Pregame warmup: Bigger roles for Hyde, Peppers, Clark on Packers’ defense

Posted by Mike Spofford on September 25, 2016 – 11:06 am

GREEN BAY — Three regulars on the Packers’ defense will be playing larger roles on Sunday than they have to this point in 2016.

Safety Micah Hyde, outside linebacker Julius Peppers and rookie defensive lineman Kenny Clark could all get a large share of snaps against the Lions at Lambeau Field. Hyde is starting for Morgan Burnett, Peppers for Matthews, and Clark for Guion, but it’s not just that they’ll be starting the game. They’ll need to play more than normal as Green Bay’s defensive depth gets its biggest test so far.

Hyde has played mostly as a slot cornerback in the dime defense this year, but he’ll be at safety in the base and nickel packages regularly in this game. Peppers has rotated in mainly on pass-rushing downs, but with Matthews out and Jayrone Elliott just coming back from a hamstring injury, Peppers will have more of an every-down role opposite Nick Perry on the edge. Clark stepped in for Guion last week in Minnesota and showed a lot of progress from Week 1, and he’ll need to continue to step up his game.

Other injuries: The Lions have their injury problems, too. A pair of their top defenders in DE Ziggy Ansah and LB DeAndre Levy are both out today. Detroit also put RB Ameer Abdullah on injured reserve this past week, which will put an added burden on Theo Riddick in Detroit’s attack.

Strange sight: WR Calvin Johnson has been a fixture in the Packers-Lions rivalry since 2007, and with him now retired, Detroit’s offense has taken on different look. For more on Megatron’s history against the Packers and how the Lions are compensating on offense for his absence, check out this week’s “One Last Look.”

Weather update: The latest weather forecast has the expected thunderstorms holding off until after the game. Temperatures are expected to be around 70, and it’ll be overcast, but the rain chance doesn’t spike until around 4 p.m. CT.

TV map: Here’s a look at the FOX TV map for today, courtesy of 506sports.com


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Several starters out for Packers; Packers-Lions inactives

Posted by Duke Bobber on September 25, 2016 – 10:31 am

160920-inactives-950The following players will not play in Sunday’s game between the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions:

Green Bay Packers Green Bay Packers
6 QB Joe Callahan
37 CB Sam Shields
42 S Morgan Burnett
52 LB Clay Matthews
68 T Kyle Murphy
95 DE Datone Jones
98 DT Letroy Guion

Starting lineup changes: #24 Quinten Rollins will start at cornerback for Shields. #33 Micah Hyde will start at safety for Burnett. #56 Julius Peppers will start at linebacker for Matthews. #97 Kenny Clark will start at nose tackle for Guion.

Detroit Lions
38 CB Adairius Barnes
52 LB Antwione Williams
54 LB DeAndre Levy
66 OL Joe Dahl
77 T Cornelius Lucas
84 TE Orson Charles
94 DE Ezekiel Ansah


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Captains picked for Week 3’s match-up with Lions

Posted by Duke Bobber on September 25, 2016 – 8:00 am

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As per team tradition, the Packers select game captains each week. Today’s captains will be G T.J. Lang (offense), LB Nick Perry (defense) and LB Joe Thomas (special teams).


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Veterans on injury list will try to practice Saturday

Posted by Mike Spofford on September 23, 2016 – 9:54 am

160923-matthews-950GREEN BAY — Mike McCarthy said on Friday that the Packers’ five veterans on the injury report are going to try to practice on Saturday, the team’s last workout in preparation for Sunday’s home opener vs. Detroit.

Defensive linemen Letroy Guion and Datone Jones both have knee injuries, and their braces have arrived, McCarthy said, which will allow them to try to practice. Safety Morgan Burnett (groin), linebacker Clay Matthews (ankle, hamstring) and guard T.J. Lang (hip) also will “give it a shot” on the practice field on Saturday.

Cornerback Sam Shields remains in the concussion protocol, while rookie defensive lineman Brian Price was signed to the active roster from the practice squad and could make his NFL debut on Sunday.

“Brian’s done a good job since he’s been here,” McCarthy said. “I thought he had a good preseason. He’s ready to go.”

The home opener is also the Packers’ first home division game of 2016 after losing all three home games to NFC North opponents last year.

“The games last year were really a reflection of how the NFL is, particularly division games. Every one of those losses came down to the last play of the game and we didn’t get it done,” McCarthy said. “That’s the beauty of our division. It’s always competitive.

“Every week is a new week, and this is no different. It’s Week 3. We need to play better than we did the first two weeks. There’s been some sloppiness in our play. I really liked yesterday’s practice, the padded work, I’m starting to see some things come together and we hope to carry that over to Sunday’s game.”

 


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Campen on Bakhtiari: ‘He’s not a finished product. He’s going to get better and better.’

Posted by Mike Spofford on September 22, 2016 – 6:21 pm

160922-bakhtiari-950GREEN BAY — The Packers’ coordinators and offensive assistant coaches addressed the media on Thursday. Here’s a synopsis of their key comments:

Special teams coordinator Ron Zook
(on using Davis more on punt return)

“He had some success in the preseason, and it’ll be up to Coach (McCarthy) if he wants to do that. The thing you like about his attitude is he wants to do it. A lot of guys want to return kickoffs, but not a lot of guys want to return punts. His forte in college was more kickoffs than punts, but if you didn’t know that, you wouldn’t pick that up by what he’s done here.”

(on the potential of getting Banjo and Elliott back this week)

“Anytime you’ve got two core guys that know the scheme and know what we’re doing, it helps a lot. Banjo leads the whole group. He’s looking forward to it, biting at the bit to get going, and so is Jayrone.”

(on Detroit punter Martin)

“He’s really good. When they’re at the 40 or 50, he’ll put in inside the 5.”

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers
(on the Lions’ offense, without Johnson)

“Even without Calvin they have a number of weapons. They spread you out and play a space game. They have excellent skill. Riddick is a real threat out of the backfield.”

(on the run defense)

“We’re playing a team this week that’s going to spread you out and try to run when they think you’re playing pass and vice versa.”

“I like the aggressiveness of our guys up front. They’re not sitting back, they’re attacking. It comes down to lining up and whipping your man at times. We haven’t given up vertical lanes. We’ve done a nice job of keeping people going east and west.”

(on playing more young guys on defense)

“You see in the league now, you’d better get your young guys ready to play, and we do. You want the arrow to be pointing up, and if you are young and you’re asking a lot of young guys, hopefully they learn more.”

(on Martinez and Ryan in the middle)

“I like where both those guys are, they’re both very conscientious, they both prepare well. Like all young guys, they’re going to make mistakes, but they don’t end up repeating the mistake. They’re both focused guys.”

Offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett
(on how the guys have been at practice this week)

“Extremely focused. It’s been a good week of preparation. I think we’re all in tune that certainly we have to improve. Our guys understand what needs to go into that process.”

(on getting Abbrederis more snaps)

“He’s certainly been consistent, and now when he gets his opportunities by way of play time, make the most of it.”

(on QB Rodgers)

“He takes great pride in what he puts into it each and every week. His work ethic is by far at an extremely high level. He’s a competitor. He wants to win at everything.”

Associate head coach/offense Tom Clements
(on Rodgers after a tough game)

“It doesn’t change his approach during the course of the week. He obviously would like to play as well as he can each game, and he spends the week trying to get in position to do that. He always has great focus, but he also has a lot of fun with the players. You play a game, watch the film, try to figure out what went right, what went wrong, and you work on it during the course of the week, but you don’t change your personality.”

(on working to improve)

“We know we can play better, and we’re trying to do that. But each player has to execute his assignment on each play and has to do his job for the team to do well, and that’s what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Offensive line coach James Campen
(on Bakhtiari, his new contract, have things changed)

“David is David. He’s a good kid, raised right, very humble kid, works his tail off. I’m very proud of him. He’s very deserving.”

“He works extremely hard. You have to pull him back. He certainly is not a finished product. Trust me on that. He’s going to get better and better. He’s got a lot more to give.”

Quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt
(on the need to discuss fundamentals with Rodgers)

“It happens all the time. I remember working with Drew Bledsoe. He’d say you just have to remind me every once in a while to stick my foot in the ground. That’s natural for every player, not just the great ones. If he has a down day, he’s going to bounce back, and that’s what we expect.”

(on reviewing a rough game with him)

“There’s no one in the room that feels worse than he did after the game the other night, and that’s the truth of the matter. We put him through the gauntlet today and did some ball-security things with him that he was ready to do and wanted to do. He had some fun with it.”

(is he seeing the rush and leaving the pocket early)

“I don’t see that at all. I see his ability to move and extend plays, and you can confuse that with flushing early.”

Wide receivers coach Luke Getsy
(on Nelson)

“He’s progressing from where he was in the preseason, to Game 1, and I thought he was better in Game 2. What it takes to make somebody miss, to take contact, he keeps making strides and he’s getting better every week.”

(on rotating more receivers)

“Coach has talked about, we need more attempts at the plate. Guys just have to keep preparing each and every week so when that opportunity comes, they take advantage of it.”

Tight ends coach Brian Angelichio
(on Cook not getting the first down in MN)

“Anytime you’re in situational football, particularly third down, stick awareness, when you get the ball, obviously you have to know where the sticks are. You’d like to see him puncture through to get the first down. That’s how we train.”

(on newcomer Cajuste on the practice squad)

“The challenge is the terminology, getting him up to speed in how we do things here, getting him to understand the offense. That’s the stage we’re in, and the skill fundamentals we’re trying to get. His attitude is good, his work ethic is good, and he’s been hitting the playbook on his own time studying outside the classroom.”

Running backs coach Ben Sirmans
(on the Starks run on fourth-and-2)

“The biggest thing that happened with that particular play, the guy coming from the side, that’s what ended up getting him. We double-teamed guys at the point of attack, and that was a particular situation where they won.”

(on Lacy so far)

“Each game he’s had an explosive run. Each game he’s had one of those runs where you’re like, dang, he’s hard to tackle. It’s just a matter of time for him to really start rolling.”

Other stories:

Hodkiewicz: Run defense’s success begins with penetration up front

Spofford: Big difference a week made for Clark

Hodkiewicz: McCarthy likes what he sees in Ryan’s pass coverage


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McCarthy likes what he sees in Jake Ryan’s pass coverage

Posted by Wes Hodkiewicz on September 22, 2016 – 11:04 am

160922-ryan-950GREEN BAY — Jake Ryan trained this offseason with an emphasis on improving his speed and coverage ability in preparation for his second NFL season.

Already known as a willing tackler, the Packers linebacker has been active in defending both the run and the pass during the first two games of the season.

Ryan, a fourth-round pick out of Michigan in 2014, has 13 tackles and two pass deflections playing in the Packers’ base and nickel defenses. His coverage skills showed up against the Vikings when he broke up a second-quarter pass intended for tight end Kyle Rudolph.

“I thought his pass coverage against Minnesota was probably one of his better performances,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. “I think he’s played some really good football for us.”

The Packers kept only three natural inside linebackers – Ryan, Blake Martinez and Joe Thomas – on their 53-man roster going into the season, but have given all three roles in the defense.

Coincidentally, Ryan is the most experienced of the three with 18 games played and nine career starts (including playoffs).

“Jake has clearly made big steps from last year,” McCarthy said. “I thought Jake and Blake made improvements from Week 1 to Week 2.”

On the injury front, McCarthy said linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring) and safety Morgan Burnett (groin) had productive rehab sessions on Wednesday.

Linebacker Datone Jones is working through a knee injury. The team will see what he can do in Thursday’s pre-practice session. Cornerback Sam Shields remains in the concussion protocol.

Other stories:

Hodkiewicz: Run defense’s success begins with penetration up front

Spofford: Big difference a week made for Clark

Spofford: Campen on Bakhtiari: ‘He’s not a finished product. He’s going to get better and better.’


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Where to watch Sunday’s Packers-Lions game

Posted by Duke Bobber on September 22, 2016 – 9:53 am

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– If you’re looking for a Packers bar airing the game, try the search feature on Packers Everywhere.
– FOX Sports, now in its 23rd season as an NFL network television partner, will broadcast the game to a regional audience.
– Play-by-play man Thom Brennaman joins analyst Charles Davis and sideline reporter Peter Schrager.
– Milwaukee’s WTMJ (620 AM), airing Green Bay games since November 1929, heads up the Packers Radio Network that is made up of 50 stations in five states. Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play) and two-time Packers Pro Bowler Larry McCarren (analyst) call the action.
– Westwood One Sports will air the game on radio across the country. Sam Rosen (play-by-play) and Ross Tucker (analyst) will call the action, with Scott Graham hosting the pregame and halftime shows.
– The broadcast is also available on Sirius Satellite Radio (WTMJ feed) as part of the network’s NFL Sunday Drive.
– DIRECTV subscribers can watch the game on channel 711.
NFL Game Pass gives fans access to full replays of every NFL game on demand, in high definition.

BRAZIL
– Domingo  14:00 (ESPN)

MEXICO
– Domingo 12:00p (Televisa)

GERMANY
– Sonntag 18:30 (ProSieben MAXX)

TV map is courtesy of 506sports.com. View the full image here.


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Mike McCarthy trusts Aaron Rodgers to lead a turnaround

Posted by Mike Spofford on September 21, 2016 – 1:06 pm

160921-offense-950GREEN BAY — Mike McCarthy has no lack of confidence in his offense, in his quarterback, and in his team’s ability to improve.

In discussing how to get the offense out of its early-season doldrums, McCarthy said his team is tuned in to its shortcomings through two games and what needs to be done moving forward.

“We’re going to focus on the process,” McCarthy said before Wednesday’s practice, the first of the week to prepare for Sunday’s home opener against Detroit. “The work ethic is outstanding. We’ll improve off of last week, I’m confident of that.”

The Packers showed signs of busting out in the second half at Minnesota, gaining 198 yards after totaling just 65 in the first half. It didn’t translate to the scoreboard for other reasons, mainly two turnovers, but McCarthy is not questioning quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his ability to help lead the offensive recovery.

“I have great confidence in Aaron. I’ve never trusted a quarterback as a player more than I’ve trusted Aaron Rodgers,” McCarthy said, going on to praise Rodgers for his dedication, and all the extra time he spends at the team facility with his coaches and teammates. “We’ll stick to the process and from that we’ll have success.”

The preliminary injury report will be coming later on Wednesday. McCarthy did not have any specific updates, other than to say LB Clay Matthews is being looked at by the medical team for “two things,” indicating the ankle that was bothering him in Minnesota is not the only issue.

Other stories:

Spofford: Rodgers: ‘I know I’ve got to play better, and I will’

Hodkiewicz: Packers’ top-ranked run defense won’t see Abdullah


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Pregame warmup: Packers-Vikings winner sits alone atop NFC North

Posted by Mike Spofford on September 18, 2016 – 6:14 pm

MINNEAPOLIS — It’s still early, of course, but the winner of tonight’s Packers-Vikings showdown at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis tonight will have sole possession of first place in the NFC North after just two weeks.

Earlier on Sunday, the Lions blew a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter at home and lost to Tennessee, 16-15, to fall to 1-1. The Bears, who play Monday night against the Eagles, are 0-1.

So, the winner of tonight’s matchup of 1-0 border rivals will be the only team in the division with two wins after two weeks. The Packers and Vikings have combined to win the NFC North title in eight of the past nine seasons. Green Bay won in 2007 and then four straight from 2011-14. Minnesota won in 2008-09 and again in 2015.

CB, WR depth: The Packers’ depth in the secondary will be tested tonight, with No. 1 CB Sam Shields out with a concussion and rookie Josh Hawkins also out with a hamstring injury. The second-year trio of Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter will likely be Green Bay’s alignment in the nickel defense, with either Randall or Rollins playing the slot. For the dime, Micah Hyde likely comes in to play the other slot position.

Here’s a story from this past week on Rollins and how he bounced back from some rough moments in Week 1 at Jacksonville to make a big play late in the fourth quarter. For more on all three of the second-year CBs, check out this story from prior to training camp.

As far as the rest of the roster, the Packers actually have all seven of their wide receivers active for tonight’s game. Rookie Trevor Davis, a fifth-round pick out of Cal, will be making his NFL debut, assuming he gets into the game at some point.

Sunday night history: This will mark the Packers’ 33rd appearance all-time on Sunday Night Football (on ESPN, TNT or NBC) and their seventh against the Vikings. The Packers’ first ever Sunday night game was actually here in Minneapolis at the Metrodome, in 1990, a 23-7 loss.

After that, the Packers won four straight Sunday night contests vs. the Vikings before dropping last season’s Week 17 division-title showdown at Lambeau Field. Green Bay’s 4-2 record against Minnesota is part of its 23-9 overall mark in Sunday night games.

The new stadium: Some facts distributed to the media regarding U.S. Bank Stadium include its total price tag of $1.1 billion, its size of 1.75 million square feet (twice the size of the Metrodome) and a capacity of 66,655, expandable to 70,000.

New QB for Vikings: In the Mike McCarthy era, the Bears and Lions have combined to use 11 different starting quarterbacks against the Packers. Tonight will mark the 10th different starting QB for Minnesota, whether it’s Sam Bradford or Shaun Hill (and it’s been reported to be Bradford).

For more on the recent history, check out this week’s “One Last Look.”

 


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Sam Shields out; Packers-Vikings inactives

Posted by Duke Bobber on September 18, 2016 – 6:00 pm

Packers-Vikings inactivesThe following players will not play in Sunday night’s game between the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings:

Green Bay Packers Green Bay Packers
6 QB Joe Callahan
28 CB Josh Hawkins
32 S Chris Banjo
37 CB Sam Shields
68 T Kyle Murphy
91 LB Jayrone Elliott

Minnesota Vikings
17 WR Jarius Wright
29 CB Xavier Rhodes
40 LB Kentrell Brothers
51 LB Edmond Robinson
62 C Nick Easton
73 DT Sharrif Floyd
83 TE Mycole Pruitt


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