2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Packers different than team that lost to 49ers

By NANCY ARMOUR - AP National Writer
    2013-01-06 17:32

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - The San Francisco 49ers can toss their film from the season opener against Green Bay in the trash for as much good as it will do now.

Cedric Benson is gone, and the Packers' running game is now powered by DuJuan Harris and Ryan Grant - neither of whom was on the roster Dec. 1, let alone back in September.

Randall Cobb, whose 75-yard punt return gave the Packers a fleeting chance late in the 30-22 victory by San Francisco, is now one of Aaron Rodgers' favorite receivers.

And a defense that may as well have been holding rookie orientation for all its newcomers is now a savvy, stingy bunch of veterans.

``A lot's happened,'' coach Mike McCarthy said. ``We're a different football team. We're a different football team than we were four weeks ago.''

The Packers (12-5) play San Francisco (11-4-1) Saturday night in an NFC divisional game after beating Minnesota in the wild-card round. The 49ers are early 3-point favorites.

San Francisco has had its share of changes this season, too, the most significant being coach Jim Harbaugh's decision to stick with Colin Kaepernick after Alex Smith recovered from his concussion.

But that's nothing compared with the Packers, who've had so many injuries and lineup changes that defensive coordinator Dom Capers was watching film of the season opener Sunday partly to remind himself of who was - and wasn't - on the field back then.

More than a dozen starters or projected starters have missed a game or more with an injury, including: Charles Woodson, who played Saturday for the first time since breaking his right collarbone Oct. 21; Greg Jennings, who missed eight games with a torn muscle in his groin; Clay Matthews and Jordy Nelson, who missed four games each with hamstring injuries; and Benson, who played only five games before a season-ending foot injury.

Change has been the only constant on the offensive line the second half of the season, with the Packers on their fifth starting lineup. Same in the secondary, where three players started at right corner over the last seven games.

That kind of upheaval would doom most teams, but the Packers have managed to thrive. Somewhere amidst the chaos, they not only found solutions, they found themselves.

``Everybody starts the season and has an idea and vision of who you want to be,'' McCarthy said Sunday. ``But the reality of it is, you go through a 16-week season, there's a lot of things happen. There's obstacles that you have to get through. There's injuries to different players, players coming in, players going out. I think all those things factor in to who you really are and who you think you are.''

The biggest difference the 49ers will see is in the running game. Green Bay managed a measly 45 yards on the ground in the opener, and Rodgers and Benson were the only two ball carriers. Rodgers, not Benson, led the Packers.

``I don't think we had our identity at that point,'' Rodgers said. ``We were trying a lot of different things.''

The running game still wasn't clicking when Benson got hurt, and the Packers had only minimal success with Alex Green and James Starks.

It took the pint-sized Harris to bring Green Bay's offense into balance, a speedy and elusive back whose surprising power gives defenses fits. After cracking the 100-yard mark three times in the first eight games, the Packers have done it in five of the last seven.

``(Harris has) done a good job and he keeps getting better each week,'' offensive coordinator Tom Clements said. ``He's an instinctive runner. So more often than not, you just let him run. You point out what should be done, but he has the right instincts and he usually makes something good happen.''

Defensively, the Packers may not have as many takeaways as they did last season, but they're far more consistent and aren't likely to get burned by the same thing twice. Or three times in the case of Adrian Peterson. After bulldozing Green Bay for 409 yards in the first two games, Peterson was held to just 99 on Saturday night.

``I think we can attack you in different ways,'' Capers said. ``I think we've got more athletic ability on our defense this year than we had. I think these young guys have given us more athletic ability, more speed, more pass rush ability.''

Green Bay finished the regular season with 47 sacks, fourth-best in the NFL, and had three more Saturday night. It limited Minnesota to 10 points, the eighth time in the last 11 games the Packers have allowed 20 points or fewer.

``We've established our brand of football and that's what we're taking to San Francisco,'' McCarthy said. ``We're not going to sit here and start making up things and trying to chase ghosts and worrying about schemes that are out there. We're going to stay focused on the things that we do.''

``We really like who we are as a football team.''

Notes: TE Jermichael Finley's hamstring injury does not appear to be serious. ... WR Donald Driver was a healthy inactive for what could have been his final game at Lambeau field, and McCarthy said the veteran has been ``a class act'' about his reduced role. ``He's a pro's pro,'' McCarthy said. ``We've had conversations of late here, with part of what's going on with him being active and inactive, and he's handled it very well. He's an excellent teammate.'' ... Despite Woodson's nine-week layoff, Capers said they didn't have him on a rep count. ``I certainly didn't see any reason to bring him off the field,'' Capers said. ``I thought he was doing all the things we'd asked him to do.'' ... Special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum indicated Jeremy Ross would continue to split return duties with Cobb. ``We've got two returners,'' Slocum said.

---

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

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Jeff DempsOct 22 09:54a

The Indianapolis Colts signed free-agents RB Jeff Demps (Buccaneers) and Konrad Reuland (Jets) to their practice squad and released QB Dominique Davis and WR Chandler X. Jones from the practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Jon BeasonOct 22 09:43a

New York Giants LB Jon Beason (toe) said it was 50-50 whether he returns this year and will have to get clearance from a foot specialist to make sure [ More ]

Harry DouglasOct 22 08:53a

Atlanta Falcons WR Harry Douglas (foot) will not practice Wednesday, Oct. 22. Douglas traveled to London with the team and hopes to play in Week 8.

Dion LewisOct 22 03:03a

In their bye week, the New York Giants are working out several free agents. In addition to QB Terrelle Pryor, who was previously mentioned, other free agents include TE [ More ]

Tony FiammettaOct 22 02:43a

The New York Jets invited four players to work out recently, including free-agent FB Tony Fiammetta (Bears), DB Chris Prosinski (Jaguars), CB Johnny Adams (Raiders) and CB Marcus Cromartie [ More ]

DeMarcus Van DykeOct 22 02:43a

The Miami Dolphins brought in five players for workouts recently, including free-agent DB Tommie Campbell (Titans), DB T.J. Heath (Browns), DB Curtis Marsh (Eagles), WR Derek Moye (Steelers) and [ More ]

Dwayne AllenOct 21 10:23p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen said he was not expecting to be as involved in the red zone as he has been this season. He has five touchdowns in [ More ]

Carson PalmerOct 21 10:03p

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (shoulder) threw at team headquarters Tuesday, Oct. 21, and is 'real close' to 100% percent, according to head coach Bruce Arians.

Troy NiklasOct 21 09:33p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (ankle) is unlikely to play in Week 8, head coach Bruce Arians said Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Calais CampbellOct 21 09:23p

Arizona Cardinals DE Calais Campbell (knee) could return for the team's Week 8 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, according to head coach Bruce Arians.

Paul RichardsonOct 21 08:33p

Seattle Seahawks WR Paul Richardson caught four passes on five targets for 33 yards in Week 7. Richardson was targeted just once in the team's first five games.

Chandler JonesOct 21 07:23p

New England Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not practice Tuesday, Oct. 21 with a hip injury, according to a source. Jones is expected to miss a month or so.

Jerel WorthyOct 21 06:33p

Kansas City Chiefs DT Jerel Worthy was released Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Marcus ThigpenOct 21 06:23p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed free-agent LB Mister Alexander (Texans) and RB Marcus Thigpen (Dolphins) to their practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Dominique DavisOct 21 06:23p

Indianapolis Colts QB Dominique Davis and WR Chandler X. Jones were released Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Eric OlsenOct 21 06:13p

New Orleans Saints C Eric Olsen was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Everette BrownOct 21 06:13p

The Washington Redskins re-signed LB Everette Brown to their active roster Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Robert LesterOct 21 06:13p

The Carolina Panthers signed free-agent SS Robert Lester (Panthers) and OT Martin Wallace (Browns) to their practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Scott SolomonOct 21 06:03p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Solomon Patton and DE Scott Solomon were placed on no-recall waivers Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Gerell RobinsonOct 21 06:03p

The Cleveland Browns re-signed TE Gerell Robinson to their active roster Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Austin PettisOct 21 06:03p

Cleveland Browns RB Ray Agnew III and DT Jacobbi McDaniel, Denver Broncos LB Shaquil Barrett, Detroit Lions DB Jerome Couplin III, New Orleans Saints LB Todd Davis and St. [ More ]

Dwight FreeneyOct 21 05:33p

San Diego Chargers CB Brandon Flowers (concussion), LB Dwight Freeney (non-injury related), C Richard Ohrnberger (back) and LB Manti Te'o (foot) did not practice Tuesday, Oct. 21. LB Jeremiah [ More ]

T.J. WardOct 21 05:33p

Denver Broncos CB Omar Bolden (concussion) and LB Steven Johnson (ankle) did not practice Tuesday, Oct. 21. S Quinton Carter (hamstring), CB Chris Harris Jr. (knee), RB Juwan Thompson [ More ]

Devon WylieOct 21 05:23p

The St. Louis Rams signed free-agent WRs Kadron Boone (Eagles) and Devon Wylie (49ers) to their practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Korey ToomerOct 21 05:23p

The St. Louis Rams waived LB Denicos Allen from their practice squad and added free-agent LB Korey Toomer (Cowboys) to their practice squad Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Calvin JohnsonOct 21 05:13p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) will only return in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons if he's 100 percent healthy, according to head coach Jim Caldwell. 'It's not [ More ]

Akeem AyersOct 21 04:43p

Tennessee Titans LB Akeem Ayers and a seventh-round draft pick were traded to the New England Patriots in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Jeremy KerleyOct 21 04:23p

New York Jets WR Jeremy Kerley officially signed a four-year, $16 million extension Tuesday, Oct. 21. Kerley will receive $5.4 million of guaranteed money. He has 22 catches for [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerOct 21 04:18p

Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker (thumb) will start at quarterback when he's healthy, according to head coach Ken Whisenhunt. QB Charlie Whitehurst has filled in for Locker twice this [ More ]

Bene BenwikereOct 21 04:13p

Carolina Panthers CB Bene Benwikere (ankle) will return as the starting nickel cornerback when he's back from his injury, according to head coach Ron Rivera. If Benwikere can't play [ More ]

Martavis BryantOct 21 04:06p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Martavis Bryant cut into WR Markus Wheaton's workload in Week 7 against the Houston Texans, and QB Ben Roethlisberger took three 'shot' plays down the field [ More ]

Andre EllingtonOct 21 04:03p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington had 88 yards rushing and 72 yards receiving in Week 7, and only four players in franchise history since 1960 to have more yards [ 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