Starter Pack: Winter is here

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

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has made it known before that he’s a fan of the HBO show "Game of Thrones," so it should not have been surprising to hear him use the show's famous line “Winter is coming” on Wednesday.

In reality, however, winter has been here for a while, and it will still be here on Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers come to Lambeau Field to play the Packers in an NFC wild-card game.

While Rodgers was speaking inside the confines of the stadium, the temperature outside was in the single digits. It’s expected to be at least as cold, if not colder, during Sunday’s game. According to The Weather Channel, the high in Green Bay on Sunday will be 4 degrees with a low of minus-15.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he planned to take his team outside to practice on Thursday and Friday. Typically in cold weather, the team does individual drills inside the Don Hutson Center and then goes outside for team (11-on-11) work.

“It’s here,” Rodgers said of winter. “It’s here in Green Bay. It’s definitely going to have an effect on the game.”

The question is, will it bother the team from California more?

“You know, not everybody in this locker room is from the great state of Wisconsin,” said Rodgers, a northern California native. “We do practice in it, live in it. I think we’re going to be better adapting to it initially but once the game starts, it’s about who can execute in the cold weather. It does some different things to the football.”

The weather probably impacts quarterbacks and receivers the most.

“A lot of it is just, your hands are cold, the ball is hard, it stings a little bit,” Packers receiver Jordy Nelson said. “But there’s little adjustment. I don’t think they’ll have a problem. We’re used to it, we’ll practice outside these next couple days and we have for the last few weeks. So it’s something that I think is a little to our advantage because we’ve been here, but it’s just like anything, it’s not going to win the game for us.”

49ers receiver Anquan Boldin, who played his first seven seasons in the warmth of Arizona before three years in Baltimore, said he doesn’t think about the weather.

“I think if you prepare the right way, you don’t have to go out and think about it,” Boldin said. “Just go play football.

In case you missed it on ESPN.com:


  • At ESPNWisconsin.com, Jason Wilde wrote that Rodgers thinks his old college coach, Jeff Tedford, will be a great hire as Tampa Bay’s new offensive coordinator under new coach Lovie Smith.

  • In the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Weston Hodkiewicz broke down the impact that Cobb’s return has on the offense. Columnist Mike Vandermause wrote that it’s hard to believe the Packers haven’t sold out Lambeau Field, but he explained why that could be.

  • In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Tom Silverstein noted that running back Eddie Lacy wasn't using a walking boot like he had been in previous weeks, which likely means his sprained right ankle is feeling significantly better.