Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers football

In a chat with ESPN’s Rob Demovsky this week, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers talked about getting together with Brett Favre and Bart Starr to talk football at some type of event.

Since we’re always one step ahead of ESPN here at, we’ve learned that Rodgers, Favre and Starr actually did get together last week. However, it wasn’t to talk about any old event, it was to plan Favre’s return to Lambeau Field at halftime of the Nov. 9 game against the Bears.

The trio met at Chico’s near tiny Ringle, Wisconsin. Chico’s is a bar/restaurant in the middle of a corn field that serves amazing chimichangas. has obtained an exclusive transcript of this historical meeting. Here it is:

Starr and Favre arrive at the same time, Starr in his 1996 Buick and Favre on his riding lawn mower. They shake hands, walk across the gravel parking lot, enter Chico’s, and find a quiet table near the bar.

Starr: I almost didn’t recognize you with that giant beard and those two guns you’re carrying around.

Starr grips Favre’s biceps, which are exposed because Favre can’t find any shirts with sleeves in Mississippi that fit over his arms.

Favre: Thanks, Bart. I’m coming back to Lambeau this year and I need to be in good shape so I can fight all the fans.

Starr: Oh Brett. C’mon. No fans are going to try and fight you. They’ll be glad to have you back.

Favre: It’s all part of my plan to not get booed.

Starr: Your plan?

Favre: I don’t want to get booed, Bart. I need to be loved. To ensure Packers fans won’t boo me, I’m going to challenge them all to a fight.

Starr: Oh fer chirssakes…..

Favre: Yeah, before I even make it out of the tunnel, I’m going to get on the mic, tell everyone in the stadium that their mother is a Vikings fan, and dare them all to come out to the 50 yard line and fight me to the death.

Starr: So you’re going to have a death match with 80,000 Packers fans at Lambeau Field?

Favre: Goddang right. And I’m going to go undefeated, 80,000 – 0. Have you seen these things?

Favre kisses his biceps and does a Hulk Hogan pose.

Starr: At least 79,999 people will forfeit because they’re scared of your creepy old man beard.

Aaron Rodgers finally arrives. He walks through the door texting with girlfriend Olivia Munn and sits down without bothering to look up.

Favre: Oh, look who decided to show up.

Starr: Son, no cell phones allowed at this Table of Greatness.

Rodgers doesn’t hear any of this because he’s still texting Olivia and giggling the way people giggle when they’re madly and annoyingly in love. Favre takes Rodgers’ phone and stuffs it into his beard.

Rodgers: Hey, a-hole! Gimme my phone back!

Favre: Get it yourself, Aaron.

Favre mockingly sticks out his chin and invites Rodgers to reach into his beard and grab his phone.

Rodgers: I’m not sticking my hand in that thing. I have no idea where that beard has been or what else you’ve stuffed in there.

Starr: Both of you shut up. Let’s get down to business. We’re here to figure out what we’re doing for Favre’s welcome back to Lambeau ceremony.

Favre: I already told you, I’m fighting all the fans before they can boo me.

Rodgers: No you’re not. Then there won’t be any fans left to cheer me on as I lead the Packers to another victory. Because unlike you two has-beens, I still play in the NFL and provide the people of Green Bay with football victories every Sunday.

Favre: Lately I’ve been seeing more TV commercials from you than victories, Rodgers.

Starr:  Yeah, and tabloid photos of you and Olivia sucking face, but kudos to you for at least keeping your hands in an appropriate position.

Rodgers: Both of you shut up! I’d like to see you two geezers try and win a Super Bowl with M.D. Jennings, Erik Walden and the corpse of B.J. Raji playing defense.

Favre: So you’re saying you want me to make a comeback?

Starr slams his head on the table in frustration.

Rodgers: I ran you out of town once and I would have no problem doing it again now that you look like a jacked-up hick Santa Claus.

The waitress comes over to take food orders.

Favre: I’ll have the chimichanga.

Starr: Same here.

Rodgers: Could I get a tofu salad with organic lettuce, a non-GMO, free-range, sustainably-raised grilled chicken breast and a side of steamed broccoli? Oh, and can you also bring me a pile of freshly picked vegetables and fruits so I can use my own juicer to make myself a tasty beverage?

Favre: What the hell is wrong with you?

Starr: Get the chimmi instead of all that crap. C’mon Rodgers, be a man for a change!

Rodgers: Unlike when you two played back in the 1920s, today’s NFL players eat right and take care of their bodies.

Favre: How’d all that eating right and taking care of your body work out for your collar bone last year?

Starr: Back in my day, we’d pound a couple of Leinenkugel’s and eat a steak dinner at halftime. Then we’d go back out there, play with a concussion and six broken ribs, and win games like the Ice Bowl and the first two Super Bowls.

Favre: Yeah, I played with a broken thumb and they once had to amputate my ankle at halftime. Never missed a snap. Broken collar bone. Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeiiiit.

Rodgers: That’s it, I’m leaving! I don’t have to put up with this abuse. Besides, I already have my own Welcome Back Favre ceremony planned. It involves a famous Favre (s)text message, the Lambeau jumbotron and a highlight package I spliced together called “No. 4’s greatest interceptions of all time that broke the hearts of Packers fans everywhere.”

Suddenly the juke box starts playing “Bad to the Bone.” All eyes in the bar turn toward a tall, slender, silver-haired man who just walked through the door.

Starr: Oh. My. God. THAT’S TED THOMPSON’S MUSIC!!!!!!

Ted Thompson: Hello, fellas.

Favre: You here to run me out of Ringle like you ran me out of Green Bay, Thompson?

Rodgers: What are you doing here, Ted? Go sign some free agents to help our sorry defense and cover up for your terrible draft choices.

Thompson: I can see this might take a while. I better order myself a strong drink.

Thompson orders a 20 oz. bottle of water instead of the usual 16 oz.

Thompson: I’m sick of you three bickering. Favre is coming back to Lambeau this year whether you all like it or not.

Favre: Of course I am. And I’m going to fight all the fans. Should I tell you my plan?

Thompson: The only thing you’ll be fighting is tears because every fan in the stadium is going to be cheering like crazy when we’re done.

Rodgers: Yeah, they’ll be cheering for me because I’ll be leading the Packers to another Super Bowl. And I’m on TV. And I have my own radio show to, you know, to connect with the fans and stuff.

Starr: Back in my day, we listened to music on the radio, not prima donna quarterbacks.

Thompson: Here’s the plan: Everyone loves you, Bart, because you’re old and fans in Green Bay value the Ice Bowl victory more than our country’s victory in World War II. So you’ll go out first.

Starr: Ah, the Ice Bowl. It was so cold that day that you could literally see your breath —

Thompson cuts off Starr before he can tell the same story for the 1,000th time.

Thompson: Next, Rodgers will come out.

Rodgers: Fans will be happy to see me because we’ll be beating the Bears 107-8 and I’ll have 13 touchdowns.

Thompson: Finally, you’ll come out of the tunnel, Brett. There will be a few boos. I won’t lie to you, there’s plenty of people that still hate you.

Favre: Yeah, so I’m going to fight them. All of them. To the death. They can’t boo me once they’ve been flattened by these cannons.

Favre gets up, ties some tassels around his biceps, paints his face, and starts running around the bar like the Ultimate Warrior.

Thompson: No, Brett. You’re not going to fight the fans. You’re going to buy them a beer.

Favre: Buy them a beer?

Thompson: Yup. From the 50 yard line, you’re going to pull out your wallet and buy everyone in the stadium a beer. Because even though there may be some hard feelings and ill-will, buying someone a beer helps to officially bury the hatchet and make things ok again.

Rodgers: Instead of a beer, can mine be a protein shake?

Thompson: Shut up, Rodgers. After everyone has their beer in hand, we’ll ask them to raise their glasses and toast No. 4 for all the memories — the good ones, the great ones and all the memories in-between.

All four men are now sobbing uncontrollably. Favre and Rodgers embrace. Thompson and Favre shake hands and apologize for all the hard feelings. Starr lets all three wear his Super Bowl I and II rings. Finally, all four interlock in a somewhat awkward, but still moving, two-minute long group hug.

Thompson: Oh, but make sure the beer you buy everyone is a Spotted Cow. If you buy them some crappy light beer, they’ll probably start booing you again.

Favre: Noted. Thanks guys. I love you.

Rodgers: I love you too, Brett.

Thompson: I love you too, No. 4.

Starr: I love you also, Favre. Did I ever tell you guys about how cold it was at the Ice Bowl? It was so cold………

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • Should we be worried that first-round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix wasn’t running with the No. 1 defense during minicamp? I don’t know. I supposed you’d like your first-round pick to swoop in and entrench himself as a starter right away, but the Packers haven’t even put on pads yet. If running with the No. 1 D during offseason workouts helps Micah Hyde learn the safety position quicker, then I’m good with it. I’m not ready to pass judgment on Clinton-Dix yet.
  • Is anyone else getting the sense that Scott Tolzien may have the upper hand over Matt Flynn for the Packers backup QB job? I’m not reading into any quotes and I definitely don’t have any inside info, but I just have a feeling that Tolzein is going to win the job. His arm strength surprised me last season and with a full year under his belt learning the offense, this might be Tolzien’s big chance.
  • Unlike the nonsense I wrote to start this post, John Rehor writes a serious piece about Rodgers, Favre and Starr connecting for a meeting over at
  • Michelle at Bleacher Report counts down the Packers biggest offseason question marks. All of her question marks are valid, but to me, the biggest question remains “Can this team stay healthy for a change?”
  • I”ve enjoyed the “(insert number) of days to football” series over at Lombardi Ave. This week, they profiled No. 72 Dick “the Bruiser” Afflis. I also profiled Dick the Bruiser for a couple of years ago.
  • I love Eddie Lacy’s attitude. “I’ll run the ball as if it’s my last play,” he says. Man, I can’t wait for football to start and Lacy to start trucking guys.

Non Packers links and other Nonsense

  • I hate soccer. But you know what I hate more? People like this who also hate soccer, but feel the need to lecture everyone else about how they should also hate soccer; all while using tired, cliched, dated anti-soccer rhetoric that annoyingly tries to draw parallels between soccer and where we’re at as a society.
  • Not sure how I missed this when it was first published, but make sure you read this story on a rookie New York City firefighter.
  • Hopefully no Packers first-round picks never have this reaction after being drafted.
  • If any of you reading this live in the Twin Cities and are looking for something to do today, come to the Minnesota Food Truck Fair in Uptown Minneapolis, come say hi to me at the Corn Growers tent, and I’ll give you some free “a-maize-ing” corn ice cream.

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers football

After the Packers lost to the 49ers (again) in the playoffs, I wrote this about another “ho-hum” playoff performance from Aaron Rodgers.

I was critical of Rodgers’ recent playoff games, while at the same time trying my best to make clear that Rodgers is the best quarterback in the league and shouldn’t be “blamed” for recent playoff defeats.

However, I thought it was fair to take a look at Rodgers in recent playoff games and at least offer some insight into how his play factored into the Packers coming up short. Of course, this set off a firestorm in our comments section. I even waded into the discussion and got all fired up at a couple of commenters.

Now that we’re almost six months removed from the playoff defeat, let’s re-examine my Rodgers-in-recent-postseasons post and see if we feel any differently about it. Do I regret anything I wrote? Do any commenters who accused me of trolling feel differently?

Here’s an excerpt from the post:

And I do feel guilty for writing a post that is critical of Rodgers when there are all kinds of other reasons why the Packers season has ended early three years in a row.

But ever since going on a tear and winning the Super Bowl in 2010, Rodgers hasn’t had another standout postseason performance — the kind of game that cements legacies and delivers memorable playoff wins that are talked about for the next 30 years.

I stand behind this. We haven’t seen a HOLY CRAP! playoff game from Rodgers since the Super Bowl run and the Packers have only won one postseason game since. I think what I wrote was a fair representation of how important Rodgers is to the team and how he’s been good, not great, in recent postseasons.

Now here’s a reader comment on the post from “Sportsfan1”:

This article headline feels like “click-bait” and the article itself tries to take advantage of Packers fans’ emotions after a loss, while presenting odd statistics and voicing discreet statements of disdain. Adam said he isn’t blaming Rodgers for the loss, yet the statement that Rodgers “needs to make plays on third down and deliver touchdowns when in the red zone late in close games” is a reproachable statement; one that places the loss squarely on Rodgers’ shoulders.

The comment from “Sportsfan1” went on much longer and accused me of more trolling. I still disagree with “Sportsfan1” click-bait accusations and generally wonder how someone who actually read my post could accuse me of blaming Rodgers for the loss when I clearly stated that I didn’t blame Rodgers. But I think the issue “Sportsfan1” and other commenters had with the post is its general tone.

Perhaps I could have done a better job of lightening the mood of the post a little. I was not blaming Rodgers for any of the Packers playoff losses. I stated that clearly in the post, but the overall tone of the post had kind of an ominous feel. Even though I never wrote it, I could see how a casual reader might get the sense that I was pinning everything on the quarterback.

If I had a chance to re-write the post, I’d probably re-do the last paragraph:

Until Rodgers plays a $110 million game in the postseason instead of just making a few $110 million plays, the Packers will likely keep coming up short when it matters most.

Yeah, that’s kind of snarky. It’s still not blaming Rodgers, not even close, but it’s kind of a douchey thing to say and probably left readers with a bad taste in their mouth, leading to the misguided “Why does Adam hate Rodgers and blame the QB for the Packers playoff losses” sentiment.

Since I’m not a very emotional person, I can get too locked in on facts and statistics when making an argument and be oblivious to how the tone of what I write could cause people to completely misconstrue what I’m trying to say. In other words, sometimes I don’t realize when I’m being a dick.

Here’s another reader comment from “Razer:”

People are irked by the “ho hum” inference in the headline and the $110 million reference. Maybe we should focus on the fact that the Packers got the most out a injury depleted, rag-tag group of gutsy, blue collar players. It is the story of this team, this season and this game. All the rest is noise.

That’s accurate. But I feel we’re pretty level-headed here at when it comes to balancing criticism with giving praise and credit when credit is due.

In my opinion, a deeper and a more critical look at Rodgers was warranted after another early playoff exit.

Bottom line: If I could go back in time to Jan. 5, back to sitting in front of my laptop and feeling depressed after another Packers playoff loss, would I write the Rodgers-in-the-posteseason post again?


However, I might change the title and try to lighten the tone a little. I stand behind my overall point, but the execution was a little “ho-hum.”

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • After a Packers minicamp practice this week, defensive lineman Mike Daniels went off about toughness on the Packers’ defense. He even said he might start beating up his teammates if he didn’t think they were being tough enough. Daniels’ comments are good for a laugh, but hopefully he doesn’t actually think this kind of stuff will actually make the Packers tougher. Toughness on defense comes from sound tackling, winning one-on-one matchups, being faster than the other guy, having a scheme that confuses the offense, and standing firm in the red zone. Chest-thumping, talking big and acting tough does not equate to actual toughness. But it is entertaining and fun to read about, so good on Daniels for adding some color to the normally mundane string of locker room quotes.
  • Jonathan Franklin’s career is over because of a neck injury and it makes me sad. He seemed like a good kid. Here’s a list of all the Packers players who have had their careers ended (or almost ended) by serious neck injuries. There’s nine players in all. That’s crazy. Perhaps Packers players are more susceptible to neck injuries because they’re always staring up at the championship banners hanging at Lambeau Field.
  • I was really upset that I couldn’t co-host this week’s No Huddle Radio podcast because of a work commitment. But Jersey Al, Kris and Jason do a fine job talking Packers with the co-host of ESPN’s Green & Gold Today, Bill Johnson. It’s probably a good thing I couldn’t be on the show because if I was, Bill and I would have probably spent 20 minutes talking about old-school professional wrestling jobbers.
  • Jason at Acme Packing Co. wonders if Nick Perry, who has missed the offseason program with an injury, is falling behind. Forget falling behind, Perry might be falling out of a job if he can’t stay on the field.
  • For a full Packers offseason and minicamp report, check out this post at from Jason Perone.

Non Packers links and other Nonsense

  • The comments section here at can sometimes get a little heated, but, um, nothing like this, thankfully.
  • Are there still people in this world who take what Dick Cheney says about Iraq seriously? Cheney makes Ray Rice seem self-aware. If you want to read someone who is actually credible on Iraq, Fred Kaplan is a good bet.
  • Was Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at the center of a political fundraising “criminal scheme?” The whole thing is a little confusing to me, but based on what I read, and my limited understanding of it, I smell politics behind the accusations more than a legitimate “criminal scheme.” We’ll see, I guess.
  • Tony Gwynn sounded like a great guy. RIP.
  • Mastodon’s new album “Once More ‘Round the Sun” comes out Tuesday. If you don’t know who Mastodon is, they are the best rock/metal band going today. If the Packers defense listened to Mastodon, they’d be the toughest defense in the NFL and Mike Daniels wouldn’t have to beat anyone up in the locker room.

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers football

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said this week that the current group of Packers receivers could be the deepest he’s had.

Remember before the 2006 season when Brett Favre said that teat team was the most talented he’s been a part of and we all chuckled? We thought it was just Favre being Favre, talking out of his you know what and maybe even having a little fun with his buddies from the Super Bowl teams of the 1990s.

Well, after a year of seasoning, the Packers went to the NFC championship game. Favre saw something in that group a lot of us overlooked and that talent eventually emerged. We can debate whether Favre’s statement was accurate when it came out of his mouth, but it ended up being a lot more accurate than we thought it would be.

Now Rodgers is heaping praise on a receiving group that features two rookies, a guy coming off a broken leg, no proven tight end and Jarrett Boykin, who appeared dead in the water last season before doing a 180 and coming up big when the Packers needed him.

Is Rodgers going overboard with his proclamation of this group’s depth? Not necessarily.

Favre qualified his praise of the 2006 team by saying it was also the most unproven and inexperienced team he’s been a part of. Most people conveniently overlooked that part of the quote.

The key phrase in Rodgers’ recent praise for his receivers is “could be.”

If Rodgers would have continued talking on the subject, he would have continued by saying his receivers “could be” his deepest if:

  • Randall Cobb returns to his old self.
  • Jarrett Boykin takes another step.
  • Davante Adams is the real deal and fills James Jones’ shoes.
  • Jared Abbrederius proves he’s the fifth-round steal a lot of people think he was.
  • Jordy is Jordy.
  • A tight end emerges as a red-zone threat.
  • Someone we’ve never heard of plays well.

Rodgers probably didn’t feel the need to expand on the “could be” portion of his praise because he’s confident that if his collar bone stays in one piece, a lot of those “ifs” will disappear and “could be” will turn into reality.

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • Several Packers have taken up yoga this offseason. If it’ll help end the annual plague of injuries, I’m all for it. I did yoga for a while. It’s a good workout. I felt bad for the poor person who got stuck behind me when it was time for the downward dog pose.
  • Thanks to Colt Lyerla and Jermichael Finley monopolizing offseason tight end news, third-round pick Richard Rogers has flown under the radar. He’s starting to pick up steam, however, and even got a pat on the back from Aaron Rodgers this week. I have no idea what’s going to happen for the Packers at tight end, but if I had to guess, Rogers might end up contributing as a sure-handed red-zone threat.
  • Any time ESPN Wisconsin’s Jason Wilde sits down for a chat with Aaron Rodgers, it’s a must-read. This week’s conversation was no exception. Wilde has a knack for getting Rodgers to talk about non-football topics in an interesting and engaging way.
  • Ian Hanley power-ranked the Packers inside linebackers at He’s got A.J. Hawk No. 1, but if someone like Jamari Lattimore wanted to swoop in, it wouldn’t take much to knock Hawk down the list.
  • Brett Favre spoke again this week. Honestly, I didn’t even read a transcript of what he said, but if you want to, you can do so here. Talking about retiring Favre’s number as a Packers has gotten annoying. Just do it, already.
  •’s Jason Perone looks at what the Packers might have up their sleeve for land they’re acquiring around Lambeau Field. Unfortunately, rumors that the land will be used to build a new headquarters are untrue. Too bad, Jersey Al is a job creator and could have done great things for the area economy.

Non Packers links and other Nonsense

  • My thoughts on Bowe Bergdahl last week got a bunch of you all wound up in the comments section. That’s fine, but stop with the “stick to football” nonsense. I started “Surviving Sunday” on Feb. 26, 2012, so I could kill time during the offseason and try to cram as much Packers info into a single post as I could. I also created it so I could mix in some non-Packers and non-football discussion because there’s only so much you can beat offseason NFL/Packers topics into the ground. Most of us around here understand that sports, culture and current events often intersect.  We’re also capable of having discussions that go beyond who is going to be the Packers third safety or sixth offensive lineman. But if all you want to talk is football, that’s fine. The football and non-football parts of “Surviving Sunday” are clearly labeled. Don’t bother interrupting the discussion with annoying “stick to football” comments.
  • If I really wanted to aggravate you people further, I’d follow up the above rant with my opinion on the gay marriage issue currently going back and forth in Wisconsin. But maybe I’ll save that for next week 🙂
  • This father’s day guide to youth sports from Mike Tanier is essential reading. I pray every day that my eight-month-old son never shows interest in playing hockey, soccer or wrestling.
  • If you haven’t seen this throw from Yoenis Cespedes yet, click here and change that.
  • I forgot to link to this last week, but the list of demands from the NFL on cities that host the Super Bowl is absurd. Isn’t it enough that taxpayers pay to build stadiums for their hometown team?

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers footba

If B.J. Raji and A.J. Hawk had a baby, he would fit in perfectly on the Packers defense.


Now that you’ve cleaned up the vomit and are fully recovered from the mental image of Hawk and Raji breeding, please continue reading:

All signs are pointing to Hawk starting at linebacker for the Green Bay Packers for the 9th consecutive season. Over the last eight years, Hawk has amassed 832 tackles, 18.5 sacks, nine interceptions and four forced fumbles.

If I were to ask you to name a memorable Hawk tackle or a key play where he forced a fumble or knocked down a pass, could you do it? I’m racking my brain right now and the only play I can come up with is when he sacked Sam Bradford in 2011 and flipped off the Packers bench.

That play was memorable, but not necessarily because of the impact it had on the game.

Raji had dollar signs in his eyes when he turned down a lucrative contract extension from the Packers midway through last season. Those dollar signs turned to tears after Raji’s play fell off a cliff, the extension offer was withdrawn, and Raji returned to Green Bay on a 1 year “prove-it” deal worth $4 million.

If I were to ask you to name a memorable play in Raji’s career, I guarantee everyone reading this will cite the pick-six against the Bears in the 2011 NFC title game and the ensuing Raji Dance. Raji also had 6.5 sacks in 2010 and occasionally gets featured in replays blowing up the center or pushing back a double team and wrecking a running play.

It’s safe to say both Hawk and Raji have failed to meet Packers’ fans expectations. Yes, Hawk is consistent, but with the No. 5 pick in the draft, Packers fans wanted a guy who scared the other team, not someone who’s just consistently ok. Raji has had moments of brilliance, but gets wiped off the line far too often and disappears for long stretches that lead to breakdowns in the Packers run defense.

Basically, if Hawk had some of Raji in him — an occasional flashy play that changed a game — and Raji had some of Hawk in him — more consistency — both players would be closer to meeting the expectations of Packers fans.

The offspring of Hawk and Raji, who would undoubtedly be named B.J. Hawk or A.J. Raji, would be perfect for the Packers defense.

Hawk and Raji are durable, which is a major anomaly on the Packers defense. Combine that durability with the steady tackling and firey attitude of Hawk and the raw athletic ability and size of Raji and you’d have an ideal player.

You’d also have one helluva celebration dance. I’d call it the “Middle Finger Mackarena.”

Unfortunately for Packers fans, genetics and basic laws of human decency prevent Raji and Hawk from bearing a child. Instead, we have to rely on another season of hoping that Hawk makes more impactful plays and Raji doesn’t end up on the back of a milk carton for half the season.

This column has totally gone off the rails, so let me try and close it with some sense of normalcy: Has Raji or Hawk had the better career so far?

Even though we might remember more plays from Raji, the edge here has to go to Hawk. As frustrating and underwhelming as Hawk can be, he doesn’t completely disappear like Raji often does. Plus the middle finger celebration is slightly better than the fat guy dance.

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • Michelle at Bleacher Report argues that the Packers should use fewer shotgun formations. It’s tough to argue with her. When under center, Aaron Rodgers had an 83.3 percent accuracy rate with a 120.6 QB rating compared to 78.3 and 100.5 out of the shotgun. With Eddie Lacy now in the backfield, putting Rodgers under center more often should also boost the running game and allow the Packers to use more multiple sets.
  • Brian Carriveau at CheeseheadTV highlights how the Packers don’t pay much for wide receivers compared to other teams, and how that’s about to change with looming extensions for Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Nelson was grossly underpaid with his previous extension, and he’s talking like his re-signing with Green Bay is a foregone conclusion. Even if he’s slightly underpaid with the upcoming extension, he’ll still rake in a ton of cash and boost the Packers overall spending on receivers.
  • Here’s more on the Nelson and Cobb contract situation from’s Thomas Hobbes.
  • Jason Hirschhorn breaks down the film on new Packers DT Khyri Thornton. Hirschhorn’s conclusion: “Thornton remains an intriguing (albeit high-risk) prospect who could carve out a role in the base 3-4 defense over the next two years. He also brings enough versatility to contribute in the Packers’ 4-3 under packages. The pressure is on Dom Capers and Mike Trgovac to find a way to get Thornton snaps along a crowded defensive line.” (I never heard of Thornton before so I’ll take Hirschhorn’s word for it.)
  • Ian Hanley power ranks the Packers safeties. Based on last season, here’s how my rankings would look: 1. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (because he can’t be any worse than the other safeties on the team); 2. Morgan Burnett (because there was nobody else to put at No. 2); 3. Micah Hyde (because why not?); 4. Whoever else can walk upright and play safety.
  • The Out of the Pocket podcast team at breaks down OTAs and hot yoga. OTAs and hot yoga go together like Brett Favre and questionable decisions.
  • It sounds like Scott Tolzein is making a good impression at Packers OTAs. I was surprised by Tolzein’s arm strength last season and look forward to seeing what he can with a full offseason in the Packers system. To me, Tolzein has a higher ceiling than Matt Flynn.

Non Packers links and other Nonsense

  • Some people’s reactions to Bowe Bergdahl’s return home is embarrassing. There’s not an *asterisks next to Support Our Troops that says *but not the troops who may have made a poor decision while under extreme stress in a war zone that most of us will never understand. As far the negotiating with terrorists talking point, every president negotiates with terrorists and every president will continue to negotiate with terrorists. Why does everything has to turn into a political circus that makes Americans dumber?
  • I’m in the middle of “Console Wars,” a new book that digs into the video game battle between Sega and Nintendo in the early 1990s. So far, it’s a great read. I wasted a lot of my teenage years playing NHL 94 on the Sega Genesis. I was also one of the few kids who owned a Sega Master System.
  • Best rock band you’ve never heard of: Red Fang.
  • Friday was the 70th anniversary of the attack on Normandy Beach. There’s nothing I can say to capture the importance of that day, so listen to the men who were there instead.

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers football.

Despite being two of the most accomplished defensive players over the last 10 years, both Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers have something to prove this season for the Green Bay Packers.

It sounds like they’re looking forward to helping each other make their respective points.

Matthews needs to show that he can stay healthy and return the Packers defense back to its Super Bowl form of 2010. The Packers paid Matthews $66 million over 5 years last offseason, but he missed a chunk of 2014 and has battled nagging hamstring injuries his entire career.

Peppers wants to show that he’s not washed up and can be a difference maker on a defense that has come up short in the postseason the last three seasons.

If both players are going to make statements and get the Packers defense back to where it needs to be, they’ll need to sack, hit, chase, harass and make life miserable for the other team’s quarterback.

Matthews and Peppers have done plenty of that in their careers, but they’re finally going to have something neither one has had much of in the past: Help from the other side. And that help will come from each other.

According to’s opening day NFL depth charts archive, here are the players who have lined up on the opposite end of the line from Peppers and at the opposite linebacker from Matthews to start the season since 2010 (and the number of sacks each sidekick finished with):


2009   Tyler Brayton (5 sacks)
2010   Mark Anderson (3.5 sacks)
2011   Israel Idonije (5 sacks)
2012   Israel Idonije (7.5 sacks)
2013   Corey Wootton (3.5 sacks)

TOTAL   Four different players in five seasons, 24.5 sacks.
*Peppers totaled 48.5 sacks from 2009-13.


2009   Aaron Kampman (3.5 sacks)
2010   Brad Jones (0 sacks)
2011   Erik Walden (3 sacks)
2012   Nick Perry (2 sacks)
2013   Nick Perry (4 sacks)

TOTAL   Four different players in five seasons, 12.5 sacks.
*Matthews totaled 50 sacks from 2009-13.

Obviously, as each season progressed, the person lining up opposite of Matthews and Peppers changed due to injury or lineup adjustments, but you get my point: Neither player has had a feared pass-rushing partner from the other side of the line in a long, long time, if ever.

Peppers himself said as much during the first day of OTAs earlier this week. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

“I haven’t really played with a guy like Clay my whole career,” Peppers said. “Early in my career, I played with a guy in Mike Rucker who was a threat on the other side. But a really dominant player on the other side, I really haven’t had that, ever. So I’m excited.”

If Peppers is excited, imagine how Packers fans feel.

I realize that Peppers will probably move around the defense and not solely line up on the opposite side of Matthews. I also realize that Peppers is old and might not be the player he once was.

But it’s nice to have some excitement about the edge pass rush opposite of Matthews for a change. We don’t have to hope that Nick Perry will finally develop. We don’t have to fire up Google and figure out who the hell Erik Walden or Brad Jones are.

Now, the Packers will put a player with 119, sacks, 40 forced fumbles and 64 knockdowns on the other side of the defense from Matthews.

Go ahead and be a skeptical worry-wart if you want. I’m going to be excited and look forward to Peppers and Matthews helping each other make their respective points.

Packers News, Notes and Links

  • On Twitter this week, I had people whose opinions I respect compare Colt Lyerla to Jimmy Graham, Aaron Hernandez, Julius Thomas and Eric Ebron and say Lyerla was a first-round talent. This Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel piece was also gushing. I get how making comparisons to other well-known tight ends helps people understand what type of player the Packers have, but let’s not put Lyerla in the hall of fame just yet. If he truly was a first-round talent with Jimmy Graham talent, he would have been drafted by some team late despite his off-field issues. Go ahead and be excited about what Lyerla could be, but keep a little bit of perspective while doing it.
  • The doctor who performed Jermichael Finley’s fusion surgery cleared the tight end to play football, but that doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed to see the field ever again. I always thought the Packers should definitely bring Finley back if he was cleared by team doctors to play without increased risk of permanent injury, but now I’m not so sure. He’s now had a major knee injury and a major neck injury, plus a concussion. The Packers usually part ways with a player after those types of injuries and they are usually right in doing so.
  • The Packerpedia podcast returns with a discussion featuring Matt Waldman from Rookie Scouting Portfolio. Another must-listen draft conversation from one of the Packers Talk Radio Network shows.
  • Micah Hyde took snaps at safety during OTAs this week. This only makes sense because it might be tough getting Hyde on the field this season (before injuries hit, of course). If he can also play safety, it gives him another opportunity to get snaps and make an impact. Hyde is a talented player, but not necessarily more talented than the players in front of him on the depth chart.
  • Will 2014 be the year of a B.J. Raji resurgence? Robert Olson at CheeseheadTV takes a look at how it could (key word there is “could”) happen. I never saw Raji as a jet pass rusher but the Packers tried to make him one and Raji wanted to be one. Maybe if he simply focuses and taking up space as a nose tackle, he can be effective (key word there is “maybe”).
  • Speaking of rebounding in 2014,’s Kris Burke wonders if Morgan Burnett can bounce back.

Non Packers links and other Nonsense

  • If you like football and you like to laugh your ass off, buy “Goodell vs. Obama,” a hilarious e-book from @PFTCommenter.
  • 45 days to build the perfect Tweet, and it doesn’t even get re-tweeted? I could have come up with at least 7,169 Tweets in 45 days that also would not have been re-tweeted.
  • Last week I closed this column with a link to a disturbing recap of the Ray Rice news conference where he tried to explain away knocking out his then fiance in an elevator. I’ll close this column with a sad, yet inspirational, story from Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams about his mother, who recently died from breast cancer. Please encourage your wives, mothers, sister, aunts friends and family to get regular mammograms.