Category Archives: 2012 Schedule

12

December

Packers-Bears: Brandon Marshall adds fuel to the fire

Bears WR Brandon Marshall

Bears WR Brandon Marshall

The Packers-Bears rivalry has been going on for 91 years. The Bears have won 92 of those games, the Packers have won 87, and they’ve played to six ties since the rivalry began in 1921.

When the Bears named Lovie Smith head coach in 2004, he clearly stated that his team’s No.1 goal would be to beat Green Bay.

But recently, the Packers have owned the rivalry. Green Bay has won seven of the past eight matchups, including a victory in the NFC Championship at Soldier Field in the 2010 season.

The most recent chapter of the longstanding rivalry was week two this year when the Packers dominated the Bears 23-10 at Lambeau Field. The offense was crisp, and the defense was stellar.

The Green Bay defense was tough against the run and the secondary silenced the Bears’ top receiver–Brandon Marshall.

Marshall caught just two passes for 24 yards in the first meeting. And after the game, Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson were vocal in their assessment of the Bears’ offense, and mainly, quarterback Jay Cutler.

“It’s the same old Jay,” Woodson said after the game. ”We don’t need luck, Jay will throw us the ball. Proof is in the pudding.”

Cutler, of course, publicly wished the Packers’ secondary “good luck” before the two teams met at Lambeau Field. It seems Cutler’s well wishes turned out well for the Packers, as cornerback Tramon Williams caught as many passes from Cutler as Marshall did–two.

And on Wednesday morning, it was clear that there was no love lost between Marshall and the Packers. Tyler Dunne, of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentiel, got the scoop from Marshall’s time at the podium.

To that comment, one might ask this question–who really cares who Marshall wants to give the credit to? Dom Capers dialed up the scheme, and the players made it happen. Williams shadowed Marshall for most of the night, and Capers opted to have safety help over the top with either Charles Woodson or Morgan Burnett.

Marshall is the Bears’ only true game-breaker on the perimeter, so what else is Capers supposed to do? From coaching to execution, the Packers did their job. Period.

Oh yeah, and Marshall dropped a wide open touchdown in the game as well. But anyways. What’s next?

4

December

Packers News: Starks may be out for season

Packers RB James Starks

Packers RB James Starks

Jason Wilde of ESPN Wisconsin is reporting that running back James Starks may be out for the season with a knee injury.

Starks has battled numerous injuries dating back to his college days at Buffalo. He was forced to sit out the Packers’ first five games of the 2012 season with a significant turf toe injury.

But since returning to the field, Starks has become a major part of the team’s backfield rotation. This week against the Minnesota Vikings, he led the team with 66 yards on 15 carries, including a pivotal 22-yard touchdown.

The injury occurred when Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson upended Starks, hitting him square in the right knee late in the fourth quarter. Starks was able to return to the game and carry the ball a few more times, but the injury is apparently more serious than was originally thought.

The exact injury is unknown, although it’s not believed to be an ACL injury. Still, the Packers are reportedly considering putting Starks on the injured reserve and using the roster spot on a healthy player for the playoff run.

If Starks’s season is indeed over, the Packers will rely on Alex Green, fullback John Kuhn and recent call-up DuJuan Harris to shoulder the load running the football.

Green and Starks have been splitting carries since starter Cedric Benson suffered a Lisfranc injury against the Indianapolis Colts earlier this season.

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Follow @MJEversoll

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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4

December

Packers Beer Mug Perspective: Should Barclay stay at RT?

Packers Beer MugWhen T.J. Lang went down with an injury, the Packers’ offensive line depth was tested.

Right tackle Bryan Bulaga was already on the injured reserve with a hip injury, forcing the Packers to turn to undrafted rookie Don Barclay to fill Lang’s shoes. Nicole Richie thinks the Packers are thin on the offensive line.

But fortunately for the Packers, Barclay came in for Lang and filled in admirably at right tackle. Sure, the rookie from West Virginia had his fair share of speed bumps, but overall, he made the most of his opportunity and has earned the respect of his head coach.

Now, Packers coach Mike McCarthy faces a tough decision. Does he think the offensive line is a stronger unit with Evan Dietrich-Smith at left guard, or Barclay at right tackle?

Playing Barclay at right tackle would allow Lang to kick over to his natural position of left guard. Lang and right guard Josh Sitton are one of the league’s best young duos on the interior of the offense line. But as a right tackle, Lang is an average player at best. So, the question is:

Will Barclay remain the Packers starting right tackle?

In the format of the Packers Beer Mug Perspective, let’s take a look at the issue from both angles, then determine whether our mug is really “half full” or “half empty.”

THE MUG IS HALF FULL

With Lang’s status still up in the air, McCarthy admitted we may be getting ahead of ourselves in considering Barclay as a starting right tackle. The team will learn more about Lang’s injury on Wednesday.

However, the possibility still remains that Barclay could be inserted into the starting lineup.

The Packers are notorious for playing “musical chairs” on the offensive line. Many people disagree with their philosophy of rotating players around into different positions. But McCarthy has always been adamant on putting the best five linemen on the field, and Barclay is at least being considered as one of the top-five right now.

“I thought (Barclay) did a nice job,” McCarthy said. “It’s pretty much what I thought last night when I left here. He went into the game, we tried to protect him a little bit there in the 2-minute drive. Then really at halftime we made some protection adjustments – not really adjustments – which way we were going to lean on in the second half.”

1

December

Packers News: Harris, Ross to 53, Quarless, Richardson to I.R.

Packers TE Andrew Quarless

Packers TE Andrew Quarless

The Green Bay Packers have placed tight end Andrew Quarless and rookie safety Sean Richardson on the season-ending injured reserve.

Quarless had not played at all in 2012 due to swelling in his knee after suffering a torn ACL and MCL last season. He came off the physically unable to perform list Nov. 7 but was never able to get back to full strength.

Richardson had been active for five games this season and ranked sixth on the team in special teams tackles. He was on the injury report this week with a back injury but didn’t appear to be in jeopardy of missing the rest of the season.

Richardson missed six games with a hamstring injury.

To fill the void on the 53-man roster, the Packers signed running back DuJuan Harris and wide receiver Jeremy Ross from the practice squad. According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Harris had been impressive on the practice squad, even earning some snaps with the No. 1 offense.

Harris is expected to see play on special teams and be the team’s No. 3 running back Sunday against the Vikings.

Ross was signed to the Packers’ practice squad a week before Harris. His role is expected to be primarily on special teams.

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Follow @MJEversoll

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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29

November

Packers News: Benson out for remainder of season

Packers RB Cedric Benson

Packers RB Cedric Benson

The Packers announced Thursday that running back Cedric Benson will remain on injured reserve for the rest of the 2012 season.

Just two days ago, there was speculation that Benson may be out for the rest of the season, and that suspicion became a reality today. Benson suffered a Lisfranc injury Oct. 7 in the first half against the Indianapolis Colts.

Benson underwent foot surgery on Wednesday.

Since he’s been out of the lineup, the Packers have relied on a combination of Alex Green and James Starks at running back. Green Bay currently ranks 23rd in the NFL running the football, averaging 100.7 yards per game.

The Packers currently have three running backs on the active roster–Green, Starks and second-year player Johnny White. Starting fullback John Kuhn is also capable of shouldering some of the load in short-yardage situations.

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Follow @MJEversoll

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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29

November

Despite not Meeting Fan Expectations, These 2012 Packers are still damn good

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers

The current Green Bay Packers are not ready for a Super Bowl run. In fact, the team that was just annihilated by the New York Giants last Sunday night would likely struggle to make the playoffs.

Decimated by injuries, the Packers have been forced to plug inexperienced young players into key roles and shuffle veterans into new positions. And yet, the show must go on.

Currently sitting at 7-4, every single one of the Packers’ preseason goals remains attainable. So why does it seem like the 2012 season has been a disappointment? Because the last two seasons, in their own way, have altered fans’ expectations.

Coming into 2012, the Packers’ aspirations were as lofty as any team in the NFL.

After all, the team went 15-1 in the regular season following their Super Bowl XLV victory. The reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers was on their side, along with an explosive set of wide receivers and one of the best coaching staffs in football.

So in 2012, the division was theirs to lose, a playoff berth was expected, and another trip to the Super Bowl was on the horizon.

But in week one, the Packers ran into a buzz saw from San Francisco. Playing at Lambeau Field in front of a revved-up fan base, the seemingly invincible Packers were beaten in every facet of the game. Some fans panicked, and their expectations changed.

Then, after a week two victory over the Chicago Bears, the Packers struggled mightily in Seattle against on Monday Night Football. The controversial ending is well-documented, but in reality, the offensive line allowed eight sacks and Rodgers failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time since Halloween of 2010.

Where was the explosive offense of 2011? The Packers were 1-2 through three games, and fans started reaching for the panic button.

The Packers barely beat the New Orleans Saints in week four, before traveling to Indianapolis. For the first time this season, the Colts took to the field without head coach Chuck Pagano, who had been diagnosed with leukemia. Green Bay rushed out to a 21-3 halftime lead, but the Colts didn’t panic.

Behind Reggie Wayne’s 13 catches and 212 yards, Indianapolis rallied to win the game. It was a great story for Colts fans, but a gut-wrenching loss for the Packers.

18

November

Jermichael Finley key in Packers’ win at Detroit

Packers TE Jermichael Finley

Packers TE Jermichael Finley

Jermichael Finley is a subject for heavy debate among Packers fans.

When a player is under performing, it’s acceptable to be critical of him. And through nine games, Finley’s seven drops and lackluster performance were certainly deserving of criticism.

But when that same player turns in a key performance that helps his team win, credit is due.

In the Packers’ 24-20 win over the Detroit Lions, Finley enjoyed likely his best game of the year.

His three-catch performance is by no means a “breakout” game, but it’s certainly nice to see him catching the ball and making the most of his opportunities.

Finley caught all three of the passes thrown his way Sunday, and each play had a significant impact on the game’s outcome. Most notably, Finley scored the Packers’ lone first-half touchdown.

The most impressive part of Finley’s 20-yard touchdown was not the catch-and-run, but rather, the play call by head coach Mike McCarthy.

Rodgers took the snap and looked in the direction of running back James Starks for what appeared to be a screen pass. The Lions defense flooded towards Starks, while Finley snuck to the middle of the field. Finley was wide open on the play and didn’t get touched until he lunged into end zone.

For those scoring at home, yes, Finley did do his usual “YOTTO” celebration following his second touchdown of the season. And yes, it appears the “year of the takeover” is now in its third year, following its “debut” during the 2010 season.

But later in the game, Finley made another pivotal play. This time, on the Packers’ go-ahead drive late in the fourth quarter.

Detroit’s defensive line had been playing well for the majority of the game, so Rodgers looked to get rid of the ball quickly on second down. Trailing 20-14 with under four minutes remaining, Finley caught a short Rodgers pass, turned up field and avoided several Lions defenders for a 40-yard gain.

The big gain put the Packers at the Lions’ 32-yard line. On the very next play, Rodgers completed a six-yard pass to Finley, and two plays later, the Packers took the lead on a touchdown to Randall Cobb.