Once a week, reporters get to gather around the Lambeau Field locker of Aaron Rodgers to get his thoughts on the team and the upcoming game. Unlike his predecessor Brett Favre, who conducted weekly press conferences at the podium in the media auditorium, Rodgers likes to hold his session in the locker room, where every other player talks to reporters. Today was the day and it obviously brings a crowd, a dozen writers, that many radio reporters and maybe 10 TV cameras and microphones all crushed in a semi-circle only a few feet from his locker. After what seemed a longer wait than usual, Rodgers finally strolled toward the crowd and just as he stepped into the breach, he retreated and asked a reporter if he'd be so kind to get something out of his bench which doubles as a chest for shoes, hats and the like. When the reporter reached for the bench lid, out jumped a costumed and masked zombie-like creature. With a shriek, he lept out of the cubby and ran off while the stunned press corps at first yelped, but then burst into laughter. Score one for the MVP, he spooked the media on Halloween. Rodgers said the best part of the stunt (which alledgedly involved equipment manager Red Batty as the accomplice), was that the trick of this trick or treat day, sweated out 40 minutes in the locker before making his surprise entrance. Happy Halloween.
I know it's Thursday but on the Packer calendar it's a Wednesday because of the Monday night game against the Bears. So the team hit the practice field for the first time for game plan installation day. The first injury report of the week also came out. Jermichael Finley and Clay Matthews have both been ruled out. Mike McCarthy didn't have any updates on Finley's condition today but he was at the building Wednesday to be a part of the team photo. McCarthy said he visited with Finley and he looks great but it's going to be a long process. Matthews will have the pins taken out of his surgically repaired broken thumb next Monday. Nick Perry did not participate after doing some practice work last week. McCarthy said the broken foot just isn't coming around as well as they'd hoped. James Jones was a limited participant but actually did very little during team periods. Tight end Ryan Taylor was also limited with his knee injury and there's a chance he might return against Chicago. Brad Jones is also close to a return from his hamstring injury. He was a full participant.
Down in Chicago, Jay Cutler, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman, all three key players, did not practice. Cutler and Briggs are both out for the trip to Lambeau although Cutler indicated this week the groin injury shouldn't take the full month to heal.
Some league honors came the Packers way today. Mason Crosby piled up 50 points in the month of October alone and today was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the month. Mason moved past both Chris Jacke and Don Hutson this month to trail only Ryan Longwell on the Packers' all time franchise scoring list. He's hit 17 of 19 field goals and all 23 extra points, good for 74 points on the season. After practice Mason talked about the award and how he's rebounded strongly from his most challenging season as a pro.
The other award announced today was the first honor for second round draft pick Eddie Lacy. The Alabama running back was named the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Month for October. Over the last four games, Lacy has piled up 395 yards rushing, more than any back in the league over that span. He leads all rookies in rushing with 446 yards on the season.