For the first time this season, the Broncos are preparing to play a team from the NFC as they’ll head to Green Bay for a meeting with the defending Super Bowl champions Sunday.
The two teams last squared off in Denver during the 2007 season, and it’s been 8 years since the Broncos last stepped foot on Lambeau Field.
In a conference call with the media, Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy acknowledged the challenge the Broncos present with a new coaching staff and a revamped roster since the teams last met.
“Denver’s coming in here — they’re an uncommon opponent,” McCarthy said. “We haven’t played them in a couple years, and they have a new staff. I’ve also had the opportunity to compete against (Head Coach) John Fox in the past, and I have great respect for John as a football coach and the program that he’s building there.”
“We’re going to spend a lot of extra time this week on the film study because the Broncos are an uncommon opponent,” McCarthy added. “There are some players that we haven’t played against in the past, so we’ve addressed that Monday with our players and again today with our players. We have a lot of respect for what we’ve seen on film.”
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers also noted the lack of familiarity with the Broncos in a conference call, but pointed out defensive end Elvis Dumervil as an opponent he regularly enjoys watching.
“Elvis is a difference-maker, a big-time player, and he’s fun to watch,” Rodgers said. “When you watch Denver, it’s exciting to watch Elvis come off the edge and wreak havoc. It’s interesting to see what his status will be for the game, but it’s a talented group that has played well. We know it’s going to be test. We know they do a lot of different things on defense, on third down, mixing up their plays and their personnel groups. It’s going to be a good test for us.”
Rodgers may see Dumervil up-close in a few days as the 2009 NFL sack leader said today that he felt good in practice and is “looking forward to playing Sunday”.
Speaking of Rodgers, his name was mentioned quite a bit in the Broncos’ locker room today as members of the defense spoke about preparing for an offense led by a top-flight quarterback.
McCarthy was asked if Rodgers deserves to be considered one of the best quarterbacks in the game and he had this response:
“I’m going to say this: my guy’s special,” McCarthy said. “He’s a special player, and he’s got a lot of football in front of him, and I have great respect for the other quarterbacks in the conversation. Aaron allows us to play offensive football from a multiple platforms, and on top of that, he’s very talented, and he’s on top of his game right now.”