GREEN BAY HEADS WEST TO FACE ARIZONA
- The Packers travel over 1,800 miles for their third exhibition contest against the Arizona Cardinals, a trip they will repeat in Week 17.
- In many ways, this may be the team's best test of the preseason. For starters, it is the first road game of 2009, giving the team a valuable look at how its younger players will perform in a hostile environment.
- In Arizona, Green Bay faces one of the league's most explosive aerial attacks, led by QB Kurt Warner and WR Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals are coming off an appearance in Super Bowl XLIII.
- As has been the case under Head Coach Mike McCarthy, primary starters will see their most extended action of the preseason as well. Traditionally, they have played into the second half.
- Both the No. 1 offense and defense will look to maintain the momentum of the first two exhibition games in what should be its most extended 'live' action until the regular-season opener Sept. 13 vs. Chicago.
- Tonight is the first game at the University of Phoenix Stadium for the Green Bay franchise. It was an overtime away from playing at the state-of-the-art facility in Super Bowl XLII.
- Arizona lost at home, 17-6, to the San Diego Chargers this past Saturday after dropping its preseason opener in Pittsburgh a week earlier. It will wrap up the preseason Sept. 3 in Denver.
- Old-time rivals dating back to the days when the Cardinals franchise called Chicago home, Friday night marks the 21st preseason meeting between the two franchises. Green Bay holds a 14-6 advantage.
- One of the main goals in Green Bay this offseason was an added emphasis on starting fast through increasing the tempo at the line of scrimmage and ultimately improving upon point production.
- The Packers produced a total of 13 points (one TD, two FGs) on their first offensive possessions a year ago, second fewest among all NFL teams (Detroit, 10). Despite ranking No. 5 in total scoring (419 points) in 2008, the Packers produced their lowest output (61 points) in the first quarter. That total ranked tied for 20th.
- So far this offseason, it looks as though that emphasis has paid off, as the No. 1 offense has produced touchdowns on five of its six drives.
- QB Aaron Rodgers is a combined 13-of-19 for 200 yards with three TDs, producing a passer rating of 142.5.
- Not to be outdone, the defense continued its preseason shutout through six quarters thanks to four first-half takeaways against Buffalo. Through two games, the unit has recorded nine takeaways and seven sacks.
- While Green Bay has outscored its opponents 38-0 in the first half thus far, coaches and players alike know that there is plenty to correct through their first two showings.
- "There's a lot of positive information in our first two games, and we feel very good about that," McCarthy said following the Buffalo victory. "But the reality is there are things we need to correct too. So there's no reason to strike up the band or anything like that."
THE PACKERS-CARDINALS SERIES
- One of the oldest rivalries in sports, the series launched on Nov. 20, 1921, when the Packers and Chicago Cardinals tied 3-3. That afternoon marked one of four ties in the series, with the last tie coming in 1971.
- The series has been noted for its streaks, with the Packers winning 15 straight between 1937 and 1946, followed by the Cardinals winning seven straight through 1949, and the Packers winning 14 of the last 18 (with one tie) since.
- With the Cardinals franchise located in Chicago prior to 1960, the two teams played two or more times in a season 20 different years between 1926 and 1949.
- One postseason meeting following the 1982 season marked the Packers' first trip to the playoffs in 10 years and first playoff victory since winning Super Bowl II.
- In the teams' last meeting in Arizona in 2003, the kickoff temperature was 102 degrees, tied for the hottest game ever recorded in Packers history. The temperature reached 106 in the fourth quarter.
Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, Cardinals assistant head coach Russ Grimm, and Packers safeties coach Darren Perry coached on the same staff with the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier this decade...Green Bay's director of football operations Reggie McKenzie played linebacker for the then-Phoenix Cardinals in 1989-90...Cardinals defensive coordinator Bill Davis served on Green Bay's coaching staff in 2000 as defensive assistant/defensive line...Cardinals QB Kurt Warner got his NFL start in Green Bay at training camp in 1994. He was released before the regular season...Packers defensive quality control coach Scott McCurley was a four-year letterwinner at Pittsburgh, where he was teammates with Cardinals LB Gerald Hayes and WR Larry Fitzgerald...Cardinals defensive quality control coach Ryan Slowik played safety at University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and is the son of former Packers defensive coordinator Bob Slowik...Cardinals LB Ali Highsmith is the cousin of Packers scout Alonzo Highsmith...Cardinals C Donovan Raiola played collegiately at the University of Wisconsin...Packers QB Matt Flynn, FB Quinn Johnson and Cardinals WR Early Doucet, LB Highsmith and G Herman Johnson were teammates at LSU, as were Cardinals QB Matt Leinart and Packers LB Clay Matthews at USC, and Packers LB Brandon Chillar and Cardinals S Matt Ware at UCLA...Packers LB Danny Lansanah and Cardinals OLB Cody Brown played on the defense together at Connecticut...Cardinals G Trevor Canfield and Packers CB Brandon Underwood were teammates last season at Cincinnati.
WHERE THEY'LL BE
Coaches often use the preseason as a test to see where they are best utilized, especially with a new staff. Coach McCarthy is on the sidelines, but here's a look at where the rest of the staff will be:
- Coaches' Box: Dom Capers (defensive coordinator), Jerry Fontenot (asst. offensive line), Scott McCurley (defensive quality control), Chad Morton (administrator), Joe Philbin (offensive coordinator), John Rushing (offensive quality control), and Joe Whitt (secondary - cornerbacks).
- Sideline: Edgar Bennett (running backs), James Campen (offensive line), Tom Clements (quarterbacks), Mike Eayrs (research and development), Curtis Fuller (special teams asst.), Kevin Greene (outside linebackers), Ben McAdoo (tight ends), Winston Moss (inside linebackers/asst. head coach), Darren Perry (secondary - safeties), Jimmy Robinson (wide receivers), Shawn Slocum (special teams coordinator) and Mike Trgovac (defensive line).