (broke the skin). I had a bruise there for the rest of the season. Other than that I was good. … I had to get his head off my shoulder real quick."

Later, Rodgers was asked about the helmet-to-helmet hit he took from Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons early in Sunday's game. Timmons wasn't flagged — which was amazing considering how the league protects its quarterbacks.

"To be honest, my jaw-slash-chin is still a little sore," Rodgers said. "And watching the film, I find it very hard to believe there was no penalty called. And I would find it even doubly hard to believe if there wasn't a fine. Because if you look at the base of the rule, it was launching and it was helmet-to-helmet. Am I going to sit here and talk about whether I've received some of those calls or not … that was a significant hit. I had to kind of shake the cobwebs out a little bit. Like I said, I'd be surprised if there wasn't some sort of action. Because that's (the kind of hit in) the clips we see at the beginning of the season when the referees come in and talk about the rule changes."

Short-handed defense

The Packers could line up against Seattle without defensive stalwarts Nick Collins and Ryan Pickett.

Thanks to Pittsburgh's pass-happy attack, Pickett played minimal snaps on Sunday. Nonetheless, coach Mike McCarthy said his run-stuffing nose tackle "took a step backwards," and he seems unlikely to play at this early point in the week.

"The plan was just for him to play in the one personnel group, and we were only in it five times," McCarthy said. "That actually worked out well. I was hoping for him to play just in that one personnel and as a backup, and the least number of reps the better we felt for Ryan. But he's feeling it, and we're going to take a little more cautious approach this time."

The Packers' beat-up defensive line also was without starting ends Johnny Jolly (knee) and Cullen Jenkins (quad) during 11-on-11 work. Jenkins he said he was kicked or took a knee to the thigh while being held in the fourth quarter. Their prospects for later in the week are better, though.

McCarthy said Collins injured his calf during the game and it swelled up on him on Tuesday. McCarthy didn't think Collins would practice on Thursday, either, and there's a chance that Derrick Martin would get the call at safety.

Putting Pittsburgh behind them

Fans and reporters tend to dwell on a loss, but not so for the players. There's not enough time in their workweek to live in the past, and McCarthy made sure of it by revising his practice schedule to accommodate Christmas.

"Obviously there's no hangover," he said. "We went to a different schedule. I addressed it in the locker room right after the Pittsburgh game, and we actually spent some time with the players on Seattle on Monday, which we normally don't. We introduced the Seattle Seahawks to our football team on Monday. Most of our players were here all day (Tuesday), so we really jumped into the Seattle game and I thought we had probably one of our better Wednesday practices. We were off the practice field almost 11 minutes early, so we were moving. We had a couple repeated plays, plus we shifted from inside to outside. I was very pleased with the work so far today."

At least one player wasn't so willing to let go of what happened against Pittsburgh. Jenkins had a dominating performance with six hits on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Jenkins, however, failed to get a sack — including on the next-to-last play of the game, when a sack would have ended the game.

"You don't want to be thinking about the plays in the game too much or certain things, but you need that anger sometimes when you're coming off a loss, that motivation," he said. "We need to move on to the next team but you still want to feel like you're coming off a loss and need to get a win. If that works to help motivate you, then it's a good thing. If it distracts you, then you don't need to be thinking of it and you just need to get onto the next game. I know I'll use it personally as motivation."

Packers injury report

Out — LB Jeremy Thompson (neck). Did not participate — LB Nick Barnett (knee); DE Johnny Jolly (knee); NT Ryan Pickett (hamstring); CB Charles Woodson (shoulder). Limited participation — S Nick Collins (calf); DE Cullen Jenkins (quad). Full participation — CB Brandon Underwood (hip).

Seahawks injury report

Did not participate — WR Nate Burleson (ankle); LB Aaron Curry (shoulder); RB Julius Jones (rib). Limited participation — WR Ben Obomanu (hamstring).

Seahawks coach Jim Mora Jr. didn't think Curry, the fourth overall pick of April's draft, would face the Packers. Curry, who ranks third on the team with 61 tackles and has two sacks, was knocked out of Sunday's loss at Tampa Bay with a stinger.

"I think that he has the tools that we thought he had, and we're still trying to develop him," Mora said. "He's a very hard worker, he's a conscientious young man who wants to be a good player, who's willing to work hard and he's going to be a very good player in the this league, very good."

Four-point stance

— Because the Packers are taking Christmas off, they'll hold a more extensive practice on Saturday than usual. The team's typical day-before-the-game practice is a walk-through of game situations in the gymnasium. On Saturday, the team will practice in the Don Hutson Center.

"It's the right thing to do from a personal standpoint and I think it is the best thing for us professionally too because it gives them a chance to get their bodies, particularly get their legs back," McCarthy said.

— Rodgers brother, Jordan, signed with Vanderbilt on Monday. Like Aaron Rodgers, Jordan played at Butte (Calif.) College before moving to big-time college ball. Rodgers said Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, a former Vanderbilt star, called Jordan, and Aaron and Cutler talked after the recent Packers-Bears game.

"When he did his little press conference, he said the difference between him and I is he's more mobile outside the pocket," Rodgers aid of his brother. "And then he recognized the fact that I was leading the quarterbacks in rushing yards. And then he said he'd beat me in a race. So, that was the whole comment. So I had to text him in the morning and say, ‘Hey, bring it.'"

— Cornerback Charles Woodson was the only Packer to win the fan vote for the Pro Bowl. Vikings won the voting in 10 of 19 positions, though Drew Brees beat out Brett Favre at quarterback. Peyton Manning got the most votes overall, followed by Brees and Favre.

Packers linebacker Clay Matthews got the fifth-most votes among rookies.

The Pro Bowl teams will be announced on Dec. 29. Fans, players and coaches each count toward one-third of the vote.

— Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck said the team's search for a new general manager — and the possibility that it might have been Mike Holmgren until Holmgren chose the Browns — was not a distraction.

"Obviously, that's something that everyone talks about all the time. And in our locker room, in our building, it was no different," Hasselbeck said during a conference call with Packers beat reporters. "But that's an example of being a strong team, being a strong player, rising above distractions and things like that, whether they're good or bad and just rising above them. Playing football, playing good football and executing. I would say that once we, once the dust settles here and we figure out who's in charge, who's the new GM or whatever, that'll probably clean things up a bit and probably make it easier to focus. But blaming anything on that would simply be an excuse."


Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave Bill a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.


Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook under Bill Huber.


Packer Report Top Stories