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News now! Bryan Bulaga questionable for Sunday, JC Tretter ready if needed

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 19, 2014 – 1:05 pm

141219-news-now-mccarthy-300GREEN BAY — Packers RT Bryan Bulaga is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game in Tampa due to the concussion he sustained last week in Buffalo. Bulaga hasn’t yet gained full medical clearance to return to full contact, but that remains a possibility by game time.

“As we say in here all the time, you’re either part of the (concussion) protocol or you’re out of the protocol,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. “He’s still in it and he’s making progress.”

After McCarthy’s Friday press conference, Bulaga spoke briefly with reporters in the locker room and sounded optimistic about his chances.

“I think we’re on a good track right now,” he said. “We’ll see what comes about tomorrow and go from there. I think I still need to go through a few more steps in testing, and seeing the independent neurologist check we have to do.”

Ideally, he’d like to be able to practice on Saturday morning before the team boards its flight to Tampa.

“For me personally, I love to practice,” Bulaga said. “To me, it’s something I think I need throughout the week, just for repetition and timing and fundamental work. If I can get (out there) tomorrow, I’d love it, get all cleared and do that tomorrow.”

Bulaga is the only member of the starting offensive line to miss a game this season, and he only missed one (Week 2 vs. N.Y. Jets). The Packers have had the same starting five up front for the last 12 consecutive games.

If Bulaga can’t play, he’ll be replaced by second-year lineman JC Tretter, who took over for Bulaga in the fourth quarter last week for the Packers’ final two offensive series. He allowed the pressure on the outside by Bills DE Mario Williams that led to the fumble by QB Aaron Rodgers on Green Bay’s final offensive play, but Tretter’s teammates have insisted all week that one play shouldn’t overshadow the job he did coming off the bench at a new position.

“He put together some very good plays, and there are some things we look for him to improve on,” McCarthy said.

Tretter began taking practice snaps at right tackle among other positions on the line at midseason after coming off injured reserve with a designation to return. He had injured his knee late in training camp, all of which he spent preparing to start at center. This week, Tretter has been taking most of the reps at right tackle with Bulaga unable to practice.

“This is exactly what he needs,” McCarthy said. “It was good to see him play against Buffalo.

“JC is a heck of a football player. He showed that by what he accomplished in the spring all the way through training camp, establishing himself as the starting center. To come off his injury be able to play guard, center and tackle speaks volumes.”

CB Davon House has been ruled out for the second straight week due to his shoulder injury. “We’ll see how next week goes,” McCarthy said.

Everyone else on the Packers’ injury report is listed as probable and expected to play.

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News now! Tampa Bay’s weapons are healthy, producing

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 18, 2014 – 1:43 pm

141218-news-now-mccarthy-300GREEN BAY — Tampa Bay’s wide receiver duo of rookie Mike Evans and veteran Vincent Jackson is not unlike the big, physical duos the Packers have faced in other games this year, such as Chicago’s Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery.

“You could compare Tampa’s receivers to Chicago,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said on Thursday. “They’re both going to go over 1,000 yards for the season. They’re definitely a focus of ours, and Doug Martin is playing very well.”

Martin is the Bucs’ top running back who has battled injuries this season. He has just 369 rushing yards and two TDs on the year, but he’s coming off his best game of 2014, when he had 14 carries for 96 yards vs. Carolina last week, including a season-long 63-yard run. At 5-9, 215, Martin is a short but powerful back.

“He has a distinct style,” McCarthy said. “He’s been a very productive football player throughout his whole career. He can do it both with the run and pass. Having him healthy clearly makes a difference for their offense.”

Health-wise for the Packers, RT Bryan Bulaga (concussion) missed his second straight practice but was in the Hutson Center observing the workout, a good sign as to where he is in his recovery. RB Eddie Lacy remained limited with a non-football-related eye problem, but McCarthy said he doesn’t have “high concern.”

Click here for Thursday’s feature story on Packers WR Randall Cobb.

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Aaron Rodgers finishes first in Pro Bowl voting by fans

Posted by Duke Bobber on December 17, 2014 – 3:06 pm

141217-rodgers-300Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers received 1,015,004 votes from fans, leading all NFL players in balloting for the 2015 Pro Bowl. Polling closed on Monday, Dec. 15.

Pro Bowl teams are voted on by fans, coaches and players. Each group’s vote counts one-third toward determining which players receive the honor.

Wide receiver Jordy Nelson also finished in the top 10, receiving 641,325 fan votes. John Kuhn finished ahead of all other fullbacks in the league with 311,680 votes. Three Packers finished second in their respective position group: Nelson, guard Josh Sitton and special teams contributor Jarrett Bush.

The NFL will reveal the 2015 squads on NFL Network on Tuesday, Dec. 23 at 7 p.m. CT.


QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay 1,015,004
QB Peyton Manning, Denver 1,013,739
QB Tom Brady, New England 871,189
QB Andrew Luck, Indianapolis 843,205
RB DeMarco Murray, Dallas 797,929
RB Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh 702,782
RB Marshawn Lynch, Seattle 657,559
WR Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh 644,093
WR Jordy Nelson, Green Bay 641,325
TE Rob Gronkowski, New England 601,093

QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay 1,015,004
QB Peyton Manning, Denver 1,013,739
RB DeMarco Murray, Dallas 797,929
RB Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh 702,782
FB John Kuhn, Green Bay 311,680
FB Marcel Reece, Oakland 214,803
WR Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh 644,093
WR Jordy Nelson, Green Bay 641,325
TE Rob Gronkowski, New England 601,093
TE Jimmy Graham, New Orleans 413,366
T Joe Thomas, Cleveland 342,845
T Tyron Smith, Dallas 242,051
G Joel Bitonio, Cleveland 274,535
G Josh Sitton, Green Bay 253,250
C Travis Frederick, Dallas 255,112
C Maurkice Pouncey, Pittsburgh 243,189
K Stephen Gostkowski, New England 210,636
K Dan Bailey, Dallas 164,864
RS Devin Hester, Atlanta 182,528
RS Darren Sproles, Philadelphia 113,566
DE J.J. Watt, Houston 504,856
DE DeMarcus Ware, Denver 380,659
DT Marcell Dareus, Buffalo 331,006
DT Stephen Paea, Chicago 297,826
OLB Von Miller, Denver 291,065
OLB Paul Kruger, Cleveland 246,652
ILB Luke Kuechly, Carolina 340,870
ILB Karlos Dansby, Cleveland 293,773
CB Joe Haden, Cleveland 407,248
CB Richard Sherman, Seattle 311,148
SS Donte Whitner, Cleveland 237,199
SS Kam Chancellor, Seattle 181,968
FS Tashaun Gipson, Cleveland 342,596
FS Earl Thomas, Seattle 179,642
P Sam Koch, Baltimore 151,658
P Spencer Lanning, Cleveland 146,237
ST Johnson Bademosi, Cleveland 189,206
ST Jarrett Bush, Green Bay 120,220

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News now! ‘Playoff mindset’ starts now for Packers

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 17, 2014 – 1:48 pm

141217-news-now-mccarthy-300GREEN BAY — Mike McCarthy said on Wednesday the Packers are beginning their ‘playoff mindset’ this week in preparation for the trip to Tampa, and that includes electing the six players who will serve as team captains the rest of the regular season and into the playoffs, as long as the Packers keep playing.

“This is a road game we have to have,” McCarthy said. “We clearly understand the importance of winning in December, and we need to take it up a notch as a football team.”

The captains, elected by their teammates, are QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Jordy Nelson on offense, LB Julius Peppers and S Morgan Burnett on defense, and WR Randall Cobb and DB Jarrett Bush on special teams. Normally, the Packers elect three captains each week and then elect six playoff captains once the postseason begins. The change is designed to send a message of focus and urgency following the tough loss in Buffalo.

“I felt the need to give these men a chance to stand up front and take the responsibility their teammates have placed upon them,” McCarthy said. “It’s time to ramp it up and make sure we’re playing our best football this time of year.

“Those will be our six captains from here on in.”

On the injury list, T Bryan Bulaga (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday. He is going through the concussion protocol but “looks great” and is “making progress,” according to McCarthy.

RB Eddie Lacy was limited by an eye problem that is not “game-related,” while LBs Clay Matthews (bicep) and Mike Neal (abdomen) were also limited.

“I don’t think Clay’s is of serious nature,” McCarthy said. “I think we’ll be OK there.”

Neal has dealt with abdominal issues before and his limitations sound precautionary.

Click here for’s full story following locker room interviews.

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How do the Packers bounce back? Read Mike’s chat transcript

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 16, 2014 – 12:39 pm’s Mike Spofford conducted his weekly chat on Tuesday, reviewing the Buffalo loss and looking ahead to the rest of the season. You can read the transcript here:

If you are having trouble reading the transcript as posted, click here.

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Wisconsin Favorites: Restaurants

Posted by Paige Curtis on December 16, 2014 – 11:02 am


141104-Week-14-Martys-Place-North-Dinner-Club-02What’s your favorite Wisconsin restaurant and what do you recommend on the menu?

No. 84 Jared Abbrederis – Christiano’s (based in his hometown of Wautoma). I really can’t pick one; I have three “go-to’s”. I either get the italian beef, the italian sausage sandwich or the chicken calzone. Every time I go it’s one of those three.

No. 33 Micah Hyde – Anywhere I go my appetizer is cheese curds. If I had to pick a spot though, I would say Grazie’s.

141104-Week-14-Fish-boil-at-Old-Post-Office-Restaurant-8No. 12 Aaron Rodgers – Chives in Green Bay and I would recommend any of the steaks or the chicken marsala. Also, Carnivore in Milwaukee, and judging by the name you would probably guess that any of the steaks are incredible, and they are.

Whether you eat to live or live to eat, everyone loves a good meal and Wisconsin restaurants have worked very hard to make sure they can please every palate. Stop by one of the award-winning waterfront seafood spots, iconic Northwoods supper clubs, unique and nifty ’50s diners, classic Door County Fish Boils, or famous state-wide Friday fish fries. If you’re looking for great food, made from fresh ingredients daily, head over to Christiano’s in Wautoma. From the homemade breads and pizza dough to the fresh sauces and Wisconsin mozzarella cheese, it will be love at first bite.


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News now! Loss needs to make Packers ‘better in the end’

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 15, 2014 – 4:41 pm

141215-news-now-mccarthy-300GREEN BAY — Head Coach Mike McCarthy said he was “poised for a big day” on Sunday that “didn’t happen,” but the loss in Buffalo needs to make the Packers stronger for the stretch run.

“We haven’t had a performance like that in a while, for four quarters,” McCarthy said on Monday. “This is something that can make us better in the end. Don’t like the timing of it, don’t get me wrong. It was not a good day for us.”

The bad day encompassed all three phases to McCarthy, with mental errors way too high. Offensive execution was lacking, the defense missed too many tackles and the special teams had more untimely breakdowns.

“There are one or two calls I wish I had back,” McCarthy said of the offense, which had its roughest day in three months. “But I thought we put our guys in position to make plays.”

On the injury front, McCarthy did not have an update on right tackle Bryan Bulaga, other than to say he’s in the concussion protocol. Cornerback Davon House (shoulder) will likely miss his second straight game this week as the Packers travel to Tampa.

“There was concern early with his injury,” McCarthy said of House. “It’s a different kind of injury. He’ll be very hard-pressed to make it this week, but I’m told he’s making a lot of progress.”

For more from McCarthy’s press conference, click here.

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News now! Packers’ win streak ends in 21-13 loss to Bills

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 14, 2014 – 3:17 pm

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron RodgersORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Packers couldn’t overcome a litany of mistakes on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium and saw their five-game winning streak end in a 21-13 loss to the Buffalo Bills. The loss was the Packers’ first since the bye week and dropped them to 10-4 on the season.

Trailing 16-10 as the fourth quarter began, the Packers were on the verge of scoring for the first time in the second half as they drove out from their own 2-yard line. A potential 94-yard TD pass was dropped by WR Jordy Nelson, but passes of 7 yards to TE Andrew Quarless, 16 yards to Nelson and 14 yards to WR Randall Cobb picked up first downs. Cobb also had a 12-yard run out of the backfield.

But on third-and-4 from the Buffalo 34, QB Aaron Rodgers pass was deflected into the air and intercepted by Bills S Bacarri Rambo, his second interception of the half after coming in for the injured Duke Williams. The Bills then converted that turnover into a 48-yard FG by Dan Carpenter, his fourth FG of the game, following a 20-yard screen pass to RB Fred Jackson.

That made it 19-10 Bills with 9:23 left, making it a two-score game for the first time on the day.

The Packers got back to work, overcoming a holding penalty that wiped out a long run by RB Eddie Lacy to pick up a couple of first downs. A facemask penalty on the Bills helped move the chains. A 20-yard completion to Nelson, who kept his knee off the ground and broke a couple of tackles, was followed by a 17-yard pass to Cobb, who also broke an open-field tackle got the ball to the Buffalo 18.

The drive stalled in the red zone, however, and the Packers had to settle for a 34-yard Mason Crosby field goal, cutting the deficit to 19-13 with 4:51 left.

The Bills responded with a 12-yard pass to TE Scott Chandler to convert a third-and-4, and then RB Boobie Dixon recovered his own fumble, wrestling it away from a potential recovery by CB Tramon Williams. An offside penalty on the Packers and a short run by RB Fred Jackson moved the chains again.

After the Packers used up their timeouts, the game came down to a third-and-5 from the Green Bay 47-yard line with 2:12 left. QB Kyle Orton threw incomplete to WR Sammy Watkins, and the Packers got the ball back one last time.

Beginning at their own 10, the Packers needed to go 90 yards in 1:58. But Rodgers had the ball stripped by DE Mario Williams at the goal line. On the play, Williams beat RT JC Tretter, who was in the game for an injured Bryan Bulaga. Lacy made the recovery but was tackled in the end zone for a safety, putting the Bills ahead 21-13 with 1:51 left.

The Bills recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock.

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News now! Packers trail, 16-10, heading into fourth quarter

Posted by Vic Ketchman, editor on December 14, 2014 – 2:31 pm

Packers S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

ORCHARD PARK, NY–The Packers trailed the Bills, 16-10, heading into the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The Bills took the second half kickoff and drove down the field on nine consecutive running plays before dropping a third-and-5 pass that would’ve moved the chains. Dan Carpenter booted a 51-yard field goal that gave the Bills a 13-10 lead with 9:21 to play in the third quarter.

Aaron Rodgers c0mpleted a 20-yard pass to Randall Cobb to kick-start the Packers’ first possession of the second half, but the drive stalled when Rodgers threw high for Cobb over the middle on third-and-11.

The Bills took possession at their 22 and immediately turned to their running game, but the big play in the drive was a pass of 40 yards to running back Bryce Brown, who appeared to avoid the Packers’ notice out on the left flat. The Packers defense held and Carpenter came on to kick a 35-yard field goal, extending the Bills’ lead to 16-10 with 4:18 to play in the third quarter.

Rodgers was intercepted by Bacarri Rambo and the Bills were in business at the Packers 30. It was the first interception Rodgers had thrown since the New Orleans game.

A hands-to-the-face penalty against the Bills left them to face third-and-17 from their 36. Kyle Orton was sacked by Clay Matthews and the Packers defense had saved the day, leaving the Bills to punt.

Jordy Nelson dropped what appeared would be a 94-yard touchdown pass in the final seconds of the third quarter.






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News now! All tied at the half in Buffalo

Posted by Mike Spofford on December 14, 2014 – 1:41 pm

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Packers and Bills played to a first-half stalemate on Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium, going into the locker room at halftime tied at 10.

The Packers, trailing 7-3 entering the second quarter, took the lead on the second play. After an 11-yard slant to WR Randall Cobb got the ball down to the 1, RB Eddie Lacy plowed in from there for the TD. Lacy had five carries for 57 yards on the drive, which put the Packers ahead 10-7 with 14:14 left in the half.

The Bills came right back to tie the game on a 27-yard FG with 8:04 left in the half. A 28-yard pass to WR Sammy Watkins, who made a great adjustment to haul in the pass over CB Sam Shields, was followed by a 12-yard run by Bryce Brown, who made S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix miss on a tackle in the backfield. WR Robert Woods then made a shoestring catch on a back-shoulder throw along the sideline, and a 10-yard pass to TE Scott Chandler converted a third down and made it first-and-goal.

From there, several penalties on both teams ensued. Ultimately, Buffalo was unable to convert on third-and-goal from the 14, and Carpenter was called on to tie the game.

The Packers had a chance to take the lead again on their next possession, after a 19-yard pass to Cobb and a 10-yard pass to RB James Starks. But K Mason Crosby’s 53-yard FG try was blocked by Bills DE Mario Williams, keeping the score tied at 10 with 6:01 left in the half.

After the two teams traded punts, Packers CB Tramon Williams intercepted a deep pass intended for Watkins, giving the offense the ball back. A personal foul on LB Sam Barrington after the INT wrecked what could have been good field position for Green Bay, as the Packers started on their own 19.

The offense went nowhere and punted again, downing the ball on the Buffalo 2-yard line shortly after the two-minute warning.


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