Notebook: Packers Get Rare Chance To Knock Off Unbeaten Foe

The Green Bay Packers haven’t faced an undefeated team with a record of 7-0 or better in almost 18 years, and although the team knows Tennessee will provide a tough test, several players talked about the added excitement that comes with the challenge on Sunday. - More Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Oct. 28


The Green Bay Packers haven't faced an undefeated team with a record of 7-0 or better in almost 18 years, and although the team knows Tennessee will provide a tough test, several players talked about the added excitement that comes with the challenge on Sunday.

On Nov. 4, 1990, the Packers hosted the 7-0 San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field, and dropped the contest 24-20. This Sunday Green Bay will travel to Tennessee to take on the NFL's lone undefeated team, the 7-0 Titans.

Tennessee has outscored opponents 180-87 in seven games this year, and has allowed 12 or fewer points in five of those contests. Their all-around attack is evidenced by their No. 4-ranked rushing offense, the No. 4 passing defense and the No. 10 rushing defense through Week 8. The Titans have won 10 straight regular-season games, the longest current streak in the league.

"They are a great team and they are playing at a high level," wide receiver Greg Jennings said. "We have to come out and do what we have been doing in the past couple of weeks, and that's executing, keeping the ball away from our opponents, and keeping our defense fresh.

"I don't know if there is more motivation. I think you want to beat everybody that you play. With them being 7-0, you definitely want to be the team that knocks them off, and they are thinking the same thing. They don't want us to be that team. We have to match their intensity and exceed their intensity."

The Packers have dominated time of possession in their back-to-back wins against Seattle and Indianapolis before the bye, controlling the clock for 71:12 compared to 48:48 by their opponents.

Green Bay's offense has only turned the ball over once in those two games, an Aaron Rodgers fumble at Seattle, and the team has a plus-three turnover margin during the two-game winning streak. The Titans lead the NFL with a plus-8 turnover differential.

"They are riding the momentum of undefeated, and it's going to be a game where we've got to match their intensity when we go down there," Rodgers said. "You play on the road, you want to get the crowd out of it early so we're going to have to go in and start fast. Hopefully get the crowd noise down and finish our drives off with touchdowns."

The Titans are 4-0 this season at LP Field, and have won 13 of their last 18 games at home. Tennessee is coming off a short week after a 31-21 win over Indianapolis at home on Monday night, while the Packers are well-rested after their bye, but Rodgers said the advantage gained by the Packers there is negligible.

"They are playing at home, so I don't think there is as much of an advantage," Rodgers said. "I think that's maybe a little too much put into that some time, but the best part is we've been able to get some guys back from injury and hopefully we'll be close to full strength."

The Packers could benefit from the return of several players coming back from injury Sunday, including right cornerback Al Harris, strong safety Atari Bigby, defensive end Michael Montgomery and defensive tackle Justin Harrell, and may be the healthiest they have been as a team since the beginning of the season.

"A lot of positive energy out there (at practice) today," defensive end Aaron Kampman said. "I'm excited about where we are at. Obviously we need to translate that onto the field with everyone coming back and being healthy, but I'm very confident that will take place.

"Hopefully this can continue to propel us with a good performance, and that's what we've got to keep working on this week to make sure we have that performance on Sunday."

Harris holding up well

Harris, who has been sidelined for the past four games with a spleen injury suffered against Dallas in Week 3, participated fully in practice again on Wednesday, and Head Coach Mike McCarthy said he anticipated that Harris would be cleared to play on Sunday.

"He has taken a full dose of practice both Monday and Wednesday, and it's great to have him out there," McCarthy said. "There is no doubt about it. He has that presence about himself, a physical corner. He looks good. He has had a good week so far."

Like with all injured players, McCarthy said Friday will be a key day in determining what role Harris will be able to play against Tennessee, whether it is returning to his starting right corner position or playing as the nickel back.

"That will be part of our Friday, but just to have him out there practicing in the padded practices," McCarthy said. "You try to protect him as much as you can, and he's been smart about it."

Preliminary HOF list announced

Eight men with connections to the Packers are among the preliminary modern-era nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2009.

The list includes four-time Pro Bowl safety LeRoy Butler (1990-2001), five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Sterling Sharpe (1988-94), general manager Ron Wolf (1991-2000) and team president Bob Harlan, who retired in January after 37 years with the organization and currently serves as the team's chairman emeritus.

Packers defensive ends coach Carl "Big Daddy" Hairston, who played 15 seasons (1976-90) with Philadelphia, Cleveland and Phoenix, is also on the 133-man list that was released Tuesday.

Other players on the list who spent part of their careers in Green Bay are safety Eugene Robinson (1996-97), defensive tackle Steve McMichael (1994) and linebacker Hardy Nickerson (2002).

From this preliminary list of modern-era nominees, Hall of Fame selectors will choose 25 candidates who will advance as semifinalist nominees. The list of 25 modern-era semifinalists will be announced later next month. The 25 modern-era semifinalists list will be reduced by a mail ballot to 15 finalists.

{sportsad300}The final list of nominees that will be considered for election will consist of the 15 modern-era finalists and the two previously announced senior nominees, Bob Hayes and Claude Humphrey.

To be considered for Hall of Fame election, a nominated player or coach must have been retired at least five years. A contributor, which Harlan and Wolf are considered, is a nominee who has made outstanding career contributions to pro football in capacities other than playing or coaching.

Injury/participation update

Linebacker Desmond Bishop, who sustained a hamstring injury during Monday's practice, did not participate in practice on Wednesday.

Tackle Chad Clifton (knees), defensive tackle Ryan Pickett (not injury related), quarterback Aaron Rodgers (right shoulder) and cornerback Charles Woodson (toe) were limited participants.

Rodgers did some throwing in the jog-through, including some longer tosses, but McCarthy said Rodgers was held to a "pitch count" during practice.

"It is progress," Rodgers said. "It just shows it is feeling better. Hopefully we can do away with that at some point this season and have no restrictions."

Defensive end Jason Hunter (hamstring), who has been inactive the past three games with the injury, participated fully, as did linebacker Danny Lansanah (hamstring).

For Tennessee, linebacker Colin Allred (groin), defensive end Dave Ball (concussion), cornerback Chris Carr (back), fullback Quinton Ganther (concussion), defensive end William Hayes (illness) and quarterback Vince Young (illness) did not participate.

Starting right defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch, who was sidelined for Monday night's game vs. Indianapolis because of a groin injury, was a full participant.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content