No sweat: Packers getting ready for Miami heat
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — If he must play in warm weather, Packers center Corey Linsley would rather it be a middle of a summer-like, sweltering heat. The kind of heat that might make him delusional after working out in the sun for three hours.
Linsley should feel just fine then playing the Dolphins on Sunday in Miami, where the forecast calls for a humid day with a high in the mid-80s and a chance of thunderstorms.
In other words, nothing like Wisconsin in October.
“I like it because I feel like the (heat) is like — you get delusional. You just stop caring,” said Linsley, a rookie center from Youngstown, Ohio. “I’m going to go as hard as I can.”
It’s a good thing then that Green Bay had a long weekend to rest after last Thursday’s 42-10 rout of the Minnesota Vikings. The Packers have rolled off two straight convincing victories to move into a first-place tie with Detroit in the NFC North at 3-2.
Coach Mike McCarthy gave the team three days off. Players returned to work Monday to start studying up on Miami.
Practice resumed Wednesday during a windy day in Green Bay. Temperatures were in the 50s but it felt colder. The only resemblance to South Beach this weekend was that it was sunny.
“I had to wear sun block today in Green Bay,” coach Mike McCarthy said with a chuckle.
This is a franchise that historically thrives in the freezing cold. It’s one of the northernmost outposts in the NFL. The Packers’ home of Lambeau Field has been made famous in black-and-white highlights in which the deep-voiced narrator waxes about the “frozen tundra.”
According to STATS, the Packers are 10-9 since 1991 in games played with a temperature of at least 81 degrees. The last such game was in 2009, a 38-28 loss at Tampa.
On Wednesday, the keyword at Lambeau was “hydration.” It was important to refill on water and energy drinks in Miami.
“Heat? Yeah it’s cold right now,” running back Eddie Lacy said. “But it’s going to be different. We definitely have to hydrate and ... just try to eliminate cramps because it’s hotter than what we’re used to.”
In one sense though, the Packers already feel prepared. McCarthy this year instituted a new conditioning regimen which seems to have worked so far judging by the small number of lingering injuries. The medical report last year, for instance, was littered with nagging, week-to-week maladies like pulled hamstrings.
On Wednesday, only receiver Jarrett Boykin (groin) and defensive lineman Datone Jones (ankle) missed practice. Boykin has missed a couple of weeks; Jones got hurt against the Vikings.
“I think what we’ve done this year with the new program in place, it’s an everyday deal for us. It’s definitely heightened,” McCarthy said. “The process has already started, it doesn’t start on Thursday or Friday, so we’ll be ready. I feel confident about that.”
Confidence also abounds after the win over the Vikings, though the Packers this week have also been careful about saying there is much to improve. They would like to achieve week-to-week consistency in the running game after a breakout performance last time out. Lacy ran for a season-high 105 yards on 13 carries, while backup James Starks added 46 yards on 12 carries.
Lacy said he could see on film this week that he was running more decisively.
“You know when I got in the secondary, I didn’t slow down and try to ... look to see if I can reverse field,” Lacy said. “I just took what we given to me and got north-south as fast as possible.”
It’s all about tempo for the Packers, and keeping the defense on its heels. When Lacy is going, Green Bay presents problems on the ground and through the air with quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“I grew up playing in the heat,” said Rodgers, a California native. “It’ll be different for us, but we like to keep a fast tempo so it will be tough on them, too.”
Notes: Linebacker and special teams ace Sam Barrington (hamstring) was limited in practice, as was DL Josh Boyd (knee). ... Green Bay signed G Jordan McCray to the practice squad. The 6-foot-3 out of Central Florida was initially signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in May before getting cut before the regular season started.
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