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Players Must Overcome Quick Turnaround


With a turnaround time of less than five days between Sunday's regular season home finale and the upcoming NFC North Division-deciding clash at Minnesota Friday afternoon, the Green Bay Packers are working with a compact week of preparation for their game against the Vikings.

Tuesday, when nearly all of their counterparts in cities around the NFL were enjoying their day off and putting the finishing touches on healing their sore bodies from last weekend's action, Packers players found themselves on the practice field and in meeting rooms.

But if you were expecting to hear any complaining in the Lambeau Field locker room, you had come to the wrong place. Going from locker to locker, you were likely to hear members of the Green and Gold talking about what they would need to do to squeeze an extra two days of preparations into their hectic week.

Bubba Franks was asked which aspect of preparation was going to be more difficult for him and his teammates in the shortened schedule, their mental approach or their physical readiness.

"Both," the tight end responded. "It depends on how you prepare. I think Coach is doing a pretty good thing in the things he's doing this week to prepare us. Our legs will be there, it's just mentally we need to make sure everybody's on the same page."

Right guard Marco Rivera believes that this game could be won or lost over the next couple of days of preparation.

"It's a short week, so guys have really got to prepare faster," Rivera said. "Everything is compacted a little more. We're doing double-duty today, double-duty tomorrow. The only thing both teams have in common right now is that we have the same amount of time to get ready for the game. It's the team that utilizes it the best and focuses the best that will be ready to go."

Fellow lineman Mike Wahle thinks that the biggest thing for the Packers to adjust to with the unique schedule will be the breakup of their usual routine.

"The biggest thing, especially in a short week like this, is just realizing the task ahead of you, realizing that you're going to have to take some time for yourself and relax at some point during the week - maybe more than you usually do because it is such a short week and your regular routine is going to be so fouled up," said Wahle.

"Football players are about a routine. You could ask me what I'm doing at 7:00 on whatever day, and I'd know exactly what I'm doing. So when you screw things up like that, people have a tendency to get a little antsy. We just have to make sure from that standpoint that we're alright."

Wahle went on to say that he doesn't see anyone on the visiting sideline having any trouble getting wound up to play in front of the Metrodome crowd Friday afternoon.

"I think because it's such a big game, you have to get up for it," he explained. "Players like to play in big games, so despite the circumstances you've got to be excited about the fact that we're playing for the division championship.

"Having said that, there are a lot of things that go into this week in just getting your body physically ready to play and mentally being able to cycle everything out and clear your head for that big game. It's going to be a battle and we should be ready for it."

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