Packers feeling the Favre hype early

The Packers know they aren't going to be able to avoid talk of Brett Favre all week, but they'll try not to focus on it. When the game starts on Monday, that's a different deal. The Packers also found plenty of things to clean up from their last game as they prepare for the Vikings.

The Packers won't return to the practice field until Thursday, but the media-ignited madness has already started in anticipation of their showdown against former teammate Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings next Monday night in Minneapolis.

Half of the 36 questions posed to McCarthy in his day-after-game news conference at Lambeau Field on Monday were tied to Favre and the first matchup with him on an opposing team since Green Bay traded its legendary quarterback last year.

Despite the litany of queries, McCarthy tried to temper the significance of the occasion.

The gist of the message he planned to convey to his players this week?

"To keep it about the football game," McCarthy said.

"Our extracurricular involvement in the media coverage is going to be more than it has been to this point, no doubt about it, but it cannot factor into how we plan for this game," he added.

The Packers' mostly glorious 16-year marriage with Favre ended in a bitter divorce early in the 2008 preseason, when he came out of retirement and demanded to be traded if the team wasn't going to take him back. Rather than give in to Favre's request to be dealt to the NFC North-rival Vikings, general manager Ted Thompson jettisoned him to the New York Jets.

Favre lasted a season with the Jets, retired again, then ultimately fulfilled his wish from the previous summer by unretiring and walking in two weeks into the Vikings' training camp this year to become their starting quarterback.

Minnesota is off to a 3-0 start, thanks to a last-second touchdown throw by Favre on Sunday to beat the San Francisco 49ers. The Packers are a game behind the division-leading Vikings, having improved to 2-1 with a 36-17 win at the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

"I think it's going to be a lot of fun when the game starts, personally," McCarthy said. "I think it's going to be a lot of fun because it's going to be a very competitive football game. It was definitely that type of game when (Favre) was on (our) side (in previous meetings with the Vikings), so I think it's going to be a lot of fun.

"Now, outside of the pure football, me personally, answering all of the questions and things that I feel that have nothing to do with the game, that's not something I wake up every day and am excited to do. But, that's part of the deal; it's part of our business. But, I think it's going to be a lot of fun when the ball's kicked off."


  • With the state of play for the Packers' pass protection only slightly better in their 36-17 win at the St. Louis Rams on Sunday, they might be feeling a sense of urgency to get their most experienced offensive lineman back on the field for a critical early-season game.

    Head coach Mike McCarthy announced Monday that left tackle Chad Clifton, who suffered a severely sprained right ankle in the Week 2 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, will have "the opportunity to try to get back" for the NFC North showdown at the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night.

    "We're going to give him a shot," McCarthy said. "He's feeling a lot better, made a lot of progress in the rehab last week. We'll see how he is at the end of the week. He's going to have to practice if he's going to play."

    Working in Clifton's favor for returning to action after missing only a game is having the full week before a Monday game. The Packers won't practice until Thursday and will take their on-field preparations through Saturday.

    Left guard Daryn Colledge moved over to start in Clifton's absence Sunday. Colledge had a mostly positive performance, as he rebounded from a few errors at the outset of the game.

    Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sacked twice, both by defensive end Leonard Little in the first quarter. Rodgers endured a career-high six sacks the previous week against the Bengals.

    Right tackle Allen Barbre failed to block Little on his first sack. The second takedown was a coverage sack, as Rodgers held onto the ball with the pocket collapsing around him with both Barbre and Colledge unable to sustain their blocks.

  • Besides implementing a 3-5 defensive front with five linebackers and only one safety for the first time in the game Sunday, the Packers changed the way in which they're using inside linebacker Nick Barnett early in the season.

    Barnett, who is 10 months removed from major knee surgery, has been a starter since Week 1 but hasn't played every snap. He worked in alternating series in the first two games.

    Against the Rams, however, Barnett stayed on the field for every series until he was removed for good midway through the third quarter.

    "We're just being smart with Nick Barnett's reps," McCarthy said. "Nick has been (at) right about 40 plays in all three games."

    Barnett has been outspoken about wanting to be an every-down player, but he was in favor of the amended playing pattern.

    Desmond Bishop, who had a strong preseason, had his first action on defense in the regular season as Barnett's replacement the final 1 1/2 quarters Sunday.

  • WR Greg Jennings aggravated a wrist injury on the first play of the second half Sunday, but he was able to finish the game. Jennings, whose two catches in the game were for 50 and 53 yards to set up touchdowns, should be fine this week and play in the game Monday night at the Minnesota Vikings.

  • SS Atari Bigby missed a second straight game because of a sprained knee and is expected to remain sidelined for the contest Monday. Derrick Martin had the unofficial start for Bigby in Sunday's game, since the Packers opened the game with an extra fifth linebacker.

  • RB Brandon Jackson is doubtful to return this week after he aggravated a high ankle sprain in practice Wednesday. Jackson hasn't played since suffering the injury in the Aug. 28 preseason game.

  • WR James Jones suffered a dislocated finger on a hard pass from Aaron Rodgers that Jones dropped in the third quarter Sunday. The injury wasn't considered to be serious.

  • LB Jeremy Thompson didn't play Sunday because of knee inflammation that cropped up late last week. Thompson, a contributor on special teams the first two games, has been classified as doubtful to practice this week.

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