McCarthy: Team Is 'Absolutely' Ready
QB Aaron Rodgers (Mary Langenfeld/USP)
QB Aaron Rodgers (Mary Langenfeld/USP)
Posted Sep 2, 2011

With the preseason out of the way, the Packers host the Saints in a battle of the last two Super Bowl champions next Thursday night at Lambeau Field.

Ready or not, here comes the regular season.

Barely a month after the start of training camp and after four preseason games in which Aaron Rodgers played about a full game's worth of possessions, the Super Bowl XLV-champion Green Bay Packers completed their preseason on Thursday night by beating the Kansas City Chiefs, 20-19. A week from now, the stakes will be much, much higher with a season-opening, made-for-TV showdown against the Super Bowl XLIV-champion New Orleans Saints.

"Absolutely, we'll be ready," coach Mike McCarthy said. "Yeah, we're ready."

Even with a lockout that robbed him of his beloved offseason program, McCarthy barely deviated from his typical preseason formula. A week after playing the first half at Indianapolis, the starters played one series against the Chiefs before giving way to dozens of players fighting for their professional livelihoods.

The starters — or, more accurately, the starters who suited up — were sharp during their cameo appearance. The No. 1 defense allowed one first down before undrafted rookie linebacker Vic So'oto, who likely solidified a roster spot, sacked Matt Cassel on third down to force a punt. The offense promptly drove 56 yards in eight plays for a touchdown, even with all of Rodgers' top pass-catching weapons on the sideline. On the first snap, Ryan Grant blew through a huge hole on the right side for a 23-yard gain. Later, on third-and-9, Rodgers sidestepped reigning AFC sacks champion Tamba Hali and hit undrafted rookie receiver Tori Gurley for 12 yards and a first down at the 8. One play later, Rodgers found tight end Tom Crabtree for a touchdown.

For more from Bill’s analysis for Fox Sports, click here.

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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