Head Coach Mike McCarthy said he anticipates the team will be able to practice outside this week in Texas, where temperatures are expected to be in the low 30s on Wednesday and Thursday before warming up into the mid-40s on Friday.
The Packers will be practicing at Southern Methodist University in their outdoor stadium, but will also have an indoor facility at a local high school at their disposal if needed.
“The thing I always look for in weather is injury risk, and anytime the risk for injury increases, then it’s time to go inside,” McCarthy said. “That’s the No. 1 factor, and second is the quality of practice. I don’t really worry about the temperature, or even moisture. Wind is usually the indicator that takes us from outside to inside.”
McCarthy said the biggest change in the team’s practice structure this week will be slightly less time on the field. The team will conduct jog-throughs at the team hotel in the morning before practice, which will trim roughly 15-25 minutes off of the on-field work.
“We’re on the a.m. schedule as far as with the media,” McCarthy said. “We’ll have a team meeting, we’ll meet with the media, then we’ll go into our normal special teams, offense, defensive meetings. Then we’ll have a jog-through, which will be part of the meetings. We’ll flip that offensively and defensively, have lunch, and get on the bus and go practice.”
For the first time ever, NFL Network will be televising the announcement of The Associated Press NFL awards this week at the Super Bowl. The first award given out will be the NFL Defensive Player of the Year on Monday evening with Packers linebacker Clay Matthews one of the leading candidates.
“He’s definitely deserving of the award, and anytime an individual on your football team gets an award like that, you’re happy for him, but you also know his teammates had a lot to do with it also, too,” McCarthy said. “He’s had an incredible start to a career, and like everybody on our football team, and I know speaking for Clay, the biggest game is ahead of us.”
Matthews finished No. 4 in the NFL this season with 13.5 sacks on the way to being named to the Pro Bowl for the second straight year. Since the Defensive Player of the Year was first awarded in 1971, only one player has received the recognition in his first or second season in the league. N.Y. Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor won it in each of his first two seasons (1981-82).
“With individual accolades, you are going to tend to come home with those with good teams,” Matthews said. “It’s not just you personally, but it’s the cast and crew around you, teammates, winning, coaches.
“You look at players that are frontrunners on that list, they are from great teams.”
Linebacker Erik Walden, who sustained an ankle injury in the NFC Championship Game at Chicago, continued to sit out practice on Sunday. McCarthy said he is hopeful that Walden will be back on the field on Wednesday when the team resumes practice to test out where he is at with the injury.
Walden has been the starter opposite Matthews at outside linebacker since rookie Frank Zombo went down in Week 14 with a knee injury.
“Erik Walden is our starting outside linebacker,” McCarthy said. “He’s not going to be replaced because of an injury. He’s earned that through his production down the stretch here. He’s going through a medical situation right now, and we’ll give him every opportunity to get ready for the game.”
Additional coverage - Jan. 30