McCarren: Packers playing 'for real now'

Next game: Sunday, September 9th vs. San Francisco
Packers Gameday at 1:00 p.m. on Newsradio 620 WTMJ, a live blog here and coverage on Live at 10 on TODAY'S TMJ4, your official Packers station

The 2012 Green Bay Packers season is three days away, and anticipation grows as the team attempts to return to the status of world champion that they earned in 2010.

Click on each photo for more about this story.  (Most photos courtesy Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

  • GREEN BAY - The preseason is over. Every game now counts.

    The 2012 Green Bay Packers season is three days away, and anticipation grows as the team attempts to return to the status of world champion that they earned in 2010.

    Click the photo for more about this story.

  • "It's for real now," said Newsradio 620 WTMJ Packers color commentator and TODAY'S TMJ4 sports reporter Larry McCarren.

    It will be when the Packers host the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

    McCarren, a former Packers Pro Bowl center, has experienced the growth in anticipation and the ramp-up of preparation and emotion a regular season opener brings.

    Click the photo for more about this story.

  • He never experienced the pressure that comes with starting a season as a favorite to earn a Lombardi Trophy.

    "You're talking about a team that a lot of people are predicting to win the Super Bowl," explained McCarren.

    "To begin that season with that kind of potential, that kind of hopes, dreams, aspirations, it gets that person amped up, gets them wired."

    Click the photo for more about this story.

  • Especially wired could be a good description many rookie Packers might experience on Sunday when they lace up their sneakers and crack pads with the 49ers.

    What advice would McCarren give Green Bay rookies entering their first NFL action?

    Click the photo for more about this story.

  • "Take their cue from the veterans," said McCarren.

    "(Defensive lineman) Jerel Worthy, for example, you look at a kid like that, he'll take his cue from the Ryan Pickett's of the world, how they go about their business. To see a true pro, like Ryan Pickett, when you see what's important to him, how he approaches a regular season opener, that's how (Worthy will) do it."

    Click the photo for more about this story.

  • Another thing rookies will have to understand is the quickness of a regular season game compared to the preseason, as guys give more effort knowing that every play, and every game, counts.

    "That's the great separator, if you can adjust to the speed of the game. It will be faster than it was during the preseason."

    Click the photo for more from our Packers preseason photo gallery.

  • Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Daniel Muir is shown during the fourth quarter of their preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs Thursday, August 30, 2012 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. MARK HOFFMAN/MHOFFMAN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Mark Hoffman

  • GREENBAY31 nws kg 6-- Green Bay Packers Linebackers Desmond Moses (54) and Brad Jones (59) tackle Kansas City Chiefs Javier Arenas (21) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Green Bay. PHOTO BY KYLE GRILLOT/ KGRILLOT@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Kyle Grillot

  • GREENBAY31 nws kg 4-- Green Bay Packers Linebacker Desmond Moses 2celebrates after tackling Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Ricky Stanzi during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Green Bay. PHOTO BY KYLE GRILLOT/ KGRILLOT@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Kyle Grillot

  • GREENBAY31 nws kg 5-- Green Bay Packers Linebacker Terrell Manning tackles Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Ricky Stanzi during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Green Bay. PHOTO BY KYLE GRILLOT/ KGRILLOT@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Kyle Grillot

  • GREENBAY31 nws kg 3-- Green Bay Packers Linebacker Terrell Manning celebrates after tackling Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Ricky Stanzi during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Green Bay. PHOTO BY KYLE GRILLOT/ KGRILLOT@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Kyle Grillot

  • ONLY USE THIS POHOTO WITH LORI NICKEL'S STORY, DO NOT USE ONLINE BEFORE THEN -- Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews shows hishands and how they take a beating during the season while on the sidelines during their preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs Thursday, August 30, 2012 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. MARK HOFFMAN/MHOFFMAN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Mark Hoffman

  • GREENBAY31 nws kg 1-- Green Bay Packers running back Alex Green rolls into the end zone for a touchdown in the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012, in Green Bay. PHOTO BY KYLE GRILLOT/ KGRILLOT@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Kyle Grillot

  • Green Bay Packers quarterback Graham Harrell throw a pass under pressure during the second quarter of their preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs Thursday, August 30, 2012 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. MARK HOFFMAN/MHOFFMAN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Mark Hoffman

  • Green Bay Packers Tori Gurley grabs a long reception while being covered by Kansas City Chiefs Chandler Fenner during the second quarter of their preseason game Thursday, August 30, 2012 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. MARK HOFFMAN/MHOFFMAN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Mark Hoffman

  • Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields intercepts a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jamar Newsome during the second quarter of their preseason game Thursday, August 30, 2012 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. MARK HOFFMAN/MHOFFMAN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Mark Hoffman

  • Green Bay Packers cornerback Sam Shields intercepts a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jamar Newsome during the second quarter of their preseason game Thursday, August 30, 2012 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. MARK HOFFMAN/MHOFFMAN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Mark Hoffman

  • Green Bay Packers running back Alex Green bowls Kansas City Chiefs Tysyn Hartman (CQ) enroute to a touchdown during the second quarter of their preseason game Thursday, August 30, 2012 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. MARK HOFFMAN/MHOFFMAN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Mark Hoffman

  • Green Bay Packers#6 Graham Harrell completes a pass to #11 Jarrett Boykin against the Cleveland Browns during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field, Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Green Bay Wisconsin. Journal Sentinel photo by Rick Wood/RWOOD@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Rick Wood

  • packers17 spt caw Green Bay Packers #6 quarterback Graham Harrell makes a pass during the second half of their game against Cleveland Browns during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012. The Browns beat the Packers, 35-10. PHOTO BY CHRIS WILSON/CWILSON@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Chris Wilson

  • Photo: Wayne Larrivee

  • Photo: Wayne Larrivee

  • Aaron Rodgers looks for some room to run in the Packers' exhibition game against the Browns at Lambeau Field on Thursday night. The Packers lost, 35-10. Chris Wilson

  • Green Bay Packers#17 Andrew Brewer catches a pass during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field, Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Green Bay Wisconsin. Journal Sentinel photo by Rick Wood/RWOOD@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Rick Wood

  • Green Bay Packers #32 Cedric Benson didn't dress for the game but was on the bench talking with other players during the game. Aduring the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field, Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Green Bay Wisconsin. Journal Sentinel photo by Rick Wood/RWOOD@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Rick Wood

  • Green Bay Packers#11 Jarrett Boykin picks up a first down in the second half against the Cleveland Browns during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field, Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Green Bay Wisconsin. Journal Sentinel photo by Rick Wood/RWOOD@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Rick Wood

  • packers17 spt caw Green Bay Packers #6 Graham Harrell looks for an open receiver during their game against the Cleveland Browns during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012. The Browns beat the Packers, 35-10. PHOTO BY CHRIS WILSON/CWILSON@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Chris Wilson

  • packers17 spt caw Cleveland Browns #29 Brandon Jackson is taken down by the Green Bay Packers during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012. The Browns beat the Packers, 35-10. PHOTO BY CHRIS WILSON/CWILSON@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Chris Wilson

  • packers17 spt caw Cleveland Browns #12 Coly McCoy yells to his offensive line during the pre-season NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012. The Browns beat the Packers, 35-10. PHOTO BY CHRIS WILSON/CWILSON@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Chris Wilson

  • packers17 spt caw Green Bay Packers #29 Casey Hayward takes down Cleveland Browns # Rod Windson during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012. The Browns beat the Packers, 35-10. PHOTO BY CHRIS WILSON/CWILSON@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Chris Wilson

  • Packers17 8/16/2012. Packers vs Cleveland Browns. Cleveland running back Adonis Thomas loses his helmut as Jamari Lattimore and Terrell Maning move in for a tackle in the fourth quarter. PHOTO BY JOHN KLEIN/JKLEIN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM John Klein

  • Packers17 8/16/2012. Packers vs Cleveland Browns. Packer coach Mike McCarthy disputed an intentional grounding call against Graham Harrell in the fourth quarter. PHOTO BY JOHN KLEIN/JKLEIN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM John Klein

  • Packers17 8/16/2012. Packers vs Cleveland Browns. D.J. Smith combines with C.J.Wilson to bring down Browns running back Montario Hardesty. PHOTO BY JOHN KLEIN/JKLEIN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM John Klein

  • Packers17 8/16/2012. Packers vs Cleveland Browns.Packers Jamari Lattimore brings down Browns Brandon Jackson as Sean Richardson move in to help. PHOTO BY JOHN KLEIN/JKLEIN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM John Klein

  • Packers17 8/16/2012. Packers vs Cleveland Browns. Erik Walden brings down wide receiver Gregg Little. PHOTO BY JOHN KLEIN/JKLEIN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM John Klein

  • Green Bay Packers#11 Jarrett Boykin picks up yardageagainst the Cleveland Browns during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field, Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Green Bay Wisconsin. Journal Sentinel photo by Rick Wood/RWOOD@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Rick Wood

  • Packers17 8/16/2012. Packers vs Cleveland Browns. Jarrett Bush, B.J Raji and Mike Daniels bring down Montario Hardesty in the fourth quarter. PHOTO BY JOHN KLEIN/JKLEIN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM John Klein

  • Packers17 8/16/2012. Packers vs Cleveland Browns. Aarom Rodgers played the first quarter scoring one touchdown. PHOTO BY JOHN KLEIN/JKLEIN@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM John Klein

  • Green Bay Packers#89 James Jones hauls in a pass with Cleveland Browns #24 Sheldon Brown during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field, Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Green Bay Wisconsin. Journal Sentinel photo by Rick Wood/RWOOD@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Rick Wood

  • packers17 spt caw Green Bay Packers #8 Tim Masthay exits the field at the second against Cleveland Browns during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012. At the half, the Packers are down 16-7. PHOTO BY CHRIS WILSON/CWILSON@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Chris Wilson

  • Green Bay Packers#80 Donald Driver grimaces after dropping a pass in the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field, Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Green Bay Wisconsin. Journal Sentinel photo by Rick Wood/RWOOD@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Rick Wood

  • Green Bay Packers#51 D.J. Smith and #43 M.D. Jennings can't stop Cleveland Browns #20 Montario Hardesty from crossing the goal on a 1 yard run, scoring a touchdown in the first quarter during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field, Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Green Bay Wisconsin. Journal Sentinel photo by Rick Wood/RWOOD@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Rick Wood

  • packers17 spt caw Green Bay Packers #12 quarterback Aaron Rodgers makes a pass against the Cleveland Browns during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012. PHOTO BY CHRIS WILSON/CWILSON@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Chris Wilson

  • packers17 spt caw Cleveland Browns #20 Montario Hardesty is tackled by Green Bay Packers defense during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012. PHOTO BY CHRIS WILSON/CWILSON@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Chris Wilson

  • Green Bay Packers#20 Alex Green picks up 5 yards while tackled by Cleveland Browns#56 Kaluka Maiava and ( #) during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field, Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Green Bay Wisconsin. Journal Sentinel photo by Rick Wood/RWOOD@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Rick Wood

  • packers17 spt caw Green Bay Packers #20 Alex Green is tackled after a drive against Cleveland Browns during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2012. PHOTO BY CHRIS WILSON/CWILSON@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Chris Wilson

  • Green Bay Packers # 98 C.J. Wilson and #50 A.J. Hawk tackle #20 Montario Hardesty against the Cleveland Browns during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field, Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Green Bay Wisconsin. Journal Sentinel photo by Rick Wood/RWOOD@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Rick Wood

  • Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy lets his opinion known on a catch with a ref against the Cleveland Browns during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field, Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Green Bay Wisconsin. Journal Sentinel photo by Rick Wood/RWOOD@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Rick Wood

  • Green Bay Packers#98 C.J. Wilson and #50 A.J. Hawk put pressire on Cleveland Browns quarterback #3 Brandon Weeden in the first quarter during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field, Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Green Bay Wisconsin. Journal Sentinel photo by Rick Wood/RWOOD@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Rick Wood

  • Green Bay Packers#75 Bryan Bulaga, #51 D.J. Smith and #50 A.J. Hawk converge to stop Cleveland Browns #20 Montario Hardesty in the first quarter during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field, Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Green Bay Wisconsin. Journal Sentinel photo by Rick Wood/RWOOD@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Rick Wood

  • Green Bay Packers#12 Aaron Rodgers picks up yardage on third down running in the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field, Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Green Bay Wisconsin. Journal Sentinel photo by Rick Wood/RWOOD@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Rick Wood

  • Green Bay Packers#12 Aaron Rodgers picks up yardage on third down running in the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns during the pre-season NFL football game at Lambeau Field, Thursday, August 16, 2012 in Green Bay Wisconsin. Journal Sentinel photo by Rick Wood/RWOOD@JOURNALSENTINEL.COM Rick Wood