Free agency underway in the NFC North

Posted by Wes Hodkiewicz on March 10, 2017 – 2:07 pm

GREEN BAY — With NFL free agency underway, all four members of the NFC North have made at least one move after Minnesota announced the signing of tackle Riley Reiff on Friday.

Reiff, a first-round pick in 2012, started 69 of the 77 games he played for the Lions and likely will be asked to step in the departing Matt Kalil, who signed with Carolina on Thursday. The move reunites Kalil with his older brother, Ryan, the Panthers’ five-time Pro Bowl center.

With Reiff headed for Minnesota and Larry Warford signing with New Orleans, the Lions made a move to bolster their offensive line in acquiring former Wisconsin tackle Rick Wagner, a former fifth-round pick who started three seasons for Baltimore.

Detroit also signed former Oakland cornerback D.J. Hayden and Tampa Bay defensive tackle Akeem Spence, who had 19 tackles and a ½ sack in 16 games last season.

After releasing Jay Cutler earlier this week, the Chicago Bears have signed former Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon, who threw for 4,100 yards, 30 TDs and 15 INTs in four seasons in Tampa Bay.

The Bears also have added veteran safety Quintin Demps, cornerback Prince Amukamara, tight end Dion Sims and receiver Markus Wheaton after losing Pro Bowl receiver Alshon Jeffery, tight end Logan Paulsen and quarterback Brian Hoyer in free agency.

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NFL Network set to feature “I Heart the Packers” on Friday

Posted by Wes Hodkiewicz on February 16, 2017 – 3:30 pm

170216-tv-schedule-950GREEN BAY — The NFL Network will feature 10 hours of “I Heart the Packers” programming on Friday, beginning with a replay of the NFC Divisional playoff game against Dallas.

Coverage begins at noon Central Time and concludes with three editions of “A Football Life,” featuring Brett Favre, Charles Woodson and Vince Lombardi.


12 p.m. CT: NFL Classic Games: 2016 NFC Divisional – GB vs. DAL

4 p.m. CT: Super Bowl Highlight Film: Super Bowl XXXI – NE vs. GB

4:30 p.m. CT: Super Bowl Highlight Film: Super Bowl XLV – GB vs. PIT

5 p.m. CT: NFL Replay 2015 Week 13: GB vs. DET

7 p.m. CT: Top 10 Green Bay Packers

8 p.m. CT: Brett Favre: A Football Life

9 p.m. CT: Charles Woodson: A Football Life

11 p.m. CT: Vince Lombardi: A Football Life

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Aaron Rodgers tees it up again at Pebble Beach

Posted by Wes Hodkiewicz on February 9, 2017 – 9:46 am

170209-rodgers-golf-950Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is hitting the links once again with PGA Tour golfer Jerry Kelly for the 2017 Pebble Beach Pro-Am Thursday morning in California.

It’s the fourth time in five years the two-time MVP quarterback has teamed with the Madison native and three-time PGA Tour winner for the event.

They tee off Thursday at 10:39 a.m. CT on MPCC Shore, one of three courses used for the event, which features 156 professionals and 156 amateurs.

Rodgers and Kelly, who are paired with Scott Piercy and San Francisco pitcher Matt Cain, will play Spyglass Hill at 10:55 a.m. CT Friday and Pebble Beach at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The tournament is televised on the Golf Channel Thursday and Friday before coverage moves to CBS on Saturday and Sunday starting at 2 p.m. CT.

Other celebrities participating in the event include NHL great Wayne Gretzky, former MVP quarterback Peyton Manning, New England coach Bill Belichick, actors Bill Murray and Mark Wahlberg, and musician Huey Lewis.

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McCarthy: ‘All three receivers will be given every chance to play’

Posted by Wes Hodkiewicz on January 20, 2017 – 10:18 am

170120-nelson-presser-950GREEN BAY — The Packers are keeping the door open for Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison to play in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Nelson (ribs) did more than the team expected during Thursday’s practice, but is home Friday with an illness. Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said it’s precautionary and he doesn’t anticipate the illness will affect his availability for Sunday.

Adams (ankle) and Allison (hamstring) have yet to practice this week after sustaining their respective injuries in the Packers’ 34-31 win over Dallas last Sunday. The Packers hope to get more insight on their possible availability during Saturday’s practice.

“All three of the receivers will be given every chance to play in the game,” McCarthy said. “I’m going to give these guys the open time frame to do everything they can to play. Maybe one or two of those guys will have to work Sunday before the game.”

While the Packers’ training staff has a history working with Nelson and Adams, McCarthy acknowledged the team will have to work to get a feel of the rookie Allison’s situation since “we’ve never been through this with him.”

McCarthy said safety Morgan Burnett (quad) falls into the same category as the three receivers when it comes to determining his availability. He didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday.

The Packers have ruled out offensive lineman JC Tretter, who underwent knee surgery on Tuesday. Tretter hasn’t played since injuring his knee in Week 8 against Atlanta.

In addition to injured players getting cleared medically, McCarthy and his staff also have to consider how effective they can be in playing through injury.

“They want to play. Obviously the coaching staff wants them to play but medically there are thresholds they have to get over,” McCarthy said. “That’s why we go through the process. The plan is set for each and every one of them. That’s why we’re going to need the full week for couple of guys.”

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Dom Capers on LaDarius Gunter: ‘He competes every down’

Posted by Mike Spofford on January 19, 2017 – 6:04 pm

170119-gunter-950GREEN BAY — The Packers’ three coordinators met with the media on Thursday after practice. Here’s a sampling of their key comments:

Special teams coordinator Ron Zook
(on Crosby at the end of the Dallas game)

“Every kicker loves to be in that situation, loves that opportunity. I looked at his face. They’re going to rev it up and come as hard as they did, and the protection was good. It’s 11 people involved in that instance. The snap has to be prefect, the hold has to be perfect and the protection has to be perfect. There wasn’t a concern about having enough leg. He kicked a couple 60-yarders in pregame and felt good about it.”

(on Falcons returner Eric Weems)

“He is a guy that’s just hard, hard, hard to get on the ground. Not the biggest returner, but he leads them in tackles on special teams. He’s probably their bell cow. He returns both punts and kickoffs. I made a whole thing of clips of guys missing him and him bouncing off guys. We talked to our guys this week, we have to get him on the ground.”

Offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett
(on the WR situation)

“From a rehab standpoint, they’re doing everything possible. The training staff is also helping them. We feel confident with the guys that we have. It’s early in the week. At some point, it’ll work itself out. This is why you play the game, to put yourself in this type of position, to compete for a world championship. When you look at it from that standpoint, you’re going to do everything possible to be a part of it and play.”

(on whether the Falcons will move Beasley around, or if he’ll go strictly against Bulaga)

“We’ll have to wait and see. They’ve done a number of different things on tape, as far as moving him around. Once we line up and get going, I’m sure we’ll find out.”

Defensive coordinator Dom Capers
(on the Falcons’ offense)

“Their statistics speak for themselves. They’ve got two really good running backs. They’re very productive, not only running the ball, but between them I think they have 85 receptions. They throw the ball a lot to the running backs, and they’re a big part of their offense. Matt Ryan is having a career year. He throws with timing, knows where he’s going with the ball. They can spread you out, run a lot of empty sets. They’ve got a lot of weapons.”

(on Brice filling in for Burnett)

“‘KB’ has really done a good job. You saw him make a couple really nice tackles. The ball spilled out one time and he was able to get Elliott by the feet and trip him up, and if he doesn’t get him, he’s going for big yardage. He has pretty good athletic ability and speed, and he’s a tough guy. He’s probably played more than we’ve anticipated, but that’s helped him.”

(on Falcons RB Freeman)

“He’s got a real physical play style. You have to do a good job tackling him. He broke a few tackles last week against the Seahawks, one of the better tackling teams in the league. Coleman, he can break the big one with his speed. They have different running styles.”

(on Gunter going against top WRs)

“You see his competitiveness. He competes every day on the practice field. He does a good job at the line of scrimmage, getting his hands on people, disrupting their routes. He competes every down, and those are qualities you have to have if you’re going to go against some of these receivers. You win some, you lose some, but he does a good job of fighting back to get in position to make some of his plays. We’ve put the hat on him a few times, and he’s normally risen to the occasion.”


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Packers’ receiver situation remains in flux

Posted by Mike Spofford on January 19, 2017 – 1:00 pm

170119-davis-950GREEN BAY — Packers wide receivers Jordy Nelson (ribs), Davante Adams (ankle) and Geronimo Allison (hamstring) will continue their rehab on Thursday, and Head Coach Mike McCarthy said the status of all three for Sunday’s NFC title game remains up in the air.

“I don’t really have enough information right now,” McCarthy said prior to Thursday’s practice. “We’re going to give them the whole week.

“Hopefully we’ll have a better gauge if these guys are going to make it, but I don’t think we’re going to know until Saturday.”

McCarthy said all three are “mentally” getting ready to play, and they aren’t being ruled out because of the stakes on Sunday.

“In the regular-season mindset, I would think none of them would play, but obviously this is a different time,” McCarthy said. “Everybody understands what’s on the line here.”

In Wednesday’s practice, Randall Cobb, Jeff Janis and Trevor Davis were the Packers’ only healthy wide receivers on the 53-man roster, and McCarthy is prepared to go into Sunday’s game with just those three if it comes to that. Tight ends Jared Cook and Richard Rodgers, along with running back Ty Montgomery, a converted receiver, are additional pass-catching options.

Davis is by far the least experienced of the three true wide receivers, as a rookie who has been on and off the active 46-man gameday roster throughout the year. He scored his first NFL touchdown in Atlanta back in Week 8 when the Packers were short on regular playmakers back then as well.

“Trevor’s ready. He’s been ready,” McCarthy said. “Those are tough decisions when you put any of your players inactive that are healthy. That’s a part of this game that’s difficult. He’s healthy and he hasn’t had the opportunity to contribute on Sunday. He’ll be ready to go.”

McCarthy emphasized it’s not up to any individual on the team to do more in someone else’s absence. The plan will be put together for them to succeed.

“This is who we are. This is how we play,” he said. “Obviously our offense starts through the eyes of the quarterback. We’re blessed to have Aaron Rodgers.”


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McCarthy: WR Davante Adams not expected to practice until at least Saturday

Posted by Wes Hodkiewicz on January 18, 2017 – 2:06 pm

170118-adams-950GREEN BAY — Packers WR Davante Adams isn’t expected to practice until at least Saturday, according to Head Coach Mike McCarthy.

Adams left briefly after injuring his ankle during Sunday’s 34-31 win over the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Divisional playoffs, but returned to the game and finished with five catches for 76 yards.

“We’ll see,” said McCarthy during his Wednesday afternoon news conference. “I’m curious to see him move.”

Packers WR Jordy Nelson (rib) and S Morgan Burnett (quad) will be part of the rehab group of Wednesday’s practice, according to McCarthy. Nelson sat out of last week’s game, while Burnett left in the first half of Sunday’s game in Dallas.

McCarthy said LT David Bakhtiari (knee) and RT Bryan Bulaga are expected to practice in limited capacity. He also added that CB Quinten Rollins is “getting close” to passing the concussion protocol.

The second-year cornerback has missed the last two games after being carted off the field in the regular-season finale against Detroit with a neck injury.

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Packers QB Aaron Rodgers on cover of Sports Illustrated

Posted by Mike Spofford on January 17, 2017 – 9:40 am

QB Aaron RodgersGREEN BAY — Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is on the regional cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated following Green Bay’s last-second victory over the Cowboys in the NFC Divisional playoff.

Rodgers threw two TD passes and led the Packers to the game-winning field goal in Dallas with the ball at his own 25-yard line and just 35 seconds on the clock. The victory was Green Bay’s eight straight and sends the Packers to this Sunday’s NFC title game in Atlanta.

The cover headline says “The Rodgers Connection” followed by this subhead: “Arms. Legs. Mind. Heart. How the Packers Keep Running the Table”

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T.J. Lang, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix named to PFWA All-NFC team

Posted by Mike Spofford on January 16, 2017 – 2:01 pm

170116-lang-clinton-dix-950GREEN BAY — Packers G T.J. Lang and S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix have both been named to the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) All-NFC team for the 2016 season.

Both players earned their first Pro Bowl bids last month. Lang is the senior member of the Packers’ offensive line, having come to Green Bay as a fourth-round draft pick in 2009. Clinton-Dix was a first-round pick in 2014 who tied for the league lead in interceptions among safeties this season with five.

Lang gives the Packers an offensive lineman on the PFWA All-NFC team for the fourth straight year, following three consecutive selections (2013-15) for fellow G Josh Sitton. Clinton-Dix is the first Green Bay defender to get the honor since LB Clay Matthews’ string of three straight selections ended in 2012.


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Jordy Nelson ruled out for Sunday’s game against Cowboys

Posted by Wes Hodkiewicz on January 13, 2017 – 10:06 am

170113-nelson-950GREEN BAY — The Packers will be without Jordy Nelson when the team takes the field for Sunday’s NFC Divisional playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy confirmed during his Friday morning news conference that the Packers have ruled out their leading receiver with a rib injury he sustained in Sunday’s 38-13 win over the New York Giants.

It’ll be the first time this season the Packers will be without their top receiver, who led the team in receptions (97), receiving yards (1,257) and touchdown catches (14) during the regular season.

“It gives us one less receiver but obviously an extremely productive player,” McCarthy said. “You just go back to the way the game plan was set; the importance and emphasis on Jordy Nelson. With that, that’s gone and you just tilt opportunities the other way.

“That’s the way you always have to approach these type of situations anytime you have a player of his magnitude who’s not available. That’s all part of developing a game plan. You have to do that during the early stages of the week. We anticipated potentially not having him this week, so we’ll be prepared for that.”

Nelson is expected to travel with the team to Dallas and will be re-evaluated by team doctors on Monday, according to McCarthy.

Without Nelson, the Packers will be counting more on veterans Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Jared Cook and Richard Rodgers into addition to undrafted rookie Geronimo Allison, who had eight catches for 157 yards and a TD during two relief appearances for Cobb (ankle) during the final two weeks of the regular season.

Both Cobb and Adams stepped up after Nelson left Sunday’s game against the Giants. Adams, who caught a team-high eight passes for 125 yards and a TD against New York, helped propel the Packers past Dallas in their 2014 playoff game when he grabbed seven passes for 117 yards and a TD.

“I think he’s come a long way,” McCarthy said. “You all recall his breakout game against the Cowboys in the playoffs two years ago. I think he’s having a great year. He’ll obviously have a lot of opportunities and I’m sure they’re going to give him attention that he may not have seen if Jordy played.”

McCarthy also confirmed cornerback Quinten Rollins remains in the concussion protocol despite being a limited participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday.

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