31

October

Will Packers make a move before Thursday’s trade deadline?

Rams RB Steven Jackson

Will the Packers trade for Rams RB Steven Jackson?

The NFL trade deadline usually comes with boat loads of speculation, before a whole lot of nothing actually happens.

And in the case of the Packers under general manager Ted Thompson, the trade deadline tends to be deafeningly quiet. This year, however, the Packers have a clear need at running back after losing Cedric Benson with a foot injury and there are now two proven runners available for a reasonable price.

St. Louis has been rumored to be shopping veteran running back Steven Jackson for a draft pick, and Carolina is reportedly open to trading DeAngelo Williams.

Rams head coach Jeff Fisher said Tuesday that Jackson wasn’t going anywhere. “It’s all rumors. Let’s put that to rest.” But even if St. Louis was, in fact, shopping the 29-year-old runner, he almost certainly wouldn’t say it publicly.

A trade involving Williams may more likely than one for Jackson, whether it’s the Packers or another team. The Charlotte Observer cites a team source and says, “multiple playoff-contending teams called the Panthers last week to inquire about a possible trade for Williams.”

The Denver Broncos are a logical possibility to land Williams, considering they’re coached by former Panthers head coach John Fox. With veteran Willis McGahee having a mediocre start to 2012 and rookie Ronnie Hillman still developing as a player, the Broncos may be in the market for a potential feature back. And even though Williams is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry this season, he could be a nice fit with Denver’s spread attack.

Whether the Packers are interested in trading for Williams or Jackson remains to be seen. The 2012 season is widely thought to be Jackson’s last in St. Louis, so the door could still be open for a trade despite what Fisher said Tuesday.

Age shouldn’t be much of a factor in a potential trade, considering the Packers went all-in with the 29-year-old Benson to start the season.

In order to acquire Jackson, the Packers would have to pay approximately $3 million of the $7 million he’s owed this season. And also, Thompson would have to determine that Jackson is worth parting with a draft pick, despite the fact that he’ll likely be available as an unrestricted free agent next summer.

19

September

Packers vs. Panthers: 5 Observations from Green Bay’s 30-23 Win Over Carolina

Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers gave the Green Bay Packers a serious upset scare at Bank of America Stadium on Sunday, as the rookie quarterback helped give the Panthers a 13-0 lead in the first quarter before the defending Super Bowl champions found their footing and took over in the second half. Three turnovers to start the second half helped the Packers score 16 points in the third quarter, and Aaron Rodgers found Jordy Nelson for an 84-yard touchdown pass that put the dagger in the Panthers’ upset bid.

Here are five observations from the Packers’ Week 2 win:

1. Concern in the secondary 

Many were quick to attribute the Packers struggles on defense in Week 1 to playing a passing magician in Drew Brees, but the fears were confirmed against  Newton and the Panthers. You could probably count 10 or so occasions where the Panthers had receivers wide open for completions. Newton spared no one, as Charles Woodson, Sam Shields, Jarrett Bush, Morgan Burnett, Clay Matthews and Erik Walden were all beat. It all equaled another 400-yard passing day against the Packers defense, who now ranks 32nd in the NFL in passing yardage.

Add in the fact that safety Nick Collins will miss the year due to a neck injury, and there are legitimate concerns in the Packers pass defense. There’s no way to sugar coat it two weeks into the season. They need to be better for the Packers to reach their high expectations in 2011.

2. Starks emerges

If there was any doubt going into Carolina who should be the Packers No. 1 back, James Starks erased them with a nine-carry, 85-yard day. He also caught three passes for 30 yads. While Ryan Grant is the established veteran in the equation, Starks simply looks like a better running back at this point. I’ve said all along—Starks just runs angry. That violence ensures he never goes down on the first hit. Grant can still be used in certain situations, but Starks deserves at least an 80-20 share of the touches until he shows otherwise.

3. Covering running backs

For the second straight week, the Packers were unable to get a hold of running backs in the passing game. After watching the Saints back field catch 11 passes for 112 yards—seven and 75 coming from Darren Sproles—the Packers allowed Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams to haul in 12 passes for 123 yards. Stewart alone caught eight balls for 100 yards.