Packers focused on this year, not last year

Rematch of NFC title game in Atlanta will open Falcons' new stadium


GREEN BAY -- As the rematch of the NFC title game approaches this Sunday, that contest is the last thing on Head Coach Mike McCarthy's mind.

"New year," McCarthy said before the Packers took the practice field on Wednesday to get ready for the weekend trip to Atlanta. "They're a different team, we're a different team. New stadium, fast surface. Those are the things we're focused on.'

"Let's be honest, if you're thinking about last year and talking about last year, you're wasting time and energy. If you want to get back to January, you have to focus on what's going on now."

Right now, the Packers are going through some roster shuffling, with CB LaDarius Gunter and DT Ricky Jean Francois being released to make room for WR Geronimo Allison and OL Adam Pankey.

With T Jason Spriggs injuring a hamstring in last week's game, Pankey is another option as a backup offensive tackle. McCarthy said Spriggs would be out at least a couple of weeks, and he had no update on starting RT Bryan Bulaga, who is coming back from an ankle injury. Bulaga will not be practicing on Wednesday due to an illness. He was sent home.

Allison returns to the roster from a one-week suspension, looking to pick up where he left off following a strong finish to his 2016 rookie season.

That said, McCarthy noted it was difficult to let players like Gunter and Jean Francois go.

"Those are tough, tough releases," McCarthy said. "You're talking about two excellent men. They did a good job here. Those are good guys, good Packers. It's tough to see them go." will have more following practice and locker room interviews.

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