1

February

Cory’s Corner: Helping Rodgers should be Packers’ priority

Aaron Rodgers needs to be surrounded with weapons and protection.

Aaron Rodgers needs to be surrounded with weapons and protection.

Super Bowl XLVIII is a collision course of two different team-building philosophies.

In 2012, the Broncos paid 36-year-old Peyton Manning, the owner of four neck surgeries, a five-year $96 million contract to take them back to the promised land. Many saw it as a surprise because nobody knew how Manning would respond to contact and if his arm strength would return.

The Seahawks, on the other hand, decided to spread out most of its resources. Sidney Rice ($8.5M), Russell Okung ($7.06M) and Marshawn Lynch ($7M) are the three highest-paid players on the team. But that doesn’t mean Seattle doesn’t spend money. The Seahawks were the second-highest payroll in the NFL this year with over $103M in salaries.

But the difference is at the quarterback position. Russell Wilson is the 44th-highest paid player on the Seahawks, making just $526,217 this year. Obviously that number is going to skyrocket when he’s a free agent in 2016, but until then Seattle is going to ride the wave of an efficient and cheap quarterback while they fill holes on the rest of their team.

Which is exactly how the 49ers have approached their quarterback position. Colin Kaepernick is the 26th-highest paid player on the roster with a salary of $740,844. San Francisco will have some difficult choices to make when he’s a free agent in 2015.

But it speaks to an interesting philosophy. The quarterback is and always be the most important player on a football team. However, if a team can strike oil in the draft with a rookie that doesn’t make a flurry of mistakes while adjusting quickly to the faster NFL game, it definitely behooves them to go with the unproven rookie.

The 49ers and Seahawks have been playing with house money ever since Wilson and Kaepernick became household names.

The Broncos meanwhile are going all-in for a potential Super Bowl streak with Manning. But in order to do so, they have left gaping holes in the secondary and on the offensive line but Manning has been able to overcome those.

After showing Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews the money last April, the Packers have to decide where their priorities lie. Jordy Nelson becomes a free agent in 2015, which will limit money spent on expiring contracts this spring.

19

January

2013 NFL Playoffs Predictions, Conference Championships: AllGreenBayPackers.com

GAME PREDICTIONS
2013 NFL Playoffs: Conference Championships
Name Straight Up Against the Spread
New England Patriots at Denver Broncos (-5.5)
Kris Burke Broncos Patriots
“Jersey” Al Bracco Patriots Patriots
Adam Czech Patriots Patriots
Marques Eversoll Broncos Patriots
Thomas Hobbes Broncos Patriots
Cory Jennerjohn Broncos Broncos
Jason Perone Broncos Patriots
Chad Toporski Broncos Patriots
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-3.5)
Kris Burke Seahawks 49ers
“Jersey” Al Bracco Seahawks 49ers
Adam Czech 49ers 49ers
Marques Eversoll 49ers 49ers
Thomas Hobbes Seahawks 49ers
Cory Jennerjohn Seahawks Seahawks
Jason Perone 49ers 49ers
Chad Toporski Seahawks Seahawks
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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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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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8

January

Packers Outplayed, Not Outcoached in Loss to 49ers

Packers 49ers Wild Card KaepernickAs we become farther and farther removed from the Super Bowl XLV championship season, the microscope on Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy, and Dom Capers becomes increasingly magnified. And for a good reason. The Green Bay Packers have arguably the best quarterback in the league on their team, yet for the past three postseasons, they have come up far short of the Super Bowl. They haven’t even reached the NFC Conference Championship in that time span.

I even wrote a controversial post back in November about how Dom Capers is under-utilizing the talent on the defense, suggesting that he be let go in the offseason in favor of someone new. And many of us were carefully scrutinizing the defense during the Wild Card game against the San Francisco 49ers, since they had been the weak link in many of the postseason failures. Could Capers redeem himself and finally put a stop to Colin Kaepernick?

The strange thing about this game, though, was that blaming the coaches for the loss just didn’t seem right. In fact, it wouldn’t be right, because this game came down to missed opportunities by the Packers. There were a number of times where they could have taken control of the game, yet failed to.

We’ll start with the final drive by the 49ers, because it’s where the biggest and most costly miscues were made.

On 2nd-and-10 at the San Francisco 31-yard line, Micah Hyde makes the most heart-wrenching drop of the game, because that interception would have easily been taken to the house. The Packers would have been up 27-20, and the final four minutes would have unraveled much differently. But even on the ensuing 3rd-and-10, Kaepernick is able to escape the pocket and hit Michael Crabtree for 17 yards.

Then, with just over a minute left, the 49ers once again convert a 3rd-and-8 when Kaepernick escapes a Cover 0 blitz and runs for the first down. Jarrett Bush fails to contain, Ryan Pickett gets pushed to the inside, and Andy Mulumba just can’t run fast enough to save the play.

Those were the missed opportunities that stick in our head the most; however, there were others throughout the game that made a difference.

5

January

Packers vs. 49ers – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 20 SF 23

hands_to_faceGreen Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers:  2013 Wild Card Round

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

GAME NOTES:

This will be the second meeting this season and the fourth in the last 16 months between the clubs. The Packers visited San Francisco in Week 1 this season, a 34-28 win for the 49ers.

Including playoffs, the Packers have won 13 of the last 17 games against the 49ers, but San Francisco has emerged victorious in the last three.

It’s cold at Lambeau Field, with temperatures in the single digits and dropping. It’s possible the temperature will remain at or above zero through most of the game, with the brutal cold arriving later in the evening. Still, wind chills will be in the minus-20 range for most of the game and possibly getting worse.

 

As per team tradition, the Packers alternated game captains each week during the regular season. The team elects captains for the entire postseason.

Today’s captains for the Packers will be WR Jordy Nelson and QB Aaron Rodgers (offense), S Morgan Burnettand LB A.J. Hawk (defense), and K Mason Crosby and CB Jarrett Bush (special teams).

 

Inactives for today’s game:

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
13 WR Chris Harper
16 QB Scott Tolzien
20 CB Jumal Rolle
51 LB Nate Palmer
52 LB Clay Matthews
65 G Lane Taylor
73 C/G JC Tretter

San Francisco 49ers
22 CB Carlos Rogers
46 TE Derek Carrier
54 LB Nick Moody
62 G Ryan Seymour
71 DT Quinton Dial
78 G Joe Looney
84 WR Jon Baldwin

Startling lineup change: 26 CB Trumaine Brock starts for Rogers.

 

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Packers vs. 49ers – First Impressions – First Half:

Hope all the #Packers fans at Lambeau stay warm and BRING THE NOISE!!! #gopackgo

The Eagles’ loss to the Saints last night highlights the problems of poor run defenses. I’m hoping but not confident that the Packers can get back into their earlier season form in that regard.

Three runs to start the game, and a three-and-out. Message sent, but at what cost?

Sam Shields down… Not a good sign for the Packers.

Two fumbles so far, one by each team. Could see more of this with the weather, but who will take advantage of it?

It’s going to be a long day for the secondary, as Crabtree is wide open for the 4th down conversion.

4

January

Cory’s Corner: Vernon Davis is a nightmare for Packers

When the weather is under 40°, Vernon Davis has four catches for 70 yards and a touchdown.

When the weather is under 40°, Vernon Davis has four catches for 70 yards and a touchdown.

Packers fans have taken a beating by many folks leading up to Sunday’s playoff game.

The green and gold faction has been accused of being soft for the biblical cold that is supposed to engulf the upper Midwest like a tiny blanket that always keeps your feet freezing.

But thanks to sponsors that kicked in the final dough to mark the 320th straight sellout on Sunday while keeping the last time the Packers didn’t sell out was January 1983.

So, a blackout and empty frozen aluminum bleachers won’t be a problem.

But Vernon Davis will be.

At a chiseled 6-foot-3, 250 pounds, Davis might be the most impressive looking athlete on the field Sunday. He’s a huge target that can catch, run and he regularly makes safeties and cornerbacks fold up like lawn chairs. Think of Davis as a carbon copy of Packers’ tight end Jermichael Finley, except a little more sure handed and sure headed.

In a game in which it will feel like -17° at kickoff and drop 7° three hours later, the ball will contract which will make the vertical passing game much more difficult.

Enter Davis. He is second on the team in targets and he has set career highs with touchdowns (13) and yards per reception (16.3). The eighth year tight end has shown this year he’s a favorite of Colin Kaepernick when it matters because of his 52 grabs, 38 percent of them have been made on third down.

Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers wants to keep this worn and weary defense off the field as much as possible. And now with Michael Crabtree back from injury and playing well, the Packers won’t have the luxury of double teaming Davis because they also have to deal with quasi tight end Anquan Boldin as the other receiver.

Which means, a linebacker will more than likely be matched up with Davis for much of the game.  Which is music to San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh and Davis’ ears. He can run circles around just about any linebacker in the league — sans his own — and he can run over most defensive backs.

3

January

Packers vs. 49ers Wild Card Round Game Predictions from AllGreenBayPackers.com

GAME PREDICTIONS
Wild Card Round: Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers
Name Record To-Date This Week’s Pick Score Prediction
Kris Burke 9-7 Green Bay Packers 24-21
It’s going to be brutally cold. Advantage: Packers. It’ll probably be a little uglier than expected but 2013 can become an even more special season if the Packers can exact revenge upon San Francisco in the brutal cold. The legend that is Aaron Rodgers grows stronger after the win.
“Jersey” Al Bracco 8-8 Green Bay Packers 28-27
Packers must be deadly efficient in the red zone scoring TDs not field goals. Defense has to force a few Niner field goals in the red zone.
Adam Czech 10-6 San Francisco 49ers 33-24
How are the likes of Andy Mulumba and M.D. Jennings supposed to stop Vernon Davis, Frank Gore and a bruising 49ers offense? Like they have all season, the Packers will fight until the end, but I don’t see this one ending well for the (frozen) home team.
Marques Eversoll 9-7 Green Bay Packers 30-27
This is the fifth time that a team (Packers) will host a playoff game against a team (49ers) with at least four more regular-season wins. The home team (with the worse record) came out on the winning side the previous four times. Who am I to pick against history? The Packers win and live to see another week.
Thomas Hobbes 8-8 Green Bay Packers 27-21
For all that the Packers rely on Aaron Rodgers, this game really is about Eddie Lacy; the Packers have tried 3 times to beat the 49ers through the air without a real semblance of a running game and the 49ers defense is good enough to cover their secondary weakness when an offense is one dimensional.  If Lacy can keep the defense honest, the Packers will have a shot winning.
Cory Jennerjohn 12-4 San Francisco 49ers 31-23
The 49ers have the distinct advantage on the offensive and defensive line. And since this game will be played in biblical polar conditions, the big boys up front will win or lose the game. The biggest nightmare for Dom Capers should be Vernon Davis. He is healthy and virtually unguardable, especially with the linebackers the Packers have. The Packers must play mistake-free football to stay close.