4

November

Know Your Packers Enemy: Previewing Packers-Chargers With John Gennaro of Bolts From the Blue

In this week’s installment of “Know Your Packers Enemy,” I talked with John Gennaro, the managing editor of Bolts From the Blue. It’s hands down the best Chargers blog I found in my search and John does a fantastic job ruling over it. You can follow John and the blog on Twitter (@BFTB_Chargers) as well.

Enough with the intros, let’s talk some Packers-Chargers.

ZACH KRUSE: First things first. What’s the vibe around San Diego right now? The Chargers still find themselves atop of the AFC West at 4-3, but is this a dejected fan base after the OT loss? What about Norv Turner? Are you as down on him as the head coach moving forward in San Diego as some of the other Chargers fans I’ve talked with?

JOHN GENNARO: Yes, yes, yes. Not just the loss to the Chiefs, but the loss against the Jets has also left a bad taste in the mouths of Chargers fans. With no wins over teams with winning records, and the Chargers constantly playing against themselves (due to turnovers and penalties) as much as they’re playing against an opposing NFL team, it’s hard to imagine this team going anywhere.

I’ve jumped off the bandwagon that typically supports Norv, although I’m not ready to fire him just yet, for one reason. Norv is here to make sure that the offense and Philip Rivers plays well. Those things are not happening.
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ZK: I’d like to hear your take on Philip Rivers. Obviously, the numbers in 2011 are far off what we’ve seen from him during his career. What’s the issue? Is there an injury he’s covering up? I obviously haven’t watched Rivers at length like you have, but the tape I’ve seen from this season suggests a more labored motion than usual that could be hiding a deeper structural issue, possibly in the shoulder. That’s just my take. What’s yours?

JG: Football Outsiders did a great job of running through the theories (http://www.footballoutsiders.com/extra-points/2011/what-wrong-philip-rivers) as well as looking over the tape, and came to the same conclusion that everyone else has: We don’t know. It’s obvious that his footwork is messier than usual, but there’s no real reason why. He’s throwing off of his backfoot and falling away instead of stepping into his throws, but again this seems to be more by choice and panic than anything else. Outside of a possible personal problem (that I won’t speculate on), there’s no easy explanation as to why Rivers is playing so much worse than what we’ve come to expect from him.

2

November

McCarthy: Neal Could Practice Next Week, Clifton Still “Multiple Weeks Out”

In his Wednesday press conference, Packers coach Mike McCarthy gave reporters both good and bad news on the timeline for injured players Mike Neal and Chad Clifton.

McCarthy was optimistic that Neal could complete his rehabilitation this week and potentially return to the practice field next week. While Neal is still behind schedule on a knee injury he suffered in training camp, news of a return is a positive revelation. Some have speculated that Neal would be unable return in 2011.

Clifton’s timeline was a little less optimistic, as McCarthy said that his left tackle was still “multiple weeks” from completing his rehab. McCarthy didn’t sound like the IR was in the cards. Clifton hurt his hamstring in Week 5 against the Atlanta Falcons and has missed the past two games. Marshall Newhouse will again start for the Packers at left tackle against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

Other highlights from McCarthy’s press conference:

  • Watched parts of Monday’s Chargers-Chiefs game live, but fell asleep in the fourth quarter. He watched the full game on the coaches tape on Tuesday morning. McCarthy likes watching division games, especially the second meeting between two teams. You can learn a lot.
  • The Packers will practice again in full pads on Thursday. This week represents the Packers one and only week where they can practice in full pads twice, per the new CBA.
  • McCarthy said Aaron Rodgers is playing at an extremely high level right now. But like any player on the team, there’s always little things to improve on.
  • The best thing about the bye week was the ability to get healthy. The Packers now have a full week to practice with those players.
  • When asked about Jermichael Finley’s comments about living in Green Bay with no distractions, McCarthy responded by saying the city is a great place to live and work. He hopes Finley is in Green Bay for a long time because it’s a great environment for him.
  • Special teams and health have been the big issues holding Vic So’oto back. He’s progressing in his responsibilities as an outside linebacker. Still needs to be better on special teams to compete for a spot on the 46-man gameday roster.
  • McCarthy said you have to treat Chargers TE Antonio Gates as a receiver. He and Finley are similar players. Gates definitely has the ability to get separation.