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Packers defeat Cardinals in preseason home opener: Five storylines

The Green Bay Packers picked up their first win of the preseason Friday night, defeating the Arizona Cardinals 28-20 at Lambeau Field. There were plenty of individual winners and losers from the game, but here are five storylines to take from the Packers’ home preseason opener.

Chastin West: Worthy of a roster spot?

Entering the season, it was almost a guarantee that the Packers would keep five wide receivers. Chastin West is making the Packers’ brass think twice.

West hauled in five catches for 134 yards Friday night, including a 97-yard touchdown grab from Matt Flynn in the fourth quarter. It was just another chapter in what has been an impressive preseason showing from the first year receiver out of Fresno State, who now stands a chance at making the 53-man roster.

There is realistically no way West would stick on the Packers’ practice squad, as another team would give him a look on their roster, so the team will have a decision to make.

Should West stick, a player such as Quinn Johnson or one of Tom Crabtree/Ryan Taylor would have a much tougher time making the roster. While the Packers will be fine at wide receiver without West, he is turning into quite a talent the Packers could use down the road as emergency insurance (Donald Driver’s age, Jordy Nelson 2012 FA).

Defensive Line Wearing Thin; Raji moves outside

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August 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

First quarter news and notes from Packers-Browns matchup

The new kickoff rules certainly did not matter to rookie Randall Cobb, who returned two kicks in the opening quarter for 29 yards a piece. He showed no hesitation, hit the hole, and spun off a few tacklers to pick up extra yards. Fellow rookie Alex Green, who sat out tonight, is listed as the starting kick returner, but Cobb will give him a run for his money.

It was Frank Zombo, not Erik Walden, who started at right outside linebacker to begin the night.

Mike Neal showed great push and got down the line to make a shoestring tackle on running back Peyton Hillis on the Browns’ first offensive series. He looks small compared to Cullen Jenkins, but he makes his presence known.

Pat Lee and Jarrett Bush were both burnt badly on the Browns’ first possession. Lee failed to get his head around on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Colt McCoy to Josh Cribbs, while Bush bit on a playaction pass that allowed McCoy to pass for a first down.

Ryan Grant is listed as the starting running back in Green Bay, but James Starks looked excellent in his first quarter carries. He runs with North-South power but also has quick feet that allow him to make great cuts. He ran two times for 14 yards in the first quarter. Grant did not rush but caught one pass for five yards.

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August 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

A first look at the Packers first unofficial depth chart, with notes

The Green Bay Packers released their first unofficial depth chart of 2011 Tuesday, four days before their preseason opener against the Cleveland Browns.

With four preseason games and just under a month before Week 1, take this depth chart with a large grain of salt. Plenty will happen between now and Sept. 4, meaning plenty of names will be moved around.

Here is a look at the depth chart, via Packers.com:

OFFENSE

QB: Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn, Graham Harrell

RB: Ryan Grant, James Starks, Dimitri Nance, Alex Green/Brandon Saine

FB: John Kuhn, Quinn Johnson, Jon Hoese

WR1: Greg Jennings, James Jones, Randall Cobb, Brett Swain/Diondre Borel, Kerry Taylor

WR2: Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson, Chastin West, Tori Gurley/Antonio Robinson, Shaky Smithson

TE: Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless, Tom Crabtree, D.J. Williams/Ryan Taylor/Spencer Havner

LT: Chad Clifton, Marshall Newhouse, Theo Sherman

LG: Derek Sherrod, T.J. Lang, Adrian Battles

C: Scott Wells, Nick McDonald, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Sampson Genus

RG: Josh Sitton, Nick McDonald, Caleb Schlauderaff

RT: Bryan Bulaga, Chris Campbell, Ray Dominguez

DEFENSE

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August 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who’s in and who’s out: Packers projected 53-man roster, version 1.0

The NFL lockout still remains after the players opted not to vote on the owner’s proposed labor deal. However, that short window when it looked as though the 2011 season would be underway shortly has this author excited to begin breaking down the 53-man roster.

The Packers, who currently stand approximately $62,000 under the salary cap, are not expected to make any big splashes in free agency. However, the Packers kept three undrafted rookie free agents on their roster in 2010 (Sam Shields, Nick McDonald, Frank Zombo), so this projected 53-man surely could change once free agency gets underway.

Here is the first (of many) 53-man projections for the 2011 Packers:

QB (2): Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn

Why: Graham Harrell should be back in 2011 as an emergency quarterback, but the Packers have gone with two quarterbacks ever since Rodgers took over as the starter. Flynn is an above average backup who could have trade value next year.

RB (4): Ryan Grant, James Starks, Brandon Jackson, Alex Green

Why: Jump aboard the Brandon Jackson bandwagon. The Packers will have to take one less lineman (in this projection) to keep Jackson, but he’s worth it in the long run. Expect Grant to be the “starter” but to split carries with Starks.

FB (2): Korey Hall, Quinn Johnson

Why: John Kuhn was a great success story in 2010, but Hall’s ability on special teams and Johnson’s use in the run game helps them make the roster.

WR (5): Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, Randall Cobb, Brett Swain

Why: Jermichael Finley is basically a wide receiver, but Swain has earned a spot on the roster and will fill a depth void left by the departure of James Jones. Randall Cobb will be used all over the field.

TE (4): Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless, D.J. Williams, Tom Crabtree

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July 22, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

NFL Top 100 Players Review: Packers on the list

NFL.com polled players to rank the top 100 athletes in the game, and last week the final list was revealed. A league-high six Packers were ranked, so here’s the breakdown of each player and where they were voted.

99. Chad Clifton, LT: Two years ago many wondered whether Clifton had run his course in the NFL and was on his way out, but back-to-back stellar seasons proved his importance as Aaron Rodgers’ blindside protector. He was the sixth best tackle on the list and should have a year or two left playing at a high level.

96. Nick Collins, FS: One of the Packers’ biggest playmakers on defense was rewarded with a spot on the Top 100, and for good reason. With 17 interceptions and four touchdowns over the past three years, Collins has become one of the best coverage safeties in the league. Like Clifton, Collins was also ranked as the sixth best at his position.

81. B.J. Raji, NT:

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July 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Packers’ Greg Jennings to cameo on USA’s “Royal Pains”

The NFL Lockout may still be a week or so from coming to a close, but Green Bay Packers’ wide receiver Greg Jennings is already back to work. The Super Bowl champion will guest star on the USA television show “Royal Pains” tonight at 8:00pm Central. Jennings will play himself as a football coach in a football-themed episode.

USA premiered the third season of “Royal Pains” on June 29 to 5 million viewers. While that number is slightly lower than Jennings’ audience for Super Bowl XLV, 111 million viewers, his cameo is impressive, nonetheless.

This will not be Jennings’ first appearance on a television show. Last year, he appeared in “Criminal Minds” as a lab technician at a crime scene.

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July 6, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Four primetime games highlight Packers 2011 schedule

NFL schedules for the 2011 season were announced today, and the Super Bowl-champion Packers were awarded with four primetime games, including games on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Here’s a look at how the Packers’ 2011 schedule breaks down.

Week 1: Packers vs. Saints — The Super Bowl champions usually open up the NFL season each year, and this year is no different. This should be a game full of offense and scoring, with plenty of adrenaline going for both teams. The Saints underachieved last season, falling to the Seattle Seahawks in the wildcard round while trying to repeat as Super Bowl champs. Expect a tough game, but it’s hard to see the Packers losing on Opening Night at home. Prediction: Win

Week 2: Packers at Panthers — The Packers will open the road portion of their schedule in Carolina, where there is a good chance they will face quarterback Cam Newton, who is expected to be taken first overall by the Panthers. Just 2-14 last season, the Panthers have a lot of rebuilding to do and probably will not get it done between now and Week 2. Prediction: Win

Week 3: Packers at Bears — In a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship Game, the Bears will surely be seeking revenge after the Packers celebrated their trip to the Super Bowl on their own turf. After the Bears’ rise to success the NFL’s oldest rivalry is back in full swing, and this should be a game that is decided late in the fourth quarter. It’s nice that the Packers travel to Soldier Field early in the season, when weather will not have an effect on the game. Prediction: Loss

Week 4: Packers vs. Broncos: — Aaron Rodgers and the Packers should have a field day in their second home game of the season, facing a Broncos defense that ranked dead last in all of football a year ago. Kyle Orton should still be the starter this early in the season, but this author admittedly is hoping to see Tim Tebow under center. Either way, the Packers should cruise. Prediction: Win

Week 5: Packers at Falcons — After a heartbreaking overtime loss in the regular season, the Packers extracted their revenge with a 48-21 thrashing of the Falcons in the NFC divisional round. It’s always tough to beat Matt Ryan in the Georgia Dome, but the Packers had a few miscues in their regular season loss that may have changed the outcome of the game. Prediction: Loss

Week 6: Packers vs. Rams — The Packers will face another young quarterback, Sam Bradford, in Week 6, and they should move to 3-0 at home. The Rams missed the playoffs last season after falling to the Seahawks in the final game of the regular season. They are targeting a wide receiver early in the draft that could give Bradford some power on offense. Prediction: Win

Week 7: Packers at Vikings — The Packers’ second primetime game of the year, their only Monday night game of the year, will pin them against the Brett Favre-less Vikings (for now). Minnesota is still searching for answers at quarterback and have interest in Donovan McNabb, but the Packers should shut down the Minnesota defense, regardless of who is at quarterback. That being said, never underestimate rivalry games on national television. Prediction: Win

Week 8: Bye week — Fantasy owners, take note.

Week 9: Packers at Chargers — This could be the Packers’ toughest game on the schedule, so it’s great that it’s coming off a bye week. The Packers have had success in San Diego, most recently a 31-24 comeback win in 2007. The matchup between Rodgers and Phillip Rivers should be a fun one to watch. The Packers will have to bring their best stuff if they want a chance to win this one. Prediction: Win

Week 10: Packers vs. Vikings — The Packers had to hang on to beat the Vikings at home last year, 28-24, and this one should come down to the wire as well. With no Brett Favre leading the way, the Packers’ defense will need to bring the heat while Rodgers attempts to keep up his recent success against their rivals to the North. Prediction: Win

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Week 11: Packers vs. Buccaneers — The biggest surprise in the NFL last year, the Buccaneers are back on the national stage. A young core is headed by quarterback Josh Freeman and suddenly this game looks a lot more difficult than it did last season. No one can forget the Packers’ brutal loss in Tampa Bay two years ago to the then-winless Bucs, so hopefully 2011 is kinder. Prediction: Loss

Week 12: Packers at Lions — The Packers will play on Thanksgiving Day this season against an up-and-coming Lions’ team looking for an upset. Detroit always plays well on Turkey Day and this year should be no different. Rodgers was knocked out of last year’s 7-3 loss and will be looking for a little revenge. Prediction: Win

Week 13: Packers at Giants — Green Bay ruined the Giants’ playoff chances a year ago with a huge 45-10 win in Lambeau Field a year ago, so expect New York ready to go this time around. The weather should be chilly but the Packers have to hope they have the same luck in the New Meadowlands Stadium they did a year ago, when they shut out the Jets 9-0. Prediction: Win

Week 14: Packers vs. Raiders — Oakland will leave sunny California for what is sure to be a snowy Lambeau Field in this one, but no weather conditions should change the outcome of this one. Rodgers and the Packers have been excellent at home in December (6-1) and 2011 should be no different. Prediction: Win

Week 15: Packers at Chiefs — Arrowhead Stadium is one of the toughest places in the NFL to get a win, but the Packers will give it a shot when they head to Kansas City in Week 15. The Chiefs underperformed last season but have a young defense and are only going to get better under Todd Haley. Expect this one to be a defensive dogfight. Prediction: Win

Week 16: Packers vs. Bears — Merry Christmas! The Bears will travel to Lambeau Field on Christmas night for what is sure to be one of the most highly anticipated games of the year. Both teams should be in contention late in the season, and there’s a chance this game could decide the NFC North. The Bears will also be looking for a win after last year’s loss in Lambeau allowed the Packers into the playoffs and, well, we all know the rest. Prediction: Win

Week 17: Packers vs. Lions — The Packers finish the season with three of their last four games at home, and if history is any indicator they should be fine. The Packers closed the year with the Lions in 2007 and 2008, and won both handily. Then again, let’s hope the Packers have nothing to play for at this point and are resting starters for another long playoff run. Prediction: Win

Predicted record: 13-3

Notes

The Packers toughest stretch of the year happens early. Three of the first five opponents are vs. New Orleans, at Chicago, and at Atlanta, so the Packers will need to come out of the gates hot.

The easiest stretch of the season comes at the end of the season. The last quarter of the season includes vs. Oakland, at Kansas City, and vs. Detroit. If the Packers can give themselves room before this stretch they should be golden to finish the year.

For dates and times of each game, click here.

For comments from Mike McCarthy, click here.

April 19, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Packers Fall to Lions: Offense Disappears Post-Rodgers

When Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers came out of Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions late in the second quarter, everyone knew the offense would take a hit.

But that big of a hit?

In one of the more boring games of 2010 to date, infected by stagnant offenses run by back-up quarterbacks, the Packers failed to recover from the absence of Rodgers, who left with a concussion, and fell to the Lions 9-3, moving them that much further back in the playoff race.

Quarterback Matt Flynn, who had not thrown a meaningful pass since he took over for Rodgers in Week 4 of his rookie season two years ago, failed to move the ball on offense and finished with a disguising 258 yards of offense. Turnovers and, once again, lack of a ground game killed the offense and limited them to just three points, a far cry from the 25.3 points per game they were averaging coming in.

Flynn actually performed well considering he had no preparation for the game in terms of timing with the first team offense and he actually threw a couple nice balls to convert a couple of third downs, but his inexperience was evident with his lack of pocket presence, miscommunication on a crucial third down, and a terrible interception in the Lions’ endzone that took sure points off the board.

He finished with 177 yards on 15-of-26 pass attempts and also ran for 10 yards, but no one could have expected him to take the Packers on his back and lead them to victory.

Why?

Because the rest of the Packers’ offense decided to take the day off.

Even before Rodgers went out with his concussion, the offense was downright awful. Andrew Quarless fumbled inside Lions’ territory on a basic tackle, and Greg Jennings dropped a sure-fire touchdown pass which ended up being an interception for Detroit. Luckily the Lions failed to convert either turnovers into points, thanks to a fantastic performance from the defense, but the play from the Packers’ receivers early was sloppy, at best.

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March 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Packers Rout 49ers With Yet Another Offensive Outburst: Game Balls

Coming off a devastating loss to the Atlanta Falcons that could have made the its position in the playoffs a whole lot clearer, the Packers rebounded nicely in a 34-16 win over the San Francisco 49ers. Reminiscent of the Vikings game, the Packers’ offense started off slow but exploded over the next three quarters to put the game out of reach. Here are game balls to hand out from Sunday’s victory.

Aaron Rodgers: After a sluggish start to the season, Rodgers has picked things up and has thrown himself into the MVP race. He was excellent on Sunday, going 21-for-30 with 298 yards and three touchdowns. He also scrambled for 39 more yards on the ground and it marked the fifth straight game Rodgers has not thrown an interception. It makes it all that more impressive that Rodgers has put up these numbers with basically no running game, and Sunday’s win can be attributed to his impressive performance.

Greg Jennings: This is getting out of control. Jennings picks up his fourth straight game ball from me, finishing Sunday with six catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns. There is no hotter tandem in the NFL right now than Rodgers and Jennings, and he continues to put up big numbers in the absence of Jermichael Finley.

James Starks:

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March 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Packers Get Five Pro Bowl Bids; Rodgers Left Off

Five members of the Green Bay Packers have been selected for the 2011 NFL Pro Bowl in Hawaii. Outside linebacker Clay Matthews, cornerback Charles Woodson, and safety Nick Collins were selected as starters for the NFC, while wide receiver Greg Jennings and left tackle Chad Clifton will come off the bench as reserves.

The Packers also had five alternates selected, including first alternates Aaron Rodgers and cornerback Tramon Williams. Wide receiver Donald Driver, inside linebacker A.J. Hawk, right guard Josh Sitton, and defensive tackle B.J. Raji will also serve as alternates.

Here’s a breakdown of each player and how they earned their spot on the NFC roster.

Clay Matthews (starter): Early in the season Matthews looked like the frontrunner for Defensive Player of the Year with 11.5 sacks in his first nine games. While that pace has slowed, he still has 12.5 sacks on the season and has played a huge role in the Packers’ late playoff push. He is constantly garnering double teams on passing downs, freeing up lanes for other blitzers and has played well against the run as of late, showing he has more than one dimension in his game. He has forced two fumbles and intercepted a pass for a touchdown on the season as well, making him an easy selection for voters.

Charles Woodson (starter): For those who claim Woodson was voted solely on name recognition, take a closer look. Tramon Williams may be having a better season but Woodson is no slouch. He has recorded 86 tackles, forced five fumbles, intercepted two passes, and returned one for a touchdown on the year and is the emotional leader of a Packers defense that ranks second in points allowed and ninth in yards allowed. His value on the field goes far past numbers, making Woodson’s seventh Pro Bowl bid a worthy one.

Nick Collins (starter):

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March 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Packers throttle Falcons, move within one game of Super Bowl

The Packers saved its best performance of the season for the most important game Sunday night, throttling the Falcons 48-21 for a trip to Chicago for the NFC Championship Game. The offense turned the ball over on its first possession and then didn’t falter again, putting together seven scoring drives and not having to punt. The defense was just as good, settling down after allowing a touchdown drive the first time Matt Ryan and the Falcons touched the ball. Here are the game balls to hand out for the Packers’ enormous win over the Falcons.

Aaron Rodgers: For those critics who were still not convinced Rodgers had what it took to be an elite quarterback, Sunday night should pretty much put all of them to rest. Rodgers dissected the struggling Falcons’ defense all night, going 31-for-36 for 366 yards and three touchdowns (136.8 passer rating). He also ran in for another score from seven yards out to put the Packers up 35-14. Rodgers now has a career touchdown-to-interception ratio of 10:1, the best of any quarterback through their first three games ever and is heating up at the perfect time. There’s little debate that Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFC, and he’s one win away from heading to his first Super Bowl. Elite? Yes.

Tramon Williams:

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March 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Green Bay Packers’ End of the Year Grades: Offensive Skill

The Green Bay Packers are World Champs! 11 days later and it still sounds as amazing as it did when Ben Roethlisberger threw an incomplete pass on fourth down with under a minute to go. With the season over, it’s time to give out grades to the 53-man roster. Injured players will get their own section later, but for now it’s about the 53 players who suited up in Dallas (OK, only 45 suited up but you know what I mean). Here’s the Packers’ offense year in review.

QB- Aaron Rodgers: Many expected an MVP-type season out of Rodgers, but Packers’ fans will have no problem living with a Super Bowl-type season. The numbers weren’t always there for Rodgers, who missed a game and a half, but he was near impeccable in the playoffs and was named the Super Bowl MVP, a fitting end to a “belt” of a season. GRADE: A

QB- Matt Flynn: Many laughed when an unnamed NFC scout said Flynn was the back-up in football, and Flynn’s pre-season did little to help that case. But an incredible showing against New England on Monday night, 24-of-37, 251 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception, made everyone believers. If the Packers don’t trade him, they have a more than serviceable back-up should Rodgers miss any time in 2011. GRADE: B+

QB- Graham Harrell: Thankfully for Packers’ fans everywhere, we didn’t get to see what Harrell could do this season. He didn’t see any action this season. GRADE: INC

RB- James Starks:

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February 17, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Four Plays That Won Super Bowl XLV For the Packers

It’s day two of the Green Bay Packers’ reign as world champions and to most fans it feels just as good as it did last night. As it should have, the game came down to the final minutes and could have gone in either team’s favor. But as it usually is in close games, there were a handful of plays that went the Packers’ way which ultimately helped them take down the Steelers.

Here’s a look at five plays in which the ball bounced in Green Bay’s favor, helping them pick up their fourth Super Bowl title and 13th world championship.

1. Clay Matthews’ forced fumble on Rashard Mendenhall, recovered by Desmond Bishop

The set-up: 21-17 Packers, 4th quarter, 15:00 remaining, Steelers with the ball on the Packers’ 33

The breakdown: At this point in the game, the momentum had completely swung in the Steelers’ favor. The Packers had just punted after a three-and-out, and an 8-yard run by Mendenall to begin the drive had the Steelers looking at the go-ahead score. But on the second play of the drive, Mendenhall took a handoff and attempted to bounce outside, but was met by Matthews, who popped the ball free with a huge hit. Desmond Bishop recovered the fumble and the Packers scored on their next possession, an 8-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings.

2. Nick Collins’ interception returned for a touchdown

The set-up: 7-0 Packers, 1st quarter,  3:34 remaining, Steelers with the ball on their own 7

The breakdown: On the heels of a Jordy Nelson touchdown reception to get the scoring going, the Steelers found themselves backed up to the 7-yard line after an illegal block in the back call. On the first play of the drive, Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger looked for Mike Wallace on a deep fade down the left sideline. However, defensive lineman Howard Green had snuck into the backfield and hit Big Ben’s arm as soon as he released it, causing the ball to be severely underthrown. Waiting for the pass attempt was Nick Collins, who swooped in and caught the ball at the 37, dodging Steelers’ defenders all the way to the endzone. The play gave the Packers’ an early 14-0 lead that they were able to work with the remainder of the game. They never trailed.

3. Aaron Rodgers throws a 31-yard bullet to Greg Jennings

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February 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Packers Take Down Steelers 31-25 to Win Super Bowl XLV

The Vince Lombardi trophy is coming home.

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers fulfilled its season-long goals Sunday night by taking down the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in Super Bowl XLV.

The Packers jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead and led by as many as 18 in the first half, and managed to hang on in the second half despite injuries to key players to nab the franchise’s fourth Super Bowl and 13th World Championship.

Certainly more to come, but here are five quick game balls to hand out in the Packers’ monumental victory in Super Bowl XLV.

Aaron Rodgers: The Packers’ signal caller capped off one of the best post-seasons ever by dissecting the Steelers’ secondary all night long. Rodgers passed for 304 yards and three touchdowns and, most importantly, did not turn the ball over. He took sacks when he needed to instead of forcing anything and also converted key third downs late in the game. Rodgers’ numbers would have been even more impressive had it not been for four or five drops by Green Bay receivers. The Super Bowl MVP seems to have finally ended any negative comparisons to Brett Favre and is a bonafide star in the NFL. He will enter 2011 as arguably the game’s best quarterback.

Jordy Nelson: If anyone was wondering whether or not Nelson could get the job done if Donald Driver were to retire or James Jones left via free agency, those people are now silent. Nelson finished with nine catches for 140 yards, breaking the Packers’ team record for receiving yards, previously set by Max McGee’s 138 yards set in Super Bowl I. He scored the first touchdown of the game and made big catch after big catch, and he also picked up two MVP votes in the process. Nelson should enter 2011 as the Packers’ No. 2 receiver, regardless of what happens with Driver or Jones.

Greg Jennings:

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February 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Packers-Steelers Super Bowl XLV Preview: Wide receivers and tight ends

With just six days remaining until Super Bowl XLV, it’s time to start comparing both teams to see where advantage lie on the rosters. The Pittsburgh Steelers come into the Super Bowl after taking down the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets as the AFC’s No. 2 seed. They used a balanced attack on offense and a swarming defense to get where they are, as they look for their third Super Bowl title in the last six seasons under head coach Mike Tomlin.

Answering for the NFC are the Green Bay Packers, who enter the Super Bowl as the hotter of the two teams. Road wins over the Eagles, Falcons, and Bears as the No. 6 seed has proved they can play with anyone. That’s exactly what Mike McCarthy and the Packers will have to do when they face Pittsburgh. Just two players have Super Bowl experience, Charles Woodson and Ryan Pickett, while John Kuhn holds the lone S.B. ring, when he was a practice squad member with the Steelers back in 2005.

Here’s a comparison breakdown of each offensive position and which team will hold the edge come Super Bowl Sunday. Teams will either have a neutral edge, a slight edge, or a substantial edge.

Wide Receiver: Pittsburgh’s Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders and Antwaan Randle El vs. Green Bay’s Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones, and Jordy Nelson

While the Steelers may hold a slight advantage at quarterback Sunday, the guys catching the ball will have a substantial advantage when Green Bay has the ball on offense. As much of a storied career as Hines Ward has had, Greg Jennings comes into Sunday’s game as the best receiver on either team, and maybe the league. After catching just one ball for eight yards against the Eagles, Jennings has gone for 101 and 130 yards through the air the last two games. While he hasn’t found the endzone in the playoffs this year, his big play capability is undeniable.

Answering in the big play department will be Mike Wallace, who has exploded onto the scene for the Steelers. Wallace averaged a ridiculous 21 yards per catch in 2010 and had 26 catches of 20+ yards. To put that in perspective, that’s five more than Jennings had, who averaged 16.6 yards per catch.

Ward has been on the big stage before, picking up MVP honors in Super Bowl XL. Emmanuel Sanders has become a deep threat as well and Antwaan Randle El is versatile, but the quality and depth the Packers’ receivers have gives them a huge advantage. While Donald Driver has slowed some, James Jones and Jordy Nelson are both No. 2 receivers from a skill standpoint, meaning Aaron Rodgers will have plenty of open targets to throw at. Pittsburgh’s receivers aren’t bad in any sense, but the Packers’ receivers are tops in the league and playing very well right now.

Tight End: Pittsburgh’s Heath Miller vs. Green Bay’s Andrew Quarless

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February 9, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment