Notebook: Jenkins Brothers To Meet Again

text More Audio | Video | Packers-Panthers Game Center Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 14


Because they play the same position, they won't exactly be knocking heads on the field Sunday, but the game will be special to the Jenkins brothers nonetheless.

Green Bay's Cullen and Carolina's Kris, both defensive tackles, will take the same field Sunday for the first time since the 2004 season opener, when the Packers beat Carolina on a Monday night. (The Packers played in Carolina again in 2005, but Kris was injured and did not play.)

In that 2004 opener, Kris had four tackles and a sack, while Cullen, playing in his first game as a Packer, had two tackles. But that's almost ancient history in terms of the sibling rivalry. Back then, Cullen was still trying to find his place on the team, while the older Kris already had been to two Pro Bowls.

Fast forward to now, and Cullen has entrenched himself as Green Bay's starting defensive end whose strong 2006 season earned him his first multi-year contract this past winter, and he's not necessarily referred to any longer as Kris Jenkins' little brother.

"I feel like it's on that path," Cullen Jenkins said. "The biggest thing we do compete with is our stats or something like that. If I go out there and do more than he does, I'll be the best brother that day. Then he can be my brother."

Their paths to the NFL were starkly different. Cullen was a non-drafted free agent out of Central Michgan cut by the Packers in 2003 and sent to NFL Europe in 2004 before landing a spot as a reserve defensive lineman that summer. Meanwhile Kris was a second-round draft pick of the Panthers in 2001 out of Maryland and was a starter in his first NFL game as a rookie. He earned his third Pro Bowl selection last season.

"He's one of the people who has always supported me and helped me out, coming through college and my journey, trying to make the team, getting to where I'm at now," Jenkins said. "We have a real good relationship."

Cullen said the two haven't talked much about the game lately because Kris just added another child to the family and discussions have centered around that. But the trash talk between the two will probably crank up as the week goes on, and Cullen plans to take his wife and two kids to have dinner with Kris on Saturday night.

"My oldest daughter, I think she's finally realizing what's going on," Jenkins said. "She seems like she's more excited about it than I am. She keeps asking me, 'When is Uncle Kris coming to town?'"

And the all-important question as to whom their parents will cheer for Sunday?

"The defense," Jenkins said. "Whenever the defense is on the field."

Never satisfied

New feature running back Ryan Grant's 119-yard performance last Sunday was the Packers' highest by a single running back since the ninth game of last season. But Grant wasn't going to concede he's shown his best on the field yet.

"I can always finish runs better," said Grant, who has two 100-yard games in the last three weeks. "A couple times I felt like I could have gotten my pads a little lower, maybe ran through another tackle. When you're a competitor, I'm real detailed when I look at myself, and nobody is a harder critic on myself than I am. We did some really good things offensively, but I always feel like I can play a better game."

That's an attitude embodied by most in the Packers' locker room. Defensive players, in discussing the 34-0 shutout of Minnesota, have continually pointed to things they can improve on, and the team by no means sees last Sunday's game - their best performance of the season to date - as their peak performance.

"I hope we're building momentum, what we know we can do," Grant said. "But there's still room to improve. We can watch the film and definitely see that. That's what's good about this team. We're playing good football right now, but we can play better. That's definitely promising for us, with the young team we have."

Banged up

The Packers had to shuffle things around on the offensive line during practice on Wednesday with several players nursing injuries.

{sportsad300}Tackles Mark Tauscher (ankle) and Chad Clifton (knee) sat out practice, while guard Daryn Colledge was limited after his back flared up on him. That led to more reps for Junius Coston (who is not on the injury report for the first time in a month and has apparently recovered from his ankle injury), Tony Moll (who is listed with a neck injury but was a full participant in the non-padded practice) and rookie Allen Barbre.

"We're a little banged up right there," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. Tauscher and Clifton are expected to return to practice later in the week, while Colledge played through the back problem in the last game.

Among the other players on the injury report, three sat out practice - Jenkins (knee), receiver Koren Robinson (knee) and linebacker Tracy White (ankle). Jenkins could be back at practice on Thursday, or Friday at the latest.

Cornerbacks Al Harris (back) and Charles Woodson (hip) and defensive tackle Justin Harrell (ankle) were limited in practice.

Fullback Korey Hall (neck), defensive end Jason Hunter (shoulder), linebacker Brady Poppinga (shoulder), tight end Donald Lee (rib), and safety Aaron Rouse (shoulder) were all full participants.

Tight end Bubba Franks (knee), cornerback Will Blackmon (foot) and safety Nick Collins (knee) have been ruled out this week. McCarthy said Franks is maybe a week or two away from returning.

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