27

December

Rodgers puts Packers back in championship contention

With Aaron Rodgers set to return, the Packers are eyeing a division championship. And perhaps more.

With Aaron Rodgers set to return, the Packers are eyeing a division championship. And perhaps more.

When news broke Thursday that quarterback Aaron Rodgers was slated to return Sunday for the regular-season finale against the Chicago Bears, the outlook for the rest of the Packers’ season changed dramatically.

Without Rodgers, the Packers went 2-4-1, not including the first Packers-Bears game in which Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone on the game’s first possession. Coming into that game, the Packers were 5-2 with a favorable schedule and perhaps the hottest quarterback in football.

But despite a newly-feared running game providing balance to their offense, the small crack in Rodgers’ collarbone looked like a death blow to the Packers’ season, as Seneca Wallace would be starting the following week against the Philadelphia Eagles and for the foreseeable future. But Wallace was forced out of the lineup after the first possession, giving way to recent practice squad call-up Scott Tolzien. Then, the Packers signed a recycled Matt Flynn, who would get his chance a few weeks later against the Minnesota Vikings.

Flynn quarterbacked the Packers to one of their most embarrassing defeats in recent memory—a 40-10 Thanksgiving thumping at the hands of the Detroit Lions. For a team who had two All-World quarterbacks for the better part of two decades, the 2013 season was a slap in the face for a (let’s face it) spoiled fan base.

But somehow, at 8-7-1 with one game to play and Rodgers ready to roll, the Packers remain in contention for the NFC North title. A week 17 win in Chicago would punch the Packers’ ticket into the postseason, and they’d host either the San Francisco 49ers or New Orleans Saints in the wild card round January 4 or 5.

And as is the case year after year in the unpredictable NFL, anything can happen in the league’s 12-team tournament.

Typically, there’s a “hot team” that hits its stride late into the season and enters the postseason with a head of steam, much like the Packers’ unlikely run to Super Bowl XLV in 2010. Last year’s Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens backed into the playoffs after losing four of their last five games, but once the regular season is over, a new season begins. The Ravens 2012 regular season didn’t end well, but their postseason ended with a flood confetti and a Vince Lombardi Trophy.

27

December

Packers Periscope: Week 17 at Chicago Bears

The Past: The last meeting in this storied rivalry did not go so well for the Packers; losing the game was actually the smaller matter as the Packers season essentially spiraled out of control with Aaron Rodgers breaking his collarbone, which would eventually take 7 weeks to heal.  The Packers did do a couple things well, notably Eddie Lacy rushing for 150 yards and James Starks chipping in for another 40 but without Jay Cutler being, well Jay Cutler, the Bears played an efficient and mistake free game with Josh McCown under center and ultimately won 27-20.

For the Packers, this started a team collapse, starting first with the uncertainty at quarterback; Seneca Wallace was injured and placed on IR the next week, Scott Tolzien played with glimpses of potential, but costly mistakes ultimately caused the Packers to call on their old friend Matt Flynn, who had been released by Seattle, Oakland and the Bills in this season alone.  While Flynn was completely overmatched against the Lions in the Thanksgiving game and has been a below average quarterback, he also has shown the moxie that got him drafted by the Packers in the first place, managing to win two comeback games by 1 point, something that many critics have argued Aaron Rodgers has failed to do.

Ironically, while the Packers have done about as well as can be expected without Rodgers, they shouldn’t even been in the playoff race right now as the rest of the NFC north has had an even more inexplicable collapse.  Naturally the Vikings and notably Adrian Peterson weren’t going to be able to repeat their magical season from last year one more time, and more importantly seem just as confused about their quarterbacks as they were last year.  The Bears have been an enigma this year as well; sometimes it looks like they are finally becoming a dominant offensive team, other times it looks like they really wish they had their stalwart defense, at times crushing the Dallas Cowboys 45-28 but then getting destroyed by the Philadelphia Eagles 11-54.  Most startling is the fall of the Detroit Lions, who should have clinched the NFC North months ago.  The Lions have clearly one of the most talented teams in the NFL and unlike the Bears, Packers and Vikings have had a stable quarterback position the entire season, which should have won them the division right there.  Add to that a ferocious defense, and a powerful passing game spearheaded by Calvin Johnson and the Lions should have been the cream of the black and blue.  However, in the last 6 games, the Lions have only beat the Packers and basically killed their playoff hopes by letting a kicker beat them and then sealed their fate with a loss against the Giants.

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.

21

November

No Huddle Radio: Packers Season on the Ropes

Marques, Kris and Cory from ALLGBP.com convene to hash out what to make of  the Packers losing their third straight game on Sunday.

Tune in as the guys dissect the loss to the Giants and discuss how the Packers can find their way out of their current predicament. Is there hope or are they down for the count?

Listen using the player below or download the podcast from the Packers Talk Radio Network on Itunes.

 

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Join the writers at AllGreenBayPackers.com for a fast hitting discussion of all things Packers. Please be sure to visit  ALLGREENBAYPACKERS.COM, where we are “All Packers All the Time.”  You can also browse Packers Talk Radio Network for more Packers podcasts and follow @PackerstalkNet and @NoHuddleRadioGB on twitter.

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Follow Jersey Al:


                    Add to Circleson Google+

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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7

November

No Huddle Radio: Packers Bears with Guest Jason Hirschhorn

No Huddle Radio from ALLGBP.com on Packers Talk Radio Network

Listen in for expanded coverage from ALLGBP.com

Marques, Jason, and Kris of ALLGBP.com are joined by Jason Hirschhorn of AcmePackingCompany to break down the Packers Monday Night loss to the Bears.

You’ll also get updates on the Packers’ walking wounded including quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

They’ll also be handing out “game balls and lame calls” as well as reviewing the weekly Stock Report, where they examine who’s trending and in what direction.

Finally, they look ahead to the Packers’ next opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles

Listen using the player below or download the podcast from the Packers Talk Radio Network on Itunes.

 

————–

Join the writers at AllGreenBayPackers.com for a fast hitting discussion of all things Packers. Please be sure to visit  ALLGREENBAYPACKERS.COM, where we are “All Packers All the Time.”  You can also browse Packers Talk Radio Network for more Packers podcasts and follow @PackerstalkNet and @NoHuddleRadioGB on twitter.

——————

Follow Jersey Al:


                    Add to Circleson Google+

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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7

November

Packers Fans Should Blame Injuries, Not Ted Thompson

Clay Matthews towel

How easy is it for Ted Thompson to replace talent at this level?

I feel like I’m listening to a broken record. Except when this record plays, it’s only after the Green Bay Packers lose a game. For some strange reason, I never hear this record after wins. So it’s been a while that this song has played. The Packers won four straight games before losing to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. Throw a bye week in there, and it’s been rather blissful for a good solid month.

But now the axe-grinding fans are crawling back out of the woodwork to lambast Ted Thompson for putting together a weak roster.

The last time I addressed this crowd was after the Cincinnati Bengals game, when the Packers blew a gigantic lead to end up losing. While fingers were being pointed in all sorts of directions, there seemed to be few fans dealing sensibly with the problems of the team.

One theme that has persisted between then and now, however, is the injury bug. The Packers have it bad, and it’s starting to cost the team. Yet for some reason, we don’t give this fact its due consideration. Should teams be able to find success beyond their key starters? Absolutely. General managers need to put together a roster that can handle the adversity of a football season. But injuries to enough key players can be crippling.

Take a look at the following names for a moment:

  1. Nick Perry
  2. Derek Sherrod
  3. Bryan Bulaga
  4. B.J. Raji
  5. Clay Matthews
  6. A.J. Hawk
  7. Aaron Rodgers

Figure out the common thread yet? Yes, those are all of the Packers’ first round draft picks that are currently on the team’s payroll (listed in reverse chronological order). Now I want you to look back at that list and count the number of players who played a majority of the Packers-Bears game. What do you get?

Yup, two. Out of seven.

That means five first round draft picks were absent from the game on Monday. What do you expect Ted Thompson to do in a situation like this? There aren’t any players wandering around on the streets who can make up for that level of talent. And when one of those players is the highest paid quarterback in the league right now – and arguably one of the best three quarterbacks in the league – then you’ve got a problem on your hands.

4

November

Packers vs. Bears – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: CHI 27 GB 20

Aaron Rodgers injured on this play

Aaron Rodgers injured on this play

Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears:  2013 Game 8

Unfiltered game day blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

GAME NOTES:

Good news announced just before game time: James Jones is active and will play.

Packers staring outside linebackers tonight are Mike Neal and Andy Mulumba… dramatic pause…

The Packers have won six straight and eight of the last nine meetings against the Bears (including playoffs).

Packers CB Tramon Williams and Bears T Jordan Mills are cousins; both attended Louisiana Tech and Assumption High School in Napoleonville, La. …

 

Tonight’s captains for the Packers: - Jordy Nelson, Tramon Williams, Davon House 

 

Inactives for today:

 

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
10 WR Chris Harper
25 CB James Nixon
52 LB Clay Matthews
53 LB Nick Perry
88 TE Jermichael Finley
93 DE Josh Boyd
98 DE C.J. Wilson

96 Mike Neal will start at OLB in place of Perry; 55 Andy Mulumba will start at OLB in place of Matthews; 81 Andrew Quarless will start at TE in place of Finley.

 

Chicago Bears
6 QB Jay Cutler
19 WR Joe Anderson
55 LB Lance Briggs
78 T/G James Brown
79 T Jonathan Scott
94 DE Cornelius Washington
96 DT Zach Minter

59 Khaseem Greene will start at LB for Briggs; 12 Josh McCown will start at QB for Cutler.

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Mon nightexcitement:  It’s a great atmosphere – Lambeau  under the lights, especially a Monday night

Playing a night game: It’s a long day. got up early, had a team meeting. All our guys are here and ready to go.

Jones: James Jones will play – he wants to go and he;s ready – we’ll see how he feels.  Same for Brad Jones.

Jarett Boykin: He’s a hard worker – does everything right – tough kid making the most of his opportunity.

Good health of two lines: (knocks on wood).

Kick returns: Will start with Micah Hyde, would definitely like to get Johnathan Franklin another opportunity.

Different Bears: with Trestman: Definitely. They’re dynamic schematically on offense.

Josh McCown: He played really well last week. He’s had a long time to get ready for this game. He has experience. This is a very productive offense.