Archive for the ‘NFC North’ Category

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 18:  Play is stoped as Nick Collins #36 of the Green Bay Packers is injured against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers have released safety Nick Collins for injury reason.

The Packers weren’t comfortable with Collins returning after his neck injury that occurred last season, and doubts have surrounded his ability to ever play the game again.

Collins’ agent confirmed that the Packers told Collins of his release by text messagethis morning.

He played in 102 games and had a key interception for a touchdown in the Packers’ Super Bowl win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2011.

Collins’ agent and Mike McCarthy said if Collins’ was their son, they would not him let him play football again. According to ESPN, McCarthy said the following at the NFL Meetings held last month:

That’s probably one of the worst parts of your job (as a coach), walking out on the field, looking over a player—especially when it didn’t look very serious, and then you get out there…I don’t want to be put in that position again. And this is not about me. I’m just talking about, if that was my son, If Nick was my son, I would not let him play.

Collins faces the same decision that Terrence Murphy did after he was released by the Packers in 2007. According to the same article referenced above, Collins, a father of four, said this about his injury status:

“When your kids grow up and they get into sports, you want to be there for them, cheering them on. And I’d rather do that rather than being in a wheelchair. I don’t want to be like that. I want to be there for my kids, my family.”

With the news of releasing Collins, the safety position is now a big need for the Packers in the draft this weekend. Could they take Harrison Smith out of Notre Dame or find a guy in the later rounds? Other possible options are Montana’s Trumaine Johnson, Oklahoma State’s Markelle Martin, South Carolina’s Antonio Allen, or Boise State’s George Iloka.


The Green Bay Packers are coming off a 15-1 season after which they fell short in the NFC Divisional Round, losing to the eventual World ChampionNew York Giants.

So what do the the Green Bay Packershave to do get back to the playoffs and another Super Bowl?

The Packers have 12 total draft picks, so they should have a good chance to reload and get back to the playoffs and beyond.

Green Bay’s needs include a pass-rushing linebacker, defensive lineman, cornerback, safety, quarterback, running back.

1st round: 

Jerel Worthy, DT, Michigan State: Ryan Pickett isn’t getting any younger, and ever since Cullen Jenkins departed the defensive line has struggled in getting to the quarterback.

Worthy is 6’2″, 308 pounds, All-American, had 10 tackles for a loss and helped lead Michigan State to the No. 1 rushing defense in the Big Ten. He had 11.5 sacks and 27.5 tackles for a loss over his career at MSU. Worthy is more likely to play end in a 3-4 than a nosetackle.

Nick Perry, OLB/DE, USC: Perry is 6’3″, and 271 pounds. He fits best as a 4-3 defensive end and a 3-4 outside linebacker. His strength is rushing the passer.

Shea McClellin, OLB, Boise State: McClellin is this year’s Brooks Reed, a player who rode a hot combine and soared up draft boards.

Boise head coach Chris Petersen on McClellin, “You know Shea McClellin’s a trained assassin on the football field. That guy’s been such an unbelievable player for a long time for us and completely and totally underrated, I think maybe, in the public’s eye. I don’t think so much in our opponents’ eyes, certainly not on our coaching staff. And, I just think that’s coming to light right now.” (

McClellin is 6’3″ and 260 lbs—undersized to play defensive end. When he gets in the backfield, he finishes plays and runs down the quarterback and would be a great complement to Clay Matthews.

He is explosive with a great motor, plays with hand on the ground and can stand up and rush the passer. (National Football Post).

Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame: With the Green Bay Packers releasing Collins this morning, this makes safety a bigger need.

Smith is 6’2″ and 213 pounds. He is athletic, smart, and has shown ability to step up in the run game as much as the pass game. He is also similar to Packers defenders, especially Charles Woodson, as they like to get up in the passer’s face a lot.

Courtney Upshaw, OLB, Alabama: At 6’2″ and 272 pounds, Upshaw comes from a great defense and is best when paired up with another outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. (

After the first round, the Packers might look into taking these players:

Possible centers:

Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin: Jeff Saturday is 36 years old, and would be great to help bring Konz up into the NFL after playing with Peyton Manning for his whole career and now Aaron Rodgers.

Konz is 6’5″ and 314 pounds but has some durability issues, suffering a blood clot, a dislocated and sprained ankle in his college career. He was once a possible first-round draft pick but should be selected in the second round.

David Molk, C, Michigan:Remington award winner for best center last season. Is 6’1″ and 298, did 41 reps on bench press at the Combine. Good speed, and a strong player. Could put some weight on. Solid in pass protecton, but needs work when setting in for bullrushes. Can be late in blitzes and needs work with technique. (

Gino Gradkowski, C, Delaware: He can play guard and center, and can learn from Jeff Saturday, while playing guard too until Saturday retires or leaves.

Possible running backs:

Chris Rainey, RB/WR, Florida: He is dynamic and can play two positions. Also incredibly fast—ran a 4.45 40-yard dash.

Chris Polk, Washington

Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati

Cyrus Gray, Texas A&M

Defensive Lineman:

Jared Crick, DE, Nebraska: Crick is 6’4 and 294 pounds. While he did get injured last season, he used to be a first-round prospect, and benefited greatly playing alongside Ndamakong Suh his junior year.

At 6-feet-4 1/4, he might not be able to hold a lot more weight, and a lot of teams project him more as a 4-3 guy who can move inside on third down, but he has some natural 3-4 skills, and is getting to play as such. – Len Pasquarelli

Billy Winn, DE, Boise State: Chad Rueter says he is athletic and is a five technique prospect. 6’4, and 294 pounds.

Mike Martin, DT, Michigan: At 6’1″, 306 lbs, he ran a 4.88 40-yard dash. He is strong, and racked up 88 tackles, 17.5 for a loss, and six sacks in his career at Michigan.

A sleeper at cornerback might be,

Josh Norman, CB, Coastal CarolinaA confident, hard worker. I interviewed him on my radio show, the Fan interference (@USFinterference), today and he showed that he will do what it takes to be the best.

He plays with a chip on his shoulder and compared himself to Deion Sanders. At 6′ and 197 pounds, he led the Big South in pass break-ups along with 62 total tackles, two for a loss, two forced fumbles, and a blocked kick.

He also set a school record at Coastal Carolina and conference records with 35 pass break-ups. He could get bigger, stronger and a bit faster, along with improving his technique.


Russell Wilson, Wisconsin or Kellen Moore, Boise State: Both need some development, but as seen from Rodgers and Matt Flynn, Mike McCarthy is a great quarterback developer.

Chad Reuter of has the Packers taking these players in this order:

Shea McClellin, Billy Winn, Dequan Menzie, FS, Alabama, Shaun Prater, CB, Iowa, Kyle Wilbur, OLB, Wake Forest, Tauren Poole, RB, Tennessee, David Molk, Patrick Witt, QB, Yale, Deangelo Tyson, DT, Georgia, Gino Gradkowski, Chris Owusu, WR, Stanford and Duke Ihenacho, SS, San Jose State.

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.

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.


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.


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.


 Aaron Rodgers has been elite this season.

Scott Boehm/Getty Images

Aaron Rodgers led the Green Bay Packers to another victory and had another monster day Sunday.

Rodgers has continued to show that he is an elite quarterback with his decision-making, playmaking and the leadership he has shown the Packers.

Here are five reasons why Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL right now:

No. 1: His Accuracy

Aaron Rodgers is one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the entire NFL. Rodgers has a 73.1 percent completion percentage through the first four games of the season.

That is the best in the entire NFL.

Rodgers doesn’t just throw to one or two guys. Sunday, Rodgers hit eight different receivers. He hit nine in each of the first two games and seven in Week 3.

No. 2: His Playmaking ability

Aaron Rodgers can make big plays out of nothing. A prime example is when the Green Bay Packers trailed Denver 3-0 late in the first quarter.

Rodgers nailed a 50-yard touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson that shifted the momentum. The Packers did not look back.

Look at these stats: Rodgers became the first NFL player ever to surpass 400 passing yards (408 total) while throwing four passing touchdowns and rushing for two more.

Don’t count out these stats either: he completed 76 percent of his passes, had a 134.5 passer rating and averaged a whopping 10.7 passing yards per completion.

Rodgers also gets things done when the Packers need them most. Rodgers and the Packers were 9-of-13 on third down and 5-of-6 in the red zone. That is efficiency at its finest.

On the season, Rodgers has 1,325 passing yards, a 12-2 touchdown-interception ratio and a 124.6 passer rating. He averages 331 passing yards a game.

That is an elite quarterback and the reason why Green Bay is tied atop the NFC North with the Detroit Lions.

No. 3: His Rushing Ability

Aaron Rodgers isn’t just a passer. Rodgers can run the ball, too. He showed that yesterday, with his two rushing touchdowns and nine carries for 36 yards.

But it’s not just about touchdowns. Rodgers can get it done when no receivers are open. His scrambling ability and mobility are partly why the Packers are 4-0.

When Rodgers can move outside the pocket, and avoid defenders, he has more time to find and hit his receivers for big plays.

In the last two years, Rodgers has rushed for over 300 yards. This year he has 53 yards and two touchdowns.

Rodgers will certainly need that mobility when the Packers play the Detroit Lions.

No. 4: His Clutch Performance

There may not be a more clutch quarterback than Aaron Rodgers right now in the NFL.

Rodgers is 32-20 in his career as the Packers quarterback in the regular season and 4-1 in the playoffs.

Rodgers and Green Bay have won their past ten games.

This season, Rodgers has showed why he can be clutch.

Against New Orleans in the season opener, Rodgers propelled Green Bay off to an early start, and they never gave up the lead.

Against Carolina, Green Bay was down 13-7 at halftime. They outscored the Panthers 24-10 in the second half.

Against Chicago in Week 3, Green Bay never trailed, but the Bears nearly came back. Rodgers put the team on his back and helped run out the clock late in the game.

Then, this last week against Denver, Rodgers shifted the momentum when the Packers trailed 3-0 late in the first quarter with his 50-yard touchdown pass. The Packers didn’t look back, but then when Denver pulled to within 21-17 late in the second quarter, Rodgers led another touchdown drive. In the second half, he put the game out of reach.

No. 5: He is Scary Good

Aaron Rodgers possesses a confidence in his arm that is why the Green Bay Packers are 4-0. Rodgers is cool and calm when he steps into the huddle and under center.

Rodgers wants to win and is driven to compete at the highest level every game.

He zips passes into his receivers, avoids sacks, thrives under pressure and is an accurate passer.

His decision-making and leadership are what the Packers need. Rodgers is not outspoken. He shows up to work and gets the job done.

Rodgers certainly isn’t going anywhere and will be in green and gold for a long 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.