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Packers look to add linebacker in the draft


Now that the Packers’ season has come to an end, the front office will be switching gears from winning games to team building.  There will be the inevitable turnover on the roster, and general manager Ted Thompson will start looking to shore up areas of weakness and attempt to make the 2015 version of the Green Bay Packers a stronger contender.

It’s no secret that one of the team’s Achilles’ heels was at inside linebacker. The week 1 Brad Jones experiment was a disaster, and AJ Hawk’s presence on the field diminished week by week to the point where many question if he will be sent packing during the off season.  The position was such a liability, that the defense, at times, had to think outside the box and plug holes with players not used to that position. Clay Matthews functioned well as an ILB, but that certainly isn’t a permanent solution.

Quite simply, the Packers need to bring in new talent otherwise the lack of stability at this position will come back to bite them in 2015.

Not that Thompson has ever been a huge fan of signing powerhouse free agents in the off season, but this year’s pickings are rather slim at ILB. More like dumpster dining for so-so talent in this position. And no, the Packers do not want nor need Clay Matthews’ baby brother Casey who is listed among the Eagles’ free agents this winter.


Green Bay Packers – Media Day Memories


A highlight of every Super Bowl week is Media Day – the day that reporters get to bombard the players with questions about the season, the upcoming game, and just about anything else they can think of. Even though the Packers aren’t participating in today’s Media Day in Arizona, let’s take a look back at a few memories from Packer Super Bowl Media Days past.

Super Bowl XLV was the last time the Packers were subject to Media Day. Check out interviews with Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews, B.J. Raji and Matt Flynn.

As you can see, reporters ask just about anything. One reporter even asked what Aaron’s 80-year old grandparents’ names were! Clay Matthews was a good sport when a reporter asked him to don a Troy Polamalu wig and then spell his last name, and Matt Flynn took some solid questions about playing in his home state of Texas and playing behind Aaron Rodgers.

Tom Crabtree was also happy to give one reporter a tour of his tattoos. The same reporter interviewed Andrew Quarless and Daryn Colledge on their tattoos as well.

Media Day is also a day where the news outlets aren’t the only ones to bring along cameras. Players also bring along their own equipment to capture the week they’ve been dreaming about since they were little kids.  Here are some fun pictures from the Media Days for Super Bowls XLV and XXXI.

Jennings Driver Media Day

BJ Raji - Media Day


Meet the 2015 Packer Pro Bowlers

2015 Packers Pro Bowlers

While there is no ‘real’ game of NFL football being played on Sunday, there is still the Pro Bowl. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Packers have a handful of players representing the Green & Gold in Arizona.

So let’s take a second to have a look into the reasons these players were selected.

Aaron Rodgers led all players in fan voting this year, and was selected to his fourth Pro Bowl. On the field, Rodgers finished the season ranked 7th in passing yards (4,381), 2nd in passer rating (112.2), 3rd in touchdown passes (38) and first in interceptions thrown (5). He also has the possibility of receiving his second league MVP award. Due to his calf injury, however, Rodgers will not be participating in the Pro Bowl. He has been replaced by Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton.

Josh Sitton was one of the main reasons that the Packers offensive line finished the season ranked 8th in the league in run blocking and 13th in pass protection. Because of Sitton’s presence on the line as a left guard, the Packers chose to run 36% of their running plays up the middle. Sitton was also only flagged once on the season for offensive holding. This is Sitton’s second Pro Bowl selection. He was chosen as an alternate last year.


All Is Not Lost For The Green Bay Packers

Despite the loss in the NFC Championship, the Packers have a bright future.

Where do the Green Bay Packers go from here? With some changes, and a strong foundation to build on, the future remains bright.

The NFC Championship game was of course disappointing. It pointed out some changes that need to be made.

First and foremost: Fire Shawn Slocum.

That isn’t because of one play. Brandon Bostick’s mistake on the hands team doesn’t mean that Slocum should be gone. It’s a much deeper issue than that.

Slocum has been the Special Teams coach for six seasons. Let’s examine how the Packers’ Special Teams have fared during those years:

2014 – 22nd

2013 – 19th

2012 – 18th

2011 – 8th

2010 – 26th

2009 – 32nd (LAST)

So, after making progress in Slocum’s first three seasons, special teams plummeted back down to the lower half of the league – and in fact, have continued to deteriorate.

It isn’t only because of personnel. That isn’t because of the excellent kicking team the Packers have had for years now in Mason Crosby and Tim Masthay – while both have had ups and downs, their overall records are quite strong. It isn’t because of individual mistakes like Bostick’s.

The breakdown on special teams has been, with the exception of ONE year, across the board. Tackling, anticipating the opposition’s play calling (see Jon Ryan’s fake punt last week), execution have always been suspect. You can never depend on what Slocum’s personnel are going to do, regardless of the level of players he has at his disposal.


Remember Packers Fans: Sunday Was Just a Game

packers helmets

I’ve been telling myself that this Packers game doesn’t mean as much as “real life.”

It doesn’t mean as much as the beautiful love of my life, who means more to me than I can put in words. It doesn’t mean as much as my aunt’s cancer, which took her life, and robbed me of the talks we shared about my Packers and her Colts. It doesn’t mean as much as the peace my family enjoys, when too much of the world suffers under the treble and bass of rounds and mortars.

I tell myself to remember those great memories the Packers have lodged in my memory. Favre against the Raiders, when my old man and I shared a hug that only fathers and sons could understand. The summer of 2008, where we all had our faith tested – only to be rewarded with one of the greatest to play the game. The winter of 2010, where a Wild Card berth ushered in an era of Championship expectations.

And yet, this hurts. There is no denying it. It hurts like losing a dear friend. It’s unexpected, improbable, and devastating all at once. Some part of me has subconsciously been muttering a variation of this for the past day: “If only Quarless caught it,” “If only Bostick blocked instead,” “If only Burnett ran it back,” “If only we scored touchdowns on those early interceptions…”

To paraphrase Joe Namath, (on the venerable Rich Eisen Podcast): If. Such a big word for two little letters.


Moneyball and the 2015 Green Bay Packers


As he packed up his locker for the season, a dejected Packers guard Josh Sitton pointed out the obvious that rings true at the end of each season. Each team is different than the one that came before it. As he said in his end of season comments, “It sucks walking in and seeing everybody packing up their (stuff). We’ve been hanging out with each other for a while. There’s going to be a lot of people who aren’t going to be on the team – a lot of people we can’t pay.”

He’s true to a certain extent. The 2015 Green Bay Packers will have familiar faces, but will not be a carbon copy of the 2014 model that was five minutes from coasting to the Super Bowl in Arizona. Yes, it will come down to money.

But a closer look at the numbers show prove that the Packers will have enough money to pay their top talent. And he’s right, some will not be back.

That said, it won’t strictly be about money. Monetary worth will  be tempered with future impact. And it will be that intangible formula that will determine who stays and who goes.

The Packers were under the cap this year which was $133 Million dollars. That cap is predicted to balloon somewhere in the $141 Million to $144 Million range in the upcoming season. More money to go with the higher salaries that top players command.


NFC Championship: Packers Rule, Seahawks Drool

Richard Sherman Interception vs. Green Bay Packers

I know that the title of the post sounds a bit childish, but I think we can agree that the better team lost on Sunday. The Packers were better team for the vast majority of the game, but the Seahawks were better when it mattered most. And ultimately that cost Packer Nation a trip to Arizona and a chance at another Super Bowl. It was an emotional loss for myself, personally, and living in Bears Country doesn’t help the matter any. I may or may not have unfriended a family member on Sunday.

Last week I gave a few items that – if followed by the Packers – would result in a win on Sunday. Let’s see how they did.

1. Establish a run game.”

This is precisely what the Packers did in the first quarter. Here are Eddie Lacy’s stats:

Drive #1: three rushes for 17 yards (drive ended with Sherman INT)
Drive #2 (following Clinton-Dix INT): two rushes for six yards (Crosby 18-yard FG)
Drive #3 (following Doug Baldwin fumble): three rushes for 17 yards (Crosby 19-yard FG)
Drive #4: two rushes for 14 yards (Touchdown to Randall Cobb)

So during the first quarter alone, Lacy ran the ball ten times for 54 yards. A solid start to the game. On the second drive, after a six yard gain by Lacy took the team down to the Seattle 1 yard line, coach Mike McCarthy decided to run the ball with Kuhn (no gain) and then Lacy (no gain) before settling for a Mason Crosby field goal. Head scratcher. It’s the NFC Championship. Go for it.