Packers Guard Against Youthful Overconfidence

The Packers have the league's youngest roster, and the coaches are trying to make sure their squad isn't getting overconfident after a 3-0 start.

With 28 first- and second-year players dotting the league's youngest roster, an argument can be made that the majority of the players are oblivious to what the team has accomplished after three weeks.

Second-year head coach Mike McCarthy acknowledged Monday, however, that a primary task this week is to be on the lookout for any overconfidence seeping in with his surprise unbeaten squad.

"It's a concern," McCarthy said. "We're 3-0, (and) stacking successes is something we talk about all the time. We're a team that didn't have a lot of confidence at this time last year, so the alternative is obviously a more positive situation to be in. But, I talk about it all the time. It's very important to keep the team's eye on the target, and that's what we'll continue to do when we get back together (for practice) Wednesday."

The players were given most of Monday off, not so much as a reward for stunning the Chargers 31-24 the previous day as it was classified as a "Medical Monday" to tend to a rash of early-season injuries.

Health concerns notwithstanding, McCarthy and his staff will have to guard against a letdown on the heels of an emotionally charged comeback victory in the closing minutes at Lambeau Field.

Green Bay last was 3-0 in 2001. That team next faced a division opponent on the road - as the case is Sunday, when the Packers play at Minnesota - and lost 14-10 to Tampa Bay.

Only seven players remain from the 2001 outfit, so being in the early-season NFC catbird seat, along with Dallas, is uncharted territory for the fresh-faced Packers.

"I don't think too many people gave us a shot to be 3-0. I have to admit, I questioned it myself," said quarterback Brett Favre, the most tenured player in his 16th season with the club. "I realize we're 3-0, and it's a great feeling, but I also know that it only gets tougher. It's hard to maintain this level of play, and how we handle success and adversity, when it comes, I think will determine how we finish this year."

Added McCarthy: "We have to remember where we started and how we got to this point. We just have to keep doing what we're doing. We won three games, we're excited about that, but there isn't a man in the locker room or on the coaching staff that is not fully in tune that we have a lot of work to do. We have a number of things we need to improve on, and we particularly need to get those things corrected."

NOTES

  • WR Shaun Bodiford was re-signed to the team after he was released by the Redskins last week. To make room for Bodiford on the 53-man roster, WR Chris Francies was cut. Green Bay released Bodiford at the end of the preseason. He suffered a sprained MCL in a knee on a kickoff return in the second exhibition game.

  • QB Brett Favre will enter Sunday's game at division rival Minnesota needing only one touchdown pass to eclipse Dan Marino's league record of 420. Favre had three touchdown throws for the second straight game in the 31-24 win over the Chargers on Sunday.

  • WR Donald Driver experienced knee soreness after the game Sunday. The injury isn't considered serious. Driver apparently suffered the injury when he was run out of bounds after making a catch in the fourth quarter. He finished the game, catching six passes for a game-high 126 yards and a touchdown. Driver has the Lambeau Field record for receptions with 219, surpassing former teammate Antonio Freeman's 213.

  • WR Greg Jennings starred in his season debut Sunday, turning a short slant pass from Favre into a go-ahead, 57-yard touchdown late in the game. Jennings had four catches for 82 yards as he returned to the starting lineup after missing the first two games because of a hamstring injury. Jennings hasn't fully recovered and might miss some practice time this week but should be ready for the game against the Vikings.

  • RB Brandon Jackson suffered a bruised shin in the last game, but the injury isn't considered serious. The rookie started at halfback for the third straight game and had his first touchdown, from a yard out in the final minute to seal the win. Jackson, though, gained only 22 yards in six carries. For the season, he's rushed for just 97 yards.

  • RB DeShawn Wynn left Sunday's game early in the fourth quarter with a sprained ankle. The initial diagnosis was the injury isn't serious. Wynn, lined up primarily as the third-down back, had only two carries, for 9 yards.

  • CB Al Harris incurred back spasms in playing the entire game Sunday. He missed most of practice last week because of back issues and could be held out until the end of this week.

  • CB Charles Woodson, likewise, is a candidate for extended recovery this week after he aggravated a hip injury in the game.

  • FS Nick Collins sustained a bruised lower back and briefly left the game in the third quarter before returning for the duration.

  • MLB Nick Barnett had an interception and 38-yard return to set up Jackson's clinching touchdown run Sunday. Barnett leads the defense with two picks, one shy of his season high in 2003, when he was a rookie.

  • TE Donald Lee continued to have a presence in the passing game. He had four catches for the third straight game, amounting to 44 yards.


  • Viking Update Top Stories