Saturday, October 12, 2013
Rare road woes slowing Packers
By Rob Demovsky
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Since Mike McCarthy took over as head coach in 2006, the Green Bay Packers have been one of the NFL's best road teams.
During that stretch, they have the sixth-best, regular-season road winning percentage (.552, 32-26) in the league, and that doesn’t even include their three straight road playoff wins on the way to Super Bowl XLV.
But if the Packers lose on Sunday to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium, they will match their longest road skid in McCarthy’s tenure. Including last year’s playoff loss at the San Francisco 49ers, the Packers have lost four straight away from Lambeau Field. They lost in Week 17 last season at Minnesota and then two weeks later to the 49ers in the NFC Divisional playoff round. They opened this season with road losses at San Francisco in Week 1 and at Cincinnati in Week 3.
They haven’t lost five straight on the road since 2008, when they lost consecutive road games at Tennessee (in overtime), Minnesota, New Orleans, Jacksonville and Chicago. That streak ended when they won their first road game of the 2009 season at St. Louis.
“I think we do a good job on the road,” McCarthy said this week. “I think our players handle the adversity that you see on the road, and that will be no different.”
McCarthy’s team follows the same routine when traveling, regardless of whether they have a long flight to the West coast or a short trip to an NFC North city. They leave Green Bay’s Austin Straubel Airport at the same time, 12:45 p.m. the day before the game, for every road trip, including this weekend’s trip to Baltimore.
“It’s the next game. We need to win the next game,” Packers receiver James Jones said. “It’s on the road so whatever we’ve got to do to get a road win, we’ve got to do. We really don’t focus on that. We truly focus on the next game, wherever it’s at, road or away, and getting that next win. We know when you go on the road, it’s going to be hostile – especially when you go play the Super Bowl champions, it’s going to be hostile; it’s going to be loud. They’re going to come out with a lot of energy and we’ve got to go out and play well.”