Packers' Clark practices Thursday, GB will see fans for first time this season Sunday
GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Packers' last win in New Orleans was actually Super Bowl 31, with Brett Favre leading Green Bay to the Lombardi Trophy.
On Sunday the Packers will look to beat the Saints in the Superdome for the first time in 25 years.
Getting ready for the trip down south, the Green Bay defense has talked a lot about starting faster, after getting gashed for yards and points early in the first 2 games this season. And they might be getting a boost this week, as defensive lineman Kenny Clark practiced Thursday, trying to fight back from his groin injury.
Clark, and any other Packer who is out there Sunday night will have to know where Taysom Hill is at all times. The Saints' swiss army knife is the Packers' one that got away. Just imagine how Matt LaFleur might have used the versatile weapon, had Ted Thompson not cut Hill loose following camp in 2017. In his time with New Orleans, Hill has blocked punts, caught touchdown passes, thrown them, and ran it in for scores as well. Opponents must keep their heads on a swivel.
“Oh man, he is a dynamic player,” LaFleur said. “No matter where you put him. Whether he is lining up as a tight end or an H-back type. You get him out on routes, whether he’s lined up at quarterback or they are running some type of trick play with him. You always got to be alert and know where he is at because he is extremely dangerous. He is like a throwback player. You just don’t find these guys anymore.”
“We’ve seen this guy return kickoffs,” said Saints quarterback Drew Brees. “We’ve seen him block punts. We’ve seen him rush to block extra points and field goals. He runs down and makes tackles on punt team. He’s the personal protector. He’s run down on kickoff. I mean it’s really mind boggling just the role that he plays.”
The city of New Orleans is not allowing the general public to attend Sunday night’s game, but the team is allowed to invite 750 family members to attend.
It’ll be the first time Green Bay has seen anybody in the stands for a game so far this season. But still, 750 voices are a lot quieter than the 75,000 who normally inhabit the Superdome. The Packers won’t have to face the raucous revelry that the Big Easy’s boisterous dome is known for.
“It won’t be the same atmosphere that we played there over the years,” said Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. “I think we played there in 2008 and ’14. It’s a tough environment to play in. New Orleans. Atlanta. Minnesota. For so many years. There’s some domes that are just a little bit different. It’s a tough place to play. I think the biggest thing is going to be the energy. Both the Saints and us have aspirations that I think are real. They are a really talented team and so are we. It will be a good measuring stick for us.”
The Green Bay defense has benefitted from seeing a 2nd-year jump from last year’s #1 draft pick: Rashan Gary. There was a lot of hype this offseason surrounding the talented, but raw, pass rusher. And Gary is finally showing up as a difference maker. He has 1.5 sacks so far this season and has already matched his QB pressures total from all of last year, with 5 already.
“You know of course, drafted 12th overall, he has ability that can be an asset to this defense,” said Preston Smith. “And this year he has just been different. As far as his confidence level, it’s way through the roof now. When he goes out there he is doing less thinking, and that’s kind of what it’s like getting over the rookie hump of thinking so much when you are on the field.”
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