Notebook: Rest Helped Green


While the weekend off was a good time for all the Packers players and coaches to get away and get refreshed, the player who benefited the most from the bye might have been running back Ahman Green.

Nagged by hamstring troubles that have forced him to miss the last two games, Green practiced just once last week to heal up. He came back to practice on Monday looking like his old self, and Head Coach Mike McCarthy expects him to be ready to play on Sunday at Miami.

"The way we handled him last week - rehab Tuesday and Wednesday and practicing on Thursday - I think more mentally it let him feel like he knew he was back and he could push the hamstrings," McCarthy said. "I think it gave him a little more sense of relief mentally going into the bye week."

McCarthy has felt prior to each of the last two games that Green would be ready to go, only to scratch him a few hours before kickoff because the hamstrings weren't 100 percent.

This was the most encouraging report yet on Green, who is still the team's No. 1 running back despite strong performances by Vernand Morency (99 yards at Philadelphia) and Noah Herron (106 yards vs. St. Louis) in his absence.

"He looked good today," McCarthy said.

Woodson questionable; Blackmon may play

Cornerback Charles Woodson missed practice on Monday to rehab his sore knee and ribs, and McCarthy indicated he could return to practice later in the week.

In his absence, rookie cornerback Will Blackmon worked with the nickel defense as a fifth defensive back and returned punts behind receiver Greg Jennings.

Blackmon is back at practice full-time for the first time since May and hopes his broken foot is finally fully healed.

McCarthy said he'll have to see Blackmon get through a full week of practice before deciding on a possible role for him against Miami, but the early signs are encouraging.

"Right now I don't know exactly what my role is, so that's why I'm taking reps everywhere -- at returner, at corner and at nickel," Blackmon said. "I'm trying to educate myself on all three positions and just be prepared wherever they want to put me.

"Right now I feel pretty good, so we'll see how it plays out by the end of the week. If I feel pretty good by the end of the week, then hopefully we can give it a go."

Patience and diligence have been Blackmon's hallmarks during his extended time off the field. He attended all the meetings and has watched practice every day. He also has traveled with the team.

Blackmon did his share as a return man at Boston College, taking back both punts and kickoffs there. The Packers are considering him only as a punt returner for now, and only if Woodson isn't available would Blackmon be considered for that role on Sunday.

As far as the defense is concerned, he feels he knows the scheme well enough, it's just a matter of getting enough snaps in practice see things live.

"I can tell you everything on paper what to do, but it's obviously different with the speed and everything," he said. "Hopefully this week I can get adjusted to that and I think we'll be fine."

Blackmon admitted it's been "awful" dealing with an injury for the first time in his athletic career, and he's anxious to hit the field soon.

"I've been ready since day I got drafted, just waiting for my chance," he said. "Hopefully this week will play out the way we want it to.

"I want to contribute, definitely any way I can. I just want to be out there, period."

Miami heat

In preparation for the heat and humidity in Miami, the training staff is making sure the players remain hydrated throughout the week and they'll be watching things closely once the team arrives in Florida.

"The emphasis on hydration obviously started today and it will be really important in the middle of the week," McCarthy said. "We'll have the fruit table out in front of the meeting rooms, and we'll take steps. Obviously substitution will be key."

McCarthy knows all about the heat and humidity in the southeast, having lived and coached in New Orleans for five years. So does tight end Bubba Franks, who played collegiately at the University of Miami.

"You can't really prepare for the weather, but we're going to need pretty much everybody we have on this team because we're going to have to sub," Franks said.

Franks was in Miami during the players' weekend off and described the weather as "pretty hot." Temperatures were in the low 80s there on Monday and the forecast calls for high 80s on Sunday.

"It's kind of like our elements -- ours are cold and theirs are hot, so you go from one extreme to the other," Franks said. "You're just going to have to adjust somewhere in between, get hydrated, get plenty of fluids and get ready for a barnburner."

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