Mike McCarthy comments on Matt Flynn

Posted by Mike Spofford on October 7, 2013 – 5:29 pm

Former Packers QB Matt Flynn was released by the Oakland Raiders on Monday, prompting media speculation as to whether the Packers might pursue him as a backup to Aaron Rodgers, a job Flynn held for four seasons (2008-11).

Matt Flynn

Matt Flynn

Head Coach Mike McCarthy didn’t sound as though the Packers would be making any changes at the quarterback position at this point. Seneca Wallace is Rodgers’ current backup, with Scott Tolzien on the practice squad. Both players were signed following training camp this summer, after Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman were released.

“Personally, I’m very happy with the quarterback room, the way it looks, the people in it,” McCarthy said. “Obviously Matt was a Packer. I’m very fond of Matt and his time here. I do like Seneca Wallace. I like what he’s done since he’s been here.”

Flynn left Green Bay after the 2011 season — which he ended with a record-setting 480 yards passing and six TDs filling in for Rodgers against the Lions in Week 17 — and signed with Seattle in 2012, but he was beaten out for the starting job by Russell Wilson. This year, he went to the Raiders but was beaten out by Terrelle Pryor. When Pryor had to miss a game two weeks ago, Flynn got his lone start since leaving Green Bay but lost and was demoted to third string.

McCarthy admitted to being surprised that things haven’t worked out for Flynn elsewhere given how he performed in Green Bay. In his first NFL start, he nearly beat Tom Brady and the Patriots on the road in a prime-time game in 2010.

McCarthy suggested that perhaps Flynn simply hasn’t found the right “fit” with another team, though he said he couldn’t know for sure without having studied Flynn’s game tapes.

“Definitely I’m surprised, because when his opportunity came, I obviously gave him a very high recommendation,” McCarthy said. “I haven’t watched the film of Matt, so I can’t really give you an educated or informed opinion on exactly how he did play.

“On a personal level, as I said I’m very fond of Matt Flynn. He was excellent in his time here, and I wish him the best of luck.”

For today’s feature story, which gives the latest on Clay Matthews plus a review of other aspects from Sunday’s game, click here.

 


Tags: , ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog

Lions No. 1 in third-down defense

Posted by Mike Spofford on October 4, 2013 – 4:07 pm

Third down is always a key down in football, but it will take on added importance for the Packers on offense on Sunday.

The Lions are ranked No. 1 in the league in third-down defense through four weeks, and no one in the NFC is even close to them. Detroit has allowed just 10 conversions in 47 attempts, for 21 percent. The No. 2 team in the NFC is San Francisco, at 31 percent. No. 2 in the league is the AFC’s Kansas City, at 22 percent.

Looking a little deeper, six of the 10 third-down conversions the Lions have allowed came in one game, at Washington in Week 3. Aside from that game, when Washington was 6-of-13, Detroit’s opponents have gone 2-of-10 (Minnesota), 1-of-11 (Arizona) and 1-of-13 (Chicago). Last week, the Bears were 0-for-12 until converting a third down with a TD pass with just 43 seconds left in the game.

“It is a small sample size, but they’ve played four games, so you have to give them credit for that,” Packers QB Aaron Rodgers said. “I think they’ve got a good combination. They’ve got a real good pass rush, they’ve got a good scheme on defense and they’re making plays in the secondary.”

The Lions are making some of their biggest plays on defense on third down. Five of their nine sacks on the season have come on third down, as well as three of their eight interceptions. They also had a sack/fumble on third down against Arizona nullified by a penalty.

Thanks to offensive penalties and other negative-yardage plays by opposing offenses, the Lions also have benefited from several long third downs, which have allowed them to permit short pass completions but then come up and make the tackle shy of the marker.

On offense, the Packers are converting just 36 percent on third downs this season (12-of-33), which is right in the middle of the pack and slightly below the league average of 37.7 percent.

“We want to stay in favorable down-and-distances, which means no negative-yardage plays, and try to avoid sacks,” guard T.J. Lang said. “We haven’t done a good job this year of maintaining our drives. Third down is going to be a big component this week.”

For more Packers-Lions preview headlines, click here.


Tags: ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog

Aaron Rodgers, James Starks voted Air & Ground Players of the Week

Posted by Mike Spofford on September 20, 2013 – 4:28 pm

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers and RB James Starks have been voted the Air & Ground NFL Players of the Week for Week 2.

Rodgers tied a franchise record with 480 yards passing in Green Bay’s 38-20 victory over Washington. He completed 34 of 42 passes with four touchdowns and no interceptions, posting a passer rating of 146.0, the third highest of his career. The 34 completions tied his career best.

Starks took over for Eddie Lacy (concussion) in the first quarter and rushed 20 times for a career-high 132 yards, including a 32-yard TD. He became the first Packers RB to rush for 100 yards in a regular-season game since Brandon Jackson in Week 5 of 2010, and the first to do so in any game since Starks himself rushed for 123 yards at Philadelphia in the 2010 NFC Wild Card playoff contest.


Tags: ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog

QB Aaron Rodgers named NFC Offensive Player of the Week

Posted by Mike Spofford on September 18, 2013 – 11:00 am

QB Aaron Rodgers

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has been named the NFC’s Offensive Player of the Week after his franchise-record-tying 480-yard passing game on Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

Rodgers tied Matt Flynn’s single-game passing mark, originally set in Week 17 of 2011, when Flynn filled in for Rodgers prior to the playoffs. Rodgers completed 34 of 42 passes with four TDs and no interceptions for a 146.0 passer rating, the third highest of his career.

His 34 completions tied his career best, and he became just the second QB in NFL history to throw for 480-plus yards with four TDs and zero INTs, joining Giants QB Y.A. Tittle, who threw for 505 yards with seven TDs and no INTs on Oct. 28, 1962.

This is the eighth time in his career Rodgers has been named NFC’s Offensive Player of the Week.


Tags: ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog

Rodgers and Starks nominated for Air & Ground honors

Posted by Duke Bobber on September 17, 2013 – 9:39 am

Quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers and Matt Ryan and running backs James Starks, Marshawn Lynch and Knowshon Moreno are nominees for Air & Ground NFL Players of the Week for Week 2, the NFL announced today.

The vote is in your hands. Read up on this week’s nominees and then cast your vote for the Air & Ground® NFL Players of the Week. Fans can vote for one player in each category until 2 p.m. CST on Friday to determine the winners.

Click here to cast your vote


Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog

Game ball winners vs. Washington

Posted by Mike Spofford on September 16, 2013 – 4:30 pm

The Packers’ coaching staff has awarded four game balls to individual players for their performances in the 38-20 victory over Washington on Sunday.

On offense, QB Aaron Rodgers and WR James Jones were recipients On defense, CB Sam Shields was recognized, and on special teams, it was CB Davon House.

Rodgers completed 34 of 42 passes for a single-game franchise-record-tying 480 yards, with four TDs and a 146.0 passer rating. Jones set career highs with 11 receptions for 178 yards, with half of those yards coming after the catch.

Shields was credited with six solo tackles, one assist and four passes broken up, while House recorded a tackle on both kickoff and punt coverage, following up a strong individual special-teams performance from Week 1.


Tags: , , , ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog

Aaron Rodgers joins ‘Da Bears’ fans in new commercial

Posted by Duke Bobber on September 6, 2013 – 12:11 pm

QB Aaron Rodgers latest State Farm commercial features some interesting companions — the superfans of “Da Bears.”

Take a look:


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog

NFL debut a homecoming for rookie LT David Bakhtiari

Posted by Mike Spofford on September 5, 2013 – 5:13 pm

Packers LT David Bakhtiari said his family has had season tickets to San Francisco 49ers games at Candlestick Park since he was a little kid.

LT David Bakhtiari

LT David Bakhtiari

How fitting, then, that the rookie will be making his NFL debut this Sunday at the same stadium his family has visited countless times over the years.

“I grew up in their backyard,” Bakhtiari, a native of San Mateo, Calif., in the Bay Area, said of the 49ers. “It’s almost kind of ironic. It will be cool. I’ll see how my emotions are come Sunday.”

His emotions will need to be under control in order to handle one tough assignment — San Francisco pass rusher Aldon Smith, who has 33 1/2 sacks in his first two pro seasons. With veteran Justin Smith rushing next to Aldon Smith, the 49ers have possessed one of the toughest pass-rushing combos to handle in the league.

Bakhtiari has handled everything thrown his way thus far, keeping him confident, yet he remains humble. QB Aaron Rodgers has confidence in Bakhtiari protecting his blind side and said these are the battles he should relish.

“He’s up against a Pro Bowl guy, one of the best in the business, and he’s continuing to get better. You can see it on the film,” Rodgers said of Aldon Smith. “He’s still athletic as all get-out.

“It’s a tough test, but that’s what you want. If you want to be considered an elite player at your position, like I know David does down the road — he’s a confident guy — these are the kind of matchups you want.”

It’s hard to say whether or not Bakhtiari’s parents are thrilled about their son going up against their hometown team right off the bat. Bakhtiari said his dad is going to wear Bakhtiari’s No. 69 Packers jersey with a 49ers jacket over it for the game.

Bakhtiari said the last 49ers game he remembers attending was the 2011 NFC Wild Card game between San Francisco and New Orleans, one that became a playoff classic with multiple lead changes in the waning minutes. He’s not making any predictions as to whether or not Sunday’s game will go down in history somehow.

“I want to make it a ‘W,'” he said. “That’s the biggest thing on my mind. Whether it’s memorable or not, that’s left to the eye of the beholder. I just want to go in there, play good football and hopefully our team comes out on top.”

Additional coverage – Sept. 5

Mike McCarthy, Clay Matthews talk rules on hitting option QB

Ten things: Packers-49ers storyline best of Week 1 theater


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog

News & notes: Aaron Rodgers hits again from long range

Posted by Mike Spofford on August 21, 2013 – 4:13 pm

For a recap of Wednesday’s practice, which did not please Head Coach Mike McCarthy, and a rundown on some of the team’s injuries, check out today’s feature story. Here are some other news & notes:

–On target: QB Aaron Rodgers has done it many times before, and he did it again on Wednesday.

Launching throws from long range toward a netted hoop near the sideline, Rodgers dropped one in from around 40-50 yards away, drawing cheers from the Ray Nitschke Field crowd, which got to see an exaggerated “belt” celebration from Rodgers.

For a video of Rodgers throwing a deep ball into the hoop earlier this training camp, click here.

As for the rest of practice, Rodgers said he feels fine after missing Tuesday’s workout due to a head cold. Acknowledging the starters may not play the entire first half like they normally would in the third preseason game, Rodgers said that won’t impact the team’s readiness for the regular season.

“Anything from this point forward are just bonus reps,” he said. “We practice hard, we practice together, we spend a lot of time talking and working together. We need to go in against a good defense this week and get some reps, stay healthy and get out.”

–Time to catch up: WR Charles Johnson, a seventh-round pick from Grand Valley State, says he’ll be ready to play as soon as the coaches decide to put him in a game, despite the fact that he has hardly seen the field.

Johnson got hurt on the second day of OTAs, returned for the first two training camp practices without pads, but then had not practiced since until Wednesday, when he was very limited but in full uniform.

“The things that have happened to me while I’ve been here have been very humbling for me,” Johnson said. “I used to be the guy who was like, hey, I’ve never been hurt. I’ve never missed a game. But now I can barely get on the practice field. Now I go out there and say every day I have to prove something.”

It would seem awfully soon for Johnson to play on Friday after just one limited day of practice, so his roster fate could very well come down to the fourth preseason game, at Kansas City next week. But he’s willing to take any snaps the coaches want to give him, even if it’s right away Friday night.

“Physically I’m a little bit behind because I’m not getting on-the-field reps. I’m not up to speed with the game like some of the other guys may be,” he said. “But mentally I’m up to speed, I’m at par. I know everything I need to know if I was to get thrown out there in a game. I know all my materials.”

–More on injuries: Undrafted rookie LB Andy Mulumba (knee) missed practice on Wednesday, while CB Loyce Means (ankle) was back in action.

–Play of the day: TE Brandon Bostick made the play of the day, leaping between two defenders in the end zone with one arm reaching straight up, tipping the ball to himself and then hauling it in as he fell to the ground.

“He’s come a long way and I’m proud of him,” said fellow TE Jermichael Finley, who spent time working out with Bostick in the offseason. “I call him ‘Little Finley.'”


Tags: , ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp

News & notes: Mike Neal has ‘best practice’ of camp

Posted by Mike Spofford on August 14, 2013 – 5:11 pm

For the rundown on QB Aaron Rodgers’ chat with reporters at his locker, in which he talked about his lighter workload and the “vibe” of the team, check out today’s feature story. Here are some more news & notes from Wednesday:

–Neal flashes in new role: He missed time early in camp due to an abdominal injury and sat out the first preseason game, but DE Mike Neal is starting to look more comfortable in his new hybrid lineman-outside linebacker role.

DE Mike Neal

DE Mike Neal

On Wednesday, Neal was showing up in a number of drills, including the OLB-RB blitz pick-up and the one-on-one pass rush, where he worked from both inside and outside. He also stuffed one running play in team (11-on-11) work and was a factor at the line of scrimmage on a number of other snaps.

“Today was probably the first time we felt what we hope he’s about — his ability to be a difference-maker, the ability to put him in one-on-one situations and for him to win and to win consistently,” Mike McCarthy said. “I think Mike had his best practice today of training camp.”

Neal is taking a liking to the hybrid role now that he’s had more time to absorb the responsibilities of the OLB position, a process that began in OTAs. The next step will be to carry the kind of impact he had on the practice field on Wednesday into the preseason game in St. Louis on Saturday, which he said he’s definitely looking forward to.

“I think it best suits me. Just using my athleticism is probably the biggest thing,” Neal said. “The learning part of it is what they wanted me to (accomplish) so I can put myself in those positions.”

–Young to get more plays: McCarthy said he’s seen a lot of progress in QB Vince Young now that he’s been in camp for a week, and he plans to get Young more snaps with a larger play selection in Saturday’s game.

Young took a number of snaps in the team drills on Wednesday and appeared to be getting the ball out of his hand faster on pass plays, an indication he’s understanding the scheme more and more.

“It’s important for Vince to be able to call it, see it in his mind and be able to execute,” Rodgers said. “Seven days after he’s been here he’s definitely improved with the verbiage and he’s making some plays.”

–Injury update: WR Randall Cobb (bicep) and RB James Starks (illness) sat out practice, while G T.J. Lang (back) returned and TE Ryan Taylor (knee) was back on the field for the first time since the Family Night scrimmage. DE Ryan Pickett also returned after missing a day for personal reasons.

RBs Eddie Lacy and DuJuan Harris were cleared for more contact, with Lacy doing more in the team drills than Harris did. Lacy didn’t appear to have any issues with his hamstring, but he stopped short of saying he would for sure have clearance to play on Saturday in St. Louis. Both Lacy and Harris missed the first preseason game last week.

“Most likely they’re going to make the decision, but you have to look at the bigger picture,” Lacy said. “Preseason is a time for you to go out there and showcase what you can do and get a taste of how it is, how it’s going to be when the season gets here. But if you’re not 100 percent or don’t feel you can go, then don’t risk it.”

–Plays of the day: Two of the rookie stars thus far in camp have been undrafted WR Tyrone Walker and fifth-round CB Micah Hyde, and the pair made two of the highlight plays in practice again on Wednesday.

Walker made a nifty tip-toe catch right at the front pylon of the end zone on a throw from QB Graham Harrell after Harrell scrambled to his left to buy extra time.

Then, moments later, Hyde was in coverage on a fade to the corner of the end zone to WR Myles White. With his back to the ball, Hyde turned his head at just the right time to see it and deflect it. As he fell to the turf, the ball then hung on Hyde’s hip and he was able to tip it back to himself, make the interception and get up to run.

The grab looked similar to Antonio Freeman’s “Monday Night Miracle” against the Vikings in 2000, only it was a great defensive play rather than an offensive one.

“I knew it didn’t hit the ground,” Hyde said. “Luckily I was able to tip it back into my hands.”


Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp