Are Packers ready for 49ers? : Packers Insider

Are Packers ready for 49ers?

January 7, 2013 by  
Filed under News

By Mike Zeisberger, Toronto Sun

~January 7th, 2013

GREEN BAY – After meticulously grooming his famous blonde locks for a solid five minutes, Green Bay Packers all-pro linebacker Clay Matthews finally turned around to face the 30 reporters surrounding his locker and started singing the praises of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Just 20 minutes earlier, Matthews and his Packers had punched their plane tickets to San Francisco thanks to a 24-10 wild card victory over hapless Joe Webb and the Minnesota Vikings at frosty Lambeau Field on Saturday night. The victory set up next Saturday’s NFC divisional-round clash between the Packers and 49ers at The Stadium Formerly Known As Candlestick Park, a rematch of a Week 1 meeting when San Francisco physically dominated Green Bay 30-22 right in Lambeau.

Certainly fans and media alike will go out of their way to stir the pot when it comes to the idea that the Packers will play the revenge card to motivate themselves after being roughed up on their home turf by the 49ers in the season opener.

Clay Matthews has Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick on his fantasy football team. Matthews will do his best to see to it that Kaepernick ends the game with as close to zero points as possible.

But, as Matthews is quick to point out, these two teams have evolved and changed in the past four months. And nowhere is that more evident than at the quarterback position in San Francisco where Alex Smith, who surgically shredded the Packers for 211 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the opener, has been benched in favour of the dynamic second-year player.

“He’s a very good athlete who poses a real problem,” Matthews said when asked by the Toronto Sun for his take on Kaepernick.

Matthews then broke into a mischievous grin before letting the football world in on a little secret.

“He’s on my fantasy team,” Matthews admitted.

Maybe Matthews and the Packers haven’t faced Kaepernick on the football field. But when an all-pro linebacker thinks enough of you to pick you up in fantasy football, well, what better endorsement of your skills could there be?

Truth be told, the Packers, to a man, know that the 49ers will pose a much stronger threat than the Vikings did on Saturday night.

True, Green Bay did a nice job shutting down the incredible Adrian Peterson, limiting him to 99 yards after the Vikings running back had gashed them for more than 400 yards combined during their two regular-season encounters.

At the same time, the task was made easier because the man handing off to Peterson was Joe Webb, the first quarterback in NFL history to start a playoff game without having attempted a single pass during the regular season. With No. 1 quarterback Christian Ponder scratched an hour before kickoff because of a bursitis in the elbow of his throwing arm, the inaccurate Webb was a huge help to the Packers aspirations for a victory by hitting on just three passes for 22 yards in the first half.

While Webb was primarily ineffective with his arm, he did use his legs to scoot for 67 yards on just seven carries. In that regard, perhaps Webb’s scrambling was some much-needed practice for what the Packers defence could see next Saturday.

“It was a great warmpup for what we’re going to experience out there with Kaepernick,” Packers receiver Greg Jennings told the Toronto Sun.

Of course, facing a heavy dose of Adrian Peterson has also primed a questionable Green Bay run defence for a heavy dose of Frank Gore, the 49ers running back who sliced through the Packers for 112 yards and a touchdown on just 16 carries in the Week 1 loss.

“That game seems like it was years ago, but they did a good job taking that game away from us,” linebacker A.J. Hawk said. “It’s going to be a super physical matchup, the type that we enjoy.”

Through it all, the Packers are aware of just how much Kaepernick could be a difference maker in this one.

Just ask Clay Matthews. After all, if he thinks highly enough of the 49ers quarterback to have him on his fantasy team, shouldn’t the rest of the Packers respect Kaepernick just as much?


Aaron Rodgers is going home.
Sort of.

When Rodgers steps on to the field against the 49ers next Saturday in San Francisco, he’ll be playing just across the bay from Berkeley, where he spent his college career at Cal.
But don’t expect Rodgers to get a warm reception reserved for a native son come home. Because, in his mind, he’s not really one.

“Home is really Chico,” the Green Bay Packer quarterback said. “Chico is in Northern California. San Francisco, I would say, is the Bay Area.”

Aaron Rodgers grew up as a big 49er fan. This will be his first real game at the Stick, although he played a preseason game there in 2008, his first year as starter.

Chico is a city of 82,000 that lies about 130 kilometres north of Sacramento. It is also the hometown of former Blue Jays general manager Pat Gillick.
“It’ll be fun to go back to the west coast,” Rodgers said. “We’ll hopefully get a lot of cheeseheads from Chico coming down for the game.
“It’ll be a good test.”

Original story here

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