Bay Packers offensive lineman Josh Sitton changes out of an
Aaron Rodgers jersey during NFL football practice on what is
officially "Aaron Rodgers Day" in Wisconsin on
Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012,in Green Bay, Wis.
GREEN BAY —
Little kids weren't the only ones breaking out their No. 12 jerseys
for Aaron Rodgers Day.
Packers offensive linemen Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang, Jeff Saturday,
Marshall Newhouse and tight end Ryan Taylor showed up for
Wednesday's practice wearing Rodgers jerseys. The Wisconsin
Legislature had designated Dec. 12, 2012, as Aaron Rodgers Day in
honor of the Super Bowl winner and last year's MVP, and students and
workers throughout the state were encouraged to celebrate by wearing
some fun with it today," said Lang, who may or may not have
been the ring leader for the caper. "He was a good sport about
it. He just laughed. He got a kick out of it.
to poke at him as much as we can — there are not very many
opportunities for that, for him being as sensitive as he usually
is," Lang added. "So we had some fun with it."
Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers smiles during NFL
football practice on what is officially "Aaron Rodgers
Day" in Wisconsin on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, in Green
wore their No. 12 jerseys for the first few minutes of practice,
long enough for Rodgers — and everyone else — to notice. They
then put their own back on.
to thank my teammates for wearing my jersey for 20 minutes, and
getting scared and taking it off," Rodgers said.
doesn't normally like to be singled out, but said the proclamation
was a "great honor." He was even happier that it turned
into a fundraiser for the MACC Fund, his favorite charity. Fans were
encouraged to donate $12 to the MACC Fund, which is dedicated to
fighting childhood cancer.
"It is a
special thing," he said. "This is something that will
probably only happen once in my lifetime so I appreciate it."
won't have Woodson back for Bears game
GREEN BAY —
Jay Cutler can't catch a break this season.
was back at practice Wednesday for the first time since pulling his
hamstring last month, and he's eager to terrorize the Bears
quarterback again Sunday when the Green Bay Packers (9-4) travel to
Chicago. The Packers can clinch the NFC North title with a victory
over their biggest rivals.
have a good day rushing the passer — it might not equal sacks
directly, but if you feel good as a pass rusher you get into a
routine, a rhythm and a groove," Matthews said. "I
definitely felt that was the case the first time we played them. I
want to break out a little bit of the rust, obviously, sitting out a
few games, but there shouldn't be a drop-off.
Cutler has become one of Matthews' favorite activities. He has six
sacks in seven games against the Bear, and Cutler probably still has
some bruises from their meeting in September. Matthews had a
career-high 3 1/2 sacks, seven tackles — six of them solo — and
also batted down a pass. The Bears managed just 168 yards in that
game, a 23-10 Green Bay win that was even more lopsided than the
missing the last four games, Matthews still leads the Packers —
and is tied for sixth in the NFC — with nine sacks.
practicing today? That's good to know. We could use all the help we
can get," Bears coach Lovie Smith said in a conference call
with Packers media. "He's one of the best players in the
league. That'll definitely give them a boost. They're a better
football team with him on the football field."
would be even better if Charles Woodson was ready to go, but coach
Mike McCarthy said doctors decided the perennial Pro Bowler needs to
give his broken collarbone another week to heal. Woodson practiced
last week, and was hoping he'd be able to play against Chicago.
Packers-Bears rivalry is the oldest in the NFL and, no question, its
fiercest. Curly Lambeau and George Halas used to refuse to shake
hands after games, and Bears receiver Brandon Marshall said
Wednesday he's never disliked a team as much as the Packers.
Packers can clinch the division title has only added to the hype.
frustrating day. Charles was ready to play, he's ready to go,"
McCarthy said. "It's the judgment of our medical staff, in
particular Dr. McKenzie. He does not feel it's in Charles' best
interest to play in this game. Trust me, that's not easy. He's been
preparing himself. He practiced last week. I know he's extremely
anxious to get back on the field, too, but he knows he has to be
smart about it. This is his third hamstring injury, and there's no
sense getting back on the field if he's only going to have to come
right back off a week or two later.
with where the Packers are in the season.
Green Bay has
been one of the hottest teams in the NFL after its 2-3 start,
winning seven of its last eight. Not only are the Packers closing in
on the division title, they still have a shot at the NFC's No. 2
seed — and the first-round bye that goes with it.
going to put myself in an older category, but maybe a younger Clay
might have pushed it a little too much in trying to get back out
there," said Matthews, who is in his fourth season. "But
you have to realize the bigger picture here. ... With a few games
left and an opportunity to clinch this thing, with an opportunity to
get into the playoffs, ultimately that's the big picture. It's to
get healthy and go into the last part of the season and playoffs
full-strength and full-speed. Hopefully that's the case. Today was a
they'll see how Matthews responds the rest of the week. The Packers
aren't practicing in pads at all this week, but they will be in
shells Thursday and it will be their longest and hardest practice.
is for him to play in the game," McCarthy said. "But
that's why you practice. It's important to go through the process
physically, mentally. ... We'll do our best to get him ready."
want to do the same.
Notes: OL T.J.
Lang practiced after missing last week's game with an ankle injury.
At his old left guard position, no less. Lang was shifted to right
tackle after Bryan Bulaga suffered a season-ending hip injury Nov. 4
against Arizona. "Today was the first day I really got to run
around and plant on it, put weight on it," Lang said. "I'm
definitely feeling better each day. If I continue to make the
improvements I'm making the past week, I feel pretty good about
Sunday." ... McCarthy said WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring) is a
"longshot" for Sunday's game. ... Jeff Saturday remains
the starter though Evan Dietrich-Smith took snaps at center during