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When Lambeau freezes over

by Mark Daniels

The way November went for the Packers, there are some who think they might not win again until hell freezes over, or Aaron Rodgers returns.   Pitting the medical prognosis against the weather forecast and it looks like the tundra will be frozen first.  Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons arrive, beaten down nearly as badly as the Pack, with a 3-9 record, ugly for a pre-season Super Bowl contender.  They'll be greeted by some of the coldest temperatures of the young winter.   The forecast calls for highs in the mid-teens with enough of a breeze to drive the wind chills to single digits and maybe, sub zero.  The Falcons have played nine of their 12 games with a roof over their heads, and they have yet to venture any further north that Charlotte.

As for Rodgers, he donned shoulder pads for the first time since he suffered the injury 31 days ago.  His practice routine was nearly identical to Wednesday, light throwing during individual drills.  To think he'll be able to play Sunday is quite a stretch.

The offensive line is a big question mark too.  Rookie David Bakhtiari attended meetings this morning but was looking a bit green so he was sent home.  Center Evan Dietrich-Smith didn't practice today, working through knee and ankle issues.   If he can't go, T.J. Lang will handle the snapping and the right side of the line will be sorted out between Don Barclay, Marshall Newhouse or Lane Taylor.  The Packers would prefer to keep Barclay at tackle but Mike McCarthy said the EDS replacement among the starting five would be performance based from practice.  After Newhouse struggled mightily against the Lions, don't be surprised if it's Taylor at guard.

The official injury report had Brandon Bostick a full participant off his concussion, as was Jamari Lattimore off a quad injury.  Limited were Nick Perry with a toe injury and Rodgers, of course.  Joining EDS on the sidelines were Mike Neal with his abdomen issue, C.J. Wilson with a bum ankle and Ryan Pickett with creaky knees.

Tramon WIlliams knew the question was coming.  Did he get any mail from the league office?  Yes, he said and the correspondence included notification of a fine for swatting the arm of an official in last week's game against the Lions.  Williams said he'll appeal but isn't optimistic.  He said the incident happened in the heat of the moment, he didn't know it was a ref that was extending an arm toward him after a Detroit touchdown.  He swiped at it and drew the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  Williams didn't tell us how much the fine was (in the 20,000.00 range) but was happy it didn't approach the one given to Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.