2009 September : Packers Insider

Woodson’s Heroics Not Enough

September 23, 2009 by  
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by Mike Spofford, Packers.com
posted 09/20/2009

During an otherwise rough day for the Packers’ defense, cornerback Charles Woodson was making the kind of plays that kept Green Bay in the game.

Woodson not only had two interceptions that led to 14 points, but he also led the entire defense with 10 tackles (nine solo) and almost singlehandedly gave the Packers a chance to beat the Bengals on Sunday.

Woodson had two interceptions that led to 14 points, and led the entire defense with 10 tackles

Woodson had two interceptions that led to 14 points, and led the entire defense with 10 tackles

Full Article Here

Rookie Clay Matthews Turning Heads

September 19, 2009 by  
Filed under News

Bob McGinnn of the Journal Sentinel 
Sept. 19th, 2009

Green Bay — The Green Bay Packers have generated plenty of pass rush through the preseason and season opener even though little has come from the outside-linebacker position.

Part of the reason is that rookie Clay Matthews was able to play in just the exhibition finale and the opener against Chicago due to a recurring hamstring injury.

What happens if Matthews quickly blossoms into the pass rusher that the Packers expected him to become when they traded up to draft him in the first round?

“He’s just going to continue to progress,” said Kevin Greene, who coaches the outside linebackers. “He’s got great upside. He has something special.”

Full Article Here            

Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews (52) listens to linebacker coach Kevin Greene during training camp last month

Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews (52) listens to linebacker coach Kevin Greene during training camp last month

Cap Room Spacious

September 19, 2009 by  
Filed under News

By Bob McGinn of the Journal Sentinel 
Sept. 19th, 2009

Green Bay — Just because the Green Bay Packers have more than twice the National Football League average for available cap room doesn’t mean they intend to save it to sweeten their bottom line during recessionary times.

Team president Mark Murphy made that emphatic Friday when asked what his plans were for the Packers’ $17.902 million surplus beneath the salary cap.

“To build for the future,” said Murphy. “The key is identifying the right players and extend contracts and secure the right core players for the future of the organization.”   Full Article Here           

With his new contract, Greg Jennings has a salary of $8.149 million this season

With his new contract, Greg Jennings has a salary of $8.149 million this season

Rouse to Step In for Injured Bigby -Again

September 17, 2009 by  
Filed under News

Pete Dougherty, Press Gazette
September 17th, 2009

The Green Bay Packers’ overall good health early this season has failed them at one of their most suspect positions: safety.

Coming into this season, the Packers were looking for Atari Bigby to return to his late 2007 form to solidify a position of weakness last year, and Bigby won that chance despite a quiet training camp.

Green Bay Packers safety Atari Bigby leaves the field injured during Sunday night's game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field

Green Bay Packers safety Atari Bigby leaves the field injured during Sunday night's game against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field

But by final cuts, he was the only option. They surprisingly released bargain free agent Anthony Smith because of poor special teams play and concern about a chronic groin injury and assignment consistency; put Charlie Peprah on injured reserve because of a knee injury; and were just getting Aaron Rouse back from a strained hamstring.

Full story here

In new role, Jenkins could be Pro Bowl-bound

September 16, 2009 by  
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Lori Nickel, Journal Sentinel 
September 15th, 2009

It’s funny how a player who wasn’t good enough to get drafted or make the Green Bay roster right away is so good a few years later that he excels at any kind of defensive scheme thrown his way.

That’s what Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers thinks of 28-year-old Cullen Jenkins, and Capers, with 24 years’ experience, is a credible evaluator.       

Cullen Jenkins was as good as any other DL on Sunday in the NFL

Cullen Jenkins was as good as any other DL on Sunday in the NFL

Jenkins played so well that, frankly, if the sixth-year veteran can keep up the kind of energy and dominance he displayed in the season opener against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, and stay injury-free for the first time since 2006, it wouldn’t be crazy for him to add Pro Bowl to his list of goals for the year.

“It was good to be out there; it’s been a long time,” Jenkins told WTMJ-TV on Sunday night after the game. “I didn’t know how it was going to go for me, being in a new defense, but I felt like I was going to go out there and give it my best and try to help the team win. I was just glad I was able to do a lot to help them.”

There was concern at first…. Full story from Nickel here

Analysis: How the Packers’ New 3-4 Defense works

September 16, 2009 by  
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Pete Dougherty, Press-Gazette
September 16th, 2009

The Green Bay Packers‘ defense really did look like Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night.

No surprise, considering new Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers and Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau developed their branch of the 3-4 zone-blitz defense together as Steelers assistants in the early 1990s.

Brandon Chillar had a phenomenal game Sunday Night

Brandon Chillar had a phenomenal game Sunday Night

That’s also not to suggest the Packers are as good defensively as the Steelers, because they’re not. They don’t have a playmaker like Troy Polamalu, or a pass rusher as explosive and violent as James Harrison.

But the organized chaos that both coaches orchestrate is the same, and it’s hard to conclude anything but that the Packers are a better defensive team than they were in recent years, and especially last season.

Part of the difference is personnel, mainly the return of defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins……    Full Article Here

Mike Vandermause column: Packers’ Weakest Link Quickly Exposed

September 16, 2009 by  
Filed under News

Mike Vandermause, Press-Gazette
September 16th, 2009

It was the kind of slipshod performance that normally gets your team beat. Even worse, it’s the type of meltdown that could get your quarterback seriously injured.

Fortunately for Green Bay Packers starting right tackle Allen Barbre, none of those things happened Sunday night against the Chicago Bears. But Barbre’s NFL starting debut was a resounding flop and has created serious concerns.

It’s not enough consolation that the Packers rallied for a dramatic victory, or that quarterback Aaron Rodgers lived to talk about his late-game heroics.  

The Packers can't afford another game like the one right tackle Allen Barbre played on Sunday night. It might cost them their season. Corey Wilson/Press-Gazette

The Packers can't afford another game like the one right tackle Allen Barbre played on Sunday night. It might cost them their season. Corey Wilson/Press-Gazette

The Packers cannot afford too many more miserable outings like the one Barbre turned in against the Bears or their promising season will go up in smoke.

Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye tossed Barbre around at will, which left Rodgers battered and bruised by an onslaught of sacks, knockdowns and pressures

Rodgers Finally Shows he Can Finish

September 14, 2009 by  
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By Donald Banks, Sports Illustrated
September 15th, 2009

GREEN BAY, Wis. — This might sound like a bit of a reach, but hang with me for a minute while I make the case that this one was far more valuable than just any old season-opening win to the Green Bay Packers. This one, as ugly as it was for most of the night on offense, was exactly what Aaron Rodgers needed, and by extension, what his team needed.

Rodgers and the Packers proved something Sunday night that a blow-out win and a continuation of the cruise control football that Green Bay played for most of the preseason wouldn’t have. 

QB Aaron Rodgers runs for his life after another breakdown from Allen Barbre and the right side of the O-Line

QB Aaron Rodgers runs for his life after another breakdown from Allen Barbre and the right side of the O-Line

Read more:

Debut of 3-4 Defense nets Packers Both Big & Timely Plays

September 14, 2009 by  
Filed under News

By Greg A. Bedard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
September 14th, 2009

If the Green Bay Packers wanted to make an emphatic statement that this team is much different from last year’s 6-10 version, it was right there for them.

After the offense scored to take a 21-15 lead with 1 minute 11 seconds left in the game, it was up to the defense to make one final stand in the season opener against the Chicago Bears on Sunday night at Lambeau Field.

A year ago, the defense would have found a way to surrender the lead.

Johnny Jolly's red zone Int probably saved 7 points

Johnny Jolly's red zone Int probably saved 7 points

It took one play – a game-clinching interception by cornerback Al Harris with 58 seconds left – for a role reversal.

And a breath of fresh air.

Full Story Here

Solved: Rodgers Finally Answers the Bell Late

September 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

By Tom Silverstein, Milwaukee  Journal Sentinel
September 14th, 2009

Green Bay — The call was gutsy, but the confidence the entire Green Bay Packers organization has in quarterback Aaron Rodgers made it easier to make.

Throwing deep on third and 1, when a field goal could win it, could wind up being the best play call coach Mike McCarthy makes all season. But it was only as good as the faith he had that his quarterback could shake off his offense’s dreadful performance and make a game-winning throw.

Franchise QB Aaron Rodgers celebrates his gorgeous TD pass to Greg Jennings to beat the Bears with a minute remaining

Franchise QB Aaron Rodgers celebrates his gorgeous TD pass to Greg Jennings to beat the Bears with a minute remaining

When Rodgers connected with receiver Greg Jennings for a 50-yard touchdown with 1 minute, 11 seconds left Sunday in a nip-and-tuck battle with division rival Chicago, all the failures of the past 59 minutes and the eight games in which Rodgers could not rally the Packers to victory last season became ancient history.

“Mike’s got the (guts) to make those calls,” center Jason Spitz said after the team’s 21-15 victory in front of 70,920 at Lambeau Field. “He had confidence in the scheme, obviously. We scored a touchdown and it was the perfect call. Aaron’s a born leader. He’s a champion. When you’re in a tough spot, that’s the guy you want to have the ball.” 

Full Article from Tom here

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