By Lori Nickel, Journal Sentinel
Nov. 29, 2009
Those poor referees. Do you ever pity them? You should. Why?
Because they really hear it from Greg Jennings.
It starts with stunned wide eyes and gives way to displeasure . . . How could they miss that? Then the arms come out, palms up, pleading for reasoning. It’s never disrespectful, but Jennings must make them understand: They got it wrong.
Jennings is a lot of things besides a star wide receiver for the 7-4 Green Bay Packers – among them, a winner.
He’s going to be right. It takes a mountain of evidence to prove otherwise.
His wife Nicole did it once.
He swore he bought their little girl a SpongeBob yellow tennis racket from Wal-Mart. She says, slowly, that no, he bought the one with Dora the Explorer.
But Greg remembers how badly his little Amya wanted that racket, and he adores his girl. Had to be SpongeBob. He could not let it go.
The marriage forensics raged between Greg and Nicole through the night – in a way that only happens between couples who are also best friends – until finally Greg called and roused his sister Ebony from her bed at a most unreasonable hour, made her drive over to his condominium in Kalamazoo, Mich., and go into the closet and pull out the racket. Greg demanded a picture be sent to his phone, too, for proof.
It was Dora.
By Peter Dougherty, Green Bay Press-Gazette
Nov 26, 2009
Even with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, the Detroit Lions aren’t going to push too many NFL teams to the limit this year.
So while their rookie quarterback and best receiver, respectively, showed grit by playing through substantial injuries on a short Thanksgiving week, the Lions still were overmatched against a Green Bay Packers defense that began life without cornerback Al Harris and outside linebacker Aaron Kampman.
The Packers’ 34-12 blowout of the Detroit Lions on Thursday at Ford Field hardly will be the final measure of how they weather those key personnel losses, considering Detroit ranks No. 24 in the NFL in points and yards. But heading into the season’s stretch run, the Packers had to beat their lowly NFC North Division rival, and they did in dominating fashion.
Full story here
By Tom Pelissero, Green Bay Press-Gazette
Nov 27, 2009
Dom Capers has his pick for NFL defensive player of the year.
“If there’s a defensive player in the league playing better than Charles Woodson right now, I’d like to know who it is,” the Green Bay Packers’ defensive coordinator said on Thursday afternoon shortly after Woodson’s latest dominant day helped the Packers put away the Detroit Lions.
They were staggering. Again.
Full story here
By Tommy Pelissero, Green Bay Press-Gazette
Nov. 26, 2009
Brad Jones had thought about what he might become if a pro football career didn’t work out.
Investment banker. Lawyer. Astronaut.
That last one is no joke. Jones has one degree from the University of Colorado in economics and was four classes shy of another in astrophysics when he joined the Green Bay Packers in April.
“If you’re good at learning stuff,” the rookie linebacker said this week, “there’s a lot of options out there for you.”
Courses in escape velocity and string theory aren’t exactly standard fare for future NFL players, but then again, Jones isn’t your standard player.
Full story here
By Tom Silverstein, Journal Sentinel
Nov. 26, 2009
If it all ended today for the everyman lineman in an everyman town, Green Bay Packers tackle Mark Tauscher wouldn’t regret coming back this season.
It’s hard to imagine that a couple more games under his belt would be worth 10 months of grueling rehabilitation, lingering uncertainty and self-inflicted isolation, all the result of a knee injury he had to do war with for a second time.
But like all those who have found some peace in their life this Thanksgiving Day, Tauscher is thankful for what he’s got.
“When you get injured, you really look at things differently,” Tauscher said this week while preparing for Thursday’s matchup between the Packers and Detroit Lions.
“You get a better understanding of what’s going on. It was important for me to get myself back, to give myself another opportunity.
“However things play out, I’m not really sure, but this has been the most fun six or seven weeks I’ve had. You understand the whole scope of what’s going on, and where you were to where you are now.”
Tauscher is in his 10th year in the National Football League and about to start the 123rd regular-season game of his career, so to say he’s having the time of his life is something.
Full story here
By Bob McGinn, Journal-Sentinel
Nov 24, 2009
Here is a rating of the Packers against the 49ers, with their 1 to 5 football totals in parentheses:
Afforded ample protection for a change, and with Finley back in the saddle, Rodgers was just about everything you’d want in a quarterback. Of his 45 passes, only two or three were off line.
It must have given Rodgers great joy demonstrating to the 49ers what they passed up in 2005. As always, his ball was tight, on target and with the right touch.
Full story here
by Tommy Silverstein, Journal Sentinel
Nov 23, 2009
Almost as though it was from a lighting bolt in the sky, two valuable members of the Green Bay Packers went down Sunday, struck with the same brutal, season-ending injury that is every player’s worst nightmare.
On two plays that could turn the Packers’ potentially promising season on its ear, linebacker Aaron Kampman and cornerback Al Harris suffered torn anterior cruciate ligaments in their left knees. Lambeau Field has been home to both players for quite some time, but it was their enemy Sunday.
Both players suffered almost no contact when their knees gave out.
Neither injury was confirmed by the team, but a league source affirmed that the preliminary diagnosis was the dreaded ACL tear and that MRIs taken Monday will be taken to confirm the results.
The injuries turned what should have been a celebratory locker room following a 30-24 victory over the San Francisco 49ers into a slightly tentative one. The players were happy to improve to 6-4 and get themselves back in the playoff race with a second consecutive victory, but the injuries were what most players and coaches were asked about.
“Both Aaron and Al, you lose two of your better players, you hate to see that happen,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. “They’re very critical to us.”
Kampman was returning from a one-game absence due to a concussion and was playing well, getting his first sack since the Cleveland game Oct. 25 and posting a team-high four tackles. Then, with the 49ers facing second and 20 at their own 38, Kampman charged from his outside linebacker position at right tackle Adam Snyder. Just as he got his hands on Snyder, Kampman’s left leg gave way.
It was clear right away that the injury was serious by the way Kampman clutched it, and team physician Pat McKenzie spent time testing it for laxity. Kampman was taken to the sideline and then driven off the field on a cart with 7 minutes, 42 seconds left.
It was a little less than a quarter later when Harris suffered a similar fate. Covering wide receiver Michael Crabtree in the slot, Harris trailed him as he ran a deep out and then fell to the ground without any contact.
Harris, who was briefly in the locker room after the game, said only, “My foot got caught in the ground.”
His injury was so severe that he wasn’t able to walk off the field and needed a cart to come on the field and take him away. In the locker room, he needed assistance walking away from his locker after getting dressed.
“I know Al Harris is a tough guy, so if he’s down on the ground, you know something had to have happened,” cornerback Tramon Williams said. “It’s always tough to see a fellow teammate go down. We’re like family here.” Full story here
by Mike Vandermause, Green Bay Press-Gazette
Nov 22, 2009
It should have gone down as a resounding, confidence-boosting performance that placed the Green Bay Packers smack-dab in the middle of the NFC playoff picture.
Instead, the Packers hung on for dear life to claim a 30-24 victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at Lambeau Field, and a dark cloud hovers over the team with the likely loss of defensive starters Al Harris and Aaron Kampman for the rest of the season with serious knee injuries.
It ruined what had been shaping up as a perfect late-November day for the Packers.
They were dominating the 49ers from stem to stern on a gloriously sunny, 53-degree afternoon. They built a 20-point halftime lead with uncanny ease. The offense rolled up an astounding 362 total yards in the first two quarters, while the defense held the 49ers to minus-7 yards passing and one first down.
The rout was on, and the Packers were beginning to resemble a major NFC postseason player.
Then, with a resounding thud, those hopes crashed and burned in the second half when first Kampman, and then Harris, sustained what is believed to be season-ending knee injuries.
One play after Kampman was carted to the locker room in the third quarter, the 49ers scored their first touchdown. Two plays after Harris went down in a heap early in the fourth quarter, the 49ers scored their second touchdown. On the next series, the 49ers scored another touchdown to turn what had been a 30-10 rout into a nail-biter. Full story here
By Pete Dougherty, Green Bay Press-Gazette
Nov 22, 2009
Could the Green Bay Packers be hitting on an identity for their offense in time for December football?
A safe, quick-throwing passing game that kept quarterback Aaron Rodgers upright.
A running attack that took one of the NFL’s best running defenses head on.
On Sunday against coach Mike Singletary’s respectable, tough 3-4 scheme, the Packers put up their most complete offensive performance of the season that included a season-high 484 yards in total offense and 23 first-half points in a 30-24 win over the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field.
It was the kind of rhythmic offense the Packers had shown only occasionally since their impressive preseason when their sack problems were nowhere in sight. It centered on quarterback Aaron Rodgers completing pass after pass by throwing mostly off quick drops, which in turn set up halfback Ryan Grant for his best day of the year, a 129-yard performance that included a healthy average of 6.1 yards a carry.
Full story here
Tom Fanning, Packers.com
The Packers played one of their most impressive halves of football this season on the way to a 20-point halftime lead over San Francisco, and withheld a second-half rally by the 49ers to post a 30-24 victory and stay in the thick of the NFC playoff race.
Green Bay’s second straight win improved the Packers to 6-4 on the season, which ties them with the New York Giants for fifth in the NFC and the top wild-card spot.
The Packers dominated the 49ers in every statistical category in the opening half, outgaining them by over 300 yards, 362 to 57, posting 17 first downs to San Francisco’s one, and controlling the ball for 22:32 to 7:28 for the 49ers. The 362 yards were the most in a half since the Packers put up the same number at Oakland on Dec. 22, 2003, in the opening half.
“I thought we played an extremely productive first half as a football team, you know, in all three phases,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. “I thought the defense really set the tone. They had the one long run and the ability to give off the field on third down and to continue to give us the ball back on offense.
“On offense, we had a lot of production. We didn’t play as well as we liked in the red zone on those first two series. I thought the special teams was really…they kind of picked up where they left off against Dallas.” Full story here