22

September

Rant About the Packers Losing to the Bengals Here:

Are you still pissed off about the Packers losing to the Bengals?

I am. What a God-awful game.

I’m going to use this space to rant and rave like a lunatic. Please feel free to do the same in the comments.

Jeremy Ross
Why is he still on the team? Forget fumbling, he simply can’t catch a kick. And on the rare occasions when the ball doesn’t clank off his hands like a Mason Crosby field goal hitting the upright, he looks slower than me on returns.

Injuries
Mike McCarthy coddles these guys during training camp then wonders why half the team sits out with a sore hamstring once the real games actually start. Half the guys that miraculously don’t pull their hamstrings end up going down with some other type of injury. When is this organization going to admit that all of these injuries every single season aren’t just bad luck and change its philosophy about tackling in training came and at practice?

Mike McCarthy
So the Packers have the best quarterback in the NFL and on fourth-and-1 on the game’s biggest play you choose to run a midget rookie running back straight into the teeth of a ferocious defensive line. Even Aaron Rodgers thought you were out of your mind today and let you know about it right in front of the TV cameras, Mike.

Aaron Rodgers
Can we get a fourth quarter comeback at some point in your career, Aaron? Please?

David Bakhtiari
If one of your coaches ever asks you to cut block again, David, punch him in the face. In addition to giving up the batted pass on the last play, the guy you were supposed to be blocking, DE Michael Johnson, finished with seven tackles, one sack and four QB hurries.

Officials
Another Packers player leaves with a concussion after getting drilled in the head on a play where no flag is thrown. Ryan Taylor gets punched in the junk and is flagged for retaliating. The Packers need to sign Steve Austin so he can deliver a Stone Cold Stunner to the next ref that hoses the Packers by missing one of these calls.

20

December

Packers News: James Starks hopes to return for playoffs

Packers RB James Starks

Packers RB James Starks

When James Starks was hit in the knee by Vikings cornerback Josh Robinson late in the Packers’ Dec. 2 win at Lambeau Field, the thought was that his season would be over.

After all, the third-year running back has suffered multiple injuries dating back to his collegiate days at Buffalo. He exploded onto the scene late in the 2010 season and became the Packers’ lead back during their run to Super Bowl XLV.

His injury against the Vikings was thought to be a huge blow to a running game that had been struggling throughout the majority of the season.

But now, according to Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, it appears the Packers are aiming to bring Starks back for the playoffs.

“It’s a lot better,” Starks said. “Just how I was bent, when you look at it, it looked a lot worse. So I just thank God for being able to possibly come back and do well. So no real, serious bad injuries.”

With Starks out of the lineup the past couple weeks, the Packers have employed a three-man rotation at running back with Alex Green, DuJuan Harris and Ryan Grant. In two games without Starks, Green has carried the ball a team-high 26 times, Harris 12 and Grant nine.

Starks had taken over as the team’s primary ball carrier Nov. 11 against the Arizona Cardinals.

The running game has been steadily improving over the course of the season. The return of Starks to the backfield rotation would figure to boost the offense even more. Head coach Mike McCarthy said there was always hope Starks would return.

“Starks’ situation is to hopefully get him back for the playoffs. That was a decision that was made a few weeks ago.”

By no means is it a guarantee that Starks will return for the postseason, but today’s news is certainly a good sign for the Packers.

The Packers could be short-handed in the backfield on Sunday, as Green may be forced to sit out after suffering a concussion against the Bears. If Green is out, the Packers will rely on Harris, Grant and fullback John Kuhn to shoulder the load in the ground game.

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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.

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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9

December

Packers Rule Out James Starks and Desmond Bishop for Sunday’s Game With Raiders

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy announced on Friday that his team would be without the services of running back James Starks and linebacker Desmond Bishop on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. Neither practiced on Friday.

Starks, the Packers leading rusher this season with 565 yards, left his third straight game last Sunday in New York with an ankle injury. In his absence, the Packers will lean more on Ryan Grant with undrafted rookie free agent Brandon Saine seeing snaps on passing downs.

Bishop will miss his second straight game because of a calf strain he suffered in Detroit. Fellow inside linebacker A.J. Hawk is listed as questionable with the same injury, and rookie D.J. Smith would start along side Hawk if he can go on Sunday. Without Bishop and Hawk in the lineup last week, the Packers surrendered 100 rushing yards on just 20 carries to the Giants. The Raiders currently rank third in the NFL in rushing this season.

Josh Sitton will also miss his second straight game with a knee strain. A timetable for his return hasn’t been officially set, so it’s unclear when Sitton might return to the field. Evan Dietrich-Smith will make his second start in Sitton’s place.

Vic So’oto had a flair up on a back injury he suffered earlier this season and won’t play. Chad Clifton (hamstring) was also ruled out. Clifton hasn’t played since Week 5 in Atlanta and may not return during the regular season.

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Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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5

December

McCarthy: Quarless Out for Season, Optimistic on Woodson for Sunday

Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed on Monday that tight end Andrew Quarless would be lost for the rest of the season due to a “significant” knee injury. Quarless was hurt on a kickoff in the second half on a horrific looking sequence that saw the second-year tight end’s knee buckle underneath him. He’ll have surgery in the upcoming weeks.

The injury is a tough break for Quarless, who was coming into his own as the Packers primary run blocking tight end this season. Quarless was also becoming a core cog in the Packers special teams coverage. To replace him, the Packers will likely lean more on Tom Crabtree in blocking sets and also rookies D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor.

There was a silver lining Monday, as McCarthy said that the medical staff felt good about Charles Woodson’s status for this week after suffering a concussion in the second half Sunday. Woodson banged helmets with Ahmad Bradshaw in the flats and didn’t return. An independent neurologist will still have to evaluate and clear Woodson for practice and game participation, but that’s an encouraging sign for the Packers’ upcoming game with the Oakland Raiders this Sunday.

James Starks was the last of the injury news, and McCarthy said that his ankle injury wasn’t serious or long-term. They need to get him healthy—Starks has come out in three straight games—but he could still play on Sunday. McCarthy said they’ll make a decision on Starks by Wednesday.

Other highlights from McCarthy’s press conference:

  • Announcement of winning the division title was made on the plane ride home. McCarthy said no body even blinked when the announcement was made. Winning the division was just a step towards a bigger goal.
  • Packers had two plays on defense where there were communication breakdowns.
  • Cobb was instructed to stay in the end zone on final kickoff because McCarthy wanted all 58 seconds and to start at least at the 20-yard-line on the final drive.
  • The final drive was as clean a 2-minute drive as he’s been a part of. Aaron did a great job on route adjustments on both of the first two completions. Last drive was managed well, McCarthy said.
  • McCarthy said he’s comfortable playing Jordy Nelson on offense and special teams.
  • Money quote of the presser: “We’re keeping our foot on the gas, playing to win games.”
21

November

McCarthy: Packers RB James Starks Could Play Thursday

Packers RB James Starks may still be play Thursday in Detroit.

Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday that running back James Starks will likely practice Tuesday and could even play on Thursday in Detroit if all goes well during the week.

Starks was hurt during the fourth quarter of the Packers’ 35-26 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. He was bent back in the middle of a pile and needed assistance getting off the field. After the game, McCarthy called the injury a “knee sprain,” which hasn’t exactly been the kindest of injury assessments recently.

On Monday, the somber mood seemed to change. McCarthy called Starks “sore” but seemed optimistic that his second-year running back would test out the knee Tuesday at practice. If Starks passes the tests during the week, McCarthy said he’s “hopeful” that Starks would play against the Lions on Thanksgiving.

Other highlights from McCarthy’s Monday press conference:

  • Receiver Greg Jennings has a knee bruise but should practice on Tuesday. All indications pointed to him being ready for Thursday.
  • McCarthy didn’t seem worried about the schedule, and he also pointed out that Detroit is now on the exact same schedule. He feels good about where the Packers are at health-wise, too.
  • Tom Silverstein of the Journal Sentinel asked a good question about the Lions’ defensive line and their ability to win upfront against the Packers late last season. McCarthy said that the Lions’ play in the trenches was one of the major factors in their win in December of 2010. He also said that the Packers have focused mostly on tape from this season because the Lions have different players upfront, including rookie defensive tackle Nick Fairley.
  • McCarthy said that mental preparation was the most important part of this week. The Packers will spend limited time on the practice field to ensure the physical aspect of the game is intact. McCarthy said he won’t lose this game on Tuesday and Wednesday with grueling practices.
  • McCarthy wasn’t worried about the punt protection issues that Tampa Bay may have exposed on Sunday. He said the special teams had an up and down day but that everything was correctable.
  • He seemed very impressed with Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. He noted that the most important stat for a young quarterback is games played, and the experience is clearly starting to pay off. Stafford is having “a heck of a year.”