The Packers have voted for and selected their six captains for the 2012 postseason.
They are QB Aaron Rodgers and WR James Jones on offense, LB Clay Matthews and DB Charles Woodson on defense, and DB Jarrett Bush and LB Jamari Lattimore on special teams.
Those six players will wear a “C” patch on their jerseys for Saturday night’s game against Minnesota and for as many postseason games as the Packers play. The Packers don’t have any players wear a “C” during the regular season, as some teams do, because they choose weekly captains to go out for the coin toss each game.
Rodgers, Woodson and Bush have all been elected playoff captains in past years.
Rodgers finished the regular season as the NFL’s top-rated passer for the second season in a row. He posted a 108.0 rating, more than two points higher than Denver’s Peyton Manning, who was second at 105.8. Rodgers completed 67.2 percent of his passes for 4,295 yards with 39 TDs and only eight interceptions.
Jones led the Packers and the league in TD receptions with 14. He became the first Packers player to lead the league in that category since Sterling Sharpe had 18 TD catches in 1994. Jones also set career highs this season in both receptions (64) and yards (784).
Matthews led the Packers in sacks with 13, which fell just one-half sack short of his career high set in 2010. He ranked fifth in the league despite missing four games.
Woodson had just one interception and 1 1/2 sacks this season but has missed the last nine games with a broken collarbone. He has been medically cleared to play in the playoffs.
Bush and Lattimore are two of the Packers’ four special teams players who recorded double digits in coverage tackles. Bush led the team with 17 and added a fumble recovery, while Lattimore recorded 10.
Tags: aaron rodgers, captains, charles woodson, clay matthews, james jones, playoff
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The Packers coaching staff awarded game balls to a half dozen players following the 21-13 victory over Chicago that clinched the NFC North title for Green Bay.
On special teams, FB John Kuhn was the game-ball recipient.
On offense, QB Aaron Rodgers and WR James Jones earned game balls. Rodgers completed 23 of 36 passes for 291 yards with three TDs, all to Jones. Rodgers posted a 116.8 passer rating.
Jones enjoyed the first three-TD game of his career, catching five passes for 60 yards in all. Jones now has 12 TD receptions on the season, a total that leads the league and is his career high.
On defense, LBs Clay Matthews and Brad Jones, plus CB Sam Shields, all were awarded game balls.
Matthews, returning from a four-game injury absence, had two sacks to raise his team-leading total to 11. He also had two other tackles for loss and deflected a pass.
Jones led the team with eight total tackles, according to the press box statistics, and was involved on back-to-back run stops at the goal line in the third quarter. Jones also was credited with two passes defensed.
Shields engaged in a game-long physical battle with Bears WR Alshon Jeffery and ended up shutting the rookie out. Shields was credited with three passes defensed, and he also drew three offensive pass interference penalties on Jeffery, who did not have a catch in the game.
Tags: aaron rodgers, brad jones, chicago bears, clay matthews, game balls, james jones, john kuhn, sam shields
Posted in Packers.com Blog | 68 Comments »
WR James Jones said on Tuesday that the sideline scolding he received from QB Aaron Rodgers against the Bears last Thursday was not a problem between the two. After Rodgers threw an interception in the fourth quarter on a pass intended for Jones, TV cameras showed Rodgers visibly upset with Jones for turning one way on his route when Rodgers expected him to turn the other.
“Me and A-Rod are way closer than that to let something like that come in between us,” Jones said. “We’re out there trying to win the ballgame. It was my fault. I gave him mixed signals. We’re all emotional out there.
“I’m not mad at him. We’re trying to win. Get on me. I messed up.”
Jones chalked it up to a family squabble, heightened by the frustration many were feeling for the offense’s struggles through the first two weeks. He said Rodgers later apologized to him for calling him out in front of everyone like that, but he told Rodgers there was no need to do so.
“I messed up. Frustration happens,” Jones said. “It’s all good, no love lost. We’re teammates, we’re family in here. We’re all trying to win.”
Jones added that questioning Rodgers’ leadership abilities in the wake of the incident was “ridiculous.”
“He’s a natural-born leader, not just by what he says but how he carries himself, how he plays the game, how he handles certain situations,” Jones said. “Everybody in this locker room looks up to him as a leader. Everybody in this locker room believes in him.”
Tags: aaron rodgers, james jones
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LB Clay Matthews spoke to reporters after Saturday’s practice for the first time in training camp, and when asked whether the Packers’ defense would improve in 2012, he basically said the Dom Capers-coordinated unit has no choice.
“We need to be better,” he said. “Obviously when you finish 32nd, that’s not acceptable, especially for the way in which we played the first two years under Dom’s scheme. So we need to get better, we will get better, and I think the guys we brought in here, the attitude, the learning experience from last year, I think we will be better.”
One of the guys brought in, of course, is Nick Perry, who has been with the first unit at outside linebacker opposite Matthews since the day he arrived. When he’s not in the middle of a play or drill, Perry is often seen either chatting with Matthews or position coach Kevin Greene, and Matthews complimented his willingness to learn.
Mentoring a younger player is a bit of a new role for Matthews, but he’s embracing it so far.
“We work in unison together, so obviously he needs to look to me to give him advice,” Matthews said. “We’re going to be working together on the field a lot, so I need to be a mentor towards him, whether I want to or not. But I think that’s the natural progression of not only having the same position on the field, but me, as far as my maturation, going into my fourth year, and believing that I can be a leader.”
In other news:
–LB Desmond Bishop admitted he’s a bit frustrated with his recurring calf injury. He’s dealing with it now after having missed three games last season with the same problem. He said he didn’t have a timetable for his return, but he said he’s in no way concerned about this latest problem lasting until the start of the regular season.
“Minor setback,” he said. “It’s not as bad as it was last year. That’s the positive.”
–One player quietly off to a strong start in camp is WR James Jones. He has made multiple catches by leaping high over defenders to haul the ball in, including one Saturday over CB Sam Shields. The only blemish on Jones’ first three days of camp was his fumble on Saturday, when he was stripped by CB Davon House after making a reception. Jones admitted House “got me good.”
“Aaron has been throwing the ball up pretty good, letting us go up and make some plays,” Jones said. “That’s good, because when the games come, it’s going to be a lot of jump balls, a lot of competitive balls, so to get them started in camp early will help us out down the road.”
–Undrafted rookie RB Marc Tyler has changed uniform numbers. Through the spring and the first two days of camp, he was wearing No. 27. On Saturday, he switched to No. 26, which had been S Charlie Peprah’s number. Peprah was released on the eve of camp.
Tyler wore No. 26 in college at USC. That was also the number worn by his father, Wendell Tyler, a former Pro Bowl RB for the L.A. Rams and San Francisco 49ers.
Tags: clay matthews, desmond bishop, james jones, nick perry
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp | 46 Comments »
Forgotten amidst his breakout season as a receiver in 2011 was the fact that Jordy Nelson remained a regular on special teams, particularly on the kickoff-return unit as a blocker. He has resumed that role in camp, though Mike McCarthy said how much Nelson plays on special teams this year will depend on how the rest of the roster takes shape. Despite 1,263 receiving yards and 15 TDs last year, Nelson isn’t being removed from special teams, but McCarthy doesn’t plan to overwork him, either.
“Philosophically, I believe in starters should or could play special teams,” said McCarthy, who used starting cornerback Tramon Williams as his primary punt returner throughout the Super Bowl season of 2010. “I don’t think there’s an absolute as far as starters play or don’t play. I don’t believe in that theory.”
In addition, WR James Jones could be seen on Friday on the punt-return unit, not with the ball in his hands but either rushing the punter or blocking the gunners on the outside.
“He’s doing some really good things,” McCarthy said. “He definitely has the ability to be a dominant-type special teams player because he is so physical and gifted, and he also can run and play the top-notch gunners.”
There already has been much speculation about how many receivers the Packers will keep on the roster. Practice-squad holdovers Tori Gurley and Diondre Borel are sixth and seventh options at the position at the moment, and McCarthy indicated special teams contributions will play into those final decisions.
Other news & notes from Friday’s practice:
–On the sideline in the Don Hutson Center was a new clock, which was set at 2.5 seconds and would start at the snap of the ball on a passing play. If the clock hit zero before the QB released the ball, the clock’s twirling green and red lights would flash. The clock serves as a reminder of the “internal clock” needed on any passing play, for the QB, receivers and defenders. QBs must release the ball or get out of the pocket, while receivers and defenders have to know when the play transitions to a scramble drill, when their responsibilities and adjustments can change. McCarthy said 2.4 to 2.5 seconds is the range on most pass plays.
–With Derek Sherrod (leg) out, Herb Taylor and rookie Andrew Datko have been the offensive tackles with the No. 2 offensive line. On Thursday, Datko was at LT and Taylor was at RT with the second unit. On Friday, they switched spots.
–Dom Capers often likes to work his outside linebackers in pairs. Clay Matthews and Nick Perry form the top pair, of course. The other pairings are undrafted rookie Dezman Moses with Erik Walden and Brad Jones with Vic So’oto.
–The biggest collision of the first two days of non-padded practices occurred when QB Graham Harrell scrambled to his right and fired along the sideline to TE Ryan Taylor. Several players were converging on the area, and as Taylor made the catch, WR Shaky Smithson and CB Casey Hayward collided heads and went down. Both got up and appeared OK.
–Hayward made his first “splash” play of camp, picking off a Harrell pass intended for Borel during a no-huddle period.
–The play of the day was turned in by Cobb, who went deep against Williams as QB Aaron Rodgers ran his patented play-action fake with a deep dropback. Cobb ran underneath the Rodgers rainbow and made an over-the-shoulder, sliding catch with Williams right on him all the way.
–WR Greg Jennings was looking in midseason form, too. Twice in practice Rodgers lobbed one up for Jennings on a go route and the smooth, seasoned pro came down with it both times. On the first, he beat CB Davon House with a diving catch. On the second, the throw came right over CB Charles Woodson’s shoulder and into Jennings’ arms.
Tags: aaron rodgers, greg jennings, james jones, jordy nelson, randall cobb, special teams
Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp | 2 Comments »