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Notebook: Packers Have Presence In Pro Bowl Voting

A little less than two weeks remain for fans to cast their vote for the Pro Bowl, and cornerback Charles Woodson, safety Nick Collins and wide receiver Greg Jennings are just some of the Packers that currently rank in the top five in the NFC at their respective positions.- More Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 26


A little less than two weeks remain for fans to cast their vote for the Pro Bowl, and cornerback Charles Woodson, safety Nick Collins and wide receiver Greg Jennings are just some of the Packers that currently rank in the top five in the NFC at their respective positions.

Fan voting makes up one-third of the final tally, with votes from players and coaches each comprising a third. Fan balloting will conclude at 11 a.m. (CT) on Tuesday, Dec. 9, and the teams will be announced at 3 p.m. (CT) on Tuesday, Dec. 16, on NFL Network.

As of Tuesday, Woodson was the leading vote-getter in the NFC at cornerback. He is tied for the league lead with five interceptions, and also has 15 passes defensed and two sacks despite playing with a fractured toe for much of the season. Woodson is a four-time Pro Bowler but hasn't been selected since 2001.

Collins, who is tied with Woodson and two others for the NFL interception lead with five and leads the league with 230 interception return yards, is currently No. 3 in fan voting at strong safety. The last Packers safety to earn Pro Bowl recognition was Darren Sharper in 2002.

Jennings, who is fourth in the NFL with a career-high 966 receiving yards, is in the top five in the conference at wide receiver. His 17.3-yard per catch average is tops in the NFL for players with 50-plus receptions.

Fullback Korey Hall, special teamer Jarrett Bush and kicker Mason Crosby are also in the top five at their positions. Hall has five catches for 29 yards and a touchdown and has helped block for running back Ryan Grant's 837 rushing yards. Bush is tied for second on the team with 10 special teams tackles, and Crosby has connected on 19-of-23 field goals with 91 points this season.

To vote for the Pro Bowl, click here.

Short-yardage success

One area that Green Bay's offense has shown marked improvement in this season has been in 3rd-and-1 situations.

Through 11 games the Packers have converted 16-of-21 attempts (76.2 percent) on 3rd-and-1, which ranks ninth in the NFL. That includes 13-of-16 on runs and 3-of-5 on passing attempts.

In 2007 the Packers were last in the league on 3rd-and-1, converting first downs just 10 times in 25 attempts (40 percent), including just 2-of-8 through the air.

"I think a lot of that is just the maturation of our offense in that particular situation," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "Frankly, there's things probably a year ago or two years ago that I probably wasn't comfortable calling having in that particular situation at that time, and I think that's just part of our development as an offense in the run-blocking unit, and utilization of our personnel.

"John Kuhn has done a great job with his opportunities. I just think it's a little bit of the growth of what we've done with our players and schematically in that particular situation."

Kuhn is tied for first in the NFL in 3rd-and-1 conversion percentage, picking up the first down on all four of his attempts this season.

Talented tandem

Carolina comes into Sunday's game featuring a rushing attack that includes two running backs with 500-plus yards on the season, a feat only two other teams in the NFL have accomplished this season.

Third-year running back DeAngelo Williams is sixth in the NFL with 883 yards on 172 attempts (5.1 avg.) and rookie back Jonathan Stewart has gained 528 yards on 123 carries (4.3 avg.). The Panthers are averaging 133.7 yards per game on the ground, good for sixth-best in the league.

"They are both short, stocky, stout guys," defensive tackle Colin Cole said. "They both have the same ability as far as getting low and running through blocks. From what I have seen on film, they definitely know how to run through arm tackles.

"If you come at them high and you come at them with just arms, they are able to make you miss and hurt you."

The only other teams in the league with two 500-yard rushers are the New York Giants with Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward, and Tampa Bay with Earnest Graham (currently on injured reserve) and Warrick Dunn. Each of the three teams has a record of 8-3 or better.

Tauscher to test hamstring Friday

Tackle Mark Tauscher, who sustained a hamstring injury on the second play from scrimmage Monday night in New Orleans and did not return, did not practice on Wednesday and will rest again Thursday before being evaluated by the team doctor on Friday.

"We'll see how much work he'll be able to do on Friday," McCarthy said. "I know Mark is very optimistic. He has been very positive about his chances to play. We'll determine his practice participation on Friday morning, but he will be down today and tomorrow."

Tauscher has started 29 straight games at right tackle, missing five in 2006 with a groin injury. That injury snapped a consecutive starts streak of 57, and he played in all 16 games six times in his first eight seasons.

Tony Moll, who filled in for Tauscher at the right tackle spot at New Orleans and was his replacement for the final five games of 2006, worked with the first unit during the jog-through portion of Wednesday's practice.

{sportsad300}Injury/participation update

Three weeks ago, the Packers were the healthiest they had been all season with just four players listed on the injury report.

Wednesday's injury report set another record with a season-high 19 players listed for Green Bay.

"We were able to get all of the work done that we intended and I don't see the number of limited participants being a factor in our preparation during the course of the week," McCarthy said. "I think it will definitely improve a bunch by the end of the week."

Linebacker Nick Barnett (knee) and cornerback Pat Lee are out for Sunday. McCarthy said Lee suffered a sprained knee Monday night at New Orleans and will likely miss the next two games.

In addition to Tauscher, safety Charlie Peprah (calf) and running back DeShawn Wynn (calf) did not participate.

Limited participants were safety Atari Bigby (ankle), Bush (ankle), tackle Chad Clifton (knees), safety Nick Collins (knee), tight end Tory Humphrey (ankle), running back Brandon Jackson (ankle), Jennings (rib), defensive tackle Johnny Jolly (ankle), defensive end Michael Montgomery (ankle), safety Aaron Rouse (ankle), center Scott Wells (shoulder) and Woodson (toe).

Wide receiver James Jones (knee) and defensive end Jeremy Thompson (groin) participated fully.

For Carolina, linebacker Adam Seward (ankle) did not participate and running back Jonathan Stewart (heel) was a full participant.

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