In addition to the fake punt and the Darren Sproles non-fumble (recapped here), Sunday’s game against the Saints featured a lot of unusual activity on special teams.
Three holding penalties were called on place-kicks, two on extra points and a huge one on the Saints’ final field goal try. Special Teams Coordinator Shawn Slocum said he had never seen that before. The Packers had one of those holds, plus two other penalties on an earlier field goal – too many men on the field and a personal foul on B.J. Raji.
Slocum said the 12-men penalty was due to a lack of communication when the Saints first appeared they might go for it and then sent out their kicker late. The personal foul on Raji, who threw a punch at a Saints blocker he thought was going for his knees, gave the Saints a fresh set of downs but could have been worse.
“He’s fortunate he didn’t get thrown out of the game,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. “It’s competitive, they’re in there fighting, and sometimes it gets to you, and it’s your responsibility, and it’s also the responsibility of your teammates. But you have to watch that stuff, because to lose B.J. Raji at that point in the game would have compromised our defense.”
Tags: b.j. raji, fake punt, Shawn Slocum, special teams
Posted in Packers.com Blog
Wednesday’s practice was not in pads, but based on the players who participated in the portion of the workout open to the media, it appears the Packers are getting healthier on the injury front.
Defensive linemen B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett were both practicing, as was inside linebacker Robert Francois. All three of them have been battling injuries stemming from the last two preseason contests.
Also, CB Davon House and LB Jamari Lattimore were doing some drills, but they weren’t as active in practice as the others. That could mean they’re close to returning but not enough to be active for a game yet. S Sean Richardson and RB James Starks continued to sit out.
The first injury report of the week will be released after practice, when Mike McCarthy addresses the media around 1:40 p.m. CT.
Tags: b.j. raji, davon house, injuries, ryan pickett
Posted in Packers.com Blog
Both players have flashed in practice, but there has yet to be much to shout about during the preseason games. They’re hoping to change that Thursday in Cincinnati, obviously, and veteran D-lineman B.J. Raji believes it should only be a matter of time, because both youngsters entered the NFL with the right approach.
“The thing I like about them, I see a lot of myself in them,” Raji said. “Jerel was a high pick, but he was willing to learn. He didn’t come in with the idea that he knew everything. He came in asking questions. Mike’s the same way.
“Anytime a guy comes in asking questions, you really don’t hesitate to help them, because they see the need, that they need to improve. They need to do certain things to be successful. Both of those guys are competitive, they want to win, and they want to do everything they can to help this defense.”
Raji added that there will be some tough decisions at cutdown time for the roster within his position group.
“This is probably the youngest and deepest D-line I’ve been a part of since I’ve been here,” he said. “This is the game where you want to come out and show you can play within this defense.”
Tags: b.j. raji, defense, jerel worthy, mike daniels
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp
Packers second-round draft pick Jerel Worthy attracted attention and criticism for a comment he made at Michigan State about needing to take plays off once in a while. Worthy took no plays off in Friday morning’s practice. The defensive lineman was the high-energy player of practice, which was forced indoors by rain.
Worthy chased after receivers following completions. His voice could be heard celebrating defensive stops and his motor never stopped. Worthy was all over the field and finished a couple of plays on the turf in a tangle of players he created.
Most notably, it appears Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers might have had his two-down lineman nickel defense in mind when Worthy was selected with the 51st overall pick of the 2012 draft. Worthy and B.J. Raji are the two down linemen in the Packers’ nickel defense, and it’s a role Worthy appears to relish. He was a chase tackle at Michigan State and he appears to be reveling in the space he has to operate in Capers’ nickel, which is clearly in Capers’ plans for this season.
Also in Friday’s practice:
…It’s becoming obvious the Packers have a creative role in mind for second-year wide receiver Randall Cobb.
…Backup quarterback Graham Harrell threw arguably the most impressive completion of the morning, a deep out to Cobb, who caught the ball and turned up field to pull away from rookie safety Jerron McMillian, whose coverage on the play was tight.
…Safety M.D. Jennings made an interception off a deflection.
…Quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ signature pass might be the back-shoulder throw, and he tossed a beauty of one to Jordy Nelson along the right sideline. Unfortunately, Nelson dropped the pass.
…Undrafted free agent linebacker Dezman Moses appears to be competing for more than a roster spot. He appears to be competing for playing time.
…First-year safety Anthony Levine broke impressively on a pass along the sideline and nearly made an interception.
Tags: aaron rodgers, anthony levine, b.j. raji, dezman moses, dom capers, graham harrell, jerel worthy, Jerron McMillian, jordy nelson, m.d. jennings, randall cobb
Posted in Packers.com Blog
QB Aaron Rodgers told Milwaukee radio station 540 ESPN that he plans to play in the Pro Bowl, for which he was voted the NFC starter. The Pro Bowl is slated for Jan. 29 in Honolulu.
The Packers coaching staff will be coaching the NFC squad in Hawaii, with practices beginning next week.
Other Packers named to the Pro Bowl squad were CB Charles Woodson, LB Clay Matthews, NT B.J. Raji, FB John Kuhn, C Scott Wells and WR Greg Jennings. Whether or not all of them will play isn’t known. Kuhn was injured in the NFC divisional playoff loss to the Giants. Along with Kuhn, Raji and Wells are first-time Pro Bowlers.
Tags: aaron rodgers, b.j. raji, charles woodson, clay matthews, greg jennings, hawaii, john kuhn, pro bowl, scott wells
Posted in Packers.com Blog
FULLBACK JOHN KUHN
(how it feels to be recognized like this)
“It’s just really an honor, because it means that the fans out there really appreciate you, it means your peers, your players, appreciate you, and it means that your coaches, the people that are directly involved in game plans, appreciate you. That’s very special to me. Some awards out there are voted on in all different kinds of ways, but the fact that I can say my peers, my coaches and the fans all really appreciate me, that means more than anything.”
(why he feels he received the honor and what his biggest contributions to the team are)
“I think it’s the fact that I’m versatile at fullback. I can play the traditional fullback role and lead-block, and the coaches also entrust the ball-carrying opportunities that I have. I think the combination of the two of those really gets my name out there.”
(whether the chanting of his name at Lambeau Field will get louder now)
“I can imagine. The fans, they are truly football fans here in Wisconsin. They won’t let this one slide by.”
NOSE TACKLE B.J. RAJI
(his reaction to being named to the team)
“I was pretty excited. It’s one of those things with the position that I play, a lot of times you kind of feel like your contributions go unnoticed, but this is just confirmation that somebody out there is noticing the work I’ve put in and some of the plays I make, and I’m appreciative for that.”
(on getting voted in despite playing a less glamorous position in the 3-4 defense)
“Like I said, it just shows me that the real football minds and the people that understand the game are able to make decisions based off of the film and not necessarily just off of popularity and things like that. It’s good to know that it’s a balanced process.”
(whether it’s even more rewarding after the disappointment of having not gotten in last season)
“I think it’s fitting in a way. Things have kind of aligned with the goals I set for myself when my career started. My No. 1 goal was to win the Super Bowl, and we were able to achieve that first and foremost, and that was the priority and how I had prioritized it. And then the second was obviously making the Pro Bowl, and now that I’ve done those two things, hopefully I can get many more of both.”
(on being the first Packers defensive tackle selected in almost 40 years)
“It’s definitely a big deal to me. It’s really very fulfilling, because the Packers drafted me with high expectations, and in my second year starting, I am now able to build on having won a championship and also the all-star accolades. Ultimately, it’s an honor that can be shared by our whole defensive line. I sent a mass text message to all my (defensive line) guys telling them how much I appreciated them and loved them, because without them, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities to achieve this.”
QUARTERBACK AARON RODGERS
(what the recognition means to him)
“I think it’s the culmination of a solid, successful season. I think it’s an award that is personified by consistent play, but also by a supporting group that has done their job as well. I’m very honored by the recognition, and very thankful for my teammates, the way they’ve conducted themselves and prepared and played, and for my coaching staff, particularly my individual position coach, Tom Clements, and I’m also very thankful to the fans for them voting me in as well.”
(whether being named the starter adds to the honor)
“It does have special significance, because when I was voted in in 2009, I was the third guy and I was very thankful to be voted in, and got the opportunity to start because of some injuries and guys not going. But it’s great to be voted in as a starter, that means a lot to me and it’s a special honor.”
CENTER SCOTT WELLS
(what the honor means to him)
“It means a lot, being that it is my eighth year in the league. I was an alternate years ago, I think about my fourth or fifth year I was an alternate. For it to take this long and to finally make it, it definitely is big for me. It’s always been a dream of mine, so I am excited.”
(whether he takes it as recognition for the offense)
“I take it as an honor as being a part of a special team. I think some of it comes off of the success that we had last year, and then rolling into this year and the success we have continued to have this year definitely pays dividends. As a team is successful, the individual accolades come, so I know it is a direct correlation to what the team has been able to do.”
(whether this has been one of his best seasons)
“I think so. I am not real big on talking about myself, but I think this has probably been my best year so far.”
(if the recognition is more significant because he entered the league as a seventh-round pick, spent time on the practice squad, etc.)
“Absolutely. I was talking to my wife about it and the fact that I was not an All-American in college. I was only All-SEC by the coaches’ vote. Then being a late-round draft pick and having to work my way up from the practice squad, going through what I went through in ’09 when I was on the bench for a couple of games and fighting my way back, it definitely means a lot to finally get recognized and to be named a member of the Pro Bowl team.”
Tags: aaron rodgers, b.j. raji, john kuhn, kuhn, pro bowl, quotes, raji, rodgers, scott wells, wells
Posted in Packers.com Blog