By Rob Demovsky
Two weeks ago, the Green Bay Packers were down to their last running back.
Now, it appears they will have their full stable of backs for Sunday’s game at Philadelphia.
Ahman Green returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since he bruised his ribs against Houston on Nov. 21. He missed Monday night’s win over St. Louis, but Najeh Davenport (who missed the Houston game) returned and rushed for a career-high 178 yards against the Rams.
Though the Packers practiced Wednesday in shorts and without pads, Green wore protective pads on his ribs and reported no trouble getting through the 90-minute workout.
“I’ll just see how it feels with contact,” Green said after practice. “It’s getting better every day.”
Green said the protective pad he wore in practice is not unlike what many quarterbacks wear on a regular basis.
“I think Michael Vick wears them,” Green said.
Davenport, who has missed four games this season due to two separate hamstring injuries, also has bruised ribs. Coach Mike Sherman said Davenport got hit in the ribs early in the Rams’ game. Davenport practiced on Wednesday.
“It’s like I said to him, the nice thing about the rib injury is it takes his mind off the hamstrings,” Sherman said. “So he doesn’t have to worry about that as much. He played the game with (bruised ribs), so I don’t think it’s going to be a factor.”
The Packers had their top two running backs available last season against the Eagles, and it proved to be a potent combination. In the two games a year ago, the Packers rushed for 241 yards and 210 yards against Philadelphia. However, they lost both games. The problem in the regular-season game — when Green had 192 yards and Davenport added 24 — was on third down. The Packers converted just 3 of 14 third downs in the 17-14 loss at Lambeau Field. In the 20-17 overtime playoff loss at Philadelphia, the Packers were only 1 of 3 in red zone despite 156 yards from Green and 42 yards from Davenport.
“Usually, statistics kind of give you an indication of the score to a certain degree, but in some cases that’s not true,” Packers quarterback Brett Favre said. “Both games last year we rushed for 200, which is fine, but you have to score points. We had some big plays on them in both games, but not big enough.”
Looking back: Sherman either has convinced his players not to dwell on last year’s playoff loss to the Eagles, or they have indeed gotten over the sting of the loss that included the Packers’ failure to stop the Eagles on fourth-and-26 and Favre’s interception in overtime.
Players in the locker room on Wednesday insisted that game won’t be the motivating factor on Sunday.
“We’ve put that behind us,” Favre said. “Obviously, it comes up a lot this week, but that’s past tense.
“Really, there shouldn’t be any revenge. That should never cross our minds. To say because they ended our season we owe them one, that’s untrue.”
After Monday’s win over the Rams, Sherman said there was a good chance he wouldn’t even mention last year’s loss to the Eagles to his team.
“They’ve got to be worried about what we do this year,” Sherman said. “You can’t go back and undo what’s done. When we hit the field and go back into Philly’s stadium, will there be a little something extra in their gut? I hope so. But as far as our preparation is concerned, it’s totally focused on what we’re trying to accomplish this year. We had our opportunity last year. We didn’t take advantage of it.”
11 vs. 10: Perhaps former Packers safety Antuan Edwards wasn’t completely to blame for giving up a 29-yard reception to tight end Bubba Franks on Monday night.
Though Edwards, who was picked up by the Rams after the Dolphins cut him in midseason, was on Franks, he was the only safety on the field for St. Louis. The Rams had only 10 men on the field.
“I didn’t see a middle safety,” Franks said. “I knew all I had to do was beat Antuan. He was having to cover two guys.”
The completion to Franks, which set up a 10-yard touchdown pass to Javon Walker on the next play, came with the Packers in a two-tight-end formation. Ben Steele ran the same seam route on the other side of the field.
“Ben was wide open, too,” Franks said. “He could have thrown it to Ben or me. I’ll take 11 on 10 every time.”
Etc: Safeties Bhawoh Jue (hip flexor) and safety Darren Sharper (knee) were held out of practice on Wednesday, but Sherman said he expected both to work out today. Receiver Robert Ferguson (twisted foot) also missed practice. Cornerback Al Harris did not practice, but the reason was not disclosed. … Receiver Jamal Jones was signed to the practice squad. The 6-foot, 214-pound rookie was with the Rams in the preseason. He played college football at North Carolina A&T.