At 7-1, Packers Still Question Themselves

Brett Favre looks at his young team and see them with a 7-1 record, but he doesn't fault those who question how good the team is. Favre does that himself.

Even after making two incredible deep touchdown passes to win a pair of road games in a span of seven days, veteran quarterback Brett Favre still can't help but wonder if these youth-dominated Packers really are 7-1.

"It's hard to doubt us," Favre said after a 33-22 comeback victory at Kansas City.

His 60-yard scoring strike to Greg Jennings — the two also hooked up for an 82-yard touchdown on the first play of overtime at Denver on Monday night — put the Packers ahead to stay at 23-22 with three minutes left in a seesaw game.

Despite having a short turnaround from the previous game and going right back on the road, the Packers improved their away record to 4-0 and have won six straight outside Lambeau Field, dating to the end of last season.

The Packers are one game ahead of Detroit for first place in the NFC North at the midway point of the season. Many picked Green Bay to finish no better than the 8-8 record it attained in 2006 by winning its final four games.

"You can question us. I do, too," Favre said. "Did I think we were blowing chances (Sunday)? Absolutely. Did I think we were running out of time? Absolutely. Did I think we could do it? Sure. Week in and week out, I keep saying that it's very difficult the way we're doing it. I would like to make it much easier. But, somehow, we're doing it."

  • Aside from its sputtering run game, the biggest blemish on Green Bay's torrid start is the frequency of penalties it's committed in recent weeks.

    The Packers were charged with 13 infractions, totaling 115 yards, on Sunday. They also had 13 against the Broncos, amounting to 103 yards of walk-offs. Green Bay also was penalized 12 times for 93 yards in the Week 5 loss to Chicago.

    "The pre-snap penalties, there's no excuse for," head coach Mike McCarthy said Monday. "I'm not going to sit here and say that's OK. You don't jump offsides. ... You don't false start. There's no excuse for that."

    Two of Green Bay's penalties the last two games were the result of a player kicking the football. Running back Vernand Morency was the guilty party Sunday, when he kicked the ball out of bounds in an effort to keep possession with the Packers on a play that was initially called a lateral pass — the call was reversed on replay review to an incomplete pass.

    McCarthy lauded Morency for being instinctive by making the kick but acknowledged that it's a lesson learned not only for him but the entire team about what's out of bounds in the rulebook.

    "When you make mistakes that are in a competitive nature, an instinctive nature, trying to eliminate a bigger mistake, those are the kind of things you can live with," McCarthy said. "It's the pre-snap penalties, the poor-judgment penalties are the ones you need to eliminate from your game."

    NOTES

    One lineup change is a certainty for Sunday's game against Minnesota at Lambeau Field. A couple more could be in the offing.

    Rookie Aaron Rouse is penciled in to make his starting debut at free safety. Nick Collins is out at least two weeks because of a strained ligament in his left knee.

    Rouse replaced Collins for most of the second half Sunday at Kansas City and came out of the game a little worse for the wear. He experienced shoulder soreness and was limited in practice Wednesday but should be OK to play against the Vikings.

    "He has a good opportunity for us this week," coach Mike McCarthy said. "It's our job to make sure he's in a position to be successful. The thing with younger players anytime they get an opportunity, especially at the back end, is communication. He needs to make sure the communication is clear, that he's vocal and that we're lined up and ready to go."

    Still left to be determined at week's end, however, is who gets the starting nods at the two guard spots on the offensive line.

    McCarthy was critical after Sunday's game of Daryn Colledge, who has started every game at left guard. Tony Moll and Jason Spitz, who split time at right guard in the game, also were culpable of numerous blocking and protection lapses that occurred in the contest.

    As such, four players are being rotated through with the first unit in practice this week — Colledge and untested rookie Allen Barbre at left guard and Junius Coston and Spitz at right guard. Coston is working his way back from an ankle injury that kept him out of the starting lineup the last three games. Moll aggravated a neck injury and isn't being counted on to contribute this week.

    "It's not ideal," McCarthy said of splitting the practice reps at the two positions. "You'd like to think that you're beyond that at this point in the season, but that's where we are. The productivity and performance level of that position needs to improve. We're going to give the (four) guys an opportunity and see where we are at the end of the week."

  • RB Ryan Grant could be cleared to play Sunday after he suffered a mild concussion in the second half of the last game.

  • DT Corey Williams missed most of the second half Sunday with an injury to his right knee, but he's expected to recover in time to play this weekend.

  • TE Bubba Franks has been ruled out for a third consecutive game because of a sprained knee. He's expected to be sidelined at least two more weeks.

  • CB Will Blackmon remains out with a broken foot he sustained in practice in early October.

  • LB Tracy White didn't practice Wednesday and is iffy to be ready for Sunday's game because of a sprained ankle. White is a top special teams contributor.

  • FB John Kuhn is under consideration to serve as a situational linebacker if Tracy White can't play Sunday.

  • DT Justin Harrell was out Wednesday as he continues to recover from a badly sprained ankle he suffered in practice Oct. 23. The team's first-round draft pick this year has missed two consecutive games.


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