2014 DRAFT GUIDE
After rough start, Packers near division title

By NANCY ARMOUR - AP National Writer
    2012-12-10 19:01

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - A month into the season, few people outside of Green Bay would have given the Packers a shot at the NFC North title.

Heck, even the folks in Green Bay could have been forgiven for feeling a little pessimistic.

The injuries were already starting to pile up, and the Packers had been the victims of the Inaccurate Reception. With a losing record five weeks in and the Chicago Bears off to a blazing start, a wild card seemed about the best the Packers could do.

Now look at them. One of the NFL's hottest teams over the past two months with seven victories in eight games, Green Bay (9-4) can clinch the division title with a win Sunday in Chicago. The No. 2 seed, and the first-round bye that goes with it, is still a possibility, too.

``We're excited about the opportunities that we continue to create,'' coach Mike McCarthy said. ``You get what you put into it and our guys have a great frame of mind. It's a good locker room, it's a steady locker room. We don't swing with the highs and lows.

``Special, that's what we're in it for,'' he added. ``We're not in it just to get to the playoffs or to have a winning season.''

Players and coaches on pretty much every team talk about resiliency, and how they can't let injuries or losses turn into a distraction.

Or, worse, an excuse. But talk is cheap - just look at some of the records out there - and it's tough to continue looking ahead week after week.

The Packers, though, have turned it into something of an art form. Few teams have been hit harder by injuries, with the Packers losing more than a dozen starters or projected starters for two or more games. That includes No. 1 receiver Greg Jennings (eight games), perennial Pro Bowler Charles Woodson (six games), sackmaster Clay Matthews (four games) and C.J. Wilson (three games), a cornerstone of their run defense.

Running back Cedric Benson is on injured reserve, as is offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga.

Yet the Packers simply fill the holes and move on. In Sunday night's 27-20 win over Detroit, it was a rookie, Mike Daniels, who had the fumble return for a score that swung momentum Green Bay's way.

The go-ahead touchdown was scored by DaJuan Harris, who'd been elevated from the practice squad eight days earlier.

``You can't sit around and invest a lot of time in guys that you're not going to have out there,'' defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. ``You've got to focus all your attention on the guys you do have.''

The Green Bay resolve starts with McCarthy. Low-key and humble - he joked Monday that his players take their cue from his ``boring'' press conferences - he is not one for histrionics on the sideline or drama anywhere else.

Circumstances are what they are, and there's no sense wasting time on anything else. When the Packers lost that game in Seattle on a controversial call, not only did McCarthy refuse to whine or complain, he called the replacement referee who made the wrong call to offer his support.

That attitude has filtered down to the players.

``It says a lot about the locker room leadership,'' McCarthy said. ``We've accomplished some things in the past that we can maybe look back on. What are you to do with your energy? What are we going to do with our time? How are you going to apply it? I think our guys do a good job of it.''

It helps that the Packers have some practice at this. Two years ago, they had so many injuries they were practically pulling guys off the street to fill the lineup.

They wound up winning the Super Bowl.

``They know there's an expectation level ... that they've got to be not only accountable to themselves, but accountable to everybody in that room,'' Capers said. ``So if their number's called, then they owe it to the guy sitting next to them to be ready to go out and do their job.''

Green Bay's recent run hasn't always been pretty; the Packers struggled against Jacksonville, and trailed in both games against Detroit. But aside from a blowout by the Giants, Green Bay has managed to find ways to win.

``I don't get caught up in statistics,'' McCarthy said. ``We've got nine wins. That's only statistic I worry about.''

The Packers could make it 10 wins - and a division title - against the Bears, adding extra buzz to a rivalry that's already the NFL's best.

And it's the rivalry, not the spoils that could come with it, that will get Green Bay's full attention this week, McCarthy said.

``You start to get voice mails from Willie Davis, people like that, early this morning, you know it's a big game,'' McCarthy said. ``So we're focused on beating the Bears down there. It's a tough place to play. Yes, we'd love to wrap up division and hopefully be playing for more the next two weeks. But this is about the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears.''

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Tramaine BrockOct 1 08:53p

San Francisco 49ers CB Tramaine Brock (toe) is likely out another week. He was able to start on-field rehab work with the team's strength and conditioning staff. He has [ More ]

Vernon DavisOct 1 08:53p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis (back) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. He said he is experiencing some back spasms, and is listed a 'day to day.'

Justin SmithOct 1 08:43p

San Francisco 49ers CB Tramaine Brock (toe), OT Anthony Davis (ankle, knee) and DE Justin Smith (non-injury related) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. FS Antoine Bethea (ankle), DE [ More ]

Brandon ThompsonOct 1 08:23p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion), DE Robert Geathers (toe), DE Margus Hunt (shoulder), OG Mike Pollak (knee), DT Brandon Thompson (knee) and OG Kevin Zeitler (calf) were unable [ More ]

Andre EllingtonOct 1 08:23p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington (foot) has seen improvement with his foot injury, although he is still not at 100 percent. However, he is able to practice more, and [ More ]

Dave ZastudilOct 1 08:23p

Arizona Cardinals OG Paul Fanaika (knee), LB Alex Okafor (thihg), DE Frostee Rucker (calf) and P Dave Zastudil (groin) were each listed as limited participants for practice Wednesday, Oct. [ More ]

Alfonzo DennardOct 1 08:23p

New England Patriots FS Nate Ebner (finger) and OT Cameron Fleming (finger) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. LB Jamie Collins (thigh), CB Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder), LB [ More ]

Kendall JamesOct 1 07:33p

The Houston Texans signed free-agent CBs Charles James (Giants) and Kendall James (Vikings) to their practice squad Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Shiloh KeoOct 1 07:23p

Chicago Bears LB Terrell Manning and WR Rashad Ross, Houston Texans S Shiloh Keo and Jacksonville Jaguars DBs Deion Belue and Winston Guy cleared waivers and became free agents Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Derek CarrOct 1 07:03p

Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr (ankle, knee) said he expects to play against the San Diego Chargers in Week 6 following the team's bye week.

Dashon GoldsonOct 1 06:43p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers DE Larry English (hamstring), SS Dashon Goldson (ankle), DE Michael Johnson (ankle) and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ankle) all did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. [ More ]

Carson PalmerOct 1 06:43p

Updating a previous report, Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (shoulder) isn't being ruled out for Week 5 against the Denver Broncos by head coach Bruce Arians. Arians said Palmer [ More ]

Anthony SpencerOct 1 06:33p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (thigh) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. DT Henry Melton (hamstring) and DE Anthony Spencer (knee) were limited, while LB Rolando McClain (groin) practiced in full.

Dez BryantOct 1 06:33p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (shoulder) had his first full practice Wednesday, Oct. 1, since injuring his shoulder in Week 2. He has caught nine passes for 133 yards [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinOct 1 06:23p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (neck), RB Erik Lorig (ankle) and CB Corey White (foot) all did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. OT Terron Armstead (concussion), [ More ]

Joe ThomasOct 1 06:23p

Cleveland Browns WR Marlon Moore (illness) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. DE Desmond Bryant (gluteus, wrist) and OT Joe Thomas (non-injury) were limited, while LB Barkevious Mingo (shoulder) [ More ]

Brandon MarshallOct 1 06:13p

Chicago Bears WR Brandon Marshall (ankle) practiced without restrictions Wednesday, Oct. 1, for the first time in a while. 'It was good to get him (Marshall) back out there [ More ]

Roberto GarzaOct 1 06:13p

Chicago Bears LB Lance Briggs (knee), S Ahmad Dixon (hamstring), LB Shea McClellin (hand) and LB D.J. Williams (neck) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. DE Jared Allen (illness), [ More ]

Louis VasquezOct 1 06:13p

Denver Broncos S Quinton Carter (knee), TE Virgil Green (concussion), LB Danny Trevathan (knee) and G Louis Vasquez (rib cage) were full participants in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. LB [ More ]

Terrell SuggsOct 1 05:53p

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty (illness), DT Timmy Jernigan (knee), OT Eugene Monroe (knee) and LB Terrell Suggs (thigh) all did not participate in practice Wednedsay, Oct. 1. CB [ More ]

Tamba HaliOct 1 05:53p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Donnie Avery (groin) and S Eric Berry (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. LB Tamba Hali (knee) and CB Sean Smith (groin) were limited, [ More ]

Ryan MathewsOct 1 05:43p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) said he's feeling good, but he has no timetable for when he might return. He wants to make sure he's fully healthy [ More ]

Dee MillinerOct 1 05:33p

New York Jets WR David Nelson (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. OG Willie Colon (knee), C Nick Mangold (shoulder), CB Dee Milliner (quadriceps) and SS Calvin Pryor [ More ]

Tavon AustinOct 1 05:33p

St. Louis Rams WR Tavon Austin (knee) was limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Shaun HillOct 1 05:33p

St. Louis Rams CB Trumaine Johnson (knee), C Barrett Jones (back) and CB Brandon McGee (foot) all did not participate in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. QB Shaun Hill (thigh) fully practiced.

Dwight FreeneyOct 1 05:33p

San Diego Chargers LB Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring), C Richard Ohrnberger (back), LB Manti Te'o (foot), LB Reggie Walker (ankle) and CB Shareece Wright (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Oct 1 05:23p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) will be a part of the game plan heading into the team's Week 5 game. Beckham did everything in practice Wednesday, [ More ]

Marvin JonesOct 1 05:03p

Cincinnati Bengals WR Marvin Jones (ankle, foot) is not participating in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1, because of a possible ankle injury. The injury does not appear to be related to his broken foot.

Andre JohnsonOct 1 04:53p

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson (ankle) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Julio JonesOct 1 04:53p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (ankle) was limited in practice Wednesday, Oct. 1.

Roy MillerOct 1 04:53p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Dwayne Gratz (concussion), WR Marqise Lee (hamstring) and TE Mickey Shuler (illness) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 1. DE Ryan Davis (shoulder), DT Roy Miller (ankle) [ More ]

Brett KeiselOct 1 04:53p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant (illness), LB James Harrison (illness), DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), SS Mike Mitchell (non-injury), SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury), LB Ryan Shazier (knee) and CB Ike [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group