Instant assistance? Packers might count on Whitney Mercilus


On Sunday, the Packers face a young quarterback in Washington's Taylor Heinicke who has been sacked just five times this season in well over 200 drop-backs. With the playbook now fully electronic on a personal tablet, Mercilus probably doesn't need chairs in a conference room to figure out how to aid the pass rush on super-short notice the same way Green helped the run defense 11 years ago.

Green's story, of course, culminated in one of the biggest plays of Super Bowl XLV, when his pressure up the middle and contact with Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger's arm contributed to Nick Collins' pick-six late in the first quarter.

Mercilus' thoughts are on that type of track. He made it clear he chose to come to Green Bay over other opportunities in order to chase a championship.

He made five playoff appearances with Houston but never advanced beyond the divisional round, before the Texans hit really hard times last season and embarked on a rebuild.

With no time to waste, his new story could get underway, right away.

"I'm just grateful to be here, been accepted with open arms, love it," Mercilus said. "The energy, it's amazing. Honestly it's like, it just pumps new life (into you).

"I feel revitalized. The youngness in me is back because (in) a new environment, you feel the vibe of the team. It's not heavy. It's not a heavy cloud.

"For them to say, 'We want you here,' meant a lot. As far as in my career right now, to have a chance to go for gold, man, it's really a blessing."

Alternate success: The Packers will wear their newest alternate uniforms vs. Washington, a classic '50s historical look with green jerseys, green pants and gold numbers.

Since Green Bay began wearing alternate uniforms on a regular basis in 2010, the team is 7-2. Rodgers is actually 7-1, having missed the 2017 game vs. Baltimore due to injury.

The Packers went 4-0 in their first historical uniform, beating the 49ers (2010), Rams ('11), Browns ('13) and Eagles ('14). They did not wear the uniform in 2012.

They went 3-2 in their next alternate version, beating the Chargers ('15), Bills ('18) and Broncos ('19) but losing to the Cowboys ('16) and Ravens ('17). The Packers did not wear an alternate uniform in 2020.

Home cooking: The Packers beat Washington on the road in the 2015 NFC Wild Card game, but that was a rarity in this series.

Only once since the turn of the century has the road team won a regular-season meeting between these teams.

Since 2001, the Packers have won five meetings at Lambeau Field, while Washington has won three times in its home stadium. The only road team to triumph in the regular season came in 2004, when Green Bay won at Washington.