Holliday To Return
For what seemed like the first time in ages, Packers GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman was able to deliver some positive news about the team's injury situation Monday.
Sherman said that defensive end Vonnie Holliday is expected to return to practice this week and might be able to play Sunday against the Washington Redskins.
That puts Holliday's recovery well ahead of schedule. Originally, Holliday was thought to be sidelined 6-8 weeks -- if not for the entire season -- after suffering a pectoral tear making a tackle against the Detroit Lions, September 22.
"He's been a fast healer in his history, and our doctors are very conservative, so it doesn't surprise me that he might be ready for this ballgame," Sherman said. "I think it's realistic (he could play Sunday), but we'll know more on Wednesday. He has to play with a brace that will limit his motion to a certain degree, so we'll see where he is Wednesday."
On the other side of the coin, safety Antuan Edwards could need another week off.
Edwards sustained a broken bone in his forearm against the Lions, and although initially targeted to return this week, Sherman said Edwards experienced some throbbing in his arm last week and will most likely be held out until after the bye weekend.
Offensive tackle Chad Clifton, who left Sunday's game against the New England Patriots with an injured knee, has been diagnosed with a medial collateral ligament sprain and could miss 1-3 weeks.
Sherman said he would know more about Clifton's status later in the week, but that the injury appeared similar in severity to the MCL sprain suffered in Week Three by fullback William Henderson. Henderson was sidelined for only one game.
Clifton said he suffered the injury in the fourth play of the Packers' opening drive. He remained on the field until the end of the 9-play drive, but was examined by team doctors after his knee began to stiffen on the sidelines.
If Clifton can't go Sunday, Sherman said he would continue to use starting center Mike Flanagan at left tackle, with Frank Winters filling in at center.
Flanagan said he is more comfortable on the inside, but that his move to left tackle was one that needed to be made.
"I'm just trying to fill in and hopefully not commit any catastrophic mistakes," Flanagan said. "We're kind of in dire straits here, we have a lot of guys injured so you've got to do it."
Flanagan said he wasn't worried about learning his new assignments, but admitted that he would have nightmares about having to face the Redskins' Bruce Smith.
"I can guarantee I won't sleep at all this week," Flanagan said. "He's got more sacks than I have plays at left tackle, so it will be an interesting week."
In other injury news, cornerback Mike McKenzie (groin) and safety Darren Sharper (hamstring) will continue to be listed as questionable this week. Sherman said neither are likely to practice Wednesday, but could see time on the field later in the week.
Running back Najeh Davenport (hamstring) will also be listed as questionable.
Rookies Javon Walker and Marcus Wilkins each suffered mild ankle sprains against the Patriots, but Sherman said he expects both to be available Sunday.
Nothing But The Truth
Not many believed the Packers had enough to upset the defending Super Bowl champions on the road last weekend, not with five defensive starters sidelined by injuries.
That the Packers prevailed 28-10 seemed to be the result of one thing: they believed.
Sunday, after shocking all but themselves, every coach and player in the Packers locker room indicated that their shared confidence started from the top.
"All I know is, Mike Sherman came in and said, we're going to win this football game," defensive coordinator Ed Donatell said. "He had a great feel for this team and he directed this team, this game. Everybody jumped on and followed him."
To some, that Sherman was able to make the team believe that it could win, was even more remarkable than the fact that it did win.
"I'm guessing, but one of the toughest things a coach must have to face within his job is day in and day out, week in and week out, convincing guys that we can win," quarterback Brett Favre said. "In college and high school, it's probably a little easier because guys don't know any better. You get guys in their 30s -- I guess you could say adults -- when you're trying to convince them, 'Hey, we can go beat the Super Bowl champs with a defense no one's ever heard of,' guys sit there and say, 'yeah,' but they walk out and say, 'Is he crazy?' But somehow he did convince this team that we could win."
For Sherman, the secret to his success is simple honesty.
"I just feel like when you talk to your team, you're always honest with them," Sherman said. "I think if you're always honest with them then they believe you when you talk to them. If you try to B.S. them at times, then they may question what your motives are, or what you really believe."
Coming off hugely significant road wins at Chicago and New England, Sherman is faced with a brand new motivational challenge this week -- keeping his 5-1 Packers team from looking past the 2-3 Redskins at Lambeau Field.
"With the parity that exists in this league with each team, it's the team that's ready to play week in and week out (that's successful)," Sherman said. "It's a challenge, but our fans expect us to win and I expect our team to come out and play hard this Sunday and not have a letdown."
Home Sweet Home
Last week, in the days leading up to the Packers' date with the New England Patriots, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman insisted that getting a win his home state of Massachusetts would bear no extra significance.
One day after the Packers upset the defending Super Bowl champions 28-10, Sherman didn't change his tune.
"I did have a lot of family and friends at the game, but I might have seen my family for five minutes," Sherman said. "It was truly a business trip and the only significance it really had for me was that we were going to be 3-1 on the road and win our fifth ballgame. That's it.
"It was emotional because of that, and how hard our guys played and how we overcame adversity. From that standpoint, it was emotional.
"I'll go home and see my folks and relatives plenty. This wasn't a family trip."