McCarthy addresses Driver being inactive

Posted by Mike Spofford on January 6, 2013 – 2:32 pm

Donald DriverHead Coach Mike McCarthy on Sunday discussed the difficulty in leaving veteran WR Donald Driver on the inactive list for what might have been his final game at Lambeau Field. It was the fourth time Driver has been inactive this season, with the three occurrences in the regular season coming in Weeks, 13, 15 and 17.

“Donald Driver is a class act to say the least,” McCarthy said. “He’s a pro’s pro. He does everything you ever ask of him. We’ve had conversations of late here, … and he’s handled it very well. He’s an excellent teammate. Everyone clearly understands what he means to the organization and what he’s done.

“He’s out there preparing every day, getting ready to play. He may have an opportunity this week. We’ll see how it shakes down. Those are very difficult decisions to make, when you have a healthy 53, to get to 46.”

McCarthy pointed out that the final decisions for the gameday active roster often come down to special teams, and rookie LB Terrell Manning was activated for Saturday night’s playoff game against Minnesota. Manning proceeded to earn a game ball on special teams from the coaches as well as the “Big Hit” award, McCarthy said.

“That’s why you have to make those kinds of decisions,” McCarthy said. “That’s part of the way it sorts out in game-planning and obviously special teams plays into it.”

A couple of other notes from McCarthy’s Sunday press conference:

–He mentioned it only in passing, but McCarthy made reference to rookie RT Don Barclay playing his best game to date. Barclay started the last four games of the regular season and was making his playoff debut.

–The only injury reported from the game was a hamstring injury to TE Jermichael Finley. McCarthy said the medical staff has told him it’s “nothing of a serious nature,” but he did not address Finley’s status for this week.


Tags: ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog

Driver, Pickett, Wilson not practicing Wednesday

Posted by Mike Spofford on November 28, 2012 – 12:25 pm

Depending on the post-practice update from Mike McCarthy, the Packers could be a little thin on the defensive line for Sunday’s showdown against the Vikings and RB Adrian Peterson.

DL Ryan Pickett and C.J. Wilson were both sitting out practice on Wednesday during the portion of the workout open to reporters. Pickett will be new to the injury list when it is released after practice. Wilson left Sunday night’s game against the Giants with a knee injury.

Also, WR Donald Driver was not practicing. Driver has been on the injury report with a thumb injury, but he hasn’t missed any games. Backup RB Johnny White, who left Sunday’s game with a concussion, also did not practice.

Continuing to sit out on defense were DB Charles Woodson, CB Sam Shields and LB Clay Matthews.


Tags: , ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog

Raji practicing Thursday; Nelson, Starks not

Posted by Mike Spofford on October 25, 2012 – 12:12 pm

NT B.J. Raji (ankle) was practicing on Thursday during the portion of the workout open to the media. The practice was in full pads. Raji has missed the last two games due to injury.

WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring) and RB James Starks, however, were not. Mike McCarthy said on Wednesday that Nelson’s hamstring tightened up on him during practice. Starks is not listed on the injury report, so there won’t be any information until McCarthy’s post-practice update.

Also, WR Donald Driver (neck) returned to practice after sitting out on Wednesday.

Update: After practice, McCarthy said Starks missed the workout due to an illness. Nelson will not practice on Friday, either, and he will test his hamstring either Saturday or Sunday to0 see if he can play. Raji “looked good,” and “looked like his old self,” according to McCarthy, who listed Raji as a limited participant in practice.

Driver was a full participant in practice, while FB John Kuhn (hamstring) sat out for the second straight day.


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog

Despite reduced role, Driver has no regrets

Posted by Mike Spofford on October 24, 2012 – 4:57 pm

WR Donald Driver has seen his snaps, and consequently his production, greatly reduced in 2012, but the Packers’ all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards said on Wednesday he has no regrets about restructuring his contract to return to Green Bay after winning the “Dancing With The Stars” competition in the spring.

“No. When I came back, it was all for the opportunity to win another Super Bowl, and for the fans,” Driver said. “It’s hard to leave the fans that supported you throughout your career, and they supported me throughout the process, especially this offseason with ‘Dancing With The Stars,’ and you can’t let them go. You have to continue.

“You think about every time I catch a ball in that stadium, it goes crazy. I don’t think I would have gone anywhere else and gotten the same love.”

Driver has just four catches for 45 yards and one touchdown through seven games this season, and he has played only a handful of snaps in some games, even with WR Greg Jennings sidelined with a groin injury. He said he didn’t expect such a reduced role, but he’s staying positive with the thought that he could be called upon more later in the season. Driver missed practice on Wednesday due to a neck injury, but he said he’s fine.

“I don’t think you ever expect your role to be this way,” he said. “It happens, and it transitions to that certain point. Mine did. I think you have to be OK with it. When you’re OK with it, then everyone else around you will be OK with it.”

As a team leader for a long time and now a national celebrity, it’s clear by Driver’s words that he’s well aware his public demeanor is being watched closely.

“I don’t think you can complain,” he said. “The most I’ve complained is when I was a child. This is just a setback. You have to respect it, understand it’s a business decision, and when it’s all said and done, hoping that I get a little more playing time.”

Driver said he hopes the coaches haven’t taken him “completely out of the playbook,” and he vows to be ready for any opportunity that comes his way. QB Aaron Rodgers acknowledged that Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jermichael Finley are all options getting more attention at this point, but over a long season there’s no telling when things might change. Rodgers probably remembers as well as anyone that Driver was his best receiver in the playoff defeat to the Giants last January.

“At some point we’re going to count on him to make the plays he’s capable of making,” Rodgers said. “Until then he’s going to be a great teammate and look for his opportunities and when he gets them we’ll expect him to make the plays.”

On another note, it was announced this week that Driver will be inducted into the Southwestern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame on Dec. 6. A seventh-round draft pick out of Alcorn State, Driver joins former Philadelphia Eagles WR Harold Carmichael from Southern University in the eight-member class of 2012 inductees. The SWAC Hall of Fame already includes Pro Football Hall of Famers Willie Davis from Grambling and Jerry Rice from Mississippi Valley State.


Tags:
Posted in Packers.com Blog

Kuhn, Driver among those not practicing Wednesday

Posted by Mike Spofford on October 24, 2012 – 12:15 pm

FB John Kuhn and WR Donald Driver were among the handful of players not practicing on Wednesday during the portion of the workout open to reporters.

Also not practicing were CB Sam Shields, LB Nick Perry, WR Greg Jennings and NT B.J. Raji. All four of those players missed last week’s game due to injuries. DE Mike Neal, who left part of the St. Louis game with a knee injury but returned to the game, was practicing.

Mike McCarthy will provide an update after practice, when the first injury report of the week is announced.


Tags: ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog

Reliant Stadium an unfamiliar place

Posted by Mike Spofford on October 12, 2012 – 3:16 pm

You can count on one hand the number of current Green Bay Packers who have played at Houston’s Reliant Stadium.

Only one was with the team the first and only time the Packers played at Reliant Stadium in 2004, and that was WR Donald Driver. Coincidentally, that was also a prime-time Sunday night game.

The other three are veterans who played in Houston while employed by other teams.

C Jeff Saturday has the most experience in the stadium, having played several years for the Indianapolis Colts, an AFC South rival of Houston’s who would travel to Reliant Stadium every season.

Also, CB Charles Woodson played against the Texans in Houston in 2004 as a member of the Raiders, and DL Ryan Pickett did the same in ’05 while with the Rams.

RB Cedric Benson played in Houston as a member of the Bengals in 2008 and in the AFC playoffs last season, but Benson is now on injured reserve.


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

Packers hit the links with celebrity golfers

Posted by Duke Bobber on July 18, 2012 – 11:20 am

Aaron Rodgers, A.J. Hawk and Brian Baummgartner

Several Packers players are hitting the links this week at the 2012 American Century Golf Championship in Lake Tahoe, Nev. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Donald Driver, LB A.J. Hawk and former WR Sterling Sharpe are participating in the celebrity tournament. More than 80 of the biggest sports and entertainment stars are playing in the made-for-TV event. It’s not the first appearance by Packers players in the annual week of events. Hawk took home long drive competition honors in 2009 and 2011 with his blasts of 322 and 337 yards, respectively.

2012 marks Rodgers‘ eighth appearance in the event. His best finish was in 2006, when he tied for 32nd. Last year he tied for 39th.

Rodgers, Hawk and Brian Baummgartner (Kevin Malone on NBC’s The Office) played a round of golf on Tuesday (photo above).

Aaron Rodgers and A.J. Hawk

For more information on the event and television schedule, visit the American Century Championship website.


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

Driver Cha-Cha’s his way to victory

Posted by packers.com on May 22, 2012 – 10:34 pm

Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd, Dancing With The Stars champions

There’s a new title for Titletown thanks to Green Bay Packers WR Donald Driver, Peta Murgatroyd and the fans that voted for the duo on “Dancing with the Stars.” Driver has won the Season 14 mirror ball trophy after 10 weeks of competition and over 12 styles of dances.

The Cha-Cha-Cha proved to be the final dance and his second perfect score of the season for Driver who last showcased the Latin American dance back in Week 1 of the series. Scoring a perfect 30 with this final dance, the judges did not throw any penalty flags. Or any penalty flags to any of the finalists for that matter. All remaining couples had perfect scores on their final dance. Which meant it was up to the fan votes. The votes that would send Driver home with the mirror ball trophy.

“The public will decide,” said Judge Bruno Tonioli in the opening segment of the final episode. Perhaps Tonioli had a revelation of how the show would end. Or, perhaps, he knew about Packers fans and how they support their team both on and off the field. Regardless, fans are the likely factor that held back the 2nd place duo of Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas.

A singer, actor and wide receiver were the last three standing just a night before with one point between all three pairs. Jenkins and partner Ballas came into tonight’s competition as the leaders with the perfect score of 60 points, while Driver and Murgatroyd tied with William Levy and Cheryl Burke with 59 of 60 points. Perfect scores for all three final dances kept Jenkins on top with 90 points while Driver and Levy remained tied for second place with 89. But that’s before the fan votes were tallied in the evening’s final total.

The first of the three couples to be relieved for the night was Cuban-born Levy (known jokingly by Tonioli as the “Latin-dancing James Bond”) and then the news came fast that Driver was the season’s champion.

Speaking to host Brooke Burke regarding the entire season, Driver said, “It has been more than I expected.”

In counting collective perfect scores during the season, Levy was the leader with four, followed by three from Jenkins, two of which were earned the night before, and Driver with two perfect scores in the past two days.

Keeping a steady pace for the entire season, Driver rarely was in first place, but always near the top third or within a fraction of points on the “DWTS” leader board. It was a slow and steady climb for the trophy, almost in a “Most Improved Player” style arrangement.

Taking criticism and learning from it, keen choreography upgrades and the absolute will to win was enough to have the judges in favor of a perfect score that Driver and Murgatroyd needed for their last score, coupled with the fan votes to take the trophy home.

Undoubtedly Driver landing first place for the season, out of an original 12 couples, was not shocking for the Packers fans that voted.

Tomorrow the mirror ball trophy will kick off the TV circuit tour with morning shows and hopefully find its way to Titletown.

Click here to see photos from Driver’s victory.


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

Triple 10’s for Double D’s dancing

Posted by packers.com on May 21, 2012 – 8:53 pm

WR Donald Driver and Peta Murgatroyd’s Week 10 “Freestyle” performance was invigorating and had a perfect score to match it. The duo received 59 out of 60 total combined points for the night and are tied for second place in this Season 14 contest of “Dancing with the Stars.”

Each couple showcased two dances for the evening, one being Freestyle (a dance of their choosing with creative latitude) and the other being a standard ballroom dance.

Driver’s country-inspired Freestyle combined his Texas roots (outfitted in a green and gold Western ensemble with a cowboy hat) with pure athleticism. His dance showcased his dexterity, coordination and stamina, particularly with the lifts required in this performance. After Driver’s last dance, also the last dance of the evening, it was tough to discontinue the enthused crowd from clapping.

Judge Carrie Ann Inaba rewarded Donald and Peta with a personal standing ovation. “It was my favorite dance tonight,” Inaba said.

Judge Len Goodman said, “Chances win dances. Fantastic.”

At that point, all knew Len would be giving Donald and Peta their first 10 of the series and their first perfect score.

Prior to the evening, each of the judges each visited one of the remaining couples: Driver, Cuban-born actor William Levy and Welsh opera star Katherine Jenkins during weekly practices. Driver handled it similarly to that of one of his on-field coaches when Inaba came for a visit to inspect his Argentine Tango. She expected bigger, dynamic movements from Donald. He took the criticism well, stayed professional and didn’t disagree. The WR allowed his competitive instinct take over and scored a 29 on his Argentine Tango, missing that final 10 from Len.

The previous Argentine Tango that Driver/Murgatroyd showcased was in Week 5 which left the couple with a total of 27 of 30 points. The same score as Week 4 and for what would be repeated during the three ensuing weeks. Donald’s final Argentine Tango of the season tonight showcased lifts and quick-paced steps similar to previous installments but with enhanced and more detailed choreography for the finals per Inaba, but it wasn’t enough for a perfect score.

“The finals are here, you have to peak at the right time,” said Driver.

It looks like the duo of Driver and Murgatroyd is continuing to peak the more they dance.

One more dance is slotted for tomorrow’s finale. Will Driver continue to peak?

It’s often the job of football officials to make the final call but this contest involves no instant replay or overtime. It will be left up to the millions of voting fans and the three judges.

Help be a judge. Viewers can vote via phone at 1-800-868-3403 until 10 a.m. CT. Log on to abc.com to learn all the ways fans are encouraged to vote.


Tags: , , ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog

Driver’s dancing by the numbers

Posted by packers.com on May 21, 2012 – 3:13 pm

Completed Dances

  • Donald Driver will dance “Freestyle” and the Argentine Tango tonight at 7 p.m. CT on ABC in the finals. He and partner Peta Murgatroyd have already showcased these dances as a couple on “Dancing with the Stars”: Cha-Cha-Cha, Quickstep, Rumba, Paso Doble, Argentine Tango, Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz, Tango, Waltz and Samba. That’s 10 variations, not counting group dances, or dance elimination challenges.


Highest Scoring Couple (in finals) by Week

  • Week 1: Katherine Jenkins and Mark Ballas, Foxtrot
  • Week 2: Jenkins and Ballas, Jive
  • Week 3: Jenkins and Ballas, Waltz
  • Week 4: Driver and Murgatroyd, Paso Doble
  • Week 5: (Tie) Jenkins and Ballas, Argentine Tango; William Levy and Cheryl Burke, Argentine Tango
  • Week 6: Jenkins and Ballas, Samba
  • Week 7: (Winning couple not in finals)
  • Week 8: (Tie) Jenkins and Ballas, Cha-Cha-Cha; Levy and Burke, Foxtrot
  • Week 9: Levy and Burke, Samba


Highest Individual Scores

  • Levy and Burke, 30/30 for their Foxtrot and Samba
  • Jenkins and Ballas, 29/30 for their Waltz, Argentine Tango, Samba, Cha-Cha-Cha and Quickstep
  • Driver and Murgatroyd, 29/30 for their Samba


Couple Scoring Totals to Date

  • Of the twelve dances already completed, Driver and Murgatroyd’s weekly average individual score is the lowest of the three finalist couples at 26.4, a fraction behind second-place duo Levy and Burke at 26.9. Jenkins and Ballas, despite last week’s dip in score, are still the reigning individual point leaders with a 27.3 average of a possible 30 points.


Most Important Number

  • 1 (800) 868-3403

Tags: , , ,
Posted in Packers.com Blog