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.

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Video chat with Jordy Nelson on Thursday, Nov. 1

Posted by Duke Bobber on October 19, 2012 – 3:06 pm

Jordy Nelson

Do you want to video chat live with Packers WR Jordy Nelson? Packers.com is holding a Google+ Hangout on the afternoon of Thursday, November 1.

Approximately five Packers fans will be selected to participate in this exclusive Hangout. Within the comments on the Packers’ Google+ page, post a link to a 30-60 second video of yourself explaining why you deserve to be selected. You must submit a video for consideration. Click here to enter for a chance to participate.

What is a Google+ Hangout?

It’s a live video chat hosted by Google – and it’s your opportunity to go face-to-face with Nelson. Check out our previous Google+ Hangouts:

– LB Clay Matthews (June 6)
QB Aaron Rodgers (August 28)

Fans will be notified by October 26 if they have been selected to participate.

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WRs chipping in on special teams

Posted by Mike Spofford on July 27, 2012 – 2:59 pm

WR Randall Cobb is of course the Packers’ return man on both kickoffs and punts, but some of his receiving mates are doing their part on special teams, too.

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.

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Posted in Packers.com Blog, Training Camp

Worthy took no plays off

Posted by Vic Ketchman, packers.com editor on July 27, 2012 – 10:35 am

Jerel Worthy

Packers second-round draft pick Jerel Worthy attracted attention and criticism for a comment he made at Michigan State about needing to take plays off once in a while. Worthy took no plays off in Friday morning’s practice. The defensive lineman was the high-energy player of practice, which was forced indoors by rain.

Worthy chased after receivers following completions. His voice could be heard celebrating defensive stops and his motor never stopped. Worthy was all over the field and finished a couple of plays on the turf in a tangle of players he created.

Most notably, it appears Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers might have had his two-down lineman nickel defense in mind when Worthy was selected with the 51st overall pick of the 2012 draft. Worthy and B.J. Raji are the two down linemen in the Packers’ nickel defense, and it’s a role Worthy appears to relish. He was a chase tackle at Michigan State and he appears to be reveling in the space he has to operate in Capers’ nickel, which is clearly in Capers’ plans for this season.

Also in Friday’s practice:

…It’s becoming obvious the Packers have a creative role in mind for second-year wide receiver Randall Cobb.

…Backup quarterback Graham Harrell threw arguably the most impressive completion of the morning, a deep out to Cobb, who caught the ball and turned up field to pull away from rookie safety Jerron McMillian, whose coverage on the play was tight.

…Safety M.D. Jennings made an interception off a deflection.

…Quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ signature pass might be the back-shoulder throw, and he tossed a beauty of one to Jordy Nelson along the right sideline. Unfortunately, Nelson dropped the pass.

…Undrafted free agent linebacker Dezman Moses appears to be competing for more than a roster spot. He appears to be competing for playing time.

…First-year safety Anthony Levine broke impressively on a pass along the sideline and nearly made an interception.

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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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Jordy Nelson: “You have to make the most of your opportunities”

Posted by Ricky Zeller on January 26, 2012 – 12:58 pm

After a breakout season where he set career highs in every statistical category (68 catches, 1,263 yards, 15 TDs), WR Jordy Nelson sat down for a Q&A session that was printed in the Gameday program for the NFC Divisional playoff. What follows are a few excerpts from the conversation:

Your family has a farm that you worked on as a kid. What was your typical day like?

We got up early, but not as early as people think…7 a.m., 8 a.m., depending on what was going on. We would go out and make sure all the water tanks were full in the morning. We would feed some calves if need be, then do whatever was on the list for the day – working the grounds, working the cattle, fix some things. It varied for the day. At night, we would fill the tanks back up to make sure the cows had water and we were done. We had Angus Beef cattle. We only had about 150 or 200 at any one time.

You grew up in Leonardville, Kan., (population: 495) and set a slew of records in high school, but ended up walking on at Kansas State. Did you have any scholarship offers?

I had offers from Division II schools. We only had 67 kids in my graduating class. That was part of it. I just got overlooked. They probably didn’t think I was playing against the talent other kids were.

In high school you played quarterback, but when you got to Kansas State they put you at safety.

Quarterback was out of the question when I went to college. If I wanted to have a future at the next level, meaning the NFL, I knew it wasn’t at quarterback. I knew it was either at safety or wide receiver. I walked on as a safety, didn’t see any playing time my first two years – the year I redshirted or my freshman year. Then they swapped me and another guy. He went to safety and I went to wide receiver.

What did the coaches say when they switched you to wide receiver?

There was some discussion my first year about which position I should play. When they called me in a couple of years later, it was really nerve-wracking, because you never want to be called into your coach’s office. They told me they were going to make the switch, and asked me what I thought of it. When you are a sophomore in college, you never say, ‘I think I should stay on defense.’ I liked offense better than defense, anyway. So I went after it, and it was a long offseason trying to learn the playbook, and it was a lot more running than I’d ever experienced before during practice being a wide receiver.

Moving forward, after you were drafted by the Packers, were you hoping for more opportunities or did you feel like it was part of the process?

My rookie year I was developing, we just had a bunch of receivers. I was still in the process of learning the position because I had only played wide receiver for three years prior to getting here. My second year I had a little drop off. I missed three games with injuries. I was still learning, still getting some chemistry with Aaron (Rodgers). The number of opportunities was down with everyone else in the rotation.

When a player talks about getting opportunities, does that mean playing time, or getting the same amount of plays and doing more when you are on the field?

I’d say it’s getting more plays, but also the type of plays. On a pass play, maybe you are the key read. A lot of it has to do with just making plays. Aaron is going to look your way the more plays you make. The coaches are going to put you in more situations the more plays you make. It’s something that grows.

Does it also take being lucky, where you could run the same great route as the week before and not be thrown the ball and then someone else is up in the rotation?

Yes, it happens to every wide receiver. Aaron could have looked the other way. It’s part of the position. Sometimes he looks at you and you don’t run as good of a route. You have to be on top of it every time.

Do you still feel the urgency you used to, that you must make a play or you’ll end up on the sidelines?

You still have to make the most of your opportunities because there is still the rotation. I don’t have the same fear of getting pulled if I do something wrong.

After how you finished last season and your performance in the Super Bowl (nine catches, 140 yards, TD), did you come into 2011 feeling more established?

I did. Going into training camp, there was a lot less on my mind, a lot less thinking on the field. I knew the playbook in and out. I was able to think about how I was going to run a route and reading the coverage, how I was going to try to beat the guy in front of me. I could spend time thinking about that instead of concentrating on the route.

Individually, did this season exceeded any expectations or goals you may have had?

I don’t think I ever would have thought I’d score 15 touchdowns, especially with the group of guys we have and the amount of time we share on the field. I’ve been fortunate, and I’ve been able to make a lot of big plays based on the coverage I’ve seen. Like I said earlier, the more big plays you make, the more opportunities you get, because you get the trust of the coaches and you get the trust of Aaron.

You are a quiet guy, but wide receivers and defensive backs are known for taunting each other on the field. Do you get involved with that?

(Laughing) They don’t get any joy out of talking trash to me. There are less than a handful of guys that have tried to talk to me in college and in the NFL because I really don’t have anything to say. It’s kind of like talking to yourself.

DRAFT: Jordy Nelson example of BAP targeting: http://pckrs.com/2c9j

VIDEO: Nelson explaining what the battles are like with cornerbacks during each play: http://pckrs.com/bx3b

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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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