Category Archives: Former Players

11

January

Cory’s Corner: Criticize Mike McCarthy not Dom Capers

Mike McCarthy turned up the conservative calls when Aaron Rodgers went down in Week 9.

Mike McCarthy turned up the conservative calls when Aaron Rodgers went down in Week 9.

Now that you’ve all had some time to thaw out after watching Phil Dawson put this season’s hopes and dreams on ice, it’s time to reflect on what just happened.

First of all, Mike McCarthy needs to get the lion’s share of criticism. He is under contract through the 2015 season at roughly $5 million per year. If any season was a good example of how much he needed to prove his coaching mettle, this was the one. He lost his star quarterback in Week 9 and magically backed into the playoffs thanks to the combined efforts of said quarterback’s right arm and the inept Bears’ defense.

He was also dealt the second-most important injury on the team in Jermichael Finley. Without him eating up the middle of the field, receivers had more work to do to get separation and move the chains.

Granted, he was blessed with the Offensive Rookie of the Year in my opinion in Eddie Lacy but McCarthy didn’t exactly utilize him very well. Too often when backups Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn were under center he was more apt to call the predictable running plays on first and second down which usually set up the usual 3rd-and-7. That’s a tall task for an NFL starter let alone a backup.

As soon as the Packers lost Aaron Rodgers they lost who they were. And the head coach, who is also known as a quarterback guru, cannot let that happen. I’m not saying McCarthy should expect left rollouts thrown on a dime by his backups, but he shouldn’t pare the playbook down to the JV level either. The best example is that fateful game when Rodgers suffered that left collarbone injury.

With the Bears beating the Packers 24-20 very early in the fourth quarter, McCarthy dialed up a Lacy run on 2nd-and-7 from the 50. The run around the left end generated two yards setting up a tough third down which ultimately failed. And that came on the heels of the Packers throwing for 29 yards on back-to-back plays that took place on second and first down.

There’s a time and place to be conservative. I realize that coaches’ jobs have been lost due to knee-jerk risky decisions but when your team is losing in the fourth quarter, it’s at least a good time to start contemplating moves against the grain.

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.

20

December

Packers Periscope: Week 16 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

The Past: I’ve mentioned notable games of the past in this series (the Ice Bowl, Aaron Rodgers dismantling of the Falcons in the 2010 divisional game), but perhaps the most important game in the last decade for the Packers was their win in Super Bowl XLV in 2010 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Not only did it cement quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ position as one of the NFL’s elite players but it also justified Ted Thompson’s 6 year “draft and develop” philosophy which brought the Packers back from a salary cap nightmare.  Fans will remember Clay Matthew’s “It is time” moment of stripping the ball away from Rashard Mendenhall which preserved a Packers 4 point lead in the 4th quarter, but perhaps the biggest defensive play came from defensive tackle Howard Green, who knocked quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s pass into the arms of safety Nick Collins, who returned the ball for a touchdown and at least historically sealed away the fate of the Steelers right then (no team has gotten a interception returned for a touchdown and lost the Super Bowl).

Moving back further, the Steelers and Packers last regular season game occurred in 2009 which quickly became a shootout; Rodgers threw for an impressive 383 yards but Roethlisberger proved even more dangerous, finishing the game with an astonishing 503 yards.  It also marked the rise of Jermichael Finley, who moved from a up and coming player to a serious receiving threat, which would continue until his injury in 2010.

The Present: The Steelers have been effectively eliminated from the playoffs; the Cincinnati Bengals have run away with the AFC North and are almost definitely going to win the division this year.  Baltimore trails behind Cincinnati, but also has a shot at a wild card berth.  Pittsburgh unfortunately only is predicted to get in as a wildcard team .8% of the time according to Football Outsiders, effectively making this game more of a statement game more than anything else.  Furthermore, the Steelers have always been a very deliberate and conservative organization and the coaching staff has not been rumored to be on the hot seat, this game probably does not have much meaning to the Steelers, aside for maybe extracting some revenge against the Packers for their Super Bowl loss.

14

December

TODAY: Meet Gilbert Brown, William Henderson and Santana Dotson

Holidays with the Pack Autograph Session returns on Saturday, December 14th, and Saturday December 21st from 11AM – 2PM and 3PM – 5PM at the SouthRidge Mall in Greendale, Wisconsin.

On hand to sign autographs will be Packers legends and Super Bowl Champions Gilbert Brown, William Henderson and Santana Dotson. If you’re in the Milwaukee area, please stop in and tell them ALLGBP sent you.

Holidays with te Pack - Gilbert Brown, William Henderson, Santana Dotson Autograph signing,

HWTP HolidayPriceList

 

Mayfield Sports Marketing

Phone: 262-366-8188
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Date: 12/14/2013
Time: 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM
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Southridge Mall
5300 S 76 S Greendale, WI 53129United States

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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9

December

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Packers 22, Falcons 21

Andrew Quarless had a big day against the Falcons, and now the Packers are eyeing first place in the NFC North.

Andrew Quarless had a big day against the Falcons, and now the Packers are eyeing first place in the NFC North.

Maybe the Green Bay Packers didn’t save their season and keep themselves in the playoff hunt Sunday with a win over the Atlanta Falcons, but maybe they did.

Along with the Packers’ 22-21 win came a Philadelphia snowstorm and a Detroit Lions loss, which puts Green Bay only a half-game behind the Lions for first place in the NFC North. And while the Packers are certainly happy they were able to get a win without Aaron Rodgers, the possibility remains that the Packers’ quarterback will be ready to play Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.

If Rodgers is back for the team’s final three games, the Packers could win out (at DAL, vs. PIT, at CHI) and squeak into the playoffs. That’s assuming the Lions (vs. BAL, vs. NYG, at MIN) lose one more game, which wouldn’t be the most shocking thing in the world.

But, once again, it will probably be a late-week decision on Rodgers, and the playoffs are still a long way away.

Now, after winning Dec. 8 for the first time since Oct. 27, the Packers are 1-4-1 since Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone, leaving them at 6-6-1 on the season. And it took everything the Packers had on both sides of the ball.

With seven of Atlanta’s 21 points coming on a Sean Weatherspoon pick-six before halftime, the Packers’ defense tightened up and allowed just 14 points on the afternoon, thanks to a second-half shutout. The Falcons put together a methodical 78-yard drive to tie the score at seven, but their only other scoring drive was set up by a Matt Flynn fumble deep in Packers territory.

Flynn and the offense turned in a much-improved performance after last week’s stinker, but the defense rose to the occasion and powered the Packers to a much-needed win.

Clearly, Jerron McMillian was the only problem with the Packers’ defense.

Game Balls

Matt Flynn

Coming into the game having given up at least 27 points in their last six games, many expected the Packers would need to light up the scoreboard in order to get past the Falcons. That wasn’t the case, but Flynn and the offense still mustered up 22 points and earned their sixth victory in the process. Flynn made some poor throws, but his lone interception came on a (that-kind-of) ‘WOW’ play, and he was efficient with the football throughout the day. Quite the difference from the debacle on Thanksgiving.

5

December

Hall of Famer Dave Robinson chats with ALLGBP.com

Dave Robinson joined ALLGBP for a phone interview. Photo courtesy Packers.com.Dave Robinson joined ALLGBP for a phone interview. Photo courtesy Packers.com.

Dave Robinson joined ALLGBP for a phone interview. Photo courtesy Packers.com.

Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Packers linebacker Dave Robinson joined me for a phone interview Dec. 4. Needless to say, the 72-year-old Robinson had some great stories and a first-hand account of the Vince Lombardi-era Packers.

“He used to say there were players in the league that were bigger than us, stronger than us, faster than us, could jump higher,” Robinson said of Lombardi. “But we had that certain something, he said, that he saw that made you a Green Bay Packer. He took that little something and nurtured it.”

Robinson pointed out that people seem to lose sight of the fact that Lombardi was the also team’s general manager during his legendary run in Green Bay.

“On our defense, 10 of the 11 people  on our defense Vince Lombardi had acquired as the general manager,” Robinson said. “He was a big offensive coach, but he was sharp enough to acquire 10 of 11 (on defense). The only one he didn’t acquire was Ray Nitschke.”

Of course, Lombardi was the one who took Nitschke and turned him into a starter upon his arrival.

Robinson will be honored today (Dec. 4) in his hometown Moorestown, N.J. as part of the “Hometown Hall of Famer” banquet, presented by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance Company. He spoke of his time growing up in New Jersey, going to college and meeting Joe Paterno at Penn State and, of course, the current Packers and the Aaron Rodgers situation.

Check out the whole interview below. Dave made it very worth your 15 minutes.

 

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Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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3

December

Aaron Rodgers at 30: Where He’s Been and Where He’s Going

Aaron Rodgers’ finest hour….for now.

I recently celebrated a milestone: I turned 30 in September. It was what I expected as I took stock of everything I had done in life up to that point.

Then an ever bigger surprise hit me: Aaron Rodgers is about to turn 30! (Rodgers and I are both proud members of the high school class of 2002)

It’s hard to believe Rodgers has now hit the big 3-0, a milestone in and of itself but perhaps it’s even more significant for an NFL quarterback.  Rodgers can no longer (and really hasn’t been for the past two years anyway) be considered one of the “young gun” quarterbacks in the league yet he also isn’t part of that “aging veteran” group either.

So where does that leave the Green Bay Packers quarterback? Well, that would mean he is in his prime.  Current injury aside, that should make any opposing defense shudder.

With his career arc perhaps at its peak, it’s time to take a look back at Rodgers’ career so far as well as what lies ahead for the 2011 NFL MVP.

This is Rodgers’ ninth year in the NFL but only his sixth season as the Packers’ starting quarterback. Given how much has occurred in his time in the league, it seems like Rodgers has been around forever yet hard to believe that he’s now in his thirties. It seems like it was just yesterday he took over for Brett Favre yet it’s like he’s always been around.

Such is the odyssey of Aaron Charles Rodgers.  It all starts with the 2005 draft.  Knowing what we know now, he had absolutely no business falling as far as he did in that draft.  Then again, if he hadn’t, would that chip on his shoulder that has propelled him to superstardom been as large had he ended up in San Francisco?  That’s a debate for another time.

Everyone knows what happened. Rodgers was expected by many to go with the first overall pick in the draft to the San Francisco 49ers where he would learn from an offensive coordinator named Mike McCarthy.  Instead, the 49ers drafted Alex Smith and Rodgers plummeted all the way to Green Bay at number 24.  Rodgers shook it off and Paul Tagliabue told him “good things come to those who wait.”