Rob Demovsky, Press-Gazette
Oct 29th, 2009
When it came right down to it, the eight sacks the Minnesota Vikings had on Aaron Rodgers probably had as much to do with the Green Bay Packers’ 30-23 loss at the Metrodome on Oct. 5 as anything Brett Favre did.
So as much as the focus this week is on Favre’s first game at Lambeau Field as an opponent, the Packers’ protection issues — especially considering their offensive line is in flux — should be foremost in their minds.
Mike Vandermause, Press-Gazette
Oct 29th, 2009
The battle lines have been drawn. On one side are fans that love Brett Favre, no matter what color his jersey, and blame the Green Bay Packers for dumping one of the greatest and most popular players in franchise history. They will be cheering Favre as he enters Lambeau Field on Sunday to face his old team.
On the other side are fans that love the Packers and refuse to put any player, no matter how decorated his career, above the team. They grew weary of Favre’s indecision over retirement, applauded the Packers for having the courage to move on, and consider Favre a traitor who deserves to be booed as a member of the hated Minnesota Vikings.
The Favre issue could divide families and friends for years, and there appears to be no middle ground. Finding peace in the Middle East might come easier than getting the pro-Favre and anti-Favre camps to compromise.
That was my opinion until a compelling revelation came to light on Wednesday from none other than Favre himself. In a curious twist, perhaps Favre is the only person capable of bringing these factions together.
At his weekly press conference, Favre said something profound in talking about the Packers’ decision to trade him last summer and move on with Aaron Rodgers as their quarterback.
“I totally understood the direction they wanted to go in,” Favre said. “But it was probably best that things worked out the way they did. And it’s worked out for both sides I think.”
Full Story here
’96 Packers vs. ’09 Vikings
Favre’s ex-teammates blast ‘best’ comment
By Lori Nickel of the Journal Sentinel
Oct. 28th, 2009
Green Bay — “Physically, and from a talent level, this is the best team I’ve ever been on.”
That’s what Brett Favre said a few weeks ago about his Minnesota Vikings.
And fans in Wisconsin dusted off commemorative programs, pulled out VHS tapes, arched an eyebrow with a little attitude and thought, “Brett, all due respect, but are you for real?”
So you can imagine what his 1996 teammates think.
The Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl after the 1996 season with Favre playing in his MVP prime and with the Minister of Defense, Frankie, Chewy, LeRoy, Free and the Gravedigger. They got big-time performances from starters and backups, top draft picks and castoffs. They dominated on defense, did what they pleased on offense and were kept in check by an all-star cast of coaches.
Today’s 6-1 Vikings are good, and running back Adrian Peterson is the man. Favre kindly backed off his statement by saying he wasn’t trying to slight his ’96 team.
But his old mates sure seem to have good memories, and they had plenty to say about comparisons between the two teams and Favre’s “homecoming” to Lambeau Field on Sunday.
LeRoy Butler, safety: “To say that the team he’s on now, after seven games, is better than the ’96 team – that’s just preposterous. Not only did we have the No. 1 defense in 1996, but we had No. 1 special teams.
“I bleed green and gold so much. I don’t want somebody to beat my team. This is my team. I played 181 games, I was there before Brett, before Reggie White and Ron Wolf and everybody. This team means a lot to me, so when somebody calls up on the radio show: ‘Brett Favre is the one that turned everything around’ – it’s almost a disrespectful slap in the face.”
Antonio Freeman, receiver: Full Story From Lori Here
Green Bay Press-Gazette
Oct 28th, 2009
Following is a scouting report on the Minnesota Vikings based on interviews with several coaches and scouts whose teams recently played the Vikings:
When the teams played in the Metrodome on Oct. 5, Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers held back on blitzing, in part because his game plan was to stop halfback Adrian Peterson. That part worked great. Peterson averaged only 2.2 yards on his 25 carries and he didn’t gash the Packers with any big plays (his long run was only 12 yards).
But the Vikings won on the arm of Brett Favre. So what will Capers do this week? Others have tried the same with Peterson, and his recent numbers show it. He had 143 yards and a big 58-yard burst in a win over Baltimore, but St. Louis and Pittsburgh held him to a combined 132 yards and a 4.1-yard average, which is pedestrian by Peterson’s standards.
Still, he’s the best halfback in the game, and though it came after he caught a short pass, his bull-like run over Steelers cornerback William Gay last week was only the latest example of Peterson’s exceptional combination of speed and power.
“He’s so explosive,” a scout said. “On those little cutback runs, if you’re one step out of position, you’re not going to get him, because once you reach out to get him to pull him down he’s going to run through that arm tackle. So you really have to be on your game with Peterson at all times. He’s the elite running back in the league right now.”
Passing offense ….. Full Scouting Report Here
By Pete Dougherty, Green Bay Press-Gazette
Oct. 28th, 2009
In the past three weeks, scouts and coaches from the St. Louis Rams, Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers studied for the Minnesota Vikings by watching game videotape that featured defensive end Jared Allen overwhelming the Green Bay Packers for 4½ sacks against converted guard Daryn Colledge.
That was exactly why the Vikings forked over some major assets — a first-round draft pick and third-rounders, plus a new contract that included $31 million in guarantees — to acquire Allen from the Kansas City Chiefs in 2008. And it was the kind of performance that slaps NFL people in the face.
“That game, as a coach, makes you wake up and say, ‘This guy’s a really good football player,’” said an offensive coach of one of the Vikings’ recent opponents.
This week, Allen brings his high-octane game to Lambeau Field. No. 1 on Packers coach Mike McCarthy’s list of game-planning priorities on offense is finding ways to keep Allen and the Vikings’ pass rush from dominating like they did on Oct. 5, when they had nine sacks and 19 pressures on quarterback Aaron Rodgers in a 30-23 win.
Full Story Here
By CHRIS JENKINS , Associated Press
October 27th, 2009
GREEN BAY, Wis. – Coming off back-to-back victories over two of the NFL’s worst teams, the Green Bay Packers are carrying more confidence into Sunday’s rematch with Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings.
They are missing a couple of targets in their passing game, though.
The Packers dominated in Sunday’s 31-3 victory at Cleveland, one week after their 26-0 dismissal of Detroit. Now they’re ready to take another shot at Favre and the Vikings, who beat the Packers by a touchdown earlier this month. And this game will be at Lambeau Field.
“Our confidence is high, and it well should be,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “We’re growing as a football team. We’re coming forward with the targets we’re trying to hit. From a preparation standpoint, it’s looking the way you want it to look.”
The Associated Press • October 25, 2009
CLEVELAND — The Browns were no distraction. Now the Green Bay Packers can focus again on Brett Favre.
Aaron Rodgers threw three touchdown passes, Ryan Grant rushed for 148 yards and Green Bay warmed up for Favre’s first visit back to Lambeau Field next week with a 31-3 laugher on Sunday over the Cleveland Browns, who got over the flu but can’t shake other problems.
It would have been understandable if the Packers (4-2) had overlooked an inferior opponent with their eyes on Favre’s hyped return to Wisconsin with the Minnesota Vikings. But Rodgers and his teammates took care of business against the Browns (1-6), who have scored just four offensive touchdowns and 72 points all season.
Rodgers finished 15 of 20 for 246 yards and the three TDs — a 71-yarder to Donald Driver and 41-yarder to tight end/linebacker Spencer Havner in the first half, and a 5-yarder to James Jones to cap a 99-yard drive in the fourth quarter.
Despite being without injured starting left tackle Chad Clifton, Green Bay’s offensive line did not give up a sack after allowing a league-high 25 coming in. Rodgers’ white No. 12 jersey had no grass stains. He had plenty of time to throw and picked apart Cleveland’s secondary.
Full Story Here
By Robert McGinn, Packer Insider
Oct. 25th, 2009
Cleveland — Mike McCarthy’s overly patient and somewhat cavalier approach to penalties has taken the Green Bay Packers into a bad, bad place that they don’t want to be in.
For three years the penalty situation in Green Bay has been out of control. What has happened in the first five games this season mirrors what happened in all of 2007 and all of 2008.
In that period the Packers have been penalized 2,349 yards, the highest total in the National Football League and 149 yards more than runner-up Arizona. Their total of 266 penalties ranks 30th, better than only the Cardinals (282) and Oakland (267).
Half a season is one thing. A year and a half is another. But two full seasons and five games of another? The only way to interpret that is to call the Packers a dumb football team and say penalty avoidance is well down the list of McCarthy’s priorities.
Otherwise, it would have been “cleaned up” long before now, to coin one of the coach’s pet phrases.
At this point, the Packers’ greatest fear should be evident. It is simply that their now-established reputation as a penalty-infested team will make it easier for officials to call more and more judgment calls against them.
“I think there’s some validity to that,” linebacker Aaron Kampman said. “Whether that allows an official to feel comfortable, I don’t know.”
“The real question is, do they pay attention to that?” said fullback John Kuhn. “Do they come to each game with a clear conscience and take things as objectively as possible?”
Full Story Here
First downs now focus for Green
By Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Oct. 24, 2009
Green Bay — Ryan Grant lobbied the Green Bay Packers to sign veteran running back Ahman Green and applauded their decision to finally make the move last Wednesday.
Should he have?
There are two ways to look at it if you’re Grant.
On the one hand, bringing in Green relieves some of the pressure on Grant to produce like a guy who is worthy of the four-year, $18 million contract he received in August 2007. On the other hand, it implies that the Packers no longer think Grant is capable of being a franchise back and probably would be better suited for a job-sharing role.
If the Packers simply wanted to fill the position vacated when third-down back DeShawn Wynn was lost for the season with a knee injury, they would have signed veteran free agent Dominic Rhodes or elevated practice squad running back Kregg Lumpkin. Instead, they turned to Green, a former franchise back whose career took a detour because of injuries.
There are several reasons the Packers took a shot with Green, but simple logic will tell you he might be able to fill gaps that are missing in the team’s mediocre running game.
• Better production on first down.
• Better production on screen passes and check-downs.
• Better production running to the left side.
Upon signing Green, no one on the Packers’ coaching staff, including head man Mike McCarthy, characterized the move as having anything to do with Grant, even though the fourth-year back ranks 18th in the NFL in yards with 347, 31st in yards per carry at 3.8 and 28th in runs of 20 or more yards with one.
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(or is he already here, named TJ Lang?)
By Tom Pelissero • Green Bay Press Gazette
October 25th, 2009
If it were Chad Clifton’s choice, he’d probably be a Green Bay Packer in 2010 and a couple of years beyond, finishing his career in the same place he’s been a starter the past decade.
But there will come a time — perhaps as soon as March, when Clifton is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent — the Packers will have to move on at one of the game’s most important positions. Considering Clifton’s age (33) and extensive injury history, as well as Packers General Manager Ted Thompson’s youth-first philosophy, that time probably is coming sooner than later.
So, how will the Packers fill the void at left tackle for the future?
They’ll get a look at one option Sunday afternoon in Cleveland, where rookie T.J. Lang is expected to make his first NFL start because of Clifton’s recurring ankle injury.
Full Article Here