Packers-Buccaneers Press Box Notes

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OLD DIVISION RIVALS REUNITE IN TAMPA

  • 2009 marks the second consecutive season the Packers travel to Tampa. Green Bay dropped a Week 4 game, 30-21, at Raymond James Stadium last season. The Packers arrive at the halfway point of their schedule coming off a tough division loss to the Vikings at home. Down 24-3 at halftime, Green Bay rallied back to come within a touchdown two separate times but ultimately fell short in its comeback bid.
  • Green Bay enters 2-1 on the road this season and is one of 10 teams in the NFL to have a winning road record since 2006, the first season for Head Coach Mike McCarthy.
  • The team's bid to avoid back-to-back losses will come at a stadium it has struggled in historically. The Packers are 1-6 all-time at Raymond James Stadium.
  • Before the Buccaneers opened the stadium in 1998, Green Bay had been quite successful in Tampa. Its all-time mark in the city stands at 11-13-1.
  • After its inaugural season in the AFC West in 1976, Tampa Bay moved to the NFC Central in 1977 and began its yearly series with the Packers.
  • In the all-time regular-season series, the Packers own a 29-20-1 advantage over the Bucs and own the series' lone playoff win, which came in 1997. But since Tampa moved to the NFC South in 2002, the Bucs have won three of the last four meetings.
  • Under new head coach Raheem Morris, Tampa Bay (0-7) is still searching for its first victory of the season.
  • It will be a well-rested squad Sunday, as the team had a bye in Week 8. Its last game came across the pond in London's Wembley Stadium, where it dropped a 35-7 decision to the New England Patriots.
  • The Bucs will be looking to jump start an offense that ranks 28th overall behind new starting QB Josh Freeman, the team's first-round draft choice this past April.

SUN IS SHINING

  • It's no secret that a team which calls northeast Wisconsin home has little regular-season experience in weather above 80 degrees.
  • In fact, last season's Week 4 loss in Tampa (81 degrees) marked just the second time the Packers have played a regular-season game with the temperature at 80 degrees or above in the tenure of Head Coach Mike McCarthy (2006-present).
  • The only other time the team played in temperatures reaching 80-plus degrees came in McCarthy's first season with the team in 2006. In Miami in late October, the game-time temperature was measured at 86 degrees.

THE BIG PLAY RETURNS

  • Thanks to a bevy of talent around him at the skill positions, QB Aaron Rodgers has been doing plenty of damage through the air in the season's first seven games.
  • Rodgers leads the NFL with nine passes of 40-plus yards, and is tied for the league lead (Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants) with 20 completions of 25-plus yards.
  • The big plays have always been a staple of the offense under Mike McCarthy, as the team ranked second in the NFL in gains of 20-plus yards when it went to the NFC Championship in 2007. That year, the team racked up 67 such plays, 52 of which came through the air.
  • In 2008 when it went 6-10, the team had 58 plays of 20-plus yards, 12th best in the NFL, and 48 came via the pass last season.
  • Though the team statistics are uneven as teams go through the bye-week process, the Packers currently rank tied for 10th overall with 30 plays of 20-plus yards.
  • The Buccaneers rank 20th in the league with 21 'big plays'.
  • Of the Packers' 30 'big plays', 27 have come through the air and three on the ground.
  • On defense, both the Bucs and Packers rank towards the middle of the league. Tampa Bay has allowed 27 plays of 20-plus yards (19 passing, 8 rushing), which ranks 14th most in the NFL. Green Bay's defense has allowed 25 'big plays', tied at No. 17 in the league. Of those big plays, 21 have come through the air and four via the rush.
  • Through the air, it's been tough for opponents to pick just one Packers player to stop. So far, five different players (Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jermichael Finley, James Jones and Spencer Havner) have a reception of 45-plus yards on the season. The last time the team had five or more players post a gain of 45-plus yards was 1983, when a team-record six players accomplished the feat. The franchise mark of six was originally established in 1951.

TODAY'S CAPTAINS

  • As per team tradition, the Packers select game captains each week.
  • Today's captains will be RB Ryan Grant (offense), LB A.J. Hawk (defense) and CB Tramon Williams (special teams).
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WEARING THE STRIPES

Today's officiating crew includes referee Pete Morelli (135), umpire Rich Hall (49), head linesman Derick Bowers (74), line judge Darryll Lewis (130), field judge Rob Vernatchi (75), side judge Laird Hayes (125) and back judge Bill Schmitz (122).

**WHAT TO WATCH FOR

2 MASON CROSBY**

  • For his career, has hit 48-of-52 field goals from 39 yards-and-closer.
  • Has hit 17-of-24 field goals from 40-49 yards.
  • Has hit 7-of-15 field goals from 50-plus yards.

80 DONALD DRIVER

  • Surpassed Sterling Sharpe (595) to become the franchise's all-time leader in receptions. Driver enters with 610 career catches.
  • Has a reception in 118 consecutive games, besting the franchise's previous long streak of Sharpe's 103 (1988-94).

25 RYAN  GRANT

  • Enters with 2,684 career rushing yards.
  • Has 10 100-yard games in his career.
  • When he gets 22 carries or more, the team is 9-1 (10-1 incl. playoffs).

34 AHMAN GREEN

  • Needs 45 rushing yards to surpass No. 1 Jim Taylor (8,207) on the franchise's all-time list. Green is No. 2 with 8,163.

74 AARON KAMPMAN

  • With 53 career sacks, is No. 4 on the team's all-time sacks list. Needs three more to move past No. 3 Tim Harris (55).
  • Has started 96 of the last 97 games, only missing the 2007 regular-season finale to rest for the playoffs.

12 AARON RODGERS

  • In 23 career starts, has eclipsed a 100.0-plus passer rating 13 times.
  • Has six career 300-yard games and six 3-TD games.

21 CHARLES WOODSON

  • Has 40 career interceptions, 23 in 53 games since coming to Green Bay in 2006. Woodson had 17 interceptions in 106 games with Oakland.
  • Is tied for second in interceptions in the NFL since 2006 with 23 (Asante Samuel - PHI, 25, Ed Reed - BAL 23).
  • His five interception-return TDs since 2006 is the most in the league during that span.
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