Here they come again. The Detroit Lions arrive this weekend to try and do something they haven't been able to since Matthew Stafford was a three year old, Mike McCarthy was two years removed from a summer college job as a toll booth worker. That's win a game on Wisconsin soil. 22 years, with 19 of those games at Lambeau, three were played at Milwaukee County Stadium. It was December 15, 1991, Lindy Infante's final home game as head coach of the Pack, when the Lions beat the home team 21-17, dropping the Green Bay record to a dismal 3-12. Even after beating the Vikings the following week, Infante didn't survive. Newly hired General Manager Ron Wolf sacked him, hired Mike Holmgren and the Lion taming streak began. It hasn't always been easy and for the run to hit 23 years, the Packers need to play a complete game. Detroit will arrive sharing first in the NFC North after handing the Bears their first loss last Sunday. They have considerable talent on both sides of the ball and they are brimming with confidence at 3-1 after enduring their own 4-12 campaign a year ago. Players and coaches from both cities say they are aware of but don't pay much attention to the streak. McCarthy was emphatic when he said it won't even be brought up in team meetings. Stafford said we're only preparing for the 2013 Packers, not the 1994, 2000 or 2012 teams. After Detroit snapped another franchise long futility mark by finally beating the Redskins in Washington two weeks ago, for the first time ever, they'd like nothing more than to end the NFL's new, longest regular season home field winning streak.
The Packers returned to the practice field today and nearly all of the injured were back. That included Clay Matthews who worked on a limited basis. That's a hopeful sign he'll play Sunday. Jermichael Finley was cleared to play Tuesday after his concussion in Cincinnati. He was a full participant as was Morgan Burnett, Jarrett Bush and John Kuhn, like Matthews, dealing with hamstring injuries. Eddie Lacy's still listed on the injury report two and a half weeks after his concussion and Johnathan Franklin's ankle shouldn't be an issue. Three players have already been ruled out however, Casey Hayward for the 4th game and nearly the 8th week with his hamstring injury, James Starks may need another week or two to recover from a knee injury suffered late in the first half against the Bengals. Greg Van Roten is the surprise. The second year backup center/guard suffered a foot sprain at Monday's practice and McCarthy said it could be a couple of weeks. Raises an interesting question as to who will be the backup center. My guess is T.J. Lang if something should happen to Evan Dietrich-Smith. Remember, he'll be playing against Ndomakong Suh.
We had the first chance to chat with Aaron Rodgers after the off week following practice today.
Here's what he had to say about the time off, the encouraging start to the running game and yes, the Lions.
The latest from Thursday's practice and a more detailed look at the matchups are coming yet this week.