First Look: The Green Bay Packers

The Packers might have caught a break with quarterback Brett Favre's injury situation, but backup Aaron Rodgers wasn't as fortunate with his. Rodgers, last year's first-round draft pick, was ruled out for the rest of the season because of a broken left foot.

The injury wasn't revealed until Monday, although Rodgers was given the grim news minutes after the Packers lost to New England 35-0 at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

An upset Rodgers purposely avoided talking to reporters in the locker room following the game.

He said Monday that he's not sure when he sustained the fracture of the fifth metatarsal but speculated that it happened when he scrambled one of two times in Green Bay's second series of the third quarter. Rodgers managed to play the rest of the game. Rodgers will undergo surgery later this week and be on crutches for six weeks. He expects to be ready for the start of off-season workouts in March.

Rodgers had relieved Favre with less than two minutes left in the first half Sunday after the league's only three-time MVP suffered nerve damage in his right (throwing) elbow. Favre landed hard on the elbow when he was sacked by linebackers Tully Banta-Cain and Tedy Bruschi.

Favre lost strength in his right hand and couldn't adequately grip the football as he tried warming up for a possible return to the game early in the third quarter. On Monday, the likelihood of a hasty recovery by Favre, who has started 251 straight games, appeared to be good. The Packers don't play again until next Monday night at Seattle.

"He's got seven days (to recover). I'm pretty sure he'll be able to play," Rodgers said. McCarthy indicated it was too soon to speculate on Favre's availability for the next game. Favre was at the team's Lambeau Field headquarters Monday for treatment for both the elbow and a preexisting groin injury.

"We'll re-evaluate him on Wednesday, but he doesn't seem very concerned about it," McCarthy said. "He's got the strength pretty much back (in the hand), but it's not all the way back. He has 48 hours here. We'll know more Wednesday as far as whether he's going to practice or not. I really don't have a classification for him yet."

Sunday marked the sixth time that Favre hasn't finished a game because of injury. He managed to play in the next game the five previous instances to keep his iron-man streak intact, which dates to 1992.
"(The team doctors) think he's going to be fine," McCarthy said. "(Favre's) not very worried about it, which to them is a clear indication because he's been through this so long and they trust his judgment based on their history with him."

McCarthy said rookie Ingle Martin, a fifth-round draft pick, would be given more reps in practice this week as the fallback if Favre weren't to be cleared for Monday's game.

"We've been blessed here in Green Bay with Brett's situation," McCarthy said. "We just plow forward and make sure we ask the players to do the things they're capable of doing regardless of who the quarterback is. If that means playing with Ingle Martin, then we'll play with Ingle Martin. No excuses. I'm not going to sit here and make excuses. Everybody gets paid, it's a great game, tough business, but everyone has a responsibility. We'll just move forward."

NOTES, QUOTES

--Given the possible quandary it finds itself in at quarterback, head coach Mike McCarthy said Monday afternoon that the team would pursue adding a quarterback before practice resumes Wednesday.
"We're trying to get some prospects in here tonight and be knocking that out in the next 24 hours," McCarthy said. "We're looking at both scenarios -- a potential veteran or a potential practice-squad (player). We're looking at every scenario out there now." On Tuesday, Green Bay announced the signing of former Vikings and Saints QB Todd Bauman.

The Packers lost No. 2 QB Aaron Rodgers for the rest of the season because of a broken left foot sustained in the second half of the 35-0 loss to New England on Sunday. Rodgers had relieved Brett Favre late in the first half after Favre suffered an injury to his right elbow. Favre is questionable to be ready for the next game, Monday night at Seattle, leaving rookie Ingle Martin as the only healthy quarterback presently on the roster.

--Green Bay also is dealing with a serious injury on the defensive side. Middle linebacker Nick Barnett suffered a broken hand in the game Sunday. McCarthy said the injury occurred when Barnett was involved in a run play toward the end. "We're going to try to play him (this week) with a club," McCarthy said. Barnett's understudy is Abdul Hodge, but the rookie was activated for the first time Sunday after missing five straight games because of an early-season knee injury.

PLAYER NOTES

--RT Mark Tauscher was scheduled to undergo further tests Monday. Tauscher didn't play in the 35-0 loss to New England because of a pulled groin. He might be sidelined this week as well, as the Packers prepare to play Seattle on Monday night. Rookie Tony Moll started in Tauscher's place Sunday.

--CB Charles Woodson also was in the training room Monday after suffering a shoulder injury in the game. His status for this week won't be known until Wednesday.

--TE David Martin was slated for more tests Monday after missing the second half of Sunday's game with a ribs injury. Martin came into the contest with a sore thigh.

--DT Cullen Jenkins aggravated an ankle injury in the game.

--LB Ben Taylor aggravated a hamstring injury while playing on special teams.

--RB Ahman Green will remain on his weekly routine of not practicing on Wednesday as he rehabs his chronically sore knees. With a longer week before the next game, Green is expected to play against the Seahawks.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

REPORT CARD VS. PATRIOTS

PASSING OFFENSE: F --
An insulting performance was added to two significant injuries. Perhaps affected by a sore groin that cropped up toward the end of last week, Brett Favre started the game by short-hopping an intermediate throw to an open Greg Jennings and was progressively worse before an injury to his right elbow knocked him out late in the first half. Favre had at least four overthrows and completed only five of 15 passes for 73 yards. Left tackle Chad Clifton lost containment on linebacker Tully Banta-Cain that led to the initial wrap-up of Favre in the pocket and the fateful takedown to the ground by linebacker Tedy Bruschi. In stepped Aaron Rodgers for his long-awaited chance to play in a situation that was anything but mop-up time. He had little chance to thrive, however, with poor protection in front of him and was sacked three times with a lost fumble while connecting on just four of 12 throws for 32 yards. All of those unsightly numbers paled in comparison to the season-ending broken foot on which Rodgers played until the end. The Patriots effectively rolled their coverage to Donald Driver, who had a season-low two catches.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F -- The line was equally dismal in run blocking. Although the emphasis from the outset was to throw the football, the offense got next to nothing with its season-worst 17 rushing attempts, finishing with 43 yards. Ahman Green had seven carries for 5 yards until late in the third quarter -- in fact, Rodgers was the team's leading rusher for a stretch with two scrambles that amounted to 11 yards. Green's three-game run of 100-yard efforts just a few weeks ago seems like a distant memory. He followed up a 55-yard comedown at Minnesota with a season-low 28 yards in 13 carries Sunday. Vernand Morency was limited in his return from a two-game absence because of a back injury and toted the ball only once.

PASS DEFENSE: F -- Safety Marquand Manuel and linebackers Brady Poppinga and Nick Barnett were the goats in the latest installment of the Packers' pass coverage gone bad. Manuel got turned outside in picking up Reche Caldwell flying down the middle of the field, allowing Caldwell to get open to the outside for a 54-yard touchdown grab. Manuel also allowed an 8-yard touchdown throw to Benjamin Watson on a well-placed ball by Tom Brady to the outside. Meanwhile, all the praise Poppinga had been receiving of late for the strides he had supposedly made in coverage since a disastrous start to the season rang hollow because the Patriots picked on him with abandon with quality tight ends Watson and Daniel Graham. Poppinga made a wrong coverage read on a 36-yard play action strike from Brady to Watson in New England's first series. Brady later baited Poppinga into pass interference defending Graham in the end zone with a deep lob to set up another touchdown. The Patriots had the last laugh on Barnett, who took an improper angle on a flare pass to running back Laurence Maroney and then was mercilessly faked out by the rookie's stop-and-go run for a 19-yard touchdown. There was no pass rush to speak of, giving Brady ample time to pick his spots on the way to a 20-for-31, 244-yard, four-touchdown effort.

RUSH DEFENSE: C-minus --
The Patriots managed an average of only 3.1 yards per carry, but their reliance on chipping away with 40 attempts on the ground served a dual purpose. They were able to prey on the Packers' overzealousness with the play action pass. Plus, for as much damage as New England caused through the air, it controlled the football for more than 39 minutes. Green Bay had to contend more with Maroney because of an early injury to Corey Dillon, but they combined for 113 yards in 31 carries -- putting an asterisk next to the Packers' streak of not allowing a 100-yard rushing game by one individual this season.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus --
Punter Jon Ryan was one of the team's few standouts. He took advantage of his most field time in his first year in the league with 10 punts for a gross average of 45.9 yards -- the net wasn't too shabby, either, at 38.4. It wasn't a perfect 10 day for Ryan, who shanked a fourth-quarter kick that enabled Kevin Faulk to rip off a 36-yard return. Otherwise, the hang time was commendable, as Faulk gained all of 19 yards in six other returns. Dave Rayner had a streak of eight successful field goals, dating to Oct. 8 against St. Louis, end when he pushed a 44-yard attempt wide right in the first quarter. The Packers still aren't getting much out of their return units.

COACHING: F -- Plain and simple, Mike McCarthy and his staff were out-coached by Bill Belichick and his associates. With Favre less than 100 percent physically because of ankle and groin injuries, McCarthy erred in abandoning his run-first philosophy and thinking he could go one-dimensional against a banged-up Patriots defense -- 12 of the first 15 plays were passes. All Belichick did was find enough guys, including receiver Troy Brown, to double- and triple-team Driver. The offensive game plan was in flames before Favre was injured, with five three-and-out series in the first six possessions. The Packers remain a mess in pass coverage, all the more magnified because they were playing against a productive offense for a change after getting some reprieve the previous few weeks. Two losses by shutout at home, which hadn't happened since 1934, is an utter embarrassment.


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