Notebook: Stats Aside, Kampman's Impact Steady

In 2006, defensive end Aaron Kampman gave himself one heck of a standard to live up to in 2007. But even though he’s well off the pace to repeat his career-high 15 1/2 sacks from a year ago, Kampman isn’t bothered by it. - More Audio | Video | Packers-Vikings Game Center Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Sept. 26


In 2006, defensive end Aaron Kampman gave himself one heck of a standard to live up to in 2007.

But even though he's well off the pace to repeat his career-high 15 1/2 sacks from a year ago, Kampman isn't bothered by it.

"If I wasn't getting to the quarterback, I'd be like, 'C'mon,' then it's frustrating," he said. "But I've been getting to the quarterback, been hitting them. It's more about making sure you're getting pressure on the quarterback, getting hits, making sure you win the down. That's really what's important."

Kampman had only one sack through the first three games, when he knocked the ball loose from New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning in Week 2. But he now has 1 1/2 after an Elias Sports Bureau film review determined he shared a sack with Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila last Sunday against San Diego when 'KGB' forced a Philip Rivers fumble.

And he'd have another one if Philadelphia quarterback Donovan McNabb hadn't managed to scramble just beyond the line of scrimmage when Kampman got him from behind in Week 1. McNabb was credited with a rush of 1 yard.

"You take what they give you, and you let the game come to you," Kampman said. "I think when you start to press, that's when you start not doing your job. My focus will continue to be going out and playing the way I play, and when the plays are there hopefully I'll make them."

Kampman has attracted extra attention from offenses and seen a tight end kept in to help block him, or a running back chipping him to slow his upfield rush.

But he's still averaging around five tackles per game and having the down-after-down impact the coaching staff is looking for, so the consensus is the sacks will simply come in time.

"He's very disciplined with his approach and preparation," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. "I think his performance has been very consistent.

"He doesn't have to put any more pressure on himself to hit a number (of sacks). If they're chipping him and putting two people on him that means someone else has a one-on-one and we need to win that."

Double milestone?

Of the five receivers on the Packers' 53-man roster, only two of them have yet to catch a touchdown pass - James Jones and newly re-signed Shaun Bodiford.

So with quarterback Brett Favre needing one touchdown to break Dan Marino's all-time NFL record of 420, it's possible someone's first NFL score could be the record-breaker.

"It's a record-breaking touchdown, so it's going to be special for whoever catches it, whether it's a running back or a tight end, or a tipped ball to an O-lineman," Jones said.

Interestingly, second-year receiver Greg Jennings has just four TD catches in his career, but two of Favre's biggest. Jennings caught No. 400 last year in Detroit and the record-tying No. 420 last week.

"I'm sure everybody wants to catch it, and I'm sure everybody wanted to catch 420," Jones said. "But all that matters is the win. If you catch 421 and we lose by 21 points, it doesn't mean anything. Whoever catches it, we're happy for him and happy for Brett, as long as we win the game."

Injury update

The Packers listed 12 players on their first injury report of the week, but only three missed practice entirely. Defensive end Michael Montgomery (knee) remains out, while cornerback Al Harris (back) and tight end Bubba Franks (knee) did not practice.

{sportsad300}McCarthy said Harris' back, which has bothered him off and on since training camp, is getting better, while Franks' knee isn't as bad this week as it was early last week.

The other nine players on the injury report were all limited participants in practice. One was Favre, who sustained a small cut on a finger of his throwing hand at home on Monday night. McCarthy said he's in no danger of missing Sunday's game.

The others were linebacker Desmond Bishop (shoulder), tackle Chad Clifton (knee), receivers Donald Driver (toe) and Greg Jennings (hamstring), cornerback Charles Woodson (foot), defensive linemen Cullen Jenkins (ribs) and Corey Williams (knee), and running back Vernand Morency (knee).

McCarthy said Jennings is being held back strictly as a precaution, and he added that Clifton may be held out of practice on Wednesdays on a regular basis now because of his aging knees.

McCarthy gave the most positive report on Morency in a while, noting that he was worked into the running back rotation and took his share of reps. Brandon Jackson, DeShawn Wynn and Ryan Grant are also preparing for Sunday's game, and McCarthy said when Morency is fully healthy, it's not likely the team would have four active running backs on gameday.

Familiar faces

With receiver Robert Ferguson joining the Vikings this year, he became the third former Green Bay player to sign with Minnesota in the last three years. Safety Darren Sharper in 2005 and kicker Ryan Longwell in 2006 preceded him.

All three players are making contributions for the Vikings this season. Ferguson has three receptions for 29 yards, Longwell is 3-for-4 on field goals (with his only miss coming from better than 50 yards), and Sharper leads the defense with two interceptions.

"Darren does a great job of taking care of his body, in season and out of season," Minnesota head coach Brad Childress said. "He still has great instincts and awareness. He's a smart football player, and I haven't seen his skills erode really at all. He's playing at a good level right now."

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