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Packers turn page to 49ers

Posted by Vic Ketchman, packers.com editor on September 3, 2012 – 1:10 pm

Mike McCarthy talked about turning the page. Clearly, the challenge the San Francisco 49ers pose for this Sunday’s season opener will help the Packers move quickly into a regular-season regimen.

“It’s definitely a turn-the-page moment,” McCarthy said following the Packers’ practice on Monday, the first steps in a week that’ll lead up to one of the most attractive games on the NFL’s opening-weekend schedule. “You’ve got 5-6 weeks on Nitschke Field and then you go behind the tarps. It’s a totally different practice. It’s a whole different format and environment. We turned the page.”

“Behind the tarps” is a euphemism for regular-season intensity. The days of playing games for the purpose of evaluating talent are over. The intent now is much more intense and desperate: win.

This is a game on which both teams might look back when the playoffs begin. It’s a game that could determine home-field advantage for a rematch in January.

“I do recognize the importance of the first game. I fully recognize the quality of our opponent. It’s the most important game because it’s the next game. We’re playing on national TV. That always brings added juice to it,” McCarthy said.

It’s an important game for several reasons, one of which is that it’ll be followed by an equally important game, an NFC North showdown with the Chicago Bears just four days later. In a matter of five days to open the season, much about the Packers’ season could be decided.

“We addressed the tough schedule. We talked about it today,” McCarthy said, referring to the Packers’ first-month-of-the-season schedule, which includes a trip to Seattle and a home game against New Orleans.

“Our focus is on the 49ers. I know who we play in Weeks 2, 3, 4, but I’m not even thinking about it. We have to put everything we possibly can into this game preparation.”

For Monday’s feature story on the Packers’ offense, click here.


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