Packers Notebook - Home Sweet Home

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The Packers are always happy to play at Lambeau Field, but after three road games in 12 days, being back home should feel especially nice

Or, even better than that.

"'Nice' to be back isn't the word," quarterback Brett Favre said this week. "It's been a rough preseason as far as our traveling and stuff goes."

He ain't kidding.

In addition to the regular hassles of road trips, the Packers' first preseason game at Canton was called in the third quarter due to a severe lightning storm, and last week's trip to Cleveland was complicated by a nine-hour blackout.

Not to mention that with all of the preseason games kicking off at night, the Packers' team charter hasn't touched back down in Green Bay any earlier than 2 a.m.

The good news for the Packers is that they don't hit the road again until the third week of the regular season, when they head south to face the Arizona Cardinals, September 21.

Gilbert Gamin'

When Gilbert Brown takes to the field Saturday night against the Carolina Panthers, he could be taking another step forward in his comeback attempt, or he could be stepping out.

When he ruptured his right biceps at the elbow in the Packers' second preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons, Brown was thought done for the year.

But having passed on surgery that would repair the injury, Brown is trying to make a go of it.

He returned to the practice field Wednesday, but despite mixing it up in a few physically demanding drills, Brown has yet to test himself in a live tackling situation.

Saturday will be his first and perhaps final test to prove to GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman that he can contribute to the defense without the use of his right biceps.

If Brown can't be effective, due to pain or performance, he'll have to go on injured reserve, so another player can take his spot on the 53-man roster.

Diggs Out

Still recovering from a sprained shoulder suffered in last weekend's game against the Cleveland Browns, linebacker Na'il Diggs will be held out of Saturday's game against the Carolina Panthers as a precaution.

"I think it would be wise on my part to hold him out if at all possible," GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said. "He does need some work, but at the risk of injury, I'll probably hold him back."

Diggs is likely to be replaced by second-year linebacker Marcus Wilkins, who made three sacks in the Packers' first preseason game.

Starters Longer

GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said that he didn't envision quarterback Brett Favre working into the second half, but Favre could lead the No. 1 offense throughout the entire first half.

Tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher also are expected to get longer looks with the starting unit. Both made their debuts at Cleveland, coming off season-ending injuries in 2002.

Countdown To Cuts

For several Packers players, Saturday's game will be their last in a Packers uniform.

NFL teams must reduce their rosters to 65 players August 26, with the final roster cuts -- down to the 53-man regular season roster -- happening August 31.

Asked if he delivered any special message to players on the bubble of making the team or being cut, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said he hoped that words weren't necessary.

"I think they understand the reality of it all," he said. "I just suggested that they look at the classified ads and see what the real world is making salary-wise ... If we have to motivate them for that, then we've got the wrong guys."

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