Woodson encouraged with defense

Posted by Mike Spofford on August 7, 2012 – 8:12 pm

Veteran CB Charles Woodson has been around enough “hype” in the preseason to know when it’s just that, hype.

So when he said on Tuesday that he’s “encouraged” by what he’s seen on the practice field thus far in training camp as the Packers have brought in several new faces to try to bolster a defense that dropped to last in the league rankings a year ago, he’s not just trying to be nice. Woodson has never minced words about the disappointing defensive showing in 2011 and how much needed to change to fix it in 2012.

“I think we’re encouraged,” Woodson said. “Practice-wise I think there’s been a lot of energy out there on the field, and I think we have added some pieces to our defense we feel like are going to help us. In preseason, everybody feels good about their chances, (but) we really do feel good about what we’re doing and the way we’re working defensively.”

Woodson said the coaches indicated Monday night’s practice was the best thus far for the defensive unit, so the goal is to carry that into Thursday’s preseason opener, even if the starters play very little (and Woodson may not play at all, as has been his pattern for first preseason games).

The biggest difference Woodson sees on defense this year is the added speed the young players bring, particularly when the Packers go to their “dime” defense with six defensive backs.

“A big downfall for us last year was third down,” Woodson said, referring to the Packers’ No. 26 ranking in third-down defense. “I think having more speed out there, being able to get guys down and get off the field, is going to be very important for us this year.”


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Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp

Hayward right in the mix

Posted by Mike Spofford on August 1, 2012 – 2:05 pm

Rookie CB Casey Hayward’s strong practice on Wednesday came mostly while defending the biggest receiver on the roster, 6-4 Tori Gurley.

Matching up against big targets is nothing new to Hayward, who played at Vanderbilt in the SEC, but doing so at the NFL level does present its challenges.

“No doubt, because he’s a big guy,” Hayward said of Gurley. “He kind of reminds me of a tight end, but he moves very well to be that big. You can’t let him get his hands on you.”

Hayward admitted he’s still making some rookie mistakes out there, but he’s trying to use any mistake as a chance to learn. He’s certainly right in the mix for playing time at cornerback with a competitive group that also includes Jarrett Bush, Davon House, Sam Shields and Brandian Ross.

“Certain calls I’m playing full speed,” Hayward said. “Sometimes I question myself, but I shouldn’t, because I know the plays.”

Other notes from Wednesday’s practice:

–K Mason Crosby went 2-for-2 again in a FG period, hitting a pair from 45-plus. Crosby has yet to miss a FG in camp through six practices.

–TE D.J. Williams has been getting plenty of attention thus far in camp, and rightly so, but fellow second-year TE Ryan Taylor is starting to show up, too. Taylor made a couple of big catches during team drills, including one where he dove toward the sideline as he finished a crossing route and hauled in the pass with a linebacker trailing in coverage.

–The “old” guys continue to make plays on a daily basis. CB Charles Woodson had a diving interception over the middle on a fourth-down throw by QB Aaron Rodgers, and WR Donald Driver got open deep behind S M.D. Jennings and caught a perfectly thrown deep ball from Rodgers.

–WR Greg Jennings turned in what was probably the play of the day in his first day back after missing a few practices with an elbow bruise. Jennings caught a ball right in stride that deflected off TE Jermichael Finley and may have been deflected by CB Tramon Williams as well.

–LB Desmond Bishop and FB John Kuhn both must practice two times in shells before they can put full pads on, and they got their first day in on Wednesday. If they practice in shells again Thursday night, that would make them eligible to put pads on for Friday’s Family Night scrimmage, but it seems unlikely they’ll do so.

“You know I would if they let me, but I’m not sure how that would work,” Bishop said. “I don’t foresee them letting me the first day in pads go in the scrimmage. So I’m guessing Sunday.”

–In addition to Commissioner Roger Goodell, other big names in attendance at Wednesday’s practice included former Packers GM Ron Wolf and Hall of Fame head coach and former broadcaster John Madden.


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Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp

Four Packers in Top 100 so far; how many more?

Posted by Mike Spofford on June 7, 2012 – 3:46 pm

The NFL Network’s Top 100 players series has only 30 players left to reveal. Thus far in the first 70 (100 through 31), four Packers have made the list.

Here’s the recap:

No. 92, FB John Kuhn
No. 80, WR Jordy Nelson
No. 56, WR Greg Jennings
No. 36, CB Charles Woodson

Based on those results, it would stand to reason two Packers will be revealed somewhere in the top 30: LB Clay Matthews and QB Aaron Rodgers.

It may be tough to predict where Matthews will land. He has been voted to the Pro Bowl each of his first three seasons, but last year’s six sacks were a career low. Yet, he’s the defensive player that opposing offenses game plan around, and this list is voted on by the players themselves.

Coming off his MVP season, Rodgers very well could end up No. 1. He set a league record for single-season passer rating at 122.5 last year, and he threw 45 TD passes in just 15 games. He’s at the top of his game, and if he’s not No. 1, he’s going to be pretty darn close.

Are there any other Packers you think should have shown up in the Top 100 so far? How about predictions for where Matthews and Rodgers are ranked? Tell us what you think.


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Rodgers says he’ll play in Pro Bowl

Posted by Mike Spofford on January 18, 2012 – 10:38 am

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.


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Flynn will start at QB; Packers-Lions inactives

Posted by Duke Bobber on January 1, 2012 – 10:29 am

The following players have been declared as inactive for today’s Packers-Lions game:

Green Bay Packers
12 QB Aaron Rodgers
18 WR Randall Cobb
21 CB Charles Woodson
44 RB James Starks
52 LB Clay Matthews
75 T Bryan Bulaga
85 WR Greg Jennings

Starting lineup changes: On offense, #10 Matt Flynn will start at quarterback in place of #12 Aaron Rodgers. #74 Marshall Newhouse will start at right tackle in place of #75 Bryan Bulaga. #87 Jordy Nelson will start at wide receiver in place of #85 Greg Jennings. On defense, #37 Sam Shields will start at cornerback in place of #21 Charles Woodson. #59 Brad Jones will start at left outside linebacker in place of #52 Clay Matthews. #58 Frank Zombo will start at right outside linebacker in place of #93 Erik Walden.

Detroit Lions
5 QB Drew Stanton
26 S Louis Delmas
32 CB Aaron Berry
35 RB Joique Bell
39 S Ricardo Silva
75 G Leonard Davis
99 DT Corey Williams


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Looking back, looking ahead

Posted by Ricky Zeller on December 29, 2011 – 5:22 pm

Some numbers worth noting as the Packers prepare for the Lions:

18.6 – Average points Green Bay has allowed this season at home. The Packers have scored an average of 39.4 points per game at Lambeau Field in 2011, which ranks No. 2 in the NFL. The club’s record for scoring average at home is 38.0, set in 1942.

6 – The Packers can become only the sixth team in NFL history to finish a season 15-1.

17 – Passing attempts by Aaron Rodgers the last time the Lions visited Lambeau Field, Oct. 3, 2010. It was the fewest attempts by the QB in a game he finished since he took over as a starter in ’08. The Packers prevailed, 28-26, with Rodgers’ 16-yard scramble helping the club run out the final 6:32 of the contest.

In the ’10 victory over Detroit, he recorded a passer rating of 105.3. Rodgers completed 12 passes vs. the Lions, tied for the fewest in his career (vs. Seattle, 12/27/09). The only game where Rodgers has thrown or completed fewer passes was last year at Detroit (7 of 11, 46 yards), when he departed in the first half with an injury.

2002 – The last year Green Bay went undefeated at home. The Packers enter the finale with a 7-0 record at Lambeau Field. Green Bay is one of three teams unbeaten at home this season, joining the Ravens and Saints.

3 – Charles Woodson has returned an interception for a touchdown vs. the Lions each of the last three years. Woodson picked off a pass in the Thanksgiving game at Detroit, no touchdown. The cornerback’s feat of three-straight seasons is an NFL record.

1,089 – Rushing yards combined between running backs James Starks (578) and Ryan Grant (511).

5 – Both the Packers and Lions have lost only five fumbles in 2011.

385 – Completions by Matthew Stafford this season. Rodgers has completed 343 passes.  The Detroit QB has 604 attempts, Rodgers has 502. Stafford has set team records with 4,518 yards and 36 TDs.


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Aaron Rodgers finishes first in Pro Bowl voting

Posted by Duke Bobber on December 21, 2011 – 3:14 pm

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers received 1,581,982 fan votes to lead all NFL All-Stars in balloting for the 2012 Pro Bowl, NFL.com announced today. Fan voting ended on Monday, December 19. A record 100.64 million votes were cast by fans this year.

The AFC and NFC All-Star squads are based on the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counts one-third toward determining the 43-man rosters that represent the American Football Conference and National Football Conference in the Pro Bowl. NFL players and coaches will cast their votes on December 21-22.

The teams will be announced at 6:00 pm (CT) Tuesday, December 27 on a special NFL Total Access 2012 Pro Bowl Selection Show on NFL Network.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (1,454,311 votes) leads all AFC players and finished second overall, while New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (1,188,893 votes), Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (1,180,777 votes) and New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker (1,133,787 votes) rounded out the top five.

The 2012 Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, January 29, 2012 and televised live on NBC at 6:00 pm (CT) from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Fans may purchase tickets at NFL.com/probowl.

The NFL is the only sports league that combines voting by fans, coaches and players to determine its all-star teams. It was the first professional sports league to offer online all-star voting in 1995.

Listed below are the top 10 overall All-Star vote-getters and the players who finished with the most votes at each position:

NFL ALL-STAR TOP-TEN VOTE-GETTERS
Name, Team……….Votes
QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers……….1,581,982
QB Tom Brady, Patriots……….1,454,311
QB Drew Brees, Saints……….1,188,893
WR Calvin Johnson, Lions……….1,180,777
WR Wes Welker, Patriots……….1,133,787
RB LeSean McCoy, Eagles……….962,824
TE Rob Gronkowski, Patriots……….936,886
QB Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers……….935,535
RB Adrian Peterson, Vikings……….925,554
WR Mike Wallace, Steelers……….923,073

NFC LEADING VOTE-GETTERS BY POSITION
Name, Team……….Votes
QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers……….1,581,982
RB LeSean McCoy, Eagles……….962,824
FB John Kuhn, Packers……….322,260
WR Calvin Johnson, Lions……….1,180,777
TE Jimmy Graham, Saints……….725,612
T Chad Clifton, Packers……….392,106
G T.J. Lang, Packers……….327,740
C Scott Wells, Packers……….436,693
K Mason Crosby, Packers……….184,665
KR Devin Hester, Bears……….268,293
DE Jared Allen, Vikings……….784,527
DT Justin Smith, 49ers……….525,578
OLB DeMarcus Ware, Cowboys ……….581,554
ILB Patrick Willis, 49ers……….417,923
CB Charles Woodson, Packers ……….763,198
SS Roman Harper, Saints……….147,542
FS Morgan Burnett, Packers……….223,292
P Andy Lee, 49ers……….161,812
ST Jarrett Bush, Packers……….134,696

AFC LEADING VOTE-GETTERS BY POSITION
Name, Team……….Votes
QB Tom Brady, Patriots……….1,454,311
RB Arian Foster, Texans……….896,804
FB Vonta Leach, Ravens……….149,801
WR Wes Welker, Patriots ……….1,133,787
TE Rob Gronkowski, Patriots……….936,886
T Michael Oher, Ravens……….327,644
G Logan Mankins, Patriots……….337,844
C Maurkice Pouncey, Steelers……….376,457
K Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders……….244,512
KR Joe McKnight, Jets……….140,926
DE Andre Carter, Patriots……….511,693
DT Haloti Ngata, Ravens……….592,603
OLB Terrell Suggs, Ravens……….546,851
ILB Ray Lewis, Ravens……….413,222
CB Darrelle Revis, Jets……….561,986
SS Troy Polamalu, Steelers……….230,649
FS Ed Reed, Ravens……….198,075
P Shane Lechler, Raiders……….228,782
ST Brendon Ayanbadejo, Ravens……….106,515


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