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Notebook: First Home Win Needed


Probably the last thing Head Coach Mike McCarthy would expect of a young, 2-4 team would be a winless home record and a winning road record.

But the Packers are 0-3 at Lambeau Field thus far in 2006, a trend whose reversal is the highest priority this week as Green Bay plays its only home contest in the first four weeks after the bye.

"This is an important football game this week for a lot of reasons -- number one, home-field advantage," McCarthy said during his Wednesday press conference. "We've got a great home-field advantage, and we need to take advantage of it."

Since the season-opening shutout against the Bears, the Packers have lost their other two home games by a total of 10 points. In each game, they had the ball in the final two minutes with a chance to at least tie the score.

"We need to learn from those losses," McCarthy said. "There's a reason why we did not complete those games, and I think that's part of the improvement of our football team."

Last year the Packers finished just 3-5 at home, their first losing record at Lambeau Field since 1991. That year also marked the end of the last two-year stretch of consecutive losing home records.

That's something that will become very difficult to avoid if the team falls to 0-4 at home after this week.

"It's important to win at home, we know that, but it's just important to win, period," offensive tackle Mark Tauscher said. "We need to get something started here and get some momentum built and start really making that push as an improving football team to get more wins on the docket."

Positive signs on injury front

Receiver Greg Jennings' ankle injury doesn't appear to be as serious as initially feared. Jennings was walking around without crutches on Wednesday, and McCarthy said Jennings is going to continue his rehab on Thursday and try to practice on Friday.

He's listed as doubtful on the injury report, but if he does practice by the end of the week, that status could change.

"Jennings is a lot better today than we anticipated," McCarthy said.

Among other players on the injury report, linebacker Ben Taylor is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury but returned to practice for the first time in more than two weeks. Offensive lineman Daryn Colledge is questionable with a calf injury but practiced.

Defensive tackle Corey Williams (knee) is questionable and running back Ahman Green (knee) is probably, though missed practice. McCarthy indicated the coaching staff is simply being cautious with Green and his injury is not a major concern.

Linebacker Abdul Hodge (knee) and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins (ankle) are both out for this week's game, but McCarthy said he's hopeful both of them can return next week.

New receiver, old friend

The Packers' newest receiver, Shaun Bodiford, caught some passes from backup quarterback Aaron Rodgers back in 2002 when the two played junior college football at Butte College near Chico, Calif.

Rodgers went on to play at Cal while Bodiford moved on to Portland State, but their one season at Butte together was memorable. Butte went 10-1, won a conference championship and earned the No. 2 national ranking.

What does Rodgers remember about Bodiford?

"He was a stud, played both ways," Rodgers said, noting that Bodiford played a lot of nickel back on defense. "One game we were playing our rivals, and he went up against the leading receiver in the nation and shut him down, held him to like two catches."

Bodiford's days on defense are behind him now, and he'll be either the No. 4 or 5 receiver this week depending on Jennings' status. Most of his work thus far in practice has been on special teams, and McCarthy said he seems to be picking up the offense well.

"The coaches just told me to learn the position and come ready to play, that's why we've got you here," Bodiford said. "Make plays, so that's what I plan on doing."

Handling success

McCarthy reiterated on Wednesday that one of the challenges with a young team is handling success, and now that the Packers have won two of their last four games, he'll have to pay attention to how the players are reacting to it.

"They start to believe what they read, start to believe what they see on TV," he said. "That's where the ability to focus and keep your finger on the pulse of reality is critical, to stay on the path of the positive momentum that you've established."

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