No football team wants to be considered finesse, but that's how the Green Bay Packers have been labeled in comparison to the San Francisco 49ers. One assistant coach told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Bob McGinn that they're sick of hearing about the big, bad, physical 49ers.
"Our players like (being underdogs)," McCarthy said. "I think they respond better when they're disrespected, and I'm sure that we'll get some of that this week, too, because we weren't successful in the first week. So I think it brings a little more energy."
The thing is, the Packers do play better when they're not front-runners. They didn't go on their Super Bowl run in 2010 until their backs were against the wall. There wasn't the same intensity when Green Bay was the favorite against the New York Giants and were bounced in the divisional round last year.
A slighted Packers group, perceived or actual, is a dangerous team. The 49ers are plenty motivated themselves and haven't forgotten the NFC Championship loss 12 months ago. If the Packers are going to play just as physical, it starts with the offensive line. The 49ers had three linebackers (Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman) named first team All-Pro.
Defensive lineman Justin Smith and linebacker Ahmad Brooks were second-team selections. The Packers have to control a front-seven as good as any in the league and give Aaron Rodgers time to operate. Right tackle Don Barclay is an undrafted rookie and center Evan Dietrich-Smith is a first-year starter. This will be a significant challenge for the Packers line.
It doesn't get any more physical anywhere on the field than in the trenches. McCarthy and Co. have an opportunity to clearly show their brand of football.
Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.