McCarthy excited over facing FavreVikings host Packers on Monday night
By: By Tom Silverstein and Greg A. Bedard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Superior Telegram
GREEN BAY — Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday he would not have predicted a year ago that quarterback Brett Favre would wind up playing for the Minnesota Vikings, especially after the Packers traded him to the New York Jets.
But he said even at the time of the trade he was not concerned about facing him in the future.
General manager Ted Thompson was adamant about not trading Favre within the NFC North after Favre ended his retirement last summer and it was determined that the Packers did not want him back as their quarterback. Thompson would not grant Favre’s request to be released so he could play for the Vikings, leaving him only one option, which was to play for another team.
When the Packers finally agreed to trade Favre to the Jets they included a “poison pill” provision that would have forced the Jets to give up three first-round draft choices if they traded Favre to any other NFC North team.
“As far as the poison pill in the trade, that is really a decision that was made as an organization,” McCarthy said. “I was not concerned about if we were going to play him, when we were going to play him. That was not part of my thought process during that time.”
As it turned out, the Jets released Favre during the off-season and two weeks into training camp he accepted an offer to join the Vikings. Now McCarthy and his team are dealing with the media hype surrounding a matchup between Favre and his former teammates.
McCarthy said he only has one goal in guiding his team through the media storm.
“Really, to keep it about the game,” McCarthy said. “We had an opportunity to go through that type of environment in the past. This is an important football game for both teams.”
Though he admitted the team went through a lot during the Favre drama last summer, he refused to use it as an excuse for the 6-10 record last year.
As for Monday night’s game, McCarthy said he is excited about facing Favre.
“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun when the game starts, personally,” he 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 he was on this side, so I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac said the debut of first-round pick B.J. Raji went about as expected for a player that had six full practices since spraining his right ankle on Aug. 28.
“He’s right where we thought he would be,” Trgovac said of Raji’s 25-play stint against the Rams. “You could see his explosiveness but he’s not 100% exploding into players right now.”
The Packers were certainly encouraged with what they saw. They know they’ll need Raji in the mix against better rushing teams like the Vikings, Monday’s opponent. And, if anything, Raji can let other players, like left end starter Johnny Jolly, get some much-needed rest.
“I think it kept Johnny fresher in the game and there are several plays in there where you could see when this kid gets to be 100% that he’s going to be a force to handle,” Trgovac said. “Then there were other times you could see he was kind of favoring his leg a little bit. That’s natural.”
Slow goes it
Players put in a short day Monday, will have off Tuesday and then will not have to practice on Wednesday in an attempt to keep the team fresh heading into the game Monday night.
Rather than give the team the entire day off Wednesday, players will have a modified work day.
“We’re going to come in Wednesday and we’re going to do primarily everything that we normally do on a Wednesday morning, except for practice,” McCarthy said. “We’ve got extensive film review, meetings, and jog-throughs in the gym.”
Dome sweet dome: This will mark the first time since 2003 that the Packers have played back-to-back games in domes.
Oddly enough, they played at St. Louis the first week and at Minnesota the following week, same as this year. The Packers lost to the Rams, and then beat the Vikings.
McCarthy thinks having played in a dome last week will help the Packers.
“Dome games are different, they really are,” he said. “Just the way it feels to the players, the crowd noise, even the way it looks at some point, as far as throwing the football indoors and things like that.”
Green Bay 9 14 0 13 — 36
St. Louis 0 14 3 0 — 17
GB-FG Crosby 48, 5:57.
GB-FG Crosby 38, 2:13.
GB-FG Crosby 25, :00.
GB-Kuhn 1 run (Crosby kick), 9:48.
StL-Fells 16 pass from Boller (Jo.Brown kick), 4:43.
GB-Driver 21 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 1:52.
StL-Fells 19 pass from Boller (Jo.Brown kick), :02.
StL-FG Jo.Brown 53, 8:23.
GB-Rodgers 4 run (kick failed), 12:13.
GB-Kuhn 10 pass from Rodgers (Crosby kick), 4:43.
First downs 24 22
Total Net Yards 402 336
Rushes-yards 37-152 33-149
Passing 250 187
Punt Returns 2-11 2-23
Kickoff Returns 2-49 8-187
Interceptions Ret. 1-0 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 13-23-0 19-35-1
Sacked-Yards Lost 2-19 1-0
Punts 4-50.0 4-54.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-2
Penalties-Yards 6-51 6-40
Time of Possession 30:19 29:41
RUSHING-Green Bay, Grant 26-99, Rodgers 8-38, Driver 1-13, Kuhn 1-1, D.Wynn 1-1. St. Louis, Jackson 27-117, Boller 4-31, Darby 2-1.
PASSING_Green Bay, Rodgers 13-23-0-269. St. Louis, Boller 16-31-1-164, Bulger 3-4-0-23.
RECEIVING-Green Bay, Driver 4-95, Nelson 3-46, Jennings 2-103, D.Lee 2-10, Kuhn 1-10, Grant 1-5. St. Louis, Jackson 5-46, Burton 3-37, Avery 3-12, Fells 2-35, Robinson 2-26, McMichael 2-24, Darby 1-9, Karney 1-(minus 2).
MISSED FIELD GOALS-St. Louis, Jo.Brown 48 (BK).
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