Archive for the ‘Clay Matthews’ Category

The NFL schedule has been released today and the NFL Draft is next week. There’s hardly a day that doesn’t involve some type of NFL news.

Here is the 2012 Green Bay Packers NFL schedule:

Week 1 vs. San Francisco, 3:15-a great offense vs. a great defense, but don’t count out the 49ers offense or Packers defense. Aaron Rodgers vs. Alex Smith, two first round picks that were selected in 2005. Clay Matthews vs. Patrick Willis. Great matchup in Week One.

Week 2 vs. Chicago Bears, Thursday, 7:20 NFL Network-two historics teams playing a rivalry game. Two offenses that should score a lot, Rodgers and Packers, and now Marshall reuniting with Jay Cutler.

Week 3 at Seattle, MNF at 7:30-Matt Flynn vs Aaron Rodgers. Seems like Seattle is a similar place for Green Bay quarterbacks, first Hasselbeck and now Flynn in Seattle.

Week 4 vs. New Orleans, 3:15-great quarterback matchup, Rodgers vs. Brees and rematch of great Week One game last week where Packers won 42-34.

Week 5 at Colts, noon-Rodgers vs. Luck

Week 6 at Houston, 7:20, SNF-should be a high scoring affair with two explosive offenses, and Clay Matthews plays against former college teammate Brian Cushing.

Week 7 at St. Louis, noon-interesting matchup, Rodgers vs. Bradford; can Bradford step out of a sophomore slump and injuries?

Week 8 vs. Jacksonville, noon-Rodgers vs. Gabbert; how will Gabbert fare in his second year in NFL?

Week 9 vs. Arizona, noon-wide receivers/cornerbacks match-ups catch my eye; Jennings, Nelson, Cobb vs. Patrick Peterson, and Larry Fitzgerald vs. Charles Woodson.

Week 10-BYE

Week 11 at Detroit, noon-Lions made the playoffs last year and will look to challenge for NFC North title. Packers won both meetings last year.

Week 12 at NY Giants, SNF, 7:20-Packers play at Meadowlands hoping to beat the Giants after they ousted them from playoffs last year.

Week 13 vs. Minnesota, noon-The Packers and Vikings play later in the season, always a tough game. Green Bay leads series 53-48-1.

Week 14 vs. Detroit, SNF, 7:20-Lions and Packers in primetime; should be an high scoring affair, remember the last game of last season, Green Bay winning 45-41 and a 1,000 yards of total offense combined.

Week 15 at Chicago, noon-could this match-up decide the NFC North title?

Week 16 vs. Tennessee, noon-former Packers quarterback Matt Hasselbeck plays his old team or will Jake Locker be the quarterback?

Week 17 at Minnesota, noon-finishing the season at the Vikings, an old rival, there is nothing better.

It’s a tough schedule, but with a good draft, re-signing Jermichael Finley and signing Jeff Saturday, the Packers should be back at the top in 2012.

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Stunned.

Lambeau Field went silent after the New York Giants knocked  off the No. 1 seed in the NFC and the defending Super Bowl champions.

The Green Bay Packers best season in franchise history ended Sunday on their own turf. The Packers, and their star quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, were exposed and beaten by the New York Giants, and their star quarterback, Eli Manning.

Manning played elite, Rodgers did not in this game.

Eli Manning was dominant from start to finish, passing for 330 yards and three touchdowns. It was the Giants second win in Green Bay in four years. Both wins in the playoffs.

Rodgers said after the loss, “We got beat by a team that played better tonight. We play to win championships. You win a championship and you’re kind of at the top of the mountain, and you forget kind of how bad this feeling is. We had a championship caliber regular season and didn’t play well today.”

Here are three reasons the Green Bay Packers exited the playoffs early:

1. Lack of defense

The Green Bay Packers allowed 420 yards of total offense. Eli Manning passed for 325 yards and three touchdowns.

The Packers couldn’t get any pressure on Manning and couldn’t force him to make mistakes. Manning’s only mistake was a interception by Morgan Burnett that the Packers offense failed to capitalize on when John Kuhn fumbled.

Brad Jones recorded their only sack on Manning. The Packers only hit Manning seven times.

The Packers lack of pass coverage hurt them. They allowed a hail mary before halftime that put New York up ten instead of three. The Packers secondary should have knocked the ball down.

The Packers only knocked the ball down five times in the game.

Green Bay’s defense kept making stops on first and second down, but couldn’t get stops on third down, allowing New York to convert eight third downs out of sixteen.

There has to be changes on the Packers defense to contend for a title next season.

2. Turnovers

The Green Bay Packers forced one turnover. They had forced 38 in the regular season.

They also had four turnovers on offense that were literally giant killers. The turnovers definitely swung the momentum.

Aaron Rodgers had not fumbled all season, and John Kuhn fumbled for the first time in his career. Ryan Grant fumbled when the Packers made a huge stop on defense that gave the Giants the ball back in the Packers red zone.

On all three of the Packers fumbles, it appeared they were gaining momentum to score.

Rodgers also threw his seventh interception of the season.

The Packers thrived on forcing turnovers, not making turnovers, and Sunday, it all changed that hurt them.

3. Lack of offense

The Green Bay Packers offense didn’t play like the Green Bay Packers offense. They literally dropped the ball.

The wide receivers dropped seven passes, Aaron Rodgers didn’t look himself, and turnovers killed their momentum.

Rodgers looked a little rusty, as if he hadn’t played a meaningful game in three weeks.

The running game never really got going. (Rodgers was the Packers leading rusher with seven carries for 66 yards).

Rodgers had a decent game passing, but threw several balls that were off the mark. Rodgers went 26 for 46 for 264 yards and two touchdowns and one interception.

Rodgers missed a wide open Greg Jennings in first quarter that would of put the Packers up 7-3, but instead Green Bay settled for a field goal.

Another key pass Rodgers missed was when Jermichael Finley was wide open. Rodgers missed Finley, as he was just a little too far out in front for him to make catch.

Donald Driver was the Packers most consistent receiver catching all three targets passed his way. Driver led the team in yards with 45 yards.

It will be a sobering offseason for the Green Bay Packers; one that will leave a bitter taste in the Packers players and coaches mouths and hungry again for next season.

127297039_crop_650x440The Green Bay Packers have been great to start the 2011 season.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers are off to a 4-0 start and tied atop the NFC North division with the Detroit Lions. Here are the winners and losers for the Green Bay Packers at the season’s quarter mark:

The Packers have been great so far this season as it is has been hard not to be impressed with the undefeated start for the team.

However, there has been some hiccups for the team. Injuries, and perhaps the lack of offseason workouts, hurt the defense so they could get the right chemistry.

Winners: 

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFLthis season.

Rodgers has a league-leading 73.1 completion percentage, 1,325 passing yards, a 12-2 touchdown-interception ratio and a 124.6 passer rating. Not to mention he averages 331 passing yards a game.

On Sunday he set a new NFL record, becoming the first quarterback to throw for 400 yards, pass for four touchdowns and rush for two more.

That’s incredible.

Rodgers has the playmaking mentality in him, along with his leadership and clutch performance.

Charles Woodson

Charles Woodson isn’t playing like he is 34 years old.

Yesterday, Woodson had an interception for a touchdown, along with four tackles and a pass defense.

This season, Woodson has played with an energy that won him the Defensive Player of the Year two years ago.

Woodson already has three interceptions, one touchdown, four pass defenses and 14 tackles on the year.

Green Bay Packers Wide Receivers

The Green Bay Packers wide receivers are about as good and young as any team in the NFL this season.

Just about everyone has caught passes from Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers hit nine in his first two games, seven two weeks ago and eight last Sunday.

Greg Jennings has been Rodgers go-to receiver. Jennings has 25 receptions for 366 yards and three touchdowns.

Jordy Nelson has caught 15 passes for 292 yards and three touchdowns.

James Jones has nine catches for 88 yards and a touchdown. Donald Drivers has eight grabs for 71 yards and a touchdown.

The youngster Randall Cobb has seven grabs for 148 yards and a touchdown.

Perhaps Rodgers biggest target, Jermichael Finley has 18 catches for 234 yards and three touchdowns. All of his touchdowns came against Chicago.

Green Bay Packers Rush Defense: 

The Green Bay Packers rush defense has been the most solid while the offense isn’t on the field.

They gave up their first 100-yard rushing game last week to theDenver Broncos, allowing 119 yards. In the previous three weeks, they gave up 81, 71 and 13 rushing yards.

On the season, they are giving up 77 yards per game on the ground and averaging 3.7 yards per rush to opposing running backs.

The Packers defense has also recorded seven sacks on the season.

Losers: 

Green Bay Packers Secondary: 

It was a bummer losing Nick Collins for the season due to a neck injury.

The Green Bay Packers secondary has been relatively weak this season, outside of Charles Woodson and Morgan Burnett.

They gave up 265 yards and 384 total yards yesterday. The defense had given up 403.3 yards in the first three games. The Packers rank 28th in the league in yards allowed.

Last year, the Packers gave up 320 yards in six of their first eight games of the season, they only allowed that once in their final eight games. (Green Bay Press Gazette).

Perhaps they start to defend the pass better as the season goes on.

To be honest, the Green Bay Packers linebackers haven’t been that bad. They are getting pressure and blitzing the quarterback, and are attacking the run, but perhaps they should help the secondary stop the pass in the future more.

This linebackers have combined for 4.5 sacks.

Desmond Bishop leads the team in tackles with 36 total tackles.

Clay Matthews is off to a slow start with 14 tackles and just one sack. Matthews has been solid in the pass rush, teams are just blocking him.

The Packers linebackers will only continue to get better. It just takes time.

Green Bay Packers Linebackers: 

To be honest, the Green Bay Packers linebackers haven’t been that bad. They are getting pressure and blitzing the quarterback, and are attacking the run, but perhaps they should help the secondary stop the pass in the future more.

This linebackers have combined for 4.5 sacks.

Desmond Bishop leads the team in tackles with 36 total tackles.

Clay Matthews is off to a slow start with 14 tackles and just one sack. Matthews has been solid in the pass rush, teams are just blocking him.

The Packers linebackers will only continue to get better. It just takes time.

The Green Bay Packers are 1-0 heading into the 0-1 Carolina Panthers, and there is high expectations in Green Bay, and hope in Carolina.

Here are five things to watch for in the matchup between the Packers and the Panthers:

The Panthers got a strong, 422 yard outing for Cam Newton, and a strong performance from Steve Smith. However, they lost Jon Beason for the season due to a torn Achilles tendon.

Meanwhile, the Packers offense clicked on all cylinders in their 42-34 rout of theSaints. The defense gave up a lot of points, and certainly will have people’s eyes on them to see if they can be dominant again like last year when they helped Aaron Rodgers win the Super Bowl.

1. Aaron Rodgers 

 The Green Bay Packers offense looked awfully good last Thursday night, especially Aaron Rodgers.  Rodgers threw three touchdowns in the first quarter that gave the Packers a 21-7 lead. The Packers wouldn’t trail in the game. Rodgers finished the game 27 for 35 for 312 yards, three touchdowns, and a 132.1 passer rating.

Rodgers hit nine different receivers. Could this be another special season for the Packers signal caller?

The key for Rodgers is to start fast and never look back again this week.

2. Which running back shines the most? 

In Week one against the Saint, James Starks outperformed Ryan Grant, who started the game. Starks had 12 carries for 57 yards, and a touchdown. Grant had nine carries for 40 yards.

Starks looked like he got bigger and stronger, and was the beast at running back for the Packers.

You can’t forget about John Kuhn, either. Kuhn completes the Packers three-headed running game.

Grant will probably start again this week, but there’s no question that there is running back controversy in Green Bay. However, it is better to have three solid running backs then no running game.

3. Stop Cam Newton

Cam Newton had 422 yards and three touchdowns last week. Two in the air, and the other on the ground.

Did anyone see that coming from the young, emerging star? Perhaps no one but Panther fans, or maybe not even them.

The key is to get pressure on Newton, who was sacked four times last week againstArizona. It will up to Ryan Pickett and B.J. Raji, and the linebackers pass rush they bring. I am sure Dom Capers will bring plenty of it during the course of the game.

4. Will Tramon Williams play?

Tramon Williams bruised his shoulder last week against the Saints, and did not practice on Wednesday or Friday.

Williams is a big time playmaker in the secondary and is key to the Packers pass defense.

If Williams cannot go, Sam Shields will likely start, and that wouldn’t be bad either.

5. Can Clay Matthews get back into beast mode?

After a monstrous rookie and 2010 seasons, Clay Matthews had a rather quiet game. Matthews did have four tackles, and hit the quarterback twice in the game.

The Saints didn’t let Matthews get to Brees. Let’s hope Matthew can get to Newton a few times on Sunday.

ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Greg Jennings #85 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates scoring a fourth quarter touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers  during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Rob Carr/G

 The Green Bay Packers are favorites once again in 2011. Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers got hot at the end of last season, and entered the playoffs as a sixth seed, and won every game to their Super Bowl victory on the road. Momentum was one of the keys to their franchises’ fourth Super Bowl title. This year, the
team is back and poised to repeat their season from a year ago.

The Green Bay Packers managed to win the Super Bowl win fifteen players on injured reserve last year. Nick Barnett, Morgan Burnett, Jermichael Finely, Ryan Grant, Brad Jones, Mike Neal, Brady Poppinga, and Mark
Tauscher were a few they didn’t have during their playoff run to a title in Dallas.

This year, however, will Cullen Jenkins, who signed with the Eagles, Nick Barnett, who signed with the Bills, Daryn Colledge, who signed with the Cardinals, Mark Tauscher, and Brady Poppinga got released. These are some big losses, but the team is
still deep with plenty of talent and potential.

On offense, under center is Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers, who is poised to lead this team back to the promised land.

On the offensive line, at center will be Scott Wells, who is a proven veteran. Chad Clifton, who is 35 year old, will line up at left tackle. Josh Sitton, who is highly underrated, and has been great in Green and Gold, will line up at left guard once again. Bryan Bulaga, a second year player, had a great rookie campaign, as he stepped in when Tauscher was hurt, will be the right tackle. Right guard is the biggest the question mark right now. T.J. Lang, will get reps there, and 2011 first round draft pick Derek Sherrod has been as well during Training Camp. Sherrod is being groomed to take over for Clifton. Marshall Newhouse is also impressing at right guard at Training Camp.

In the backfield, it’s crowded. Ryan Grant returns from injury, James Starks is coming off a great postseason, in which he had 315 yards, a touchdown, and no fumbles. Starks added some weight this offseason, but McCarthy think Starks will be just as explosive. Then, there’s third round draft pick Alex Green out of Hawaii. Don’t forget about John Kuhn, famous for, “KUHHHHHNNNN,” chants. Kuhn is a third down and goalline back that is the Packers secret weapon.

The wide receivers are stacked again. Greg Jennings put the team on his back last season as the number one receiver and a great Super Bowl with two touchdowns. Donald Driver is getting old, but man can he run, get open. Just
remember the 49ers game last season. James Jones was resigned to a three year contract. Jones is fast, but drops a few balls now and then. Jordy Nelson is coming off a Super Bowl performance for the ages. Could of been the MVP with a 140 yards and touchdown. Don’t forget Randall Cobb, the second round pick, who is crazy fast, and great athlete. Expect Shaky Smithson to see some time, he has been tearing it up at Training Camp.

The tight ends are as deep as ever. Jermichael Finley, Rodgers’ favorite target before he got injured last year, is back and ready. Did anyone see the video where he caught two balls at once at Training Camp? Andrew Quarless and Tom Crabtree filled in nicely for Finley when he got injured. The team lost Donald Lee, but has a great athlete, D.J. Williams, a steal in the draft, coming
in.

The Packers defense was tremendous last season. It was led by cornerback Charles Woodson, linebacker Clay Matthews, and Cullen Jenkins. This year will be a little different, but expect the same hard hitting, pass
deflecting, ball hawking defensive playmakers.

The defensive line is definitely the biggest question mark going into the season. Losing Cullen Jenkins is huge, but Mike Neal and C.J. Wilson will look to forget the loss of Jenkins. Big guys in the middle, Ryan Pickett and B.J. “The Freezer, ” Raji are poised to wreak havoc on quarterbacks and stop the run. Raji had a huge postseason, most notably against the Bears in the NFC Championship game.

The linebackers are a huge position in Dom Capers 3-4 scheme. Clay Matthews wreaks havoc on the outside, with Desmond Bishop, and A.J. Hawk in the middle making tackle after tackle, and the occasional sack and interception. The biggest question might be, who is going to line up outside on the other side opposite Matthews? Will it be Frank Zombo or Brad Jones be that guy? Both have plenty of promise, and can handle the task. Zombo had a huge sack in the Super Bowl.

In the secondary, the Packers are abundant with talent. The cornerbacks are one of the best in the NFL. Charles Woodson returns, as does Tramon Williams, who made a name for himself in the postseason last year. Williams’ two interceptions in the first half against Atlanta, and the second was for a touchdown swung the momentum in the Packers favor. Williams’ also had an interception that clinched the Super Bowl for the Packers. Don’t forget about second year player, Sam Shields either now. Shields’ interception against the Bears in the NFC Championship game off Caleb Hanie clinched the Packers ticket
to Dallas.

The safeties are led by Nick Collins. A beast that makes huge tackles, and intercepts huge passes. Just remember his first quarter pick for a touchdown in the Super Bowl. Morgan Burnett returns for the Packers from injury, and he started 2010 as the starter. Jarrett Bush, Pat Lee, and Charlie Peprah also are huge contributors in the secondary.

On special teams, the Packers have struggled in recent years. Mason Crosby has missed kicks he wasn’t supposed to, the punting game struggled to pin teams back in their own territory, the special teams struggled with tackling and giving up huge kick and punt returns, and not getting anything out of their own kick and punt returns. Well, the tide may have shifted now.

One of the biggest free agency acquisitions the Packers made was resigning kicker Mason Crosby. Crosby and punter Tim Masthay had great seasons a year ago.Both will only get better, and more confident after last year.

In the return game, a young man named Randall Cobb is welcomed to the Packers. Cobb, a second round draft pick, is versatile, athletic, and dynamic. Cobb has electric speed, has breakaway moves that will be huge. Cobb will most likely return kicks. Look for Jordy Nelson to return some kicks and punts, as he did last year. Undrafted free agent Shaky Smithson has been impressing with his speed at Packer training camp, and looks to get looks in the return game as well.

I have to admit when Brett Favre left the Green Bay Packers, I didn’t know what to say. The Packers had a young team, but TedThompson and Mike McCarthy had a plan to develop them into a Super Bowl winning team. I couldn’t be more happier today.

Take McCarthy’s job. It is tough. McCarthy had to deal with injuries last year, the suspension of Johnny Jolly, and the task of maintaining a championship caliber team.

The chemistry that is between Rodgers and McCarthy reminds me of when Favre was with Mike Holmgren back in the day. McCarthy can make those questionable play calls, but heck every coach does.

McCarthy knows how to discipline a team, and make the locker room player friendly. Just take last year. Fifteen season ending injuries, and Rodgers’ two concussions were prime examples. McCarthy was without Rodgers’ against New England, and nearly beat the Patriots with Matt Flynn. This was no doubt a turning point for the Packers season. It made the players believers out of themselves, that they can overcome anything and win.

Green Bay has the perfect fit at head coach. Mike McCarthy is here to stay.

Aaron Rodgers is hands down the most important player to the Packers. Rodgers’ broke out last year with a huge year despite losing his favorite target in Jermichael Finley. Rodgers’ can spread the field, vertically and horizontally. Undoubtedly, an elite quarterback in the NFL. Rodgers’ arm is accurate, can throw the deep ball, short routes, screen passes, and anything that McCarthy calls from the playbook. Rodgers’ also is great at picking up audibles at the line of scrimmage.

Rodgers’ 2010 stats were: 3,922 passing yards, 28 to 11 interceptions, completed 65.7% of his passes, and a 101.2 passer rating. rating. Rodgers’ postseason stats were even better. Rodgers had 1, 094 passing yards, nine touchdowns to two interceptions, completed 68.2% of his passes, and had a 109.8 passer rating.

Don’t forget about Rodgers’ legs either. Rodgers’ is mobile, moves around the pocket, and can hurry down the field for big yardage.Rodgers’ had 356 rushing yards last season, averaged 5.6 yards a carry, and scored four touchdowns. Only lost one fumble.

One thing Rodgers’ must learn is slide feet first, not head first. It will only be for Rodgers’ benefit and health.