11

January

2013 NFL Playoffs Predictions, Divisional Round: AllGreenBayPackers.com

GAME PREDICTIONS
2013 NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round
Name Straight Up Against the Spread
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (-7.5)
Kris Burke Seahawks Saints
“Jersey” Al Bracco Seahawks Seahawks
Adam Czech Seachickens Saints
Marques Eversoll Seahawks Saints
Thomas Hobbes Seahawks Seahawks
Cory Jennerjohn Seahawks Saints
Jason Perone Seahawks Saints
Chad Toporski Seahawks Saints
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots (-7)
Kris Burke Patriots Colts
“Jersey” Al Bracco Colts Colts
Adam Czech Colts Colts
Marques Eversoll Colts Colts
Thomas Hobbes Colts Colts
Cory Jennerjohn Patriots Patriots
Jason Perone Patriots Colts
Chad Toporski Colts Colts
San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers (+1)
Kris Burke 49ers 49ers
“Jersey” Al Bracco 49ers 49ers
Adam Czech 49ers 49ers
Marques Eversoll 49ers 49ers
Thomas Hobbes Panthers Panthers
Cory Jennerjohn 49ers 49ers
Jason Perone Panthers Panthers
Chad Toporski Panthers Panthers
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (-9)
Kris Burke Broncos Chargers
“Jersey” Al Bracco Broncos Chargers
Adam Czech Broncos Chargers
Marques Eversoll Broncos Chargers
Thomas Hobbes Broncos Broncos
Cory Jennerjohn Broncos Chargers
Jason Perone Broncos Broncos
Chad Toporski Broncos Chargers
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Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski

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12

August

Diondre Borel and the Battle to be the Packers 6th Wide Receiver

Diondre Borel

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Diondre Borel runs the ball against the San Diego Chargers during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Thursday. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Diondre Borel had an opportunity to separate himself from the competition in the race for the sixth wide receiver spot on the Packers’ roster Thursday night.

Did he do it? Well, not really. But he also didn’t take a major step backwards. Like the whole battle-for-the-sixth-receiver-spot storyline has been thus far, Borel was just kind of meh against the Chargers. Not terrible, but far from great.

Things didn’t start well for Borel. He got drilled by San Diego’s Demorrio Williams on a first quarter kickoff and fumbled. Coughing the ball up is the surest way to find yourself in Mike McCarthy’s doghouse and off the team, so Borel put himself in a deep hole right off the bat.

Borel returned three more kicks/punts on Thursday, including a 34-yard return late in the first half where he flashed some of the speed and burst that make him an intriguing prospect.

Borel finished with three catches for 13 yards and was targeted five times by Graham Harrell. Those numbers are nothing to brag about, but he didn’t have any drops and he definitely didn’t look overmatched.

Like he showed on the 34-yard return, Borel looked quick after he caught the ball — as quick as someone can look when they’re immediately being swarmed by defenders, anyway.

I’d like to see what Borel could do one-on-one against a would-be tackler. If McCarthy really wants to see what Borel is made of, perhaps he’ll call a quick screen in the next exhibition game to see if Borel can get by the first defender and make something happen in the open field.

Maybe Borel would have gotten that chance later in the game, but he exited early with a groin injury, joining a long list of injured Packers on the sidelines.

To make the WR situation even more muddled, Dale Moss looked good and had a nice catch on the sideline.

The race for the sixth WR position is no more clear now than it was before training camp. Nobody has staked an early claim to the slot based on performance, and Borel didn’t exactly seize his opportunity on Thursday.

10

August

Game Balls and Lame Calls: Chargers 21, Packers 13

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers and the first team offense had a rough day in limited action against the Chargers

First things first: the sky is NOT falling.

Despite losing 21-13 last night to the San Diego Chargers in their exhibition opener, the Green Bay Packers are not doomed.  Some fans have a tendency to put way too much stock in the first preseason game.

Still there was some good, some not-so-good and some downright awful things to take from the defeat.

Here’s a look at some of the good and the bad.

Game Balls

Nick Perry

A nonsense excessive celebration penalty notwithstanding, Perry made a great first impression right out of the blocks with a sack on Philip Rivers.  As the game went on, Perry showed flashes of ability in the pass rush that the Packers hoped he had when they selected him the first round of the draft.

In the words of Mike McCarthy, it’s definitely an experience Perry can grow from. While it’s silly to draw conclusions from one preseason game, Perry has gotten off to a solid start in his rookie season.

Davon House

What else is there to say? The man made plays.  House showed hustle and playmaking ability in breaking up multiple passes.  Wherever the ball was, #31 seemed to be close by.  He definitely outperformed Jarrett Bush, who basically was named the starter for the game by default.

Secondary depth was a big concern for the Packers going into training camp.  House injured his shoulder during the game, and if he’s out for any extended period of time the Packers may be in trouble.  Jarrett Bush looked sloppy and House probably would get the start ahead of him should the season start tomorrow.  Here’s hoping House is back in the house very soon.

Tramon Williams

Speaking of Williams, he flashed some of his 2010 form in his limited playing time against the Chargers.  Again, we shouldn’t draw too many conclusions from a single preseason game but when Williams jumped the route to intercept Philip Rivers, it looked like Williams was back in top form after a shoulder injury nagged him for most of 2011.

If Williams returns to form, that is only going to help the Packers’ secondary as Charles Woodson moves to safety and with an unproven (yet promising) House next to him (assuming his shoulder injury is not severe)

10

August

Packers vs. Chargers – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: SD 21 GB 13

Green Bay Packers vs. San Diego Chargers:

Here is my unfitered game day blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

 

Inactive for Packers today:

It’s a long list:

S/CB Charles Woodson, RB Du’ane Bennett, RB Brandon Saine, FB Jon Hoese, CB Sam Shields, TE Eric Lair, OLB Frank Zombo, T Mike McCabe (injured reserve), G Jaymes Brooks (PUP), G Ray Dominguez, T Marshall Newhouse, DT Mike Daniels, T Derek Sherrod, TE Andrew Quarless, TE Ryan Taylor, WR Greg Jennings, WR Tori Gurley and TE Jermichael Finley.

 

Notes: Shannon Eastin makes history this evening as the first female to ever referee an NFL game. Eastin will be the line judge.

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Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

 

Anxious?: Our players and coaches look forward to the first game, get out of installation mode.

First-string plans: First offense will go 20-25 plays, complete the first quarter. Probably the same for the defense.

Main goal: You want to make sure you come out of this game with information on each and every player.

First NFL game for MM (vs San Diego): I remember it very clearly – it was exciting. Hopefully we’ll compete in tonight’s contest better than we did that particular night. (SD won 17-3)

Overall camp eval:  It’s been a good camp. We were able to really have quality practice every single day. I feel like pawsitives have come out of every practice.

Hope for tonight: The thing I’m looking for tonight is to finish every play and play with a lot of energy.

Graham Harrell: Like anyone, he’s competing for a spot on the 53.

Alex Green: Alex will play in the secind quarter. We’ll be smart with the number of plays he plays in.

Herb Taylor: A great opportunity for Herb – we have to be smart and be sure he’s ready and prepared. We’re confident in his ability – this is a big night for him.

 

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Packers vs. Chargers – First Impressions – First Half:

Nick Perry gets his first NFL sack on the second play of the game and then gets called for a ridiculous unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Perry did nothing to warrant that.

5

April

Looking at the Packers’ 2012 Preseason Schedule

Last preseason @ Indianapolis

The Packers preseason opponents were announced by the team yesterday afternoon. The schedule for the 2012 preseason is as follows:

Aug. 9 @ San Diego Chargers (ESPN)

Aug. 16-19 Cleveland Browns

Aug. 23-26 @ Cincinnati Bengals

Aug. 30-31 Kansas City Chiefs

After being snubbed by the NFL and missing out on the season opener against the New York Giants, the Packers get the first primetime, national televised preseason game outside of the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 5.

Due to it being a national televised game, the Chargers game is the only game that has a specific date and time. The dates and times for the other games will be revealed in the coming weeks.

When the team released the information, some players took to twitter to express their frustration with having to play a West Coast preseason game. Josh Sitton tweeted, “that’s terrible. West coast preseason games suck. Especially early [in] pre season!” When asked why, Sitton claimed the long flight and time change.

While the players may not be happy, it presents the Packers a chance to open their training camp before most other teams. According to NFL rules, teams can begin their camps 15 days prior to their first preseason game. The Arizona Cardinals and the New Orleans Saints will be the first to open because their Aug. 5 meeting.

The Packers camp should open on July 25 or 26. The players are likely to disappointed about starting camp earlier than most teams, but it gives the team that much more time to work before the season.

When glancing at the list of opponents, not much jumps off the screen. The Packers have played mostly AFC opponents in preseason, but usually included at least one NFC team. This year it’s all AFC opponents.

Also interesting to note is that each opponent has a stable quarterback situation. It doesn’t mean much, but the Packers defense should get some looks at established quarterbacks.

The skeleton of the NFL’s preseason being released is just a teaser for the full NFL schedule expected to be released sometime in the next two weeks. At that point, the road to Super Bowl XLVII will be properly mapped out.

 

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Michael is a sports writer currently attending Seattle University. You can follow Michael on Twitter .

8

November

Week 10 Packers Stock Report: Rodgers, Bishop and a Deer Hunting Dilemma

Last weekend was the opening of deer hunting season and I had a dilemma: Do I skip the Packers vs. Chargers game to maximize my chances to bagging the 30-point buck, or do I leave the deer stand early to watch the game? I chose to watch the game (there’s always next weekend to chase the 30-pointer) and I was pleased with my decision.

What a game.

Also, by watching the game, I decreased my chances of sounding like an idiot in this week’s stock report.

Rising

Aaron Rodgers
Besides missing an open Greg Jennings on a key drive late in the fourth quarter, Rodgers was nearly flawless once again on Sunday.

Desmond Bishop
He had all he could do to keep up with Antonio Gates, but Bishop kept getting after it. He tipped a pass that led to Peprah’s first interception, sacked Philip Rivers and was the only Packers defender that looked explosive throughout the game.

Packers WRs
I can’t decide which WRs should go in the rising category and which belong in the steady, so lets just label them all risers. This group of WRs gives you a little bit of everything and is rolling right now.

Steady

Mason Crosby
A 47-yard field goal in the rain? No problem for Crosby. I should probably put Crosby in the rising category, but I don’t like kickers to get too high or too low. I want them to be steady. This is my way of keeping Crosby consistent and grounded. I’m sure he appreciates it.

James Starks
Starks hasn’t grabbed hold of the No. 1 running back spot, but there’s little doubt who the Packers are going to give the ball to when they need to run it down the stretch. Starks is hitting holes harder than he did earlier this season and more often than not gets the Packers the tough yards they need.

Falling

BJ Raji
I don’t remember Raji’s name being called at all on Sunday as the Chargers offensive line blew the Packers off the line early and stonewalled the pass rush. Somebody needs to step up, win their one-on-one matchup and give the Packers pass rush a boost. Didn’t the Packers move Raji to DE this season so he could get more pressures on the QB? So far, it’s not working. Perhaps (if) when Mike Neal returns, Raji will get freed up to make some more plays, but he needs to play better in the meantime.

7

November

Packers vs. Chargers: 5 Observations from Green Bay’s 45-38 Win over San Diego

Photo: Packers.com

Aaron Rodgers threw for four scores, Tramon Williams and Charlie Peprah each had interception returns for touchdowns, and the defense held off a frenzied fourth quarter rally as the Green Bay Packers beat the San Diego Chargers, 45-38, on Sunday to remain the NFL’s lone undefeated team at 8-0.

Here are five observations from the game:

1. Defensive issues

There was optimism that the Packers defense might rebound after a bye week in which some key players were getting healthy and an adjustment or two could be made. That wishful thinking was dashed in San Diego with another disappointing performance. Philip Rivers threw for 385 yards and four touchdowns, and there were times in which the Chargers marched up and down the field seemingly at will. San Diego finished with 460 total yards on offense. So what are the issues? Or maybe the better question, what isn’t an issue? The Packers had breakdowns in both man and zone coverages on Sunday. Tramon Williams, Charles Woodson and Sam Shields were beaten several times, and each is having a considerably worse season than they did a year ago. No one in the front seven can consistently pressure the quarterback either. That’s a frightening combination for any pass defense. And don’t forget, the tackling has been atrocious through eight games. Mike Tolbert ran through several more arm tackles on Sunday.

At this point, it might be time to start considering that the Packers 2011 defense might be more like their ’09 version than ’10—at least in terms of yards and points. Even slightly above average offenses are going to move the football against the Packers. But you can’t overlook the fact that the defense got two stops—a punt and a pick—once the Chargers pulled with seven late in the fourth quarter. They have pushed “bend but don’t break” to its very limits, and to this point, the Packers defense hasn’t completely broken down. Turnovers have held this group’s head above water, as the Packers extended their NFL lead in interceptions with three more on Sunday. The defense gives plenty but they also take it away. That’s likely how the rest of the 2011 will go for the Packers on that side of the ball.

2. The Packers’ great equalizer