Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Giants-Packers: 'Everybody's feeling it'
By Kevin Seifert
Some newsbits and random thoughts as the Green Bay Packers began practicing in earnest for Sunday's divisional playoff game against the New York Giants:
As we've been discussing for the past few days, the death of Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin's son has hit the franchise hard. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers spoke slowly and in tones hardly recognizable during the beginning of his Tuesday radio show, and on Wednesday coach Mike McCarthy, teared up and paused several seconds to collect himself while discussing the death of Michael Philbin.
Here's part of what McCarthy said, transcribed from a video available on the Packers' web site:
"Everybody's feeling it. There's no question on what level. That's really for the individual to speak on. But professionally, I've been very pleased with what we’ve been able to accomplish. We had a very productive day Monday, obviously with everything going on on Monday. And today, just a ton of energy. Clearly from a tempo standpoint, the execution is probably one of our finer Wednesday practices.
"And I think the reality of this just gave everybody a punch in the heart to let you know the reality ... how fortunate we are to be where we are."
Joe Philbin spent Wednesday with his family and McCarthy said he had not spoken to him about a return date. McCarthy had originally planned to assume Philbin's weekly duties but has since spread them around to the rest of his offensive staff.
McCarthy's message to the team Wednesday, he said, was about "the ability to separate." Obviously, that's easier said than done.
Michael Philbin's funeral is scheduled for Friday. Rodgers told reporters Wednesday that "a bunch" of people from the organization are hoping to attend the funeral, but in another sign of how impactful this episode has been, Rodgers said he has never attended a funeral.
All 53 players on the Packers' active roster practiced Wednesday. Technically, left tackle Chad Clifton (hamstring/back), receiver Randall Cobb (groin) and linebacker Robert Francois (hamstring) were limited. But McCarthy said even the limited players were close to full participation.
The Giants are in decent health. Cornerback Aaron Ross, who suffered a concussion Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, was cleared to practice. But running back D.J. Ware has not been cleared from his concussion and sat out practice. So did linebacker Mark Herzlich (ankle) and running back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot/back). But Bradshaw typically sits out at least one practice a week and is expected to play Sunday.