26

December

Cory’s Corner: Time is running out for Derek Sherrod

Offensive lineman Derek Sherrod has missed over a year-and-a-half since being selected as the 32nd player in the 2011 draft.

Offensive lineman Derek Sherrod has missed over a year-and-a-half since being selected as the 32nd player in the 2011 NFL Draft.

While the rest of the nation seems affixed to the Aaron Rodgers watch, there is another injury concern that needs more attention.

Enter Derek Sherrod.

The 6-foot-6, 321-pound offensive lineman came to the Packers with a mountain of promise as the 32nd selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. He was supposed to be the next offensive line anchor that would protect franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers as long as he wore that G on the side of his helmet.

But then he broke his right leg in December 2011 causing him to miss the entire 2012 season. He began this season on the physically unable to play list and wasn’t added to the 53-man roster until Nov. 5.

He has gotten scant playing time the last four weeks but hasn’t been able to really do anything of note. The Packers have a club option for 2015 before he becomes a free agent the following season.

So that puts the Packers in a precarious situation. Over a year-and-a-half has been lost already and if he cannot crack the starting lineup against guys like T.J. Lang or Don Barclay, then the Packers should be concerned.

Bryan Bulaga will come back next season and should quickly become the best lineman that has allowed jailbreak pressure for all four quarterbacks the Packers have started this year.

I doubt it’s time to give up on Sherrod just yet, but if he continues to struggle next August and into next season, how many more chances can the Packers give and afford? Ted Thompson got lucky with David Bakhtiari as a fourth round pick this past spring. Right after Bulaga went down with an ACL tear in the Family Night scrimmage, Bakhtiari has been inserted into the starting lineup and has protected the Packers’ quarterback’s blind side each week.

Even if Sherrod cannot get back to the college player that started 35 games at tackle for Mississippi State, including all 25 his junior and seasons, the Packers must try and forecast the future. Obviously, the Packers cannot continue to pay him first round money when his time in the trainer’s room outnumbers his time on the field. But if they can come to a compromise and rework his deal that suits both parties, Sherrod could find new life in Green Bay.

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.

27

November

Packers vs. Lions Week 13 Game Predictions from AllGreenBayPackers.com

GAME PREDICTIONS
Week 13: Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions
Name Record To-Date This Week’s Pick Score Prediction
Kris Burke 6-5 Detroit Lions 27-20
Matt Flynn gets the start but Sam Shields is really the one everyone needs to see start.  If he can’t go, the Packers stand no chance of shutting down Calvin Johnson.  Even if Shields does play, I lack confidence in the Green Bay defense to stop the Lions
“Jersey” Al Bracco 5-6 Green Bay Packers 20-17
Can the beleaguered Packers defense play a decent game? Well, they get their best coverage guy, Sam Shields back as well as an emotional leader Johnny Jolly. Will it be enough? Probably not. But I’m betting on the longshot here.  
Adam Czech 8-3 Detroit Lions 31-20
Too many injuries. Too many missed tackles. Too many blown coverages. Too much nonsense. The Packers lose on turkey day.
Marques Eversoll 7-4 Detroit Lions 27-21
Fans across America will surely be at the edge of their seat Thursday, as Matt Flynn leads the low-scoring Packers offense against the pass-happy Lions. But. There’s just no way.
Thomas Hobbes 5-6 Green Bay Packers 16-14
In terms on talent on the field, there’s no way that the Packers should win this game.  However, the Lions are incredibly inconsistent and if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can beat them, so can a injury riddled Packers squad.  Matt Flynn keeps the defense honest and gives Eddie Lacy some more room to run, and the Packers play keep away and squeak out a win.
Cory Jennerjohn 8-3 Detroit Lions 31-23
The Lions are giving just 88 yards rushing a game, which means the biggest matchup of the day will be Matt Flynn vs. the nasty Lions’ front four that has 16 sacks as a group. The Lions already smell chum in the water with the way right guard T.J. Lang and right tackle Marshall Newhouse are playing. Reggie Bush will have a big game because no linebacker will be able to stay with him.
Jason Perone 7-4 Detroit Lions 21-20
27

November

Packers Periscope: Thanksgiving Edition vs. Lions

The Past: Last time these two teams met was punctuated by All Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson, namely because he was absent from the game; the Lions did a fantastic job covering, deflecting and obfuscating Johnson’s knee injury up to the point that it was pretty evident that the Packers defense thew out their defensive plan right before kick off because many defensive players looked little confused as to what their new roles would be.

But the Lions offense was also left scrambling with quarterback Matthew Stafford doing his best impersonation of Aaron Rodgers, spreading out the ball to 8 different receivers for 262 yards and 1 touchdown, going 25 out of 40 but lacked the big play potential, something that’s almost unheard of since the Stafford-Johnson connection came into being.  Also without Johnson spreading out the defense, Reggie Bush found little room to run, only getting 44 yards on 13 attempts.

The Packers on the other hand were consistent but not flashy; Rodgers passed for 274 yards and one beautiful 83 yard bomb to James Jones while Eddie Lacy just missed out on his first 100 yard game of his career with 99 yards on 23 attempts.  On defense, the Packers managed to record 5 sacks, including 2 from Nick Perry, however Clay Matthews’ 1 sack also resulted in a Bennett fracture to his hand, which he still has to wear a cast for.

Overall, this game wasn’t the typical aerial bombing that has typically characterized Packers-Lions games recently, the Packers hadn’t really found their new balanced identity while the Lions were naturally adjusting to life without Calvin Johnson and it was the much maligned Mason Crosby whostole show, going 5 for 5 with a long completion of 52 yards.  In a game where only two touchdowns were scored by both teams, Crosby’s field goals were the difference.

The Present: The Lions are still perhaps the most inconsistent team in the NFL; they have the talent to easily win the NFC North but can’t get out of their own way when it comes to success.  Last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have taken over the Lions as the most mismanaged franchise in the NFL (owner siphoning funds for his “other” football team, the MRSA debacle, the mismanagement of Josh Freeman, “going for it” on knee downs etc.) the Lions gave up the opportunity to essentially win the NFC North crown and instead turned the ball over 5 times, including 4 interceptions by Matthew Stafford.  Guess who gave up the other turnover?  None other than former Packers return man Jeremy Ross who luckily didn’t cost his team any points when he fumbled the ball out of bounds.

6

October

Packers vs. Lions – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 22 DET 9

Ndamukong Suh tripping Aaron Rodgers

Ndamukong Suh tripping Aaron Rodgers

Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions:  2013 Game 4

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

 

GAME NOTES:

The Packers have have had two weeks to stew and get sick of answering questions about play-calling,  injuries, MM-AR relationship and more. They can take the field today and make all of that go away by playing like the better team.

Some great injury news. Morgan Burnett and Clay Matthews are in, Calvin Johnson is out!

Today’s captains for the Packers: - WR James Jones (offense), DL Ryan Pickett (defense) and LS Brett Goode (special teams).

 

Inactives for today:

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
29 CB Casey Hayward
44 RB James Starks
51 LB Nate Palmer
64 G/C Greg Van Roten
86 TE Brandon Bostick
93 DE Josh Boyd
98 DE C.J. Wilson

Detroit Lions
13 WR Nate Burleson
17 QB Kellen Moore
25 RB Mikel Leshoure
36 CB Jonte Green
64 G Leroy Harris
66 T LaAdrian Waddle
81 WR Calvin Johnson

———————————————

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Bye Week: Pretty much everybody that went into the bye week injured came back, with exception of Casey Hayward.   Our best week of practice.

Work during Bye Week: because of the rules, there isn’t much you can do with the players, so for them, it’s more a chance to go back home, spend time with family, etc. Gives us as a chance on the coaching staff to get ahead of the curve,

Burnett: Every unit has a key communicator. Morgan is the guy to make sure the front end is tied to the back end.  Safety position is like playing QB in a multi-scheme defense like ours.

Calvin Johnson: Big loss. He’someone you’re aware of in every formation. Thought they were doing a great job of playing him out of the slot position.

Reggie Bush: He’s a play maker running and catching the football. Perimeter screens, middle screens, they’re doing a great job with him. Stafford and Bush really compliment each other.

Stafford: Look at his numbers. People tend to overlook him a little. Schematically, he challenges defenses as much as anybody. Very well coached.

4

October

Packers Periscope: Eyeing the Enemy (Lions)

The bye has come and gone already, which means the Green Bay Packers have to gear up for a brutal 13-game stretch to close out the regular season.

The Packers needed the off week to regroup from the team’s deflating 34-30 loss in Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals as well as to get key players healthy.

Eddie Lacy, Clay Matthews, James Starks and Jermichael Finley missed either the entire game or a decent amount of it with an injury.  Matthews is saying he is ready to go and both Lacy and Finley have been cleared to play coming off of concussions.  Starks has already been ruled out.

They’re coming back at the perfect time for the Packers as game one of this marathon finish is Green Bay’s first NFC North opponent of the year, the Detroit Lions.   Last week, the Lions defeated the previously undefeated Chicago Bears 40-32 at Ford Field to move to 3-1 which gives them the tiebreaker (for now) over Chicago for first place in the NFC North.

The last time we met

The Packers defeated the Lions for the 22nd consecutive time at Lambeau Field last December, winning the game 27-20.   The game was tied going into the fourth quarter but the Packers were able to pull away putting the team one win away from an eventual NFC North title.

Aaron Rodgers threw for only 170 yards and his sole touchdown of the game was on the ground (and his career long of 27 yards), but Green Bay got some (literally) big help from its defense after defensive end Mike Daniels scooped up a Matthew Stafford fumble and then ran more than half the length of the field giving the Packers an early 14-0 lead that Detroit never recovered from.

Calvin Johnson chewed up the Green Bay defense for 110 yards but was kept out of the end zone and Matthew Stafford threw for 264 yards. It was a classic “bend but don’t break” game for the Packers defense as they forced the fumble from Stafford as well as an interception.

This week in Detroit

The Packers obviously know Detroit well, but this a much different and arguably much better Lions team than the one Green Bay swept last season.

4

October

Packers vs. Lions Week 5 Game Predictions from AllGreenBayPackers.com

GAME PREDICTIONS
Week 5: Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions
Name Record To-Date This Week’s Pick Score Prediction
Kris Burke 1-2 Detroit Lions 41-38
 Someone has to be the black sheep of the group. The Packers defense has had a lot of trouble stopping that one weapon everyone knows they have to stop and I right now have zero confidence in Dom Capers’ group to get it done against both Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson. Hopefully they prove me wrong.
“Jersey” Al Bracco 1-2 Green Bay Packers 31-30
My record matches the Packers, which tells you I have a hard time picking against them. I came very close here, as I feel like the Lions are finally playing to their talent level. However, the Packers will pull this one out with, yes, a game-winning TD drive by Aaron Rodgers.
Adam Czech 2-1 Green Bay Packers 31-26
My wife is due to give birth to our first child on Saturday. That means the Packers will win for sure, right?
Marques Eversoll 2-1 Green Bay Packers 34-24
The Lions have enough offensive talent (Bush, Johnson, Bell) to frustrate the Packers defense. But fortunately for the Packers, I don’t see how Detroit’s cornerbacks will adequately match up with Green Bay’s offensive weapons. This could be a big day for Randall Cobb. And Jordy Nelson. And maybe James Jones and Jermichael Finley, too. Packers get a much-needed win.
Thomas Hobbes 1-2 Green Bay Packers 34-27
I’m not predicting a complete points-fest, but don’t expect this to be a defensive battle either.  I think the Lions have the same sort of vibe with the Packers as the Packers have right now with the 49ers, which is no matter what we do, we just can’t beat the Packers at home.  Add to that a overall more healthy team and one that typically doesn’t lose coming out of the bye and the Packers get back to .500 with this one.
Cory Jennerjohn 2-1 Green Bay Packers 34-28