The 49ers and Packers will meet Sunday afternoon in Green Bay for what will be one of the marquee matchups of NFL Opening Weekend.
Despite the fact that Sunday’s game will pit last season’s top two seeds from the NFC Playoffs, the Packers told the Bay Area media that they are strictly focused on the 2012 season during conference calls on Wednesday.
“It’s exciting just getting out of preseason and playing some games that count,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “Playing the Niners you know they are a big-time team. They are a team that has the pieces in place to make a Super Bowl run. They are a team we could play down the line so it’s going to be a great game, a great test for both offenses and defenses. I’m excited to get back out there.”
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said facing a 49ers defense that allowed the second-fewest points-per-game in 2011 will be a tough challenge.
“You definitely have to first start with their personnel,” the Packers coach said. “I think they have very good personnel on defense, a number of Pro Bowlers. They do a very good job of playing the scheme.”
“I am very impressed with their fundamentals definitely starting up front. (Defensive line coach) Jim Tomsula is doing a very good job with their D-line, and it goes all the way through their defense. It’s an excellent tackling defense. It’s a challenging scheme.”
Rodgers, last season’s MVP, was equally complimentary of the 49ers defense.
“They have got the best players,” Rodgers said. “They have a great defense. I think from front-seven to the back end they are solid. There are not any weaknesses out there. They have a lot of Pro Bowl players and a lot of guys who could be Pro Bowl players. Big names and guys who don’t get the respect they probably deserve yet, but will.”
Sunday’s game will also reunite the first two quarterbacks selected in the 2005 NFL Draft. Rodgers spoke about the bond he has developed with Alex Smith through their time in the league.
“I think he’s a guy that takes care of the football and makes a lot of plays,” Rodgers said of Smith. “I have been friends with him since we were 21-years-old. I have followed his career. I definitely pull for him and enjoy watching him play. I think he plays the position well… I think when you add some weapons to the mix, like they did with (Mario) Manningham and (Randy) Moss, you can open it up more because he has the ability and the talent to do that.”
Tags: Aaron Rodgers, Mike McCarthy
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