Notebook: Packers, Seahawks No Strangers

As a second-year head coach, Mike McCarthy probably couldn’t have found a more familiar playoff foe outside of the NFC North Division. The Packers played the Seattle Seahawks last year during McCarthy’s first season and again this year in the preseason. - More | Packers-Seahawks Game Center Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Jan. 6


As a second-year head coach, Mike McCarthy probably couldn't have found a more familiar playoff foe outside of the NFC North Division.

The Packers played the Seattle Seahawks last year during McCarthy's first season and again this year in the preseason. Combine that with General Manager Ted Thompson's prior history in Seattle, and there's no need to start from scratch when it comes to preparing for Saturday's contest.

Of course, that familiarity cuts both ways, with Seattle head coach Mike Holmgren's history in Green Bay and having gone head-to-head with McCarthy already, too.

Last season's Monday Night Football game in Seattle will provide both teams with more valuable game film than this year's preseason game. Teams don't reveal much of their playbook in the preseason, and Seattle rested starting quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and its two starting offensive tackles, Walter Jones and Sean Locklear, that night.

McCarthy already had gone back and looked at last season's Monday night game out west, a 34-24 Seattle victory, before his press conference late Sunday afternoon, and he found a few points of reference for the upcoming week of preparation.

"It was a big game, a snow game, and those are things you can look back on and draw from as far as your preparation for your football team," McCarthy said.

What McCarthy remembers most are the early opportunities his team let get away. After turning an early Charles Woodson interception into a touchdown for a 7-0 lead, the Packers proceeded to go three-and-out after another interception by Al Harris.

Brett Favre then threw an interception with the Packers on the Seahawks' 27-yard line and looking to score, and a second interception by Woodson (and Hasselbeck's third of the game) deep in Seattle territory produced only a field-goal try, which was blocked.

So even though the Packers ultimately held a 21-12 lead early in the third quarter before it slipped away, the prevailing feeling was they should have been in much firmer control of the ballgame.

"Seattle did a nice job in the second half of coming back and taking a lead in the football game," McCarthy said. "We had the two turnovers in the second half that didn't help us.

"We had some opportunities, frankly, in the first half that we didn't cash in on. Our defense had the turnovers early in the game (and) point production off of those would have been a bigger benefit to us. So those are all excellent examples of what we need to do in playoff football."

Weather delay

The Packers' coaching staff was expecting to get the game tape from Saturday's Seattle-Washington game on Sunday morning, but weather-related flight delays prevented the tape from getting to Green Bay by the time McCarthy addressed the media in the late afternoon.

Still, McCarthy said the coaching staff had eight to 10 Seattle games on file and had been studying them already last week. McCarthy himself spent almost all of his film-study time last week on Seattle, while his quality-control coaches had prepared reports on New York and Tampa Bay in case the Seahawks lost.

"They had all three teams broken down and they were ready to go today regardless of what direction the outcome went," McCarthy said.

{sportsad300}Normal schedule

With the game on Saturday, the Packers plan to have a normal week of preparation, just shifted one day.

The players will have strength and conditioning work on Monday morning, followed by a film session. Then the usual three days of practice, which during the regular season would be Wednesday through Friday, will be held Tuesday through Thursday. The players probably will wear pads during Wednesday's practice (a normal "Thursday" regular-season practice) after wearing pads during both workouts last week.

"I think routine is important," McCarthy said. "We talk about preparation leading to good performance so we're not going to change the way we prepare."

Injury update

Guard Jason Spitz and cornerback/punt returner Will Blackmon both are scheduled to test their quadriceps and foot injuries, respectively, on Monday with the hope they can return to the practice field sometime this week and be ready to play.

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