Category Archives: ESPNMilwaukee.com

9

April

Reaction to Loss: Players vs. Fans

Packers fans

Packers fans often times appear to take a loss harder than the players themselves

Can you tell it’s the NFL offseason?  As is often the case, this is that time of year where you’ll find a lot of speculation about the upcoming Green Bay Packers season and team as well as some occasional news stories that emerge.

Mixed in there are some occasional potpourri topics such as this one:  How different are fans and player reactions to a loss?

ESPN Milwaukee discussed this on last weekend’s Miller Lite Football show as well as earlier this week on the Green and Gold Today show with Jason Wilde and Bill Johnson.

One of the co-hosts of the Miller Lite show is former Packers tight end Mark Chmura and he had a few interesting things to say.  Wilde himself made a guest appearance on the show to discuss some of the player reactions that he has seen after tough losses during his time covering the Packers.  Wilde began that role in 1996, the magical season in which the Packers finally brought the Lombardi trophy back to Green Bay after nearly 30 years of mediocrity.

Before getting into the meat of this topic, I remind you all that I am not a credentialed media member nor have I ever been in a NFL locker room.  My perspective on this is just as valid as anyone else’s who has an opinion on the matter.  And that is my goal, to elicit the opinions of our great readers and followers, as is usually the case.

Rarely do I like to take the first person perspective on topics, but for this one, I think back to my days as a rabid Packers fan when the team was on the come-up in the early 1990′s.  Wins were the highest of highs and losses were cause to cancel the entire following week.  As a teenager, I thought surely that if I were as upset about a loss as I was from the comforts of my living room, that the players in the locker room had to be twice as down, right?

Over time, we have seen evidence to the contrary that reminds us that football means different things to different people, both players and fans alike.  We see players from opposing teams chatting and laughing just moments after they were trying to push and shove their way to a victory.

6

March

Packers Reportedly Nearing Deal with Free Agent D-Lineman

B.J. Raji

The return of Raji would maintain some continuity on a defensive line that stands to see many changes this season

The Green Bay Packers are reportedly closing in on a one-year deal with free-agent-to-be and defensive lineman B.J. Raji.  This news came according to Adam Schefter at ESPN and via Jason Wilde at ESPN Milwaukee:

This news comes as a bit of a surprise to some, as the talk about Raji seemed to center around his wanting to possibly play in a different type of defense.  There was also talk about the Packers wanting to get more athletic on the defensive line, something that may not bode well for a lineman tipping the scales at close to 340 pounds.

No figures have been announced or released yet, but the fact that Raji would be taking a one-year deal in Green Bay versus testing the free agent market likely signals that he may not have felt that he would receive the type of offer he wanted.

Statistically speaking, Raji had one of his poorest seasons in 2013, tallying just 17 tackles and only three for a loss of yardage.

Another signal of this potential Raji deal could be the Packers intentions early in May’s draft.  With Raji returning, there would seem to be less chance that the Packers would be looking at a defensive lineman in round one.  Anything is possible under Ted so don’t rule it out, but it would at least appear that Green Bay has their eyes on another position early on.

Stay tuned for contract details if and when they are announced.

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.com

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21

February

Dissecting Thompson, McCarthy’s Words at NFL Combine

Mike McCarthy & Ted Thompson

Thompson and McCarthy both spoke during Friday’s media session at the NFL Combine

Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy both spoke to the media on Friday at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.  As usual, both were short and did not offer a lot of substance to what they had to say.

With three straight disappointing appearances in the postseason now behind them, following their Super Bowl championship in 2010, Thompson and McCarthy have many eyes trained on them during this offseason.  There has already been speculation on what they might do to address the needs their team has heading into the 2014 season.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport created a stir when he reported that the Packers plan to be more active in free agency than they have in years.  His report stated that the Packers could add “up to five” new players.  This raised many eyebrows, as it goes against what Thompson has done year in and year out during his time as GM:  build and develop, largely through the draft.

With Friday’s media sessions, there was hope to gain some insight into what Thompson and McCarthy said.  The Journal-Sentinel’s Packers blog provided a recap of Thompson’s comments.  Our friends over at Acme Packing Company laid out a nice recap of McCarthy’s comments.

I have the snippets below with some of my own thoughts on what was said.

 

THOMPSON

 

On cornerback Sam Shields:  “I think Sam’s been a good player for us.  He does a good job and he’s one of the fellas that we’d like to have back.” 

Shields definitely was a solid fella last season.  He led the Packers with four interceptions and was their best defensive back overall.  There have been no rumblings about a new contract for Shields yet, and with each passing day, it appears likely the team will let him hit the open market.  Thompson likely has a figure in mind for Shields but may be concerned that he and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, are looking for an inflated amount.  If Shields truly wants to break the bank, he’s not likely going to do so in Green Bay.

6

February

Former and Current Free Agent Packers Want To Return

Jermichael Finley

Finley seems determined to return to football and prove that he is back to full strength

The NFL season has been over for a measly three days now but the Green Bay Packers season has been over for nearly a month.  Things obviously slow down when teams aren’t preparing for games each week and the constant news hits dwindle.

Still, this has been a busy week for some Packers chatter and I thought I’d offer a break in between our player evaluation and reports cards here at allgbp.com and highlight a few of the stories that have been most widely discussed.

“Discussed” and “news” are two different things, but if nothing else, there are at least a few debate topics here.

The first was a story by NFL.com’s Chris Wesseling about tight end Jermichael Finley.  Finley is currently a free agent after having spent the first six years of his NFL career with the Packers.  Finley’s agent has gone on record as saying that J-Mike, as he is frequently called, would love nothing more than to finish his career in Green Bay.  Whether that will happen is another thing.

Finley was seriously injured early in the 2013 season on a play in which he took a shot to his neck by Cleveland Browns safety Tashaun Gipson.  Finley was placed on season-ending injured reserve and needed surgery to fuse the C3 and C4 vertebrae in his neck.  Many question swirled about whether Finley would play football again, let alone return to the Packers.

Finley stated earlier this week that he expects his doctors to clear him to resume football activity, most notably contact, within the next month or so.  Gaining medical clearance from a doctor is one thing.  Gaining that clearance from a NFL team doctor is another.

While Finley and his agent have expressed a preference to remain in Green Bay and get a new contract worked out, Finley has also stated that he does not plan to discount his services.  With 19 total players set to hit free agency next month, the Packers are going to have some decisions to make as far as who to keep and at what price.

Finley certainly represents a risk, even if cleared to return to football.  There can be no guarantee that he won’t re-injure his neck and such an occurrence would have major implications not only for Finley the football player, but also Finley the man, husband and father.  It’s hard to say which direction Finley’s return and potential negotiations with interested teams will go.

24

December

Packers Week 17: Quick Hits

cyrstal ball

What is in store for the Packers this week and beyond?

With one game left to play in this 2013 regular season, the Packers still find themselves with a chance to win the NFC North (somehow).  They round out their schedule with a visit to Soldier Field to take on the Chicago Bears.  The winner of this game will win the division and host a playoff game.

With that, here’s a smorgasbord of Packers-related quick hits heading into this week.

Aaron Rodgers

Yes, I know, some of you are tired of this topic and story but he is the face of the Packers franchise so this isn’t going away.  Some early reports have supposedly leaked out about Rodgers’ already being ruled out for this week’s game against the Bears.  Until the team announces it, it’s never official.  Still, I am sticking with my proclamation from Sunday which is that I don’t think Rodgers plays this week.

I have no sources and no inside scoop.  This is just my thought and I’m done with allowing myself to wonder if Rodgers will be cleared to play and then find out, for the seventh week in a row, that he is not.  The pattern has established itself and the Packers don’t tell anybody anything when it comes to injuries.  If the bone wasn’t healed enough last week, how much is really going to change in seven days?

This also brings up a good question that was brought up by Jason Wilde during last Friday’s “Green and Gold Today” show on ESPN Milwaukee.  Wilde wondered about the possibility that the Packers have already decided that Rodgers isn’t returning this season and just have not told him yet.  That sounds like a ridiculous game plan and I’m sure Rodgers would figure it out on his own.  I hope that’s not what is happening.

Still, as long as the Packers wait to tell the world what it going on with #12 until late in the week, that gives everyone the better part of five days to theorize and debate.  If nothing else, this is keeping @JSComments alive and well on Twitter.

Mike McCarthy

McCarthy is not fun to listen to in a press conference and I don’t think many would disagree.  Beyond that, he’s a good head football coach and I hope he stays in Green Bay for some time.  I know that his play calling and clock management has come under question this season and I do agree with that.  But overall, McCarthy is more good than he is bad for the Packers.  His overall record as head coach says so.

24

December

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Steelers 38, Packers 31

Eddie Lacy had his way with the Steelers' defense and could be in for a bigger day against the Bears if he's able to suit up.

Eddie Lacy had his way with the Steelers’ defense and could be in for a bigger day against the Bears if he’s able to suit up.

After the Green Bay Packers lost a home heartbreaker to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Packers’ playoff destiny fell out of their control.

But Jay Cutler and the division-leading Chicago Bears were blown out by the Philadelphia Eagles later Sunday night, and now it’ll be Packers-Bears in the final week of the regular season for the NFC North crown and a spot in the playoffs.

And for the umpteenth week in a row, a good portion of ALLGBP’s Game Balls and Lame Calls post will be centered around the increasingly unknown status of Aaron Rodgers, which got even cloudier when ESPN’s Chris Mortensen cited potential tension between Rodgers and head coach Mike McCarthy on NFL Countdown prior to Sunday’s game. Mortensen tweeted Rodgers remains at “extraordinary risk” with his fractured collarbone.

But the whole will-Rodgers-play-or-won’t-he-play debate or the why-isn’t-Rodgers-playing question seems kind of pointless, doesn’t it? Clearly, Rodgers isn’t ready to play right now. He hasn’t played since November 4, and he wants to play. Whether the final call falls with Rodgers, McCarthy, Ted Thompson or Dr. Pat McKenzie, the fact still remains: Rodgers isn’t ready to play right now.

During the pregame segment, Mortensen said Rodgers pushed the “organizational decision” narrative that he and McCarthy used so often last week as an attempt to defend his toughness in hopes of fending off comparisons to Brett Favre, who undoubtedly would have played through a broken leg and a freshly amputated throwing hand.

But while I think the Rodgers debate really comes down to semantics, the Countdown segment raised some questions to me. Rodgers is who he is. He’s probably the best quarterback in the NFL, and he’s probably better in 2013 than Favre was at any point of his career, in my opinion. Naturally, comparisons will exist between Favre and Rodgers just as they did with other eternally-linked quarterbacks such as the 49ers’ Joe Montana and Steve Young and last year’s draft class that produced Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson. People like to compare people to other people.

4

December

Rodgers Not Cleared, Packers Mull Future

Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers’ status for this Sunday and for this season remains a question mark

 

During his usual “Tuesdays With Aaron” show on ESPN Milwaukee, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers stated that he was still not cleared to return to play for the team.  This came after Rodgers had an X-ray for the first time since before the Thanksgiving holiday.  The results were apparently not what Rodgers, or the Packers, were hoping for.

Rodgers explained his timeline and thought process.  “We’re now four weeks and one day from my fracture. I’ve made a lot of progress. A lot of it is just the bone healing. Bone takes three to six weeks to heal. We all hoped we’d be on the short end of that.”

Rodgers has not officially been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons at Lambeau Field.  He will practice with the team and be evaluated again this week on the slim chance that the Packers medical staff would clear him to play in that game.

If Rodgers is not cleared, Matt Flynn will start in his place, said head coach Mike McCarthy on Tuesday during a press conference.  McCarthy is going with Flynn over Scott Tolzien because of Flynn’s experience and comfort in the Packers offense.  Many are hoping that some of that comfort and familiarity produces much better results than Flynn and the Packers showed against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving.

Beyond this weekend’s tilt with the Falcons, there are still rumors floating around that if Rodgers is not cleared and the team’s postseason hopes get slimmer than they are now, that Rodgers could land on season-ending injured reserve.  Anything is possible, but judging by the comments and demeanors of both Rodgers and McCarthy, it would seem that if Rodgers is healthy enough to play, he’s playing.

For those clamoring for the team to play for a better draft pick next year, consider the team’s culture and the impact that quitting on this season could have.  Losing becomes a habit and a bad one at that.  Just as winning fixes most issues, losing creates them.  Confidence gets lost with each consecutive loss, just look at the Falcons, who entered this season as one of the favorites in the NFC.