Jennings surgery not a big ordeal

Greg JenningsEarlier Thursday, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said that surgery was an option to help Greg Jennings get back on the field after a protracted absence. Jennings announced Thursday that he will be having surgery next week and Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports that Jennings anticipates being back in the locker room the day after the operation. Jennings also said that he regrets returning for Week Three after getting hurt in the season opener.

Nothing much to do about that now, especially when the Packers may have another man down at receiver this weekend. Jordy Nelson missed practice on Thursday after hurting his hamstring on Wednesday, a development that has prompted the team to preemptively rule him out for Friday’s practice as well. McCarthy said that Nelson would test his hamstring on Saturday to determine whether or no it was well enough for him to play against the Jaguars.

Nelson has 17 catches for 243 yards and four touchdowns in the last two weeks, so there would obviously be a lot of slack for James Jones, Randall Cobb, Donald Driver and Jarrett Boykin to pick up in Nelson’s absence. If there’s any question about Nelson’s health, the Packers would probably be wise to take their chances against Jacksonville without him in hopes of ensuring his health for the final eight games of the season. Read more…

Top receiving corps in the 2012 NFL season

The NFL has morphed into a passing league over the past few seasons. While a running game is still important, a team is not going to win without at least one good receiver on the roster. If a team has more than one good receiver on the roster, it has a chance to win a championship. What teams have the best group of wide receivers?

Green Bay Packers: This should come as no surprise to anyone. Aaron Rodgers is one of the best when it comes to making receivers look good. However, the guys who catch his passes are superbly talented. Randall Cobb is one of the faster receivers in the league. James Jones and Jordy Nelson have emerged as more than just depth players in the absence of Greg Jennings. Greg Jennings is one of the best players in the game when he is healthy.

Detroit Lions: Everyone knows who Calvin Johnson is. However, most people are unaware of the other players who play receiver for Detroit. Titus Young is emerging as Matthew Stafford’s other favorite target when Johnson is being taken away. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew is another strong receiving target in that offense as well. It is no surprise that the Lions were able to rack up over 5,000 yards in the air last season. Read more…

Packers lose Woodson for at least 6 weeks

Charles WoodsonThe Green Bay Packers have improved their defense this season, but they now face the heart of their schedule without one of their best players.

FOX Sports insider and NFL Network contributor Jay Glazer reported Monday that safety Charles Woodson will miss six weeks with a broken collarbone, the same one he broke in Super Bowl XLV.

The Packers later confirmed the injury during Monday’s team news conference.
“It’s been a hard couple of weeks with injuries, with that we’ll go on,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.
McCarthy said the injury is similar to the one Woodson suffered in the 2011 Super Bowl, but not as severe.
The news comes out of left field. There was no hint of Woodson’s injury during Sunday’s 30-20 win over the St. Louis Rams.
Woodson recorded five total tackles in the game and was on the field for 50 of the Rams’ 60 snaps.
The 15-year veteran has seen his play decline in recent years, but the Packers aren’t likely to shelve him for the season. After moving from cornerback to free safety, Woodson has posted 38 tackles and 1½ sacks. He’s also forced a fumble and tallied an interception and brings unmatched experience to an otherwise developing secondary. Read more…

Top NFL offensive lines in 2012

No team is going to win games in the National Football League if it cannot control the line of scrimmage. Running the ball is impossible if the running back has no holes to run through. Throwing the ball is impossible if the quarterback has no time to find an open receiver. Which teams have the best offensive lines in the NFL this season?

Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills have what can be considered the best offensive line in the NFL. The proof is in the statistics. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick been sacked only three times. One of the sacks he suffered was on a pass that slipped out of his hand. It was ruled a fumble and a sack. Running back C.J Spiller was averaging over 10 yards a carry through the second week of the season.

Green Bay Packers

How has Aaron Rodgers been so ridiculously successful over the past couple of seasons? It is because his offensive line has gelled into one of the best groups in the league. Yes, he was sacked eight times against the Seahawks on last Monday night’s thriller. That blip aside, the Packers offensive lineman have allowed Rodgers ample time in the pocket to pick apart opposing defenses.

Baltimore Ravens

When you have one of the best running backs in the league, you have to have a great offensive line. Ray Rice isn’t going to create holes on his own. If you don’t think that is true, just look at the issues plaguing Chris Johnson. Therefore, you have to give credit to the Ravens offensive line whenever you see a running back putting up great numbers on the season. Read more…

Packers robbed by the Seahawks, not the refs

Replacement RefsBy now I am sure have seen or at least heard about how the game ended last night between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers.  It is not even debatable at this point.  The ball was heaved up in the air, and M.D. Jennings  clearly made the interception.  Yes Golden Tate got his hands on the ball, but to rule it as simultaneous possession is garbage.  This call was and is still clear as to how it should have been ruled.  So I am not going to beat that dead horse.

What I do want to address is the issue of saying that the replacement officials cost the Packers the game.  I understand how important this play was in the game.  Just like all the other games that have had blown calls, the plays are important.  I would like to shift the focus instead to the rest of the game though.  This was a hard fought game, where quite honestly the Seahawks whipped the Packers for the whole first half.  Obviously the Packers rebounded and played better in the second half, but how can they say the refs cost them the game?  After watching the game, I didn’t see the refs account for a single one of the 8 times Aaron Rodgers was sacked in the first half.  Was it their fault that Golden Tate scorched Tramon Williams for a first half touchdown?  Was it the officials fault that the mighty packers offense was held to 12 points?  Who’s fault is it that the Seahawks were able to move the ball into range for the game-ending throw? Read more…

Are the Packers risking the health of Greg Jennings?

Greg JenningsOn Thursday, we shared Packers coach Mike McCarthy’s take on wide receiver Greg Jennings‘ status as he tries to return from a groin injury.

The word was fairly glum. McCarthy said Jennings didn’t feel great after practicing earlier in the week and that the receiver was still trying to get a “handle” on it. There wasn’t any discussion of Jennings’ status for Monday night’s game with the Seahawks, but the prognosis didn’t sound good on that front.
Jennings spoke to the media Friday and sang a different tune. While he admitted to being less than full speed, Jennings said that he was able to do what he needed to do in practice on Friday and plans on playing Monday.
“I’ll get through it,” Jennings said, via Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “I’m a positive guy. I’m not completely worried about it lingering too bad. It is what it is. It’s going to be something I’m going to have to push through right now. If I can get close to 100 percent, that’s all I’m looking for. I’m not looking to be 100 percent because that will never happen, ever, probably in my career. Ever.” Read more…

2012 NFL Week 2 power rankings: Patriots on top

Tom Brady Wes Welker

Source: AP

1. New England Patriots (1-0) ↔

Stevan Ridley looked good, Gronk and Aaron Hernandez each caught a TD, the defense literally hit the Tennessee Titans in the mouth, and Tom Brady got knocked down and got right back up. This team looks tougher, faster, smarter, and simply better!

2. San Francisco 49ers (1-0)↑2

Speaking of hitting people in the mouth, the 49ers just beat up the Packers in week one. If it wasn’t for a questionable call to overturn a block in the back late in the game on a Randall Cobb punt return for a TD this one could have been really ugly.

3. Green Bay Packers (0-1)↓1

I know it’s tough to believe a team that was beaten up and overwhelmed in week one only falls one spot, but c’mon, it’s the Packers! Aaron Rodgers still threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns against what is arguably the best defense (by far) in the NFL.

4. Houston Texans (1-0)↑1

If the 49ers’ defense is indeed the best in the game the Texans are the second best. The best defense in the AFC recorded three sacks and forced four turnovers against the Dolphins.

5. Baltimore Ravens (1-0)↑6

One of the biggest climbers of the week, the Ravens deserve this spot as I admittedly underestimated what appears to be a top contender in the AFC. That said, they are old on defense and an Ed Reed injury could be severely detrimental to the success of this team.

NFL Week 2 preview, picks

Randall Cobb

Source: Andy Lyons

Week 2 of the NFL Regular Season is upon us and tonight when the Chicago Bears visit the Green Bay Packers in one of the more interesting games of the week.  Here are my non-expert picks with some explanation. Disclaimer: I went 8-8 last week and it’ll probably go downhill from here, so take this with a grain a GIGANTIC SPOON of salt.

Chicago Bears (1-0) vs. Green Bay Packers (0-1) – Does a team have a more must-win game then the Packers do in week 2?  If Green Bay loses they are 0-2 at home on the season and down two games to the Chicago Bears in the NFC North and potentially two back in the race for home-field advantage against the San Francisco 49ers. If this happens then the Staples “Easy” button will be replaced with a “HIT THE PANIC BUTTON RIGHT NOW” by ESPN, NFL Network and the rest of the media.  That being said…Winner: Packers 30, Bears 23.

Kansas City Chiefs (0-1) vs. Buffalo Bills (0-1) – The battle of the mediocre defenses, both defenses came in hyped up to take huge steps forward and both gave up 40 burgers to the Falcons and Jets, respectively.  I picked the Chiefs to win the AFC West despite having Matt Cassel as their quarterback and if I hate anything it’s someone who jumps off the bandwagon after week one.  (Spoiler: I hate myself).  Winner: Chiefs 26, Bills 21.

Cleveland Browns (0-1) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) – This will be an epic battle — no, not between the Bengals and Browns – but between two longstanding rivals – Gingers and Old People.  Ginger Quarterback, Andy Dalton, is still trying to prove that Gingers can, in fact, play quarterback while Brandon Weeden tries to bounce back from the worst debut rookie performance by a quarterback ever  after taking his Metamucil and recording his marathon of “Murder She Wrote”. Winner: Bengals 21, Browns 9. Read more…

NFL Game Changers: NFC North

Join us as TTR Game Changers takes a tour through all 32 teams, identifying one player from every squad that I believe has a great chance of being a game changer in 2012.  To see the full series click here.

Green Bay Packers – The Packers very well could be the team to beat in 2012.  For the majority of the season they were a dominant team.  Aaron Rodgers play was the biggest reason for that as he was simply off the charts with his efficiency ratings.  He is in an offensive system that fits his skill set excellently and he has a host of weapons to take advantage of.  It is that group of weapons that really sets the Packers apart.  While smart money is going to be on Jordy Nelson to continue his ascent into super stardom, I think that Greg Jennings is also going to have a huge year.  I know he just suffered a concussion, but he appears to be completely healthy.  He also does not have a deal in place after this season.  For many players this would be a distraction, but the classy Jennings has vowed not to allow it to affect his play.  If anything, I believe that it could have a positive impact on him this season.  Jennings  will be 29 years old next season, and possibly looking for a new home.  The reality that it could happen means that Jennings needs to perform at the highest level this year, so he will remain focused this season.  I also believe that the increased attention paid to Jordy Nelson this season will actually benefit Jennings significantly, allowing him to see less coverage rolled his way.
Detroit Lions –  Many of the voices around the NFL say that the Lions will fail to meet expectations this year for a variety of reasons.  Some blame it on the lack of a running game.  Others blame it on discipline.  While some simply say that the Bears are just better.  I have looked closely at both organizations, and I still think that the Lions will end up in a better position when the dust settles.  I know all the attention goes to the Bears addition of Brandon Marshall, but the Lions offense is far more explosive.  I believe that Titus Young is going to surprise a lot of people this year, and he is just one of many talented weapons on this Lions squad.  With all the attention being paid to their offense, I have to shift my attention to the defensive side of the ball.  Naturally people would expect you to think about Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley or Cliff Avril when you talk about their defense, but not me.  Those guys are all going to have a major impact this season, but I want to highlight third year defensive end Willie Young.  Willie Young was a 7th round draft pick in 2010 bout of North Carolina State.  While not as heralded as his predecessor Mario Williams, Willie has quietly developed into a very dangerous edge rusher perfectly suited to Detroit’s wide 9 scheme.  He is quick off the ball with excellent burst and uses his long frame to disrupt the passing game.  Willie has shown a knack at making impact plays from sacks and strips to interceptions.  His strong showing this preseason is just another indicator that he is steadily improving, and I believe 2012 will be a break out year for the big fisherman. Read more…

49ers make a statement with win in Green Bay

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Alex Smith passes against the Green Bay Packers in the first half during their NFL football game in Green Bay, Wisconsin

The Green Bay Packers already have as many losses this season as they had all of last season. And the San Francisco 49ers have made a very big statement that they’re the team to beat in the NFC.

San Francisco jumped out to an early lead at Lambeau Field and never trailed on Sunday, playing tough and physical defense combined with effective and mistake-free offense and beating the Packers 30-22. Green Bay, which went 15-1 in 2011, is now 0-1 in 2012.

Alex Smith, the quarterback the 49ers selected first overall in the 2005 NFL draft, has heard many times that he’s not as good a player as Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback the Packers selected with the 24th pick that year. But on this day, Smith couldn’t have been much better. He completed 20 of 26 passes for 211 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions, and he was in complete control of the offense all day long. This is the quarterback the 49ers need Smith to be. Read more…

Aaron Rodgers may be without Jennings in 2013

Chiefs Packers Football

On Tuesday, we heard that wide receiver Greg Jennings was thinking about the possibility that 2012 is his swan song with the Packers.

His quarterback has read the same writing on the same wall. Aaron Rodgers took a little walk down memory during a radio interview when he was asked about Jennings, before moving on to address the chances that this is the last year he’ll be throwing passes to Jennings.

“I think you have to be realistic about it and think that it might be. I have loved my time with Greg, Greg and I are going to be buddies whether he’s here or not,” Rodgers said, via ESPNWisconsin.com. “It’s been great throwing to him, but there’s a lot of guys who may or may not get paid the next few years, and obviously with Jordy (Nelson) and his contract situation, I think you have to think about whether or not there’s room for all of us. If there’s not, obviously you wish Greg the best. He’s a great guy and will be a great friend.” Read more…

2012 NFL Season Preview: Green Bay Packers

Clay Matthews

Al Bello/Getty Images

Just 18 months ago, the Green Bay Packers stood alone on top of the football world. In his third season as Green Bay’s starting quarterback, Aaron Rodgers had cemented himself as one of football’s elite quarterbacks. More good things were to come in Green Bay’s future, with the team finishing 15-1 in 2011, their sole loss coming as a fluke to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Packers looked like a strong bet to repeat, but they were suddenly surprised by the New York Giants – the team that would eventually go on to win the Super Bowl.

That one-and-done performance in the playoffs was enough to raise the eyebrows of some fans, but the 2012 Packers are in no real jeopardy. That is, they’re in no jeopardy until one considers how much the division has improved around them. The Chicago Bears have made tremendous upgrades on offense and have shored up their defense, so they figure to be a team that will be difficult to compete with. The Detroit Lions took the football world by storm last year, too. With their young nucleus improving every season and adding new players, they are another team that has the potential to cause problems for Green Bay. Having two divisional opponents that are of playoff caliber will be challenging despite the Packers having been rock-solid for the last several seasons.

As far as the Packers team itself, the biggest focus in 2012 will be on the team’s defense. The 2011 unit wasn’t just weak; they put up historically bad numbers. They allowed about 300 passing yards per game, and ended up allowing more passing yards than any other team in league history. Part of this is due to the fact that Green Bay scored so frequently that opposing teams had more possessions than usual. Even more credit is due to just how pass-happy the NFL has become over the last few years – with several quarterbacks shattering the single-season passing record, it should be no surprise that the worst defensive unit also put up some of the worst numbers ever.  Read More…

NFC preseason power rankings

osi-umenyiora

Al Bello/Getty Images

As the end of the NFL preseason is quickly approaching, so to is the beginning of the 2012 NFL regular season. As there is one week left of preseason football, we are less than 10 days away from the start of the 2012 NFL season. I like to name this period “Week Zero”, as these power rankings are a basic opinion of how I believe the 2012 NFL season will pan out.

In the NFC specifically, there are a lot of teams to like, as picking the six best teams was harder than I imagined. In my opinion, the top 12 teams in these power rankings are all legitimate playoff contenders right now. For various reasons though, some teams are better now, while some teams may be better next year or the year afterward. Nevertheless, here are the Week Zero NFC Power Rankings.

16. MINNESOTA VIKINGS

The Vikings are young, but the question of Adrian Peterson’s health, Christian Ponder’s potential, and the defensive secondaries’ deficiencies gives the Vikings a whole heap of trouble in an NFC North division which features quarterbacks Jay Cutler, Matthew Stafford, and Aaron Rodgers.

Projection: 3-13

15. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

The acquisitions of wide receiver Vincent Jackson and All-Pro offensive guard Carl Nicks were great, and new head coach Greg Schiano is installing discipline into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but only little progress will be made in 2012 as Schiano will need a couple of seasons to get the Buccaneers back on track.

Projection: 4-12  Read More…

 

2012 NFL Power Rankings | Preseason Edition

 

tom-brady-Eli Manning

Ezra Shaw/Getty and Wesley Hitt/Getty

With the 2012 NFL Season set to start in a few weeks we put together our preseason power rankings based upon the free agent signings, NFL Draft, and the preseason thus far. Week 2 of the preseason continues tonight with six games scheduled and concludes Sunday night after the Eagles at Patriots game. While we don’t truly get to see how teams’ starting rosters will look until the third preseason game, we have plenty of information to start formulating our thoughts.

1. New England Patriots (13-3)

The Patriots added depth on their defense and should have some more speed on offense while giving the bulk of the carries to Stevan Ridley this season. The addition of Brandon Lloyd gives Brady and Belichick yet another toy to play with.

2. Green Bay Packers (12-4)

The team with the best record in the 2011 regular season was abruptly knocked out of the playoffs by the Super Bowl champs. This team’s weakness is clearly their rushing attack and NFL-worst total defense. Aaron Rodgers clearly covers up many of their blemishes but he needs more help if they expect to be at the top.

3. New York Giants (11-5)

I find it quite shocking that after their second Super Bowl in the last five years this team is still being overlooked. Their defense is better, Eli Manning is in his prime, and they replaced Brandon Jacobs with a humble David Wilson who is far more athletic.  Read More…

Packers move closer to getting all players in practice

Packers Camp Football

Linebacker Desmond Bishop and fullback John Kuhn were both on the practice field for the first time since the start of camp on Wednesday. Both players failed physicals at the start of camp, but they have improved enough to get the medical go-ahead to practice. NFL rules force both players to practice in shells for two days before they can put on pads.

Bishop entered camp with a calf strain, an injury the Packers are sure to be careful about this summer after Bishop had problems with his calf last season. Bishop had 115 tackles and five sacks for Green Bay last year and will continue to be one of the leading players on the defense this season.

Kuhn injured his knee in the season-ending loss to the Giants. The injury was originally downplayed as a minor MCL sprain, but Kuhn missed most of the offseason work and admitted recently that he had a minor procedure on the knee in June. Read more here…