Notebook: Jackson Ready For More Action

text - More Audio | Video | Packers-Lions Game Center Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 28

During the bye week back in October, when the Packers coaching staff went through their self-scouting process of analyzing videotape of every game snap to that point in the season, Head Coach Mike McCarthy noted that he actually felt sorry for rookie running back Brandon Jackson.

The young kid really didn't have anywhere to run.

Jackson's inexperience showed at times as well as the Packers struggled mightily to run the ball. But while the ground game has improved in the season's second half with better blocking and the emergence of Ryan Grant, Jackson hasn't had much chance to show how much he has improved.

He should get that chance on Sunday.

Jackson is expected to handle a fairly significant workload against Detroit as the Packers will be resting starters and rotating several young players through the lineup.

"I would like to get him a number of carries, and let him have the opportunity to have success," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "It's something that he did not have a whole lot of in the beginning of the year, and I really didn't think it was just him. He has improved since then, which you'd expect from a young player, but the run-blocking unit has come a long ways since the beginning of the season."

Jackson was the starting halfback for the season's first three games, and he rushed 38 times for 97 yards, just a 2.6-yard average. A shin injury and the switches to fellow rookie DeShawn Wynn and ultimately Grant have limited Jackson's playing time considerably since, though he did get in the game late last week and give what he hopes is a preview of this week.

On his first two carries in the fourth quarter against Chicago, Jackson broke runs of 15 and 9 yards, the former his longest of the season. He finished with three carries for 25 yards, bringing his season totals to 55 rushes for 154 yards.

"I felt a good spark," Jackson said. "I was just very hungry and ready to get out there and do whatever it takes. If it was a pass, a run, a block, anything just to show them I was ready."

Jackson has spent this week getting ready to do a lot more. It's one thing to prepare for a game as a backup, knowing you might get some playing time here or there. But it's another to be assured of some significant snaps in advance, and Jackson doesn't want to let himself or anyone on the team down.

"It's better when you prepare knowing that you're going to get a lot of snaps and a lot of reps," he said. "You're more intense, you're more into it, more focused and everything. I went into this week hard at it, like every week, but just a little more intense, knowing I was going to get the ball and do a lot of blocking and everything.

"I'm prepared and ready."

Major mark

Should the Packers get their 13th win on Sunday, they would match the franchise record for regular-season wins also attained in 1962 (13-1), 1996 (13-3) and 1997 (13-3).

Statistically, the odds would appear good. The Packers have won 12 of their last 13 regular-season finales, the best mark in the NFL since 1994.

Interestingly, the second-best team on that list is the Washington Redskins at 10-3. Washington is the only one of the three NFC teams vying for the final playoff spot this weekend that controls its own destiny. Should the Redskins defeat the Cowboys, they would claim the No. 6 seed in the NFC and travel to Seattle for a Wild Card playoff game next week.

Injury update

Cornerback Charles Woodson sat out practice on Friday and is doubtful for the game due to his toe injury. McCarthy said if this were the playoffs, Woodson would be able to play, but the team is being cautious with Woodson to have him fully healthy for the playoffs.

{sportsad300}In Woodson's absence, McCarthy said Will Blackmon, Tramon Williams, Frank Walker and Jarrett Bush, who has missed the last two games with a calf injury but returned to full duty in practice this week and is probable, all would play a significant amount at defensive back.

McCarthy may also take the cautious approach with receiver Greg Jennings (ankle) and defensive tackle Ryan Pickett (groin), who are listed as questionable for the game. Jennings' injury occurred in the fourth quarter in Chicago last week, while Pickett's happened two weeks ago in St. Louis, and he sat out last week.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers (hamstring) is doubtful, meaning Craig Nall would step in for Brett Favre when McCarthy decides to remove him from the game.

Offensive linemen Chad Clifton (shoulder), Mark Tauscher (ankle) and Junius Coston (ankle), along with tight end Bubba Franks (knee), receiver Koren Robinson (knee) and cornerback Al Harris (heel), are all probable for the game.

Fullback Korey Hall (hip) is out, but McCarthy said earlier this week he expected Hall to be ready for the playoffs.

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