LB Jayrone Elliott receives 2016 community service award

Posted by Wes Hodkiewicz on August 31, 2016 – 4:43 pm

160831-elliott-950GREEN BAY — Packers linebacker Jayrone Elliott received the 2016 community service award at the annual Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce “Welcome Back” luncheon on Wednesday at the Lambeau Field Atrium.

Elliott has been exceedingly active in the Green Bay community since he came to the Packers as an undrafted free agent out of Toledo in 2014.

In two-plus years, Elliott has visited several schools around the area, participated in local “Play 60” initiatives, assisted with the Packers Youth Football Camp and performed several other acts of community service.

He previously won Toledo’s community service award in December 2013, but said on Wednesday that last year’s recipient, Packers linebacker Sam Barrington, inspired him to do even more.

“Last year, Sam Barrington stood up here and challenged guys to get into the community.” Elliott said. “I took it personally and told him next year I wanted to be up here. Not for the award but for the recognition we do in the community.”

Elliott participated in this year’s annual Tailgate Tour throughout Wisconsin earlier this summer with Barrington, receiver Jared Abbrederis, Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy, and alumni LeRoy Butler, Robert Brooks and Sean Jones.

The event has raised more than $2 million for charity in its 11 years.

Meanwhile, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and a few other Packers players came to the luncheon decked out in cowboy-themed garb in what’s become an annual tradition.

A year ago, Rodgers attended the luncheon in full U.S. Navy Blue Angels pilot suit, complete with helmet and mask.

See photos from the lunchon


Posted in Packers.com Blog

Thompson: Final cuts are ‘a hard time, a confusing time’

Posted by Wes Hodkiewicz on August 30, 2016 – 11:19 am

160830-thompson-950GREEN BAY — The week of final cuts always are Ted Thompson’s least favorite time of the calendar year and it never gets any easier.

On the eve of his 12th roster cut-down as Packers general manager, Thompson knows the task before him. Each NFL team needs to pare down its roster to the 75-player limit by Tuesday afternoon and then the final 53 on Saturday at 3 p.m. Central Time.

The Packers began their cuts earlier this week with Green Bay native Peter Mortell being among the six players released on Monday.

“It’s not only a hard time – it’s a confusing time,” Thompson said. “You’re spending all this time building guys up and building the team up and getting stronger, and then all of a sudden you have to start going the other direction.”

Thompson, a former undrafted free agent himself, knows how stressful the week of final cuts can be on rookies looking to make their NFL dreams a reality.

It’s up to him to determine who prevails from a competitive field of undrafted rookies to crack the final roster, balancing needs at certain positions with required depth at others.

Then, there’s also injury flareups to consider.

“It’s difficult to say the least,” Thompson said. “You have to make long-term decisions sometimes based on short-term (situations). We might get the report that it’s going to be two or three weeks and then they’ll be OK. Then, you’re two or three weeks and they’re not any better and you’re three weeks in.”

Thompson will be a busy man in the coming days, which was evident when his phone rang twice during his Tuesday morning news conference.

“If we were in the draft room, that would cost me 50 cents,” Thompson quipped.

Thompson admitted there is “a lot of fishing” that occurs as the clock ticks closer to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Over the next few days, both he and his personnel department will field prospective calls from across the league.

The last time the Packers made what could be deemed as a “significant cut-down trade” was in 2011 when they shipped rookie offensive lineman Caleb Schlauderaff to the New York Jets for a conditional draft pick.

While Thompson says he tends to be conservative in nature, he wouldn’t rule out making a trade in the coming days.

“I don’t know whether we all have too much information or not enough information but there are teams that are a little more aggressive trading,” Thompson said.

“I would classify us as not very aggressive and it’s probably my fault. Like I said I’m a builder … I’d rather work with the guys we have and get them better than trade them to get somebody else’s guy.

“But we have made trades and certainly have conversations making trades. It’s possible we can make one in the next few days.”

In the end, it’s all done in the interest of attaining his ultimate goal – winning another Super Bowl.

Other stories:

Hodkiewicz: Janis getting a feel for wearing a club again

Spofford: Abbrederis on verge of major step in his career

Spofford: Last preseason game is ‘Super Bowl or bust’


Posted in Packers.com Blog

Last preseason game is ‘Super Bowl or bust’

Posted by Mike Spofford on August 30, 2016 – 10:50 am

160830-mccarthy-950GREEN BAY — With so many young players fighting for their NFL lives in the final preseason game this week in Kansas City, Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said he doesn’t want anyone holding back.

“Super Bowl or bust,” McCarthy said prior to Tuesday’s practice, the last of training camp. “I think you have to practice that way, you have to play that way. Anytime you perform across the white line and it’s on video, you have to go about it the same way. You want these young men to go out and play their best game, lay it all out there, not only for opportunity to be here but for the opportunity to play in the NFL. That’s always been our approach.”

McCarthy also said that offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett would call the plays on offense in Kansas City, keeping with McCarthy’s tradition of turning over play-calling to a member of the offensive staff for the final preseason game so the head coach gets a chance to see more of the sideline interaction amongst players.

Training camp was longer this season than usual, with the Packers scheduled to play in the Hall of Fame Game back in early August, and that produced a very “uneven flow” to the schedule, according to McCarthy. But that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

“This schedule is different than any one we’ve ever been on,” McCarthy said. “Frankly, I think it coincides with our regular-season schedule, and with that, it’ll help us be prepare for a different regular-season schedule. We have the bye in Week 4, the earliest we’ve ever had it, and we’re playing a game in Jacksonville Week 1. Anytime you have an uneven flow, it can definitely help you going into this type of season.”

The Packers typically show some type of appreciation for the fans as the final camp practice concludes, so that awaits on Tuesday afternoon. Often the players run along the Nitschke Field stands to do high-fives with the fans.

“Training camp wouldn’t be the same without our fans,” McCarthy said. “Our fans create a tremendous training environment for us. To even take it a step further, Family Night is really like a fifth preseason game for us. Our players get to go out and perform in front of 68,000 people prior to playing in their first preseason game.

“It’s a sign of appreciation for them being here every day. Since we made the addition to Nitschke Field with the stands and so forth, it’s been awesome. We’re saying thank you.”

Other stories:

Hodkiewicz: Janis getting a feel for wearing a club again

Spofford: Abbrederis on verge of major step in his career

Hodkiewicz: Thompson: Final cuts are ‘a hard time, a confusing time’


Posted in Packers.com Blog

Can Jeff Janis play punt gunner with a clubbed hand?

Posted by Mike Spofford on August 29, 2016 – 6:08 pm

160829-janis-950GREEN BAY — Here’s a rundown of some key comments from the Packers’ assistant coaches who addressed the media on Monday.

Special teams coordinator Ron Zook
(on the punting competition, where Masthay stands)

“I think in the National Football League, it’s an ongoing process. You have to work on your craft and continue to improve every day.”

(on whether Jeff Janis can play gunner with his broken hand clubbed up)

“If they’ll let him I think he can. He was running around out there today, and other than the club, he looked pretty good to me. That’s (up to) the doctors and so forth, but I think he can. Can he make a tackle is the biggest question to me. Can he go down there and make a tackle, which will force him to wrap up. If he can do that, if he can get him on the ground, and the doctors say he can do it and coach says he’s up, I’m all for it.”

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers
(on the injury situation as it relates to the final preseason game and roster cuts)

“In this game nowadays, you never know. An injury here or there can really change the way you look and some of the things you can do. That’ll be a part of our evaluation process. You’re going to see a number of guys playing a lot more than they’ve played to this point in a preseason game. It’s a good opportunity.”

(on Kenny Clark and the time he’s missed)

“I don’t know if you ever feel guys totally get enough work, especially young guys, but Kenny’s made progress when he’s been in there. He’s like a lot of young guys. We like his ability, we like what he brings to the table, and he’s one of those guys you’re going to see consistently get better the more work he gets.”

(on Joe Whitt as CB coach)

“Joe is an outstanding coach. He’s very knowledgeable, he’s good technique-wise. He’s very demanding on his players, and you see that they respond to him. To me that’s what coaching’s all about. Your players are always going to be a reflection of you when they take the field. He’s done an outstanding job in the past and here this year.”

Offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett
(on the No. 3 WR job)

“Extremely competitive right now. The good news is we have another preseason game to give guys opportunities to go out there, do it the right way and make plays. That competition is extremely hot right now in that room.”

(on Burks’ cutback run for a TD in San Francisco)

“You go back and look at it, we had some really good blocks and guys finishing their blocks coming off the perimeter. It was a good read by him, a good reaction, and he got the ball in the end zone.”

Associate head coach/linebackers coach Winston Moss
(on inside LB)

“We have some young guys there that are really coming along. As a staff, we just have to come to a decision with what we feel comfortable with. We have a lot of options there as well.  We’re excited about that position.”

(on Jayrone Elliott’s camp)

“Just because maybe his stats and tweaking a hamstring this last game may something else, I feel confident about what Jayrone is as a person and a player. Every single year he’s grown. Even though it might not show, I believe in what he can do and what he can become. I believe given enough opportunities Jayrone will come through for us.”

(on Reggie Gilbert)

“It’s pulling teeth to get him to say something, but he works hard every single day. He’s been very consistent. Just about every single game — he’s made a sack for a safety, a half a sack here, nice run stuff here, pressure on the quarterback there — he’s executing his assignments very well. He’s been very quiet, but very steady.”

Defensive line coach Mike Trgovac
(any worries about the two draft picks being ready?)

“I never worry. I sleep good at night. You coach them up and they’re two, young, good upcoming players, and we have to go to work.”

(on what he’s looking for from the young players Thursday night)

“Just let ‘em play. Let ‘em play. See who makes the most plays. Defense is about getting to the ball, and that’s what we’re going to look for.”

(on Mike Pennel starting the game in SF)

“Mike Pennel is going to be an important part for us, so we’re going to keep him going and keep his reps up. Obviously he’s not going to be here the first four games, but he’s going to be an important part for us down the road. When we’ve had a chance to give him some reps, we’ve given him some reps.”

Safeties coach Darren Perry
(on Kentrell Brice)

“He’s working hard. I think I’ve said this before, all the young guys, a lot of information is being thrown at them right now, and to put that stuff behind him, play fast, let his natural ability and instincts take over, it’s good to see. He’s not thinking too much, he’s reacting.”

(on Burnett’s readiness for the regular season)

“I think Morgan will be fine. He’s played a lot of football around here, a lot of snaps. There’s no nervousness or trepidation about him being ready to play. He prepares as well as anyone here.”

(on Clinton-Dix)

“He’s all business. In the classroom, in the meeting room, he’s as serious as you can get. Being able to apply that on the field is what the good ones can do. He doesn’t blink. He just goes out there and plays.”

Assistant linebackers coach Scott McCurley
(on the inside LB rotation)

“We’re really going to take this week and see how everybody’s health is, where everybody’s at, but we know we’re going to go in there (to KC) and compete just like the first three preseason games. They have to go into this game knowing they’re still competing for jobs, across the board.”

(on whether the regular-season rotation might be based on opponent matchups)

“You always want to put guys in position to win, in the best position to help the defense. We’re going to play it out and see what happens.”

Cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt
(on sorting out the depth behind Shields and Randall)

“I wish somebody would make it easy and say hey, I’m the guy, but nobody has. That’s why I think we are where we are. I think we have quality players, but to say somebody has separated themselves – Sam and ‘D’ have separated themselves – but we’re looking for that fourth, fifth guy, and we’ll go from there.”

(on what he wants to see Thursday from the young guys on the bubble)

“I just want to see them compete, understand what we’re doing, show the ability to make plays, show the ability to play fast. This is a very important game. I may be in the minority, but I believe in the preseason, because it’s the bottom half of your roster that makes a championship team in my opinion. The year we won the Super Bowl, we had 16 guys go on injured reserve, and it was the bottom half of that roster that helped us win that Super Bowl.”

Other stories:

Spofford: Masthay: ‘I don’t feel like I’ve won anything yet’

Hodkiewicz: Cobb looking like himself again

Spofford: Masthay is ‘in the driver’s seat’


Posted in Packers.com Blog

Tim Masthay is ‘in the driver’s seat’

Posted by Mike Spofford on August 29, 2016 – 11:09 am

160829-masthay-950GREEN BAY — Veteran Tim Masthay is the last punter remaining in the Packers’ camp after the release of rookie Peter Mortell on Monday, which Mortell announced via his personal social media accounts.

Head Coach Mike McCarthy felt the competition was good for both players, and that they pushed each other throughout training camp.

“Tim’s in the driver’s seat,” McCarthy said, suggesting the competition continues with all the other punters around the league. “It’s important for him to have a good week of practice and perform in Kansas City just like everybody.

“Tim we have great history with here, and he’ll continue to work and get better.”

Mortell was one of the feel-good stories of camp, a local kid from Green Bay who played his high school football at Notre Dame Academy, just a couple of miles from Lambeau Field.

“Peter did a good job,” McCarthy said. “I thought Peter Mortell was a young punter that has a lot of growth in front of him. It was good experience for him. I thought he was definitely making progress and was pushing the envelope with the competition.”

The Packers will be announcing some roster cuts over the next couple of days, needing to be down to 75 players by 3 p.m. Tuesday. The Packers have two open practices this week, on Monday and Tuesday, before heading to Kansas City for their preseason finale on Thursday night. After that, the roster must be reduced to 53 players by 3 p.m. Saturday.

With that in mind, this final week of training camp will be about those roster battles for the final spots amongst young players. The Packers’ veterans will be running the scout teams in practice as the young players get ready for their final preseason showing, and there’s a lot of benefit to that structure.

“We’ve seen Aaron (Rodgers) has taken more opponent look reps than he has in prior years, and the intensity of the drill goes up,” McCarthy said. “The competition goes up. You get into blitz drills and pressure drills, two-minute, no-huddle, and you have Aaron Rodgers running that look team, the whole period goes to a different level. Everything goes up. It’s great for those guys.”

That level of intensity is what has pleased McCarthy most about the 2016 training camp. It has shown up in the GPS technology the team uses on individual players that records the intensity of their workouts. McCarthy also pointed out they’ve had more reps in the half-line run game drill than they’ve ever had before, one of the most high-intensity drills of camp.

“This is the best year we’ve ever had as far as the energy, the physicality,” McCarthy said. “I think it’s been an excellent training camp.”

Other stories:

Spofford: Masthay: ‘I don’t feel like I’ve won anything yet’

Hodkiewicz: Cobb looking like himself again

Spofford: Can Janis play punt gunner with a clubbed hand?


Posted in Packers.com Blog

One more week of opportunities for young players

Posted by Mike Spofford on August 28, 2016 – 2:21 pm

160828-blog-photo-950GREEN BAY — With the starters basically done with their preseason work, the focus of the final week of training camp shifts to the young players fighting to make the roster.

They have two more open practices and one more game, at Kansas City on Thursday night, to make a final impression and state their case for a roster spot, or for a spot on the practice squad should they get cut and clear waivers.

“It’s important to get particularly the younger part of our football team ready for Kansas City,” McCarthy said. “It’s a quick week, fast turnaround. We want to give these guys a chance to maximize their opportunity here.”

McCarthy emphasized it’s not just about the snaps on offense and defense, but also those on special teams, that can make or break the final decisions. There are some roster decisions currently being made, as the Packers have to reduce to 75 players by Tuesday afternoon. The final roster reduction, from 75 to 53, must be made by Saturday afternoon.

“It’s been exciting watching these young guys play,” McCarthy said. “We have a lot of young guys making impactful plays in games. That’s why Kansas City is important. We need to continue to let these guys do that.”

Does McCarthy expect a lot of the players the Packers release to get claimed by other teams?

“There’s no exact science to it. How it shakes out, I can’t predict it,” he said. “In conversations with Ted (Thompson), sometimes one or two guys get claimed you don’t think are going to get claimed.”

On a veteran note, starting safety Morgan Burnett hasn’t played at all in the preseason due to a back injury, but McCarthy said he doesn’t have any long-term concern.

Other stories:

Hodkiewicz: Nelson expects to be back to ‘normal’


Posted in Packers.com Blog

Pregame warmup: Big night for youth in defensive front seven

Posted by Mike Spofford on August 26, 2016 – 8:08 pm

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — It could be a big night for the young players in the Packers’ defensive front seven as they continue to battle for roster spots.

Two defensive linemen in Kenny Clark and Letroy Guion and two inside linebackers in Joe Thomas and Jake Ryan are not playing on Friday night at Levi’s Stadium against the 49ers, which could mean more reps for the players at those spots fighting to make the roster.

On the defensive line, practice-squad holdover Christian Ringo and undrafted rookie Brian Price could get their share of work after Mike Daniels exits the game, while at inside linebacker, Carl Bradford and Beniquez Brown could get extra work once Sam Barrington and Blake Martinez are done.

Rookie Dean Lowry could also see a larger number of snaps on the defensive line as the Packers work on getting him ready for Week 1, though as a fourth-round draft pick his roster spot isn’t really in question. Derrick Mathews, who has had a quiet training camp so far, is another inside linebacker to keep an eye on to see if he makes a move.

Weather update: It’s a beautiful evening in northern California. At kickoff, temperatures are expected to be in the low 70s, dropping into the 60s during the game. There is no chance of rain and winds are expected to be minimal, 10 mph or less.

ICYMI: In case you missed anything, here’s a recap of the headlines from earlier in the week.

Fresh and focused, Letroy Guion eyes big year

John Crockett looking to become complete back

Jared Cook feeling at home in Packers’ offense

Aaron Rodgers fine with minimal preseason action

New title, same focus for JC Tretter

Jordy Nelson still on track for Week 1

 


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Aaron Rodgers appears set to start, Jordy Nelson inactive

Posted by Duke Bobber on August 26, 2016 – 7:33 pm

Aaron RodgersThe following players will not play in Friday night’s preseason game between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers:

Green Bay Packers Green Bay Packers
7 QB Brett Hundley
22 FB Aaron Ripkowski
42 S Morgan Burnett
47 LB Jake Ryan
48 LB Joe Thomas
57 C Jacob Flores
63 C Corey Linsley
79 G Josh Walker
83 WR Jeff Janis
85 TE Mitchell Henry
87 WR Jordy Nelson
97 DT Kenny Clark
98 DT Letroy Guion

San Francisco 49ers
1 WR Bryce Treggs
15 WR DeAndre Smelter
50 LB Nick Bellore
90 DL Glenn Dorsey
91 DL Arik Armstead


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Packers name captains for San Francisco game

Posted by Duke Bobber on August 26, 2016 – 5:00 pm

160826-captain-SF-950

As per team tradition, the Packers select game captains each week. Tonight’s captains will be G T.J. Lang (offense), DB Micah Hyde (defense) and S Chris Banjo (special teams).


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Posted in Packers.com Blog

Nick Collins to be inducted into Bethune-Cookman Hall of Fame

Posted by Mike Spofford on August 26, 2016 – 10:35 am

160826-nick-collins-950Former Packers safety Nick Collins has been chosen as one of the inductees into the Bethune-Cookman University Hall of Fame for 2016. The induction ceremony will take place on Sept. 16.

A second-round draft pick by the Packers in 2005 out of Bethune-Cookman, Collins went on to earn three Pro Bowl selections, and he’s best remembered for returning an interception for a touchdown in Super Bowl XLV. Collins, whose career ended two games into the 2011 season due to a serious neck injury, was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame this past summer.

At Bethune-Cookman, Collins was a three-year starter at free safety and a team captain who earned All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference honors and Division I-AA (now FCS) All-America recognition. His father, Willie Collins, played quarterback at Bethune-Cookman. He is pictured here with Alvin Wyatt, Bethune-Cookman’s head coach during Collins’ playing career.

 


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