Aaron Rodgers ranks fourth overall in Pro Bowl voting

Posted by Mike Spofford on November 28, 2012 – 10:51 am

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers ranks fourth in the Pro Bowl voting amongst all NFL players, according to the league.

Broncos QB Peyton Manning has the most votes, with 586,523, followed by Patriots QB Tom Brady (534,020), Texans RB Arian Foster (519,261), Rodgers (485,196) and Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (484,227).

In addition to Rodgers, four other Packers lead the NFC voting at their respective positions. They are FB John Kuhn, C Jeff Saturday, OLB Clay Matthews and S Charles Woodson.

Pro Bowl voting continues through Monday, Dec. 17, and counts one-third in the selection process for the annual all-star game. Fans can vote by clicking here.

The Pro Bowl rosters will be announced at 6 p.m. CT on Wednesday, Dec. 26, on NFL Network’s “Total Access”.

The 2013 Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013 and televised live on NBC at 6 p.m. CT from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii.

 


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Shields coming along; Nelson, Kuhn ready to play

Posted by Mike Spofford on November 15, 2012 – 4:12 pm

Mike McCarthy said on Thursday that he likes the progress CB Sam Shields is making as he comes back from shin and ankle injuries, but it doesn’t sound like Shields will play much, if at all, on Sunday.

Shields was taking snaps as a receiver on the offensive scout team, which is an indication he’s working his way back but isn’t being pegged for a key role on defense just yet. Shields returned to practice for the first time on Monday after missing the last three games. Thursday was the most work Shields has done in practice thus far.

“That’s what he needs, he needs to get out there and put that foot in the ground,” McCarthy said. “I definitely felt that starting Monday to today, he looked much better.”

Elsewhere on defense, DE Mike Neal (ankle) was a limited participant in practice, but he “looked good,” according to McCarthy. “We’ll see how he responds tomorrow, but I like what I saw from Mike Neal.”

On the offensive side, WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring, foot) and FB John Kuhn (hamstring) were both limited participants in practice, but both players told reporters in the locker room they fully expect to play.

Nelson said he spent the bye week in Green Bay getting treatment on his ankle and foot so that he could return to practice this week, and he said everything “feels great.” Kuhn admitted it was eating away at him to miss a couple of games, but he’s ready to go now.

“I thought John looked really good,” McCarthy said. “I watched him throughout the blitz pickup, third down and red zone.”

TE Andrew Quarless, on the other hand, sat out practice. McCarthy said it’s expected Quarless’ knee will not be healthy enough to practice on certain days, and Thursday “was one of those days.” The practice was in full pads.

 


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Kuhn practicing Wed. but Matthews, Neal not

Posted by Mike Spofford on November 14, 2012 – 12:24 pm

FB John Kuhn, who has missed the past couple of games with a hamstring injury, was back on the practice field on Wednesday.

LB Clay Matthews and DE Mike Neal, however, were not practicing in the portion of the workout open to the media. CB Charles Woodson and WR Greg Jennings continue to sit out as well.

Mike McCarthy will address reporters after practice at the top of the hour.


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Nelson, Kuhn, McMillian not practicing Friday

Posted by Mike Spofford on November 2, 2012 – 11:52 am

WR Jordy Nelson and FB John Kuhn were not on the practice field on Friday during the portion of the workout open to the media. Mike McCarthy said earlier in the week that Nelson and Kuhn, who are both nursing hamstring injuries, might practice on Friday, but their absence puts their status for Sunday’s game in serious doubt.

Also, S Jerron McMillian was only observing practice on Friday but was not doing any drills. McMillian has not been on the injury report all week, so he’ll have to be added today. If McMillian is unable to play on Sunday, and with Charles Woodson already out, the Packers would have to turn to CB Jarrett Bush as the dime defensive back when the defense goes to six DBs.

McCarthy will have the final injury update after practice.


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Greg Jennings’ surgery happening this week

Posted by Mike Spofford on October 31, 2012 – 3:48 pm

Mike McCarthy didn’t discuss the specifics, but he said WR Greg Jennings would have his surgery for a torn abdominal muscle in Philadelphia sometime this week.

Jennings was originally scheduled to have the surgery on Tuesday, but it was postponed due to superstorm Sandy. Jennings said last week that he would be able to begin his rehab as soon as the procedure is completed, but he wasn’t putting a timetable on his return, other than to say he hopes to be back in 2012.

In other injury news, WR Jordy Nelson and FB John Kuhn are both dealing with hamstring injuries and are expected to rehab both Wednesday and Thursday, with the possibility that they could practice on Friday if all goes well.

Also, DL Jerel Worthy (concussion) is going through the standard medical protocol and was “feeling a lot better today than he was yesterday,” according to McCarthy


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Raji probable, Nelson questionable, Kuhn out

Posted by Mike Spofford on October 26, 2012 – 2:29 pm

After missing the last two games with an ankle injury, NT B.J. Raji didn’t practice on Friday but is listed as probable on the final injury report for Sunday’s game. Raji practiced in full pads on Thursday and appears on track to play.

“The plan coming off of Monday was to practice him on Thursday in pads and give him Friday to recover,” Mike McCarthy said. “Everything looks good. If nothing changes here in the next 48 hours, I feel very confident with B.J.”

Meanwhile, WR Jordy Nelson is scheduled to test his hamstring injury on Sunday morning and he’ll be a game-time decision. He’s listed as questionable. FB John Kuhn has been ruled out with his hamstring injury.

All the other players on the injury report who practiced this week are listed as probable. That includes RB James Starks, who missed Thursday’s practice with an illness but returned on a limited basis Friday. LB Nick Perry and CB Sam Shields did not practice all week and have been ruled out.

If Nelson is unable to play, it could open the door for WR Jarrett Boykin to get some significant snaps. Boykin has played only a handful of snaps so far this season after being inactive on gameday for the first five weeks.

Ironically, Boykin’s first major action could come against Jacksonville, a team that cut him in the spring, which led to him getting a tryout with the Packers.

“I would say there’s a little extra grind, but that’s not my main focus, going out there trying to prove (anything) to them,” Boykin said. “I’m just focusing on going out there and helping this team win.”

Other news & notes from McCarthy’s final press conference of the week:

–LS Brett Goode has signed a long-term contract extension, which puts all three of the Packers’ specialists (K Mason Crosby, P Tim Masthay and Goode) under contract for the foreseeable future. Goode joined the team in 2008, one year after Crosby and two years before Masthay.

“You look at the battery, punter, kicker and snapper, that’s a very important group,” McCarthy said. “They spend most of their time together. The personality of the three guys is very important. They lean on one another, they help correct one another. I think they’re very honest as far as their time together professionally and personally. They’re a good group.

“The nice part about it is you look at their age group and they still have time to grow and improve.”

–McCarthy said neither LB Frank Zombo nor TE Andrew Quarless would be activated from PUP for Sunday’s game. Both players  have been practicing for the last two weeks, and they have one week left before a decision has to be made to either activate them, release them, or place them on injured reserve for the season.

McCarthy made it sound as though Zombo is the closest to being game-ready. He said Quarless is still experiencing some “soreness” in his surgically repaired knee, which is normal in the recovery process.

The other player on PUP, T Derek Sherrod, is still not ready to practice and could be headed to IR for the season.

“I know he’s frustrated, but we all saw the injury,” McCarthy said of Sherrod, who broke multiple bones in his leg in Week 15 last season in Kansas City. “It was a serious injury, and definitely something we’re not going to rush back. But he’s not just ready yet.”


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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.


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Benson here, Kuhn sprains ankle

Posted by Vic Ketchman, packers.com editor on August 13, 2012 – 2:06 pm

Cedric Benson dressed in shells and was a limited participant in Monday’s practice, but he won’t play in Thursday’s preseason home opener against the Browns, and that’s causing Mike McCarthy to continue feeling the pinch at running back.

“We’re down to three running backs, Alex Green being one of them,” McCarthy told reporters following a practice that was cut short by 20 minutes on Monday after fullback/running back John Kuhn sustained a sprained ankle. “We’ll see where John is. I’d like to have four (running backs) going into the game.”

Benson spent the majority of practice watching Kuhn, Green and rookie Marc Tyler share reps. James Starks (toe) and Brandon Saine (hamstring) stood off to the side. Green, of course, is less than a year removed from knee reconstruction.

Injuries have created a desperate situation at running back for the Packers, and Benson was signed on Sunday to help ease the crunch. He’s rushed for more than a thousand yards in each of the last three seasons, but he’s more of a runner than he is a receiver and a pass-blocker, which has caused some to question Benson as a fit in the Packers offense.

“We have an idea of the kind of player we’re bringing in. We’ll teach him like we teach the rest of the guys,” McCarthy said. “Cedric Benson is a good fit for us. He’s been a very productive running back.”

McCarthy cited the Packers’ transition to a one-back type of offense as being an especially good fit for Benson.

Injuries are causing practice targets difficult for McCarthy to reach. It would seem to be his greatest concern as training camp heads into its latter stages.

“We’re not where we wanted to be. Today’s practice was supposed to be (two hours, 21 minutes long). When John went down, I didn’t think it was worth the risk to try to get through the last period,” McCarthy said.

Benson will be a welcomed addition to the backfield after he completes the initiation processes and is cleared for full participation.

In other injury news, tackle Marshall Newhouse and wide receiver Tori Gurley returned to practice on Monday. Gurley turned in one of the highlight plays of practice when he bowled over cornerback Dion Turner following a reception.

Defensive lineman Ryan Pickett and safety M.D. Jennings were excused from practice due to personal reasons. Jermichael Finley continues to be sidelined by a quad injury.

For more on new RB Cedric Benson, who spoke with reporters in the locker room on Monday, click here.


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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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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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