The Packers are on the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated
By Travis Duncan
At least two players vowed this week they wanted to be "Packers for life" as the team prepares for a key matchup against the Chargers in San Diego.
That aside, the game (4:15 p.m. ET Qualcomm Stadium FOX) has been circled on the calendar for weeks now, but under newly formed and interesting circumstances. The Chargers are coming off a bad, demoralizing loss the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night. A game they should have won.
Will that carry over? Will the Chargers rebound or regress? Does Phillip Rivers' fumble and the devastating loss take some of the juice out of the matchup?
We'll find out.
Here are a few tidbits as the Packers prepare for their first visit to San Diego since 2004.
-Aaron Rodgers said that he wants to retire a Packer. He made the comments on his weekly radio show. You can listen here. The NFL, and particularly the QB position is about the only pro sports league where a franchise, in a so-called small market, can retain their superstars and the best players. The best players can and will remain with one franchise throughout their entire career. It builds incredible brand loyalty for the NFL and its teams. It also helps that Rodgers has had so much success and players want to play for the Green Bay organization.
Rodgers leads the NFL with a 125.7 passer rating and is the first player in NFL history to start a season with seven consecutive games with a 110+ rating. He has passed for 2,372 yards and 20 touchdowns and is the only QB in NFL history with 2,300+ passing yards and 20+ TDs in a team’s first seven games of a season.
-Rodgers is a native of Chico, Calif., and will be making his first-ever start in his home state on Sunday.
-Not only does Rodgers want to be a "Packer for life", so does his tight end Jermichael Finley, who is in the final year of his rookie contract.
Finley who has caught 25 passes from Rodgers this season for 334 yards and four touchdowns told the Green Bay Press Gazette "This is a town, this is a team, (an) organization, you couldn’t ask for more. If they came to a conclusion (on a contract), I would look into it. I want to be a Packer for life, for sure. Hands down, I think this is the best organization for me."
“You can’t ask for a better city just because there’s nothing to do, for one thing. I’m going to be real with you, there’s less trouble you can get into. It’s first class in everything they do — contracts, around the building — everything’s first class. I love it. Hands down, I wouldn’t even debate with anyone about it.”
With the four TDs, Finley ranks tied for No. 3 among NFL tight ends this season. He ranks No. 11 among NFL tight ends with the 334 receiving yards. His 25 catches are No. 15 in the NFL.
-Play-by-play man Thom Brennaman and color analyst Brian Billick will have the call from the broadcast booth on FOX with Laura Okmin reporting from the sidelines
-Chargers running back Ryan Mathews is a question mark for Sunday's game because of a groin injury. He left Monday night's game early because of the injury.
-Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com remarks how well the Packers have managed share the ball around on offense, complete with a breakdown of playing time per personnel groupings.
-The Pierce County Herald has the story of one Packers fan, a second grader, who was at the Metrodome for the Packers-Vikings game and received a game ball from cornerback Charles Woodson shortly after his second interception.
-Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has the story on how the Packers' wide receivers coach, former running back Edgar Bennett (who switched from coaching the running backs to wideouts after the Super Bowl) demands his core group block and not just catch.
Donald Driver said that Bennett met with the wide receivers and said "We needed to block better."
"He watched us on film," said Driver. "We do block, but now it's more of a mind-set. That's what we have to do - block, block, block. Catch, catch, catch."
-Mike McCarthey was asked on Packers.com if taking a loss or two would be good for the postseason. You know 'get it out of your system' before it really counts. Note McCarthy has a master's degree in Sports Administration, and it appears he knows a thing or two about sports/performance psychology.
Here is his reply "Philosophically, we could talk all day about winning and losing. Winning and losing are representative of the three reinforcement theories – positive, negative and zero. As you develop a program that gives a team the ability to grow, positive reinforcement is the best formula for growth. Historically and through case studies, that’s been proven. Negative reinforcement is a short-term answer for correction, but constant negative reinforcement inhibits growth. I think winning and losing parallels the positive versus negative theory. To answer the question, I don’t think a loss is ever good, but it can give you short-term negative reinforcement to get your focus back in line. As a leader, I feel strongly that I can keep the team focused through winning and positive reinforcement to promote growth and confidence as we move forward. As a result, winning becomes ingrained, habitual and establishes a standard. A loss can be a punch in the mouth, but it inhibits progress. In professional sports, it’s all about winning and progressing to be the best you can be, because if you’re playing the best you can, your chances of winning increase greatly."
-Check out the Packers in the tunnel at the Metrodome before they take on the Vikings in the video below:
-The Packers again top the Power Rankings as expected, but the 49ers are creeping up the list, as a potential NFC title foe.
ESPN.com No. 1 followed by the 49ers, Steelers, Ravens and Patriots
ProFootballTalk.com No.1 followed by the 49ers, Steelers, Patriots and Lions
The Sporting News No.1 followed by the Steelers, Ravens, Patriots and 49ers
ProFootballWeekly No.1 followed by the Steelers, Patriots, 49ers and Ravens
National Football Post No. 1 followed by the Steelers, Patriots, 49ers and Giants
Fox Sports No. 1 followed by the Steelers, 49ers, Patriots and Ravens
While the 49ers on paper don't appear to be an overly challenging opponent for the Packers, what do you think about a potential 49ers-Packers playoff matchup?
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