Notebook: Road Win Streak Near Historic Length

The Packers’ success on the road under Mike McCarthy could reach a historic level this week. The Packers have won five straight road games, and no Green Bay team has won six in a row since the Vince Lombardi era. - More Audio | Video | Packers-Chiefs Game Center Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Oct. 31


Green Bay defenders Cullen Jenkins, Nick Barnett and Johnny Jolly swallow up Denver running back Selvin Young during Monday night's victory.

The Green Bay Packers' success on the road under Mike McCarthy has a chance to reach a historic level this week.

Dating back to last December, the Packers have won five straight road games, including their first three this year. Looking at regular season results only, no Green Bay team has won six in a row on the road since the Vince Lombardi era, when the Packers put together an eight-game road winning streak spanning the final five road games of the 1966 regular season and the first three road contests in 1967.

Since then, the Packers have won five straight on the road only two times with streaks that overlapped the 1989-90 and 1997-98 regular seasons.

Making the current streak the longest in the last 40 years will be no easy task in Kansas City's notoriously loud Arrowhead Stadium, but there's no lack of confidence when it comes to playing on the road for this bunch.

"When you're successful and you've seen yourself do it, you know you can do it," linebacker Brady Poppinga said. "It's not like, 'I hope we do it.' We've done it before, and we have that as a reference point knowing we can go into a place and win, especially tough and pretty hostile places."

This year those places have been Giants Stadium, Minnesota's Metrodome, and Denver's Invesco Field at Mile High, all with considerable reputations like Arrowhead.

There's no real theory for the team's road success. It has a consistent traveling routine, and distractions away from home are minimized.

The fact that the team has so many young players could mean they don't know how tough it's supposed to be to win on the road in the NFL, so innocence is bliss. And having that young crew led by the league's most experienced quarterback in Brett Favre certainly helps too.

"I think you have to feed off that energy the other team is getting," linebacker A.J. Hawk said. "Sure the crowd is usually not for you at away games, but I think we still use it to our advantage as well when we can.

"But I think we have the guy leading us that's been in every hostile situation ever, so Brett handles it great."

McCarthy would concur.

"It doesn't matter where you play, home or away, out in the parking lot, because he has seen it all," McCarthy said. "He's able to get you out of tough spots, anticipate when those spots are coming. I'm talking more the crowd noise, different types of situations.

"We handle crowd noise very well, which is going to be a big challenge going into Arrowhead Stadium this week. But an experienced quarterback, he makes up for so many things."

For his part, should Favre lead the team to a win in Kansas City, he would beat the only NFL team he hasn't beaten in his 17-year career. But that's not going to make him work at it any harder.

He'll take plenty of snaps in practice this week with crowd noise piped in, as usual for a road game, and simply be as prepared as possible for the difficulties that come from playing away from home.

"You have more time to think about the game at hand when you're on the road, at least you should," Favre said. "I think it all comes down to execution, concentration, really being glued into what you're doing, especially in an environment where you can't hear and noise plays a factor."

Little by little

Running back Ryan Grant, whose 100-yard rushing performance in Denver has elevated him to the No. 1 spot in the backfield, believes one of the keys to his success just eight weeks after he arrived in Green Bay via trade was that he wasn't force-fed the offense too quickly.

"I felt very comfortable each week because of how the coaches brought me along," said Grant, who was acquired from the New York Giants at the conclusion of training camp.

"My first week here they weren't trying to have me learn the whole offense. I learned the game plan, what we were going over. We don't run every play every week, so they did a good job bringing me along and each week and I learned more and more of the basics of the offense."

{sportsad300}Grant's performance in Denver was impressive not only because it was productive (22 carries, 104 yards), but because of the way he ran - decisively and with power at the point of attack. McCarthy noted Grant's taller 6-foot-1 frame allows him to run with more forward lean than a shorter back, which helps him gain more out of each carry.

"Not to say I'm trying to run everyone over, but I'm a slasher and I'm going to hit it and get it," Grant said. "It was a matter of just finishing runs. I wanted to try to set a tone, try to put them on their heels. It built momentum from an offensive standpoint.

"A few guys on defense were telling me that was getting them pumped up by the way I was running, and I appreciate that."

With Grant the new starter and primary ballcarrier, McCarthy said Vernand Morency will be his primary backup, with rookie Brandon Jackson handling situational packages, such as third downs. McCarthy said Morency also would handle some of the situational work because of his experience.

Injury update

Of the 14 players on the first injury report of the week, three players have been ruled out - tight end Bubba Franks (knee), cornerback Will Blackmon (foot) and defensive tackle Justin Harrell (ankle). McCarthy said Franks was probably still a couple of weeks away from playing, while Blackmon would be taking another step up in his rehab program and still has a chance of returning by season's end.

McCarthy also confirmed that center Scott Wells' lingering sinus infection has now been diagnosed as pneumonia, but he said there's still a chance Wells could play on Sunday. He did not practice on Wednesday.

Receiver Koren Robinson (knee) was a full participant in practice, increasing his chances of being active on Sunday for the first time. Robinson said the swelling in his surgically repaired knee is something he'll just have to manage, but he feels good enough to play.

The other nine players were all limited in practice. New to the injury list this week are fullback Korey Hall (neck), defensive tackle Ryan Pickett (knee), safety Nick Collins (knee) and offensive tackle Chad Clifton (knee). The other limited participants were guard Junius Coston (ankle), cornerbacks Al Harris (back), Charles Woodson (foot) and Frank Walker (knee), and receiver Ruvell Martin (back).

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