Packers Look To Continue Road Success

This week’s trip to Denver begins the first of three pairs of back-to-back road games for the Packers in 2007, but playing six of their next nine games on the road isn’t intimidating at all to this team. - More | Audio | Video | Packers-Broncos Game Center Notebook: Defensive Line In Flux; Wynn Returns Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Oct. 25


This week's trip to Denver begins the first of three pairs of back-to-back road games for the Packers in 2007, but playing six of their next nine games on the road isn't intimidating at all to this team.

"Fortunately for us -- obviously we're thinking about this game first -- but we're a pretty good road team," linebacker Nick Barnett said. "We've been on the road and been pretty successful. It's a tribute to the schedule and the coaches keeping us focused on the game, and the character in this locker room. So we just take it week by week, but we usually don't have a problem on the road games."

That's certainly true thus far during the Mike McCarthy era. In his first 10 road games as an NFL head coach, McCarthy is 7-3, including a four-game winning streak dating back to last year's victory in San Francisco on Dec. 10.

Last year the Packers had back-to-back road trips twice, first to Detroit and Philadelphia and then to Buffalo and Minnesota, and split them both.

This year, two of the three back-to-backs present some unique circumstances. First, with the trips to Denver and Kansas City the next two weeks, the first game is on Monday night, making for a short turnaround for the next road trip. The team will return from Denver in the wee hours of Tuesday morning and then will be back on an airplane Saturday afternoon for Kansas City.

And the second back-to-back stretch will feature two Thursday games, on Thanksgiving Day at Detroit and then the following Thursday evening in Dallas.

"It's going to be interesting, that's for sure," punter Jon Ryan said. "It is kind of a unique schedule the second half here, and it's going to be something where guys are going to have to get their rest and pay attention to their bodies, and stay healthy."

To tackle this first back-to-back, with two road games just six days apart, the Packers will benefit from coming off their bye week, when they've had some extra rest.

But no matter the timing of the road trips, the players say one of the keys to their road success under McCarthy has been the head coach's effort to alter their schedule as little as possible.

"I think he does a good job of trying to keep our schedule the same," safety Charlie Peprah said. "On the road, we get where we're going, but at the same time we would do what we're doing here. We have the same time off to rest, and we meet around the same time.

"He likes to get to places early, that way we're off our feet, and then we try to pick up the schedule as if we're at home. For the most part, we get where we're supposed to get and we get focused on the game."

The players are allowed to focus in comfort as well, and the schedule for meals, meetings and the like is communicated well in advance so there's no anxiety related to the travel.

{sportsad300}"They take care of us," Ryan said. "We stay in the best hotels, take the biggest planes on those long trips, and I think stuff like that is pretty important. We always get in at a decent time to let our bodies adjust after the flight and get a good meal in us and everything. So I think the way our travel schedule is set up is really good for the team."

The Packers went 5-3 on the road in McCarthy's first season and are 2-0 thus far in 2007. The last time the Packers had three back-to-back road trips in the same season was in 2003, and the team went 4-2 in those six games. The two times before that, in 2002 and 1999, the team went 3-3.

Breaking even in these six road games would allow the Packers to match their road record from last year, while anything above .500 the rest of the way on the road would result in an improvement over 2006.

But first things first, and that's Denver on the Monday night stage. It's worth pointing out two of the three road losses last season came in Monday night games, and the Packers have lost four straight Monday night road games, with their last win coming at Carolina in the 2004 season opener.

So if there's anything the Packers want to change about their recent road history, that would be it, and the players say the focus will be there to do so.

"We're from Green Bay, and we go to big cities with buildings and shopping and stuff like that, and you can get distracted doing that type of stuff," Barnett said. "But we just go there strictly for business. We don't play around and get dazed by the lights and the scenery.

"We know what we're there for."

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