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No rest for the weary on a short week

Packers’ preparations for Thursday night well underway

Head Coach Matt LaFleur
Head Coach Matt LaFleur

GREEN BAY – Head Coach Matt LaFleur didn't go home after the Packers' big overtime win Sunday night.

He did get some sleep on the couch in his office, but grinding away at all hours on film review and preparations for the team's annual Thursday Night Football appearance is just the nature of the beast for NFL coaches.

"That's kind of the way I've done it every year no matter if it was here or somewhere else," LaFleur said Monday. "Just go right in and get to work. It's a challenge, but every team has it, so they're going through the same things we are right now."

They are the Tennessee Titans, the opponent coming to Lambeau Field in just a few days. LaFleur said the coaches will work late into the evening Monday finalizing the game plan and then present it to the players when they return to the facility Tuesday.

A series of meetings, walk-throughs, and other mental exercises will constitute the bulk of the team's prep, with an eye toward players getting their bodies back as best they can due to the quick turnaround.

"It's going to be a long day tomorrow, there's no doubt about that," LaFleur said, not guaranteeing he'd sleep at home Monday night either, though that may have been a bit tongue-in-cheek.

If there's one reprieve with the Thursday game this year, it's that the Packers have it at home. Thursday night games in 2020 (San Francisco) and last year (Arizona) both required long road trips, which squeezed everyone's time and energy that much more.

The Packers are playing a Thursday night home game for the first time since LaFleur's first season in 2019, when Philadelphia visited.

They also might be getting a touch healthier, seemingly having escaped the Dallas game without any further injuries, while linebacker De'Vondre Campbell and receiver Randall Cobb are both "day to day" and might be able to return.

Cobb (ankle), who has missed the last four games, is eligible to be activated off of injured reserve this week if he's medically cleared. Campbell was never put on IR and has missed the last two games. Personnel-wise, both LaFleur and special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia said the punt return job remains under evaluation after Amari Rodgers was replaced by Keisean Nixon following another fumble.

The offense is also coming off its most efficient performance of the season, rushing for 207 yards while quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw three TD passes to rookie Christian Watson. In taking the Cowboys to overtime tied at 28 and winning it 31-28, the Packers scored more than 27 points for the first time all season.

LaFleur called it Rodgers' best outing of the season (146.7 passer rating), crediting him with "pinpoint accuracy" on several throws, while the ground game and Watson's presence both played major factors.

Watson's provided "a spark," LaFleur said, and could change how defenses line up against the Packers because "you can feel his speed."

Watson used that speed to haul in TD passes of 58 and 39 yards, while Allen Lazard and Sammy Watkins each turned in a long reception as well. Running back Aaron Jones busted two runs of 20-plus yards, and AJ Dillon chipped in a 17-yarder.

"To get those big, explosive plays was absolutely critical for us," LaFleur said. "We talk about it every week. You want to score points? Get explosive plays."

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