Heading into Monday night's game against the Tennessee Titans, the Packers offense know they must improve on their first two Lambeau Field outings of the 2004 season.
The first two home games have seen the Packers put up 10 and 7 points respectively, not nearly enough for an offense that has shown potential to light up the scoreboard. Their lack of production at home has definitely contributed to the team's disappointing 1-3 start, and the offense is ready to turn things around.
"We need something good to happen and we have to make it happen ourselves," said right tackle Mark Tauscher. "Now we'll see what we're made out of. Our confidence is still there, but it's hard when things aren't going well to think of the positives. You have to pull yourself out of the negatives and make your own positives. Right now that's what we need to do."
When asked about the inconsistency of the performance of his squad, Brett Favre said that it really is not a complicated matter.
"It's pretty simple," the quarterback said. "We could make more of it than it really is, but it just comes down to execution, mistakes, and turnovers.
"Turnovers are that way, and plays in general. You can always point to a play in the game, or sometimes maybe even more than one play in a game that dramatically changes the course of the game or the end result. That's kind of been our M.O. here, if we do get something going, we don't finish it, or we start late, and it usually comes down to one or two plays, a penalty, a turnover or a missed execution. It's as simple as that. We have the guys to do it - we just have to get it done."
Guard Marco Rivera said that for the team to be a success when the lights get turned on and the crowds are in the seats, the groundwork has to be laid during the week in practice.
"If we get our assignments done, we cut all those penalties and the turnovers down, our offense should start rolling the way it should be," Rivera said. First we've got to correct those and that starts with practice. We've got to do everything we can to focus in and do the right things and concentrate on our technique."
Mr. Smith Returns To Green Bay
Veteran defensive lineman Larry Smith was re-signed by the Packers Wednesday in an effort to fill some holes on the line left by injuries.
Smith, who himself was injured in the preseason, has fully recovered from his quadriceps ailment and hopes to be ready to take a spot in the line rotation as early as Monday night.
"I'm at 100% and I'm ready to roll," Smith said in the locker room Thursday. "I'm very anxious. I've been following the games and I feel like I can bring a little bit more intensity to the D-line, try to get those guys fired up and going."
Smith took to the practice field with the rest of the defense Thursday afternoon, giving defensive coordinator Bob Slowik another healthy body to help stop the run along the defensive front.
"I'm not 100% sure how much work he got, but he obviously was in there and got some look with the look team," Slowik said after practice. "He was also in there for us on defense, switching in and out like we do with all the defensive linemen."
Slowik said that Smith could be in line to take some snaps at the nose tackle position, which could allow Cletidus Hunt to return to his more natural three-technique spot. Hunt has started the past two games at the nose following injuries to Grady Jackson and James Lee in the season's first two contests.
"One of Larry's great assets is his versatility," said Slowik. "The greatest thing is having Larry back and having another defensive lineman in the mix. He gives us options to make those moves. Cletidus has actually done pretty good in there for moving from a three-technique that's been his home for a number of years. He's jumped in there and done pretty well."
Flanagan's Surgery Goes As Planned
Center Mike Flanagan underwent surgery on his injured left knee Thursday at Green Bay's Bellin Hospital.
The surgery went as planned and was performed by team physician Dr. Patrick McKenzie.
Flanagan was placed on injured reserve Saturday following a long and painful bout with patellar tendinitis. The lineman played through the first three games of the season, but was slowed significantly and the decision was made not risk a potential career-ending injury and shut the nine-year veteran down for the season.
Flanagan will soon begin a rehabilitation program and plans to be ready in time for training camp prior to next season.