2009 October : Packers Insider

Not the prettiest…but…it was a shutout

October 19, 2009 by  
Filed under News

By Robert McGinn, Journal Sentinel
Oct. 19th, 2009

Green Bay —
The crowd of 70,801 ambled out of Lambeau Field Sunday afternoon wondering what the 26-0 pasting of the Detroit Lions meant for the well-being of the Green Bay Packers.

Next Sunday, Packer Nation probably won’t know much more because the Cleveland Browns, the next cupcake on Green Bay’s schedule, appear every bit as punchless as the hapless Lions.

Old Reliable Chad Clifton's return from injury didn't last long. On a horrible playcall at the Lions 3-yard line, the Packers tried to get cute and go play-action, with Rodgers hanging onto the ball too long again, getting sacked, and fumbling the ball away.

Old Reliable Chad Clifton's return from injury didn't last long. On a horrible playcall at the Lions 3-yard line, the Packers tried to get cute and go play-action, with Rodgers hanging onto the ball too long again, getting sacked, and fumbling the ball away.

It’s almost as if exhibition football, when fans yearn for answers but realize there aren’t any, has reappeared on back-to-back October afternoons.

Patience, people. Two weeks hence, the Minnesota Vikings will be in Lambeau, and at that time the Packers will declare themselves as playoff contenders or playoff charlatans.

Full Story Here  (PackerInsider Subscription Required)

Lions Shutout for First Time Since 2001

October 19, 2009 by  
Filed under News

By Tom Kowalski
October 19th, 2009

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Over the past month or so, the Detroit Lions have done a fairly good job of showing some progress and shedding the label as “the NFL’s worst team.”

Well, they’re back in the hunt now.

While the 1-5 Lions do have a victory this season, they weren’t even competitive in losing 26-0 to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field. 

Rookie Clay Matthews Smothers Lions QB Daunte Culpepper for one of his two sacks on the day

Rookie Clay Matthews Smothers Lions QB Daunte Culpepper for one of his two sacks on the day

Offensively, the Lions failed to convert one third down (in 10 tries) and gained just 149 yards. The Lions fell behind 14-0 midway through the first quarter and never threatened to make it a game.

“When something like this happens, you can’t sugarcoat it, you can’t blame it on one side of the ball,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said.

Linebacker Larry Foote agreed. He said every player should be blamed one by one and not hide behind the “we’ve got to get better as a team” mantra.Full Story Here

Rodgers, Packers overcome 5 sacks in shutout of Lions

October 19, 2009 by  
Filed under News

Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Donald Driver made his mark in franchise history, and rookie linebacker Clay Matthews III had a breakout performance to help the defense post a shutout.

Double D makes a one-handed, left-handed sensational catch as he fights off the pass interference with his right hand

Double D makes a one-handed, left-handed sensational catch as he fights off the pass interference with his right hand

Still, the Green Bay Packers know what worked in Sunday’s 26-0 victory over a Detroit Lions team playing its third-string quarterback won’t necessarily get them where they want to be at the end of the season.  

Green Bay’s offensive line gave up five more sacks in yet another shaky performance, left tackle Chad Clifton hurt his ankle again and the Packers (3-2) left plenty of points on the field in the red zone. 

“When you’re playing a team that maybe has a little more experienced offense, we’re going to have to cash in those opportunities for seven, not three,” Aaron Rodgers said. “Because those are big momentum swings in a game.”

Despite getting knocked around again, Rodgers threw for 358 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He found Driver in the first quarter, making him the franchise’s career receptions leader.  

It was the 596th career catch for Driver, passing Sterling Sharpe‘s mark. 

“It couldn’t it come in a better place — at home in front of the fans I’ve played in front of for so many years,” Driver said, holding the record-setting ball in the locker room. “It feels good. Now I just have to wait on Sterling to call me and congratulate me.” 

Matthews had two sacks as the Packers turned in a commanding defensive effort against an undermanned Lions offense.  matthews 3 

Detroit (1-5) was without rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson because of injuries — and it showed, as the Lions managed only 79 yards of total offense in the first half and 149 for the game.  

Backup quarterback Daunte Culpepper hurt his hamstring in the third quarter and was replaced by third-stringer Drew Stanton

“It’s very disappointing, very frustrating,” Culpepper said. “It’s embarrassing to me not to be able to move it on the field and get points on the board. We’ve got to figure out a way to do that, simple as that.”  

The Lions came into this season with a new coach and a new attitude, but so far have only one win to show for it going into a bye week. Detroit also has lost 19 straight games in the state of Wisconsin — including last year’s painful loss at Lambeau Field that sealed their 0-16 season.  

“You can’t sugarcoat it,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “You’ll have a hard time finding the silver lining in this one.” 

Sunday was a wild romp for a Packers defense that has struggled at times with the transition to Dom Capers’ 3-4 defense this season.  

Green Bay had five sacks and interceptions by defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins, cornerback Al Harris and safety Atari Bigby, who returned to the field after missing three games with a knee injury.  jenkins 1

“Guys were ready to play today,” safety Nick Collins said. “We just had fun and flew to the ball all over the place. That was a lot of fun out there.”  

But the Lions’ loss wasn’t nearly as lopsided as it could have been, thanks in large part to continued breakdowns and penalties by the Packers’ offensive line.  

Rodgers put two quick touchdowns on the board, the first a 47-yarder to James Jones and the second 1-yard pass to fullback John Kuhn. But the offense fell into a lull after that, at one point settling for four straight field goals on drives inside the Detroit 30-yard line.  

“It feels like a 50 to zero game, but we didn’t quite get there,” cornerback Tramon Williams said. “I felt we should’ve put more points on the board.” 

Things got even worse in the third quarter for the Lions, when Culpepper hurt his hamstring on a scramble and Stanton took over.  

Stanton’s second series resulted in an interception by Harris off a deflection and the Packers’ offense appeared to get back on track when Driver made a one-handed catch on a deep pass by Rodgers. The Packers drove to the Lions 3, but Rodgers was sacked and fumbled on first-and-goal to scuttle yet another chance at a touchdown. 

Even worse, Clifton came up limping after the play and left the game. Packers coach Mike McCarthy confirmed that Clifton re-injured the ankle that kept him out of the previous two games, but a timeline for his return remains unclear.  

Game notes
It was the Packers’ first shutout since a November 2007 home game against Minnesota. … Driver has caught a pass in each of his last 116 games, also a Packers’ franchise mark. … Packers WR Jordy Nelson bruised his knee in the first quarter when he dropped a punt, and did not return, but McCarthy said X-rays were negative. … Lions LB Julian Peterson had 2 1/2 sacks. … Mason Crosby‘s four field goals tied a career high. 

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=291018009

Packers OL has Whole Offense out of Tune

October 18, 2009 by  
Filed under News

What the writer fails to realize is: It starts up front, and a bad OL will bring down a good offense. You can have a great sports car, with brand new, top-of-the-line tires, gorgeous interior, etc. But if the engine loses a cylinder (Tauscher), or two (+Clifton), that will negatively affect the whole car’s performance. Does it mean those tires aren’t as good as we thought? No it does not.

Tom Silverstein, Journal Sentinel 
Oct. 18th, 2009

Green Bay —
Coming out of the exhibition season, the Green Bay Packers’ offense looked primed to challenge the New Orleans Saints for supremacy in the points race.

The No. 1 offense scored touchdowns on nine of its 13 possessions, averaged 20 points in the first half of its four games and ran for a healthy 4.2 yards per carry. The Packers’ top four receivers averaged 18.4 yards a reception, and tight end Jermichael Finley looked like a star in waiting with two touchdown catches.  

When the QB has to dodge bullets most of the game, it will affect the timing of everything

When the QB has to dodge bullets most of the game, it will affect the timing of everything

And most encouraging, quarterback Aaron Rodgers wasn’t sacked once and finished with a passer rating of 147.9, just 10.4 points off the highest possible mark.

Four games into the regular season, the Packers don’t resemble that offense much.

Rodgers has a fine passer rating of 101.1 and has thrown only one interception, the running game is averaging 4.2 yards per carry and the receivers are averaging an NFL-high 14.3 yards per catch. But statistics don’t win division titles, victories do, and the Packers have cheated themselves out of possibly two more than they have because their offense can’t get in the end zone.

WR Donald Driver’s Record is a Big Deal

October 18, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Mike Vandermause, Press-Gazette
Oct. 18th, 2009

Donald Driver will make history on Sunday when he catches his first pass against the Detroit Lions.

He will become the all-time leading receiver in the 90-year history of the Green Bay Packers.  

Over the past five seasons since turning 29, Driver has averaged 84 catches and 1,157 yards per year.

Over the past five seasons since turning 29, Driver has averaged 84 catches and 1,157 yards per year.

Accomplishments like that aren’t supposed to happen to a lowly seventh-round draft choice. No one coming from such humble roots has achieved more in a Packers uniform.

When he makes that historic 596th catch to surpass Sterling Sharpe, officials will give the ball to the Packers to save for Driver, and an announcement will be made over the public address system, but the game will not be stopped.

“I don’t want to make a big deal out of it,” Driver said. “My biggest thing is we have to win the game.”

What Driver deserves is 70,000 fans giving him a standing ovation, fireworks going off, cannons sounding and a flyover above Lambeau Field.

The Packers couldn’t find a better player to represent them. His combination of talent, heart and class is rare in the NFL.
Full Story Here

What to do With Kampman

October 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

By Greg A. Bedard, Journal Sentinel
Oct. 9th, 2009

In my story today about outside linebacker Aaron Kampman, I discussed at one point the possibility of the Packers trading him before the Oct. 20 trade deadline.

If they don’t think he’s a good fit for the 3-4 defense, it would make sense for the Packers to at least talk internally about trading him. The overriding issue is that Kampman will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

Getting to the QB has not been as Easy in the 3-4 for Aaron Kampman

Getting to the QB has not been as Easy in the 3-4 for Aaron Kampman

Why not get something for him now rather than let him walk away?

But there’s another possible course of action for the Packers in regards to Kampman, and I neglected to point it out:

They could place the franchise or transition tag on him.

If the Packers place the franchise tag on Kampman, they would have to pay him the average of the top five players at his position. That number was $8.34 million this year for a linebacker (it will go up for 2010). Interestingly, Kampman would get a slightly higher salary if he were still an end ($8.991 million).

If another team wanted to sign Kampman, they would have to surrender two first-round picks.

That’s not going to happen. What is more likely is…..  Full Story Here

As Jennings Goes, So Go the Packers

October 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

By Tom Pelissero, Green Bay Press Gazette
Oct 9th, 2009

Greg Jennings’ monster start in 2008 only accentuates the relative invisibility of the Green Bay Packers’ No. 1 receiver at times in 2009.

Through four games last season, Jennings had 25 receptions for 482 yards and two touchdowns.    

Jennings numbers are down thru the first quarter of the season

Jennings numbers are down thru the first quarter of the season

At the same point this season, those numbers have been cut roughly in half — 11 receptions for 240 yards and a touchdown, including the first shutout of his four-year NFL career in Week 2 against Cincinnati and three receptions for 31 yards on Monday at Minnesota.

The Packers lost both of those games, in which they also allowed a combined 14 sacks. For a receiver such as Jennings, who does so much of his damage downfield, the offense’s inability to protect and get the ball out on time can have a direct impact on his chances.

“It was certainly part of the reason (Monday) night, without any question,” receivers coach Jimmy Robinson said this week. “It just has turned out that for whatever reason, he’s not getting as many opportunities as he would like and as we would like him to have. It’s certainly not by design.”

Full Story Here

Rookie Matthews Showing Promise

October 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

By Mark Strotman, Green Bay Examiner
Oct. 8th, 2009

When the Packers traded up in the 2009 NFL Draft, it marked just the second time in general manager Ted Thompson’s tenure that they had done so.  The trade involved moving back into the first round in exchange for the Packers’ only second round pick (41st overall) and both third round picks (73 and 83).  The Packers also received the Patriots’ fifth round pick (162).  There was a buzz over who the Packers had traded up for, with some believing it to be Florida State outside linebacker Everette Brown or potentially Rey Maualuga.    

Rookie Clay Matthews celebrates his TD fumble return after stripping the ball away from All Pro Adrian Peterson

Rookie Clay Matthews celebrates his TD fumble return after stripping the ball away from All Pro Adrian Peterson

 

It turned out that, in typical Ted Thompson fashion, the Packers went with the wild card pick by selecting Clay Matthews III, an outside linebacker from Southern California.  Weighing 240 pounds and standing six feet-three inches tall, Matthews was the perfect fit for the Packers’ new 3-4 scheme under Dom Capers.

One rumor said that Thompson and Capers liked Matthews enough that they considered taking him with the ninth overall pick, instead opting to go with Boston College defensive tackle B.J. Raji.  When the Packers moved back into the first round, it was an easy decision for management in taking Matthews.

Full Story Here

Rookie Raji Embraces Role

October 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

By Tom Ziemer, Madison.com
Oct. 8th, 2009

One of coach Mike McCarthy’s messages during the Green Bay Packers’ team meeting Wednesday centered on putting the greater good ahead of individual interests.

It was a particularly pertinent conversation for rookie defensive lineman B.J. Raji. “What you want to be as opposed to what you should be,” is how Raji summarized McCarthy’s main talking point.

Rookie NT/DT/DE BJ Raji has been slowly getting his feet wet, but really helped to clog up running lanes Monday night against the Vikings Adrian Peterson

Rookie NT/DT/DE BJ Raji has been slowly getting his feet wet, but really helped to clog up running lanes Monday night against the Vikings Adrian Peterson

“So I’m getting into the role where (I am doing) what I should be doing and what the team needs me to do as opposed to what I want to do,” the first-round pick said before players jetted off to various destinations during the team’s bye week.

And what would Raji like to be doing four games into his first professional season?

“The reality is I’m a player,” he said. “I want to play a little bit more. But, I mean, right now, that’s not what I’m supposed to be doing. So I’m not doing that.”

Full Story Here

Notebook: Barbre says he’s ready to compete with Tauscher

October 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

By Rob Demovsky, Press Gazette
Oct. 8th, 2009

Allen Barbre says he’s ready to win his starting  job all over again.

That’s his mindset as the Green Bay Packers appear poised to re-sign veteran right tackle Mark Tauscher.

Barbre, the third-year pro, won the right tackle job in training camp but has struggled at times during the first four games of the season. He said coach Mike McCarthy discussed the decision to bring back Tauscher with Barbre on Tuesday.        

Bringing bacl RT Mark Tauscher appears to be in the Plans for the Packers trying to keep Aaron Rodgers from getting crushed again 8 times a game

Bringing bacl RT Mark Tauscher appears to be in the Plans for the Packers trying to keep Aaron Rodgers from getting crushed again 8 times a game

“I’m planning on competing and seeing what happens,” Barbre said Wednesday. “I’m just focusing on what I can do and how I can get better.”

Tauscher, who was the Packers’ primary starting right tackle from 2000 to 2008, has been out of football since the end of last season while recovering from reconstructive knee surgery.

Full Story Here

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