Starter Pack: Big things happen in Big D

A roundup of what’s happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

GREEN BAY, Wis. – Some monumental things have happened for the Packers in the Dallas area.

In 2007, Aaron Rodgers gave the world the first glimpse of what he could do after he came on in relief of Brett Favre and nearly rallied the Packers to victory in a prime-time game against the Cowboys at old Texas Stadium. It was that game, perhaps more than anything else, that convinced the Packers that Rodgers was ready to take over the following season.

A little more than three years later, Rodgers reached the pinnacle of the sport there – albeit at the new Cowboys Stadium (now called AT&T Stadium) – in Super Bowl XLV, after which he was named the game’s MVP.

“I think everybody will feel it when you pull into the tunnel,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “That’s something you don’t ever forget and will never go away. The reality is this is a different year. This is a different opportunity. We’re going down there to play the whole team. But Dallas, AT&T Stadium, will always have a special place for the Green Bay Packers.”

Those events overshadow the fact that the Packers haven’t beaten the Cowboys in Texas since 1989.

Perhaps it would be fitting if Rodgers could return from his broken collarbone and play Sunday against the Cowboys.

Either way, it will always be a special place to Rodgers and many of his teammates.

“I was going through the photo a few weeks ago in the team room of that group of guys, and it was interesting, there was I believe only 28 of those guys in that picture are still with us,” Rodgers said. “I think there’s over 60 guys in that picture. So teams change year to year, and there’s a big rollover. That’s the nature of our game. But there’s 28 of us who have some really good memories from that stadium.”

In case you missed it on ESPN.com:

  • Despite practicing in pads and taking some snaps with the starting offense for the second straight day, Rodgers’ status for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys remained in doubt. Much depends on what happens Friday, when he meets with the doctors.

  • Whenever Rodgers returns, most expect him to pick up right where he left off.

  • If Rodgers isn’t cleared and Matt Flynn starts again, the key for him will be making quick decisions like he did at times last week against the Atlanta Falcons.

  • Despite not practicing Wednesday or Thursday, things look good for running back Eddie Lacy to play on Sunday. Details are in the daily injury report.

  • Cowboys reporter Todd Archer and I broke down the matchup and made our predictions in the Double Coverage feature, which also includes a video segment.

  • Most on the ESPN panel of experts picked the Cowboys to win this week.


  • At ESPNWisconsin.com, Jason Wilde writes that Packers running backs coach Alex Van Pelt said he doesn’t think McCarthy would let a rookie like Lacy play on Sunday without any practice, but Van Pelt fully expects Lacy to practice on Friday.

  • In the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Weston Hodkiewicz writes that it has been a big transition for the tight ends since Jermichael Finley was lost for the season back in October because of a neck injury.

  • In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tom Silverstein writes that the Packers probably already know whether or not Rodgers will play against the Cowboys, but they’re waiting as long as possible to announce their decision.