GREEN BAY — Packers QB Aaron Rodgers was limited in Wednesday’s practice due to his calf injury, but Head Coach Mike McCarthy was comfortable with the amount of work Rodgers was able to do.
“Aaron’s plan today, he did all the pre-practice work and no-huddle, and then we had a segment he was able to get some rehab done,” McCarthy said. “Then he went back outside for the team (11-on-11) stuff. He got done what he needed to get done today. He’s getting better. He threw the ball around.”
Rodgers also surprised all of his offensive linemen with 55-inch curved LED TVs as a Christmas gift. The TVs were sitting in the linemen’s lockers when they arrived for work on Wednesday morning.
“It was awesome,” said Pro Bowl left guard Josh Sitton, who actually saw his TV in his locker before he left Lambeau Field on Tuesday night. “He’s a hell of a dude, and we’ve had a hell of a year for each other, and he just wanted to thank us. We definitely appreciate it. It’s nice to be appreciated. We appreciate being appreciated.”
Knowing Rodgers, Sitton said he probably isn’t thrilled the media saw the TVs in the lockers and are now publicizing his generosity.
“It’s not like I expected that by any means, but when he does something like that, that’s Aaron,” rookie center Corey Linsley said. “That’s who he is.”
Coinciding with the holiday, of course, is perhaps the offensive line’s biggest challenge of the season against Detroit’s formidable defensive front seven. The Lions controlled the line of scrimmage in their Week 3 victory over the Packers at Ford Field. From defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to defensive end Ziggy Ansah to linebacker DeAndre Levy, the Packers struggled to move the ball consistently in a 19-7 loss.
“Some games are easier up front than others, just based on your opponent, and this is definitely not one of those,” Sitton said. “They’re a good front. There’s no doubt about that. We definitely have to step up.
“We’re extremely confident. We’re always more confident at home, for sure. That’s a big thing for us. We didn’t have an identity in Week 3. It seems to take us a while to get going and figure out who we are. We know who we are now.”
The group is the best offensive line in McCarthy’s tenure, which the head coach has stated repeatedly, and it’s a much more cohesive unit than the one that faced Detroit three months ago. Right tackle Bryan Bulaga was coming off a knee injury that forced him to miss the previous game, and Linsley was playing just his third pro contest.
“I’ve developed as a player a lot over the last 13 weeks,” Linsley said. “I feel I’m a lot more prepared. As an offense is where we’ve developed the most. We’ve found our rhythm, we’ve found our identity and everything. As a team, I think we’re better prepared.”
Prepared enough to turn the tide against Detroit’s defense? That might be the perfect Christmas gift the line could give the ailing Rodgers on Sunday.
“That’s not a gift, that’s my job,” left tackle David Bakhtiari said. “We pride ourselves on that, so we’re going to give him the best protection possible, with or without gifts.”
Injury update: The only player not to practice at least on a limited basis was CB Davon House, who remains sidelined with a shoulder injury. House went through an extensive workout on Tuesday with his position coach but then was held out of practice on Wednesday.
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