The Packers tried to slow down Steven Jackson, but they aren't sure they'll be able to use their new scheme to limit Adrian Peterson because of Brett Favre's presence.
If not for that familiar, still-formidable guy who will be under center on the other side of the line, a heavy dose of "Big Okie" for a second straight game probably would be in order for the Packers defense.
That's the pet name for the unorthodox scheme defensive coordinator Dom Capers
rolled out early and often for the first time in Green Bay's 36-17 win at the St. Louis Rams on Sunday. To compensate for a shortage of safeties and to counter powerful Rams running back Steven Jackson
, Capers turned his 3-4 front into a 3-5 look with five linebackers - and only one safety - on the field.
"We have a number of different packages," Capers said. "We hope that will give us enough flexibility that we don't become too predictable from week to week."
The challenge for Capers in this extended week of preparations for the game Monday night at the Minnesota Vikings
is twofold - come up with a way to slow down explosive running back Adrian Peterson
and account for the playmaking ability ex-Packer Brett Favre
still possesses with his 39-year-old right arm.
Packers head coach Mike McCarthy acknowledged he was looking forward to watching game film for the first time of Favre with his new team.
"I'm curious to see what he's doing, what they're asking him to do, how he's playing with the new skill-position players that he's with," McCarthy said. "It will be clearly just to line up and try to give Dom some information. But, Dom has to set his plan, and he needs to call his defense.
"He is not going to be calling defenses based on what my opinion is of how Brett Favre is playing. That is not going to be the focal point."
The Favre factor, though, could influence which way Capers goes with his front. It's not as simple as it was against the pass-challenged Rams to crowd the box with the extra linebacker and just target Jackson, who still had a big game with 163 all-purpose yards, including 117 on the ground.
"We wanted to establish being physical, trying to be a dominating defense," linebacker Aaron Kampman
said. "(But) they ripped off too many 6-, 7-yard chunks, and that's not acceptable in our defense, particularly with some of the calls that we're making."
From several past experiences, Capers knows Favre has the capabilities to be as lethal in the passing game as Peterson can be running the football in the upcoming game. Capers was 0-6 as a head coach or defensive coordinator against Favre when he played for the Packers from 1992 to 2007.
LT Chad Clifton is under consideration to play in the NFC North showdown at the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night. Clifton sustained a severely sprained right ankle in the Sept. 20 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals and didn't play in Sunday's win at St. Louis. His availability for Monday will depend on whether he practices later this week and how much he is able to do. Otherwise, Daryn Colledge would remain the starter at tackle.
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 took over as the strong safety on a limited basis in Sunday's game.
RB Brandon Jackson is doubtful to return this week after he aggravated a high ankle sprain in practice last week. Jackson hasn't played since suffering the injury in the Aug. 28 preseason game.
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, also has been classified as doubtful to practice this week.
QB Aaron Rodgers on Sunday had a career-low 13 completions as a starter, but he produced a big total of 269 passing yards with two touchdowns. Rodgers connected on deep balls of 46, 50 and 53 yards, all of which led to Packers touchdowns. Rodgers has yet to throw an interception this season.
WR Greg Jennings was on the receiving end of two of Aaron Rodgers' big strikes, a week after Jennings didn't have a catch for the first time in his career. Jennings hauled in the throws of 50 and 53 yards. He aggravated a wrist injury during the game but was able to finish it and should be OK this week.
WR Donald Driver had four catches for 95 yards Sunday, including a 21-yard touchdown. Driver's most impressive reception came on the 46-yard heave from Aaron Rodgers, as the veteran wideout made the catch with his left hand while having Rams cornerback Bradley Fletcher pulling at Driver's right side. Driver surpassed Sterling Sharpe for second place on Green Bay's career receiving yards list - Driver has 8,222. Driver enters Monday's game only four catches behind Sharpe's all-time team record of 595.
RB Ryan Grant nearly had his first 100-yard rushing game of 2009, finishing with 99 yards in a season-high 26 carries. Grant came into the contest with 30 carries for 107 yards through two games. He overcame a sluggish start Sunday by rushing 13 times for 64 yards in the final 16 minutes of play.
TE Donald Lee had only two catches amounting to 10 yards in the game Sunday. Lee's modest season totals after three games are nine receptions for 46 yards and no touchdowns.
LOLB Aaron Kampman recorded his first sack of the season in his new position Sunday, forcing a fumble by Rams quarterback Marc Bulger that the Packers recovered and turned into an early field goal. It was the latest in a season Kampman had gone without a sack since 2004, when he didn't notch his first one until Week 4.