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Notebook: No Better Building Block Than A Victory


During the season's first two weeks, the Packers had shown solid defensive line play, productivity in the passing game, and the development of some young players.

But the first true building block for Head Coach Mike McCarthy was laid on Sunday with a victory, his first as a head coach and Green Bay's first in 2006.

McCarthy emphasized Monday during his regular news conference that there is nothing more valuable to building toward success by getting an initial taste of it, in part because the players don't spend quite as much time concerned with the past game as looking ahead to the next challenge.

"With winning, you really have something to build on," McCarthy said. "I think as a football team we were able to grow with this victory over Detroit, where in the last two weeks I think we were just improving in some areas. We keep talking about stacking successes, and this is what I'm talking about."

How the Packers capitalize on the momentum from the 31-24 win at Detroit will play out this week. They have an extra day to prepare for next Monday night's game in Philadelphia, and McCarthy said the team would stick to its same routine as much as possible.

The Wednesday and Thursday practices will remain the same, with the "extra" practice coming on Friday, which McCarthy said would be abbreviated. Then Saturday's practice will be just like Friday's during a normal week, and Sunday will be travel day.

Playing back-to-back road games is never easy, and a prime time road game makes that an additional challenge. But McCarthy feels his team is more ready to handle that now that the Packers have a victory under their belt.

"It's a young football team in a lot of different areas," he said. "They need to know how to win in this league, and we have some veterans who haven't won a lot of games here of late. Winning is very important, it cures a lot of your potential problems, but it really gives you the platform to build off of."

Still too many

The Packers went into Sunday's game hoping to eliminate the explosive gains (12 or more yards with a run, 16 or more with a pass) by the opposing offense, but they actually gave up more.

The Lions had nine explosive plays, up from seven each by the Bears and Saints.

"That's our problem on defense right now," McCarthy said. "We need cleaner communication, we need to be more decisive, more urgent, and we'll get that cleaned up."

The worst part about the explosive plays is how many are going for touchdowns. The Lions had two on Sunday on pass plays of 37 and 42 yards in the first quarter. That's a total of six touchdowns surrendered by the defense on big plays this season.

"You never want to give up more than five big plays, explosive run or explosive pass," defensive coordinator Bob Sanders said. "The problem we have right now is we can't give up any for touchdowns. We're giving them up for touchdowns, and that's what we're working hard to try to eliminate."

Another NFL record for Favre

According to Elias Sports Bureau, Brett Favre's 75-yard touchdown pass to rookie Greg Jennings on Sunday was not only the 400th of his career but also his 10th of 75 or more yards.

That ties the all-time NFL record for TD passes of 75-plus yards, shared by George Blanda, Ed Brown, Len Dawson, Sonny Jurgensen and Norm Snead.

Also according to Elias, that play made Jennings just the third player since 1990 to have a TD reception of at least 75 yards within the first three games of his NFL career.

Coincidentally, the most recent entry into that club came against the Packers last year, when Cleveland's Braylon Edwards had an 80-yard TD catch in his second career game on Sept. 18.

The other since 1990 was Cleveland's Derrick Alexander with an 81-yard TD catch against Arizona in his second career game on Sept. 18, 1994.

Must-see TV

Tonight's Monday Night Football matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints features the re-opening of the Superdome in New Orleans, which was used for months as a shelter for victims of Hurricane Katrina and has not hosted a football game since 2004.

McCarthy was the Saints offensive coordinator and lived in New Orleans for five years, and he plans on tuning in to the historic game.

"I don't watch much Monday Night Football, but I will watch that tonight," he said. "I think it will be special in a lot of ways. We all remember the dome and the way it was used during Katrina, and now to see it back. The people I've talked to in the organization, they're really excited about it. They say the Dome looks great, and I'll be rooting for the Saints tonight."

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