Notebook: Turnovers Fill Lions' Games

text More Audio | Video | Packers-Lions Game Center Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Nov. 20


New York Giants LB Antonio Pierce knocks the ball loose from Detroit WR Shaun McDonald in last week's game at Ford Field.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy pointed out during his press conference on Tuesday that games involving the Detroit Lions this season tend to be filled with turnovers, and the Packers will be doing their best to avoid getting into a giveaway-takeaway battle on Thursday.

Detroit leads the lead in takeaways with 30 but is also tied for third in the league in giveaways with 25. The 55 total turnovers in their 10 games is an average of 5.5 per game, which can be a lot of "sudden changes" to deal with during the course of the contest.

Last year in the Packers' two games against the Lions, the two teams combined for 10 turnovers, including seven in the late-season matchup at Lambeau Field.

"They've generated turnovers in every single one of their football games," McCarthy said. "That's impressive from a defensive standpoint. They've also turned the ball over. I think there's only been one game where they haven't turned it over. That is a big factor in the outcome of their games in my opinion. That's one of the things we emphasized today in the team meeting."

Detroit's plus-5 turnover ratio this year is the same as Green Bay's, but by contrast, there have been a total of just 33 turnovers in the Packers' 10 games (19 takeaways, 14 giveaways), or 40 percent fewer than in Detroit's. Green Bay has not committed a turnover in three of its last four contests.

The most alarming statistic is that Detroit has forced 32 fumbles by opponents this year, recovering 15 of them. No one else in the league has forced more than 20 fumbles, so protecting the ball will be a high priority in this game, particularly as the road team.

"They do an excellent job of stripping the ball, it's a technique," McCarthy said. "They spend a lot of time on it. That's the backbone to that defense. They play with vision to the quarterback, vision to the football. They do an excellent job in pursuit. They play fast. They're a much faster team at home than on the road. That's something else we talked about as a football team. They do a very good job stripping the football."

Group study

In his weekly press conference on Tuesday, quarterback Brett Favre pointed out several reasons for his strong play and improved statistics in 2007. One of them had to do with film study.

Favre admitted he probably doesn't study as much film as he may have in past years, but he's learning more with less. He said one of the things that has made his film study more valuable is viewing tape with the receivers, and discussing what they see together.

"We watch our practice, watch who we're playing, third downs, different situations, and we talk, there's open dialogue," Favre said. "I think those types of things help. It seems simple, but I'm sure a lot of teams don't do things like that, and for the longest time we never did it."

{sportsad300}Favre has spoken at length over the past couple of years about developing chemistry with the young receiving corps, of which Donald Driver is the only one Favre played with prior to 2006. The group film sessions seem to be helping in that respect.

"I think our preparation, my preparation, is better," Favre said.

Injury update

Six players were limited in practice on Tuesday. They were offensive tackles Chad Clifton (knee) and Mark Tauscher (ankle), running back Ryan Grant (ankle), receiver Koren Robinson (knee), linebacker Tracy White (ankle) and cornerback Charles Woodson (hip).

A playing status designation (doubtful, questionable, probable) will be given after practice on Wednesday.

Four players have been ruled out for Thursday's game. They are cornerback Will Blackmon (foot), safety Nick Collins (knee), tight end Bubba Franks (knee) and defensive tackle Johnny Jolly (shoulder).

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