You choose, we deliver
If you are interested in this story, you might be interested in others from The Journal Gazette. Go to www.journalgazette.net/newsletter and pick the subjects you care most about. We'll deliver your customized daily news report at 3 a.m. Fort Wayne time, right to your email.

Professional

  • Errani's 'cottage cheese' serve tops Venus at Open
    NEW YORK — A day before facing Venus Williams — and a partisan crowd — at the U.S. Open, Italy's Sara Errani came across a video posted on Twitter that gave her a little extra motivation.
  • Serena starts slow, rolls at Open
    Good as she is, even Serena Williams can find it tough to deal with swirling wind, so much so that she double-faulted three times in her first service game Thursday at the U.S. Open.
  • Williams overcomes 3 early double-faults to win
    NEW YORK – Good as she is, even Serena Williams can find it tough to deal with swirling wind, so much so that she double-faulted three times in her first service game Thursday at the U.S.
Advertisement

49ers to see rebuilt team in Packers

– The San Francisco 49ers can toss their film from the season opener against Green Bay in the trash for as much good as it will do now.

Cedric Benson is gone, and the Packers’ running game is now powered by DuJuan Harris and Ryan Grant – neither of whom was on the roster Dec. 1, let alone back in September.

Randall Cobb, whose 75-yard punt return gave the Packers a fleeting chance late in the 30-22 victory by San Francisco, is now one of Aaron Rodgers’ favorite receivers.

And a defense that may as well have been holding rookie orientation for all its newcomers is now a savvy, stingy bunch of veterans.

“A lot’s happened,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “We’re a different football team. We’re a different football team than we were four weeks ago.”

The Packers (12-5) play San Francisco (11-4-1) Saturday night in an NFC divisional game after beating Minnesota in the wild-card round. The 49ers are early 3-point favorites.

San Francisco has had its share of changes this season, too, the most significant being coach Jim Harbaugh’s decision to stick with Colin Kaepernick after Alex Smith recovered from his concussion.

But that’s nothing compared with the Packers, who’ve had so many injuries and lineup changes that defensive coordinator Dom Capers was watching film of the season opener Sunday partly to remind himself of who was – and wasn’t – on the field back then.

More than a dozen starters or projected starters have missed a game or more with an injury, including: Charles Woodson, who played Saturday for the first time since breaking his right collarbone Oct. 21; Greg Jennings, who missed eight games with a torn muscle in his groin; Clay Matthews and Jordy Nelson, who missed four games each with hamstring injuries; and Benson, who played only five games before a season-ending foot injury.

Change has been the only constant on the offensive line the second half of the season, with the Packers on their fifth starting lineup. Same in the secondary, where three players started at right corner over the last seven games.

That kind of upheaval would doom most teams, but the Packers have managed to thrive. Somewhere amidst the chaos, they not only found solutions, they found themselves.

“Everybody starts the season and has an idea and vision of who you want to be,” McCarthy said Sunday.

“But the reality of it is, you go through a 16-week season, there’s a lot of things happen. There’s obstacles that you have to get through. There’s injuries to different players, players coming in, players going out. I think all those things factor in to who you really are and who you think you are.”

Advertisement