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

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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 Ourlads.com’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):

Peppers

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.

Matthews

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, ALLGBP.com’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.
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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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  • Pete Kliman

    I realize Peppers has his limitations now. However,sacks aside, I would be satisfied if he would just put consistent pressure on the QBs. Last season opposing QBs had all day in the pocket.

    • Rossoneri83

      Amen. I remember the Packers’ loss to the Bears last year when Josh McCown had all day back there. It was embarrassing how pathetic the pass rush was.

  • packfan44

    Just read the outstanding article by DeAngleo Williams, my daughter has had a double mastectomy and I live every day as though its her last. Her four boys and husband never had it so good. Ill take Williams’ two requests to heart and start today…. God love’m!

  • NYPACKER

    2 points I disagree with. 1)False to conclude that if Lyerla was really a first round talent he would have been drafted. When a player’s off field transgressions are so severe, teams will tab them as “undraftable”, no matter what the talent level 2)When was Raji ever used as a “jet rusher”? As a d-end in the scheme the Packers used he was used to occupy blockers & hold his ground. He is better suited to use his quick first step to disrupt gaps, I see his move back to NT as a sign that we are going to change our gap technique & not play three big run stuffers like we did with Raji, Pickett, & Jolly

  • Bag o donuts 52

    Covered a lot….good article. Ha Ha will start day one. Hopefully he picks it up quick and proves worthy of 21. God knows we need someone, anyone back their without their head up their ass. Which brings up Carol Burnett. Hopefully that spot is awarded to the player with the biggest upside and not the biggest contract. Hope Hyde’s capable of winning the job. Raji? Anybody who actually commented he was surprised more teams didn’t come calling with lucrative deals after what he hasn’t done for the past 3 years needs more than a move back to NT. He needs a dose of reality. Waste of $! Right on with the lack of pass rush since Cullen and Desmond left. Makes a bad secondary look even worse.

    • Stroh

      Apparently you don’t understand the difference between a 34 DE and NT. There’s a reason 34 DE are usually 6’4 300 w/ long arms, just like there is a reason NT are 6’2 340. Which does Raji look like to you?

      I guess expecting you to understand that is too much for you to grasp, just like your grasp of football in general!

      • bag o donuts 52

        Well gee whiz, you sure put me in my place!And thank you very much for taking some of your valuable time to share some of your endless and valuable knowledge with me. Now grasp this! I couldn’t give a shit less about you or your half baked opinions. You are obviously just one of those pompous douche bags that is constantly trying to impress others as to just how brilliant they are. Guess what? Who cares?? Now go play with your 340 lb blow up doll!

        • Stroh

          As usual you have nothing to add abojt football. What a surprise since yiu don’t know squat about it. Since you were unable to answer the question I’ll do it for you. He looks and plays like a NT, not a 34 DE.

          Was giving you a rhetorical question but even that was beyond your grasp!

          • marpag

            Y’know, Stroh… if I keep on talking and talking and talking to a brick wall… well, maybe I’m not being real smart, either.

          • bag o donuts 52

            You’re hilarious! I thought I already told you I wasn’t interested in your idiotic information. However, let me take my crayon out and drawer you a diagram of what I actually was alluding to. NT or DE it doesn’t matter with Raji. No effort, no fire and no desire in a contact year means it doesn’t matter where they put him.He’s eaten himself into obscurity (probably why you like him) Now grasp your Mel Kiper wig, place it on your pointy head and go help your mother empty the dishwasher. Spew to someone who cares pal!

            • Stroh

              Really it doesn’t matter to him? I guess that’s why he said the only reason he decided to return to GB was to play NT. Bag o rocks is more likely whats in that dome of yours.

              Now run back to mummy and put down the donuts. Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go thru life!

              • http://www.lyrictrumpet.com Bearmeat

                What is this: CHTV? I didn’t realize fellow Packer fans here turned on each other!

                Chill guys.

              • bag o donuts 52

                Good one Mel! Grasp this one Stroke. He decided to return to GB because nobody else wanted him…..he said it himself.See you’re still doing your Osteen schtick down below. Shouldn’t you be perusing through the classifieds for a life instead of attempting to wow the masses with your amateurish drivel? I’m done and you can have the last word. Narcissists generally insist on it so I’ll let you think you won. Dishwasher done?

              • Stroh

                That’s curious… Cuz I just read (something else it seems you don’t do well), that Raji said he did have other options.

                “I had some options, I’m not going to get into that, but I had a few teams who were interested in me.”

                and also said this…

                “But another major reason he’s returning is that defensive coordinator Dom Capers will be moving him back inside. This season, the Packers are putting Raji back on the nose. “I’d be lying to say it wasn’t a major factor in my decision to come back,”

                You can TRY to read it here…
                http://www.jsonline.com/blogs/sports/261200601.html

                However w/ your limited intellect we’ll understand if you don’t get it.

                I don’t have a schtick, I just talk about football intelligently. Hardly my fault you can’t keep up and think I’m talking down to you.

  • Jay Hodgson

    Nice breakdown of the sacks opposite of Peppers. I’m excited to see what Clay and Julius can do this year.

  • Tarynfor12

    ” We don’t have to hope that Nick Perry will finally develop.”

    LMAO!!!!…I was never on the Perry wagon from day one as being able to be a true LOLB….enter Stroh in 3..2..1 and the move him to ROLB.

    With that,he may play his best ball as a rotation guy,if he wins that job in camp,and will look forward to the rantings of his stellar play when he actually gets another ‘untouched,unblocked’run at the QB.

    Peppers is playing the role of the devil as like in ‘Devil went down to Georgia’ and the coaching staff are hoping to hear someone say ” why don’t you take that seat right there and let me show you how its done”…..who will take on the ‘crossroads’ challenge and win the must be filled role of true LOLB….or perhaps,it will be used to make a full scheme change back to a 4-3 defense since Capers will be gone if another failing regardless of where the blame should fall.

    • Rossoneri83

      The issue I’ve always had with Perry and players like him is, he was a 1st rd talent as a DE. But as an OLB, that’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax. If a player gets a high draft evaluation playing one position, but will be converted to another, you’d think that would factor into things. Perry showed some nice glimpses last year, but for a 1st rd pick, has been a disappointment. He really needs to make an impact this year and stay healthy.

      • Stroh

        He was drafted in the 1st due to his ability to rush the passer. Whether its at DE or OLB. The problem is that OLB is very different than playing DE, since you have to keep your eyes up and integrate your actions to everything going on in the backfield and even the slot outside. All that happen in a split second and dictates what the OLB does, especially at LOLB.

        The other issue w/ Perry is that he is a one sided pass rusher. If you saw him play in college and watched his tape, his best pass rushing was always from the Right side, not Left. Some players, Matthew and hopefully Peppers can rush on either side. Perry, even in college showed he could rush from the Right, but not nearly as well from the Left. Last year in his limited time at ROLB he showed he could rush the passer there. Yet he was stuck at LOLB the past 2 years. Perry “glimpses” last year were all on the Right side, lets hope that’s where he plays this year.

        There’s also a reason why Pitts usually gives its OLB a couple years to learn the position, instead of playing them in their rookie years. Its a difficult transition playing DE in college and moving to OLB in the NFL. Having to integrate everything the offense does and adjust your responsibilities instantaneously. For every Matthews there are many that took a few years to make the transition. James Harrison took over 4 yrs, Worilds currently w/ Pitts didn’t start till last year was his 4th NFL season. ROLB has more freedom than LOLB too, less run stuffing responsibilities.

        • Stroh

          Matthews BTW had the advantage of moving forward, after playing Safety earlier in his football life, which helped him learn to read the entire field quickly. As a DE, you really only pay attention to the OT and a little bit the OG. As an OLB you have to see the motion of every player in the backfield, as well as the Slot receiver and the OL that might be blocking you. Quite a difference indeed…

        • Tarynfor12

          “He was drafted in the 1st due to his ability to rush the passer. Whether its at DE or OLB.”

          Well they missed on that as he has cement shoes and no technique other than a half ass bull rush on the field

          “The other issue w/ Perry is that he is a one sided pass rusher. If you saw him play in college and watched his tape, his best pass rushing was always from the Right side, not Left.”

          So then it would need to be very plausible in the thinking at the time of the draft that Perry would be able to supplant Matthews on the right side.

          When Matthews went down,who did they place there instead of Perry..the miraculous Mike Neal.That doesn’t bolster confidence in Perrys’ play for either side at OLB….this equates to a rotation/situation guy at the cost of a 1st rd pick…..BRAVO!!!!

          • Stroh

            Really you didn’t see the game he played vs Det, where he got hurt while playing ROLB? He abused Reiff, another 1st rd pick BTW. He also rushed from ROLB vs Ravens and caused a strip sack of Flacco.

            The majority of playing time I remember Neal getting was almost exclusively at LOLB.

            Perry does lack agility in space no doubt about it, but as a pass rusher from the right side he’s very good. I guess those cement shoes account for his speed and vertical jump.

            http://www.nfl.com/player/nickperry/2533048/profile

            Watch the top 2 plays on the right of the page. Both excellent instances of Perry’s ability to rush from the right side and playing LOLB. You should particularly like the strip sacks he caused.

            • Stroh

              Ooops… Should read “Both excellent instances of Perry’s ability to rush from the right side and playing ROLB.”

            • Tarynfor12

              Riley Reiff..seriously
              and against Eugene Monroe,brought in from the Jags because Oher sucked and an offensive line that was in turmoil for the Ravens and the incredible unblocked,untouched sack of Luck.What would you have thought if he didn’t sack him?

              • Stroh

                Examples against competent NFL starters. Just blew right by them. What does the sack of Luck have to do w/ anything? It was as a LOLB and it was unblocked I don’t claim otherwise, it was also an illegal hit BTW.

          • Stroh

            BTW Seattle used an even higher 1st round pick just last year on Irvin who is very much a rotation/situational player. Happens to be the same situation and role that Perry should be playing. But I’m guessing your not criticizing Seattle for drafting him are you? LMAO

            • Tarynfor12

              I believe ‘Everyone’ criticized that pick by Seattle taking Irvin in the first rd to some degree.
              But,Irvin was drafted for that very use,the Packers drafted Perry with the sole intention of converting him..not the same thing.
              One did right and the other did wrong…period.

  • Big T

    The “Odd Couple” — Elephant ears and hamstrung thumb are going to light it up this year. Feel sorry for offenses all aroung the NFL…

  • WKUPackFan

    Cow is over at CHTV spreading his vile and filthy comments about Lyerla again, a person Cow has admitted he’s never met. Fortunately, some of the guys there smacked him down pretty good. I haven’t been able to comment on CHTV via mobile device since they changed their format so if some of my more level headed Packer fan brethren here can take care of more smack downs I’d appreciate it.

    • Tarynfor12

      Wouldn’t this be construed as inducing the ‘trolling of a troll’?Hence one becomes no better than the other.

  • http://allgbp.com/category/authors/jason-perone/ Jason Perone

    Don’t forget about Zombo’s 4.0 sacks in 2010 opposite Matthews. He was hurt (shocker) for a chunk of that season, but I have always thought of Z as Clay’s counterpart that season.

  • Slim11

    Imagine this for a moment…

    Packers-Bears, third and long and the Bears have the ball. Capers calls the Psycho package and Matthews, Peppers, Nick Perry, Raji (as the only down d-lineman), Brad Jones and Barrington/Mulamba/Palmer/Hawk all moving around prior to the snap.

    Imagine what Cutler must be thinking at that moment.

    • marpag

      I imagine he’d be glad to see it. I’ve never been terribly impressed with the Psycho package, and I don’t know why you’d take Daniels off the field in favor of some of those other guys. There’s a reason teams generally use down linemen. Gimmicks and gadgets are for teams that aren’t very good at playing football right.

    • Dobber

      He’s probably replaying an old episode of Seinfeld up there.

      • Slim11

        I hate to say it but I forgot about Daniels.

        The point I was trying to make, Psycho package or not, is all those potential pass rushers and a QB not knowing which of those is coming after him.

        The only reason I said Cutler was Peppers being a former Bear.

        BTW, rarely watched Seinfeld.

        • Stroh

          Its still a gimmick defense. Best used once every couple games, but everyone acts like the psycho package is a common D played by the Packers. Honestly, don’t even remember it being played once the last couple years.

        • Dobber

          No, I meant CUTLER would probably be replaying an old episode of Seinfeld…

  • Archie

    Funny how Packer fans fight about all the high draft picks of Ted T that are misfits i.e., players w/o a position. Yet, most sweat TT is the 2nd coming as a GM. Very curious. Most are currently full of hope re: Raji & Peppers. Both had horrible years last year and both could be gone from the game a year from now. Perry has got one move, the bull rush. That makes him a career 4 sacks/yr guy. Neal is slightly better. And both are extremely fragile. Hawk & Jones are jokes. The guy we drafted in R3 has 30″ arms who doesn’t generate sacks and is said to be a R5/6 talent. Worthy is probably the most colossal failure of all. Datone Jones coming off an extremely disappointing rookie year. Add to that mess, a Viking reject and a 2nd year guy who was a R5 pick that outplayed Jones in his rookie year. And then, of course, there’s Mike Daniels, short as a fire hydrant but all business and gets everything out of his talent at least. I don’t know boys and girls, I think everybody is being way overly optimistic about this defense. It is a collection of players who are miscast or on the downside of their careers or have yet to have a career.

    Until this defense actually produces, I will continue betting the over in Packer games. I just hope Mark Murphy tells TT “no defense, no extension”. And to MM who passed on AROD, campaigned for Jeff Saturday and moved Raji to DE, Really?! Yet Packer fans think the best thing that could happen to them is 10 more years of the same ol, same ol. Amazing the mileage those two got out of one fluke SB win. The credit for that SB goes to AROD and Starks and a bushel of amazing luck to even get into the playoffs that year. The record shows no post-season success before that season or since.

    • funcrusher

      People that give all the credit for winning the Super Bowl to Rodgers, have forgotten that the Packers had a top 5 defense that year. There were a lot of playmakers: Woodson, Collins, Tramon, Matthews, Raji, Jenkins, who made big plays at in big games.

      The defense sealed the first round playoff game against the Eagles with an interception.

      Remember the NFC Championship vs the Bears? Our offense could barely score. The biggest play of the game was Raji’s touchdown after the defense beat the hell out of Cutler and he spent half the game on the bench.

      Same could be said for the Super Bowl. Rodgers was fantastic, but Nick Collins had an int for a TD, and Matthews forced fumble swung momentum of the game back to the Packers.

      Now if they Packers can find a way to get their defense back to what it was that year, there isn’t a team that can stop them from winning another Super Bowl.

    • Big T

      Archie, The people on here do not like to hear the truth about TT and MM. They just like the fairytales and bedtime stories. Telling the truth will only get you in trouble. Take a swig of the malt liquor and let the fairytales begin…

      • funcrusher

        In 2010, the Packers defense ranked #6 in takeaways, #5 in yards allowed and #2 in points allowed. Not sure how that’s a fairytale or bedtime story.

    • jOE

      MM has a 64.5% winning record or 10.25 wins per year. Yes he has Rodgers but the head coach still gets a little credit. I

  • JRMD

    Wow! As I recall, the defense was like #7 or so early in the season and appeared to be developing some chemistry? Hayward was absent, and we had a bunch of injuries develop. Let’s be honest, the defense was gutted last year by injury. Then Rodgers goes down! If it were not for Lacy, they would have gone 5-12! It’s beyond me how some of these fans can’t imagine that the defense won’t be better with the return of injured players, their additional experience in the system, and the addition of the FA’s and draftees? Some of you guys are pretty negative. Let’s give MM’s statement about defensive focus, with hopefully healthy personnel play out! Predicting the worse accomplishes nothing IMHO. GP!

    • Since ’61

      JRMD – your points are right on! Unfortunately, some of our fellow bloggers and alleged fans are focused only on the negative and blinded by their hate and venom for TT and MM because they cannot accept that they are professionals who actually know what they’re doing and believe in their program. Versus their mindless speculations that a FA here or a different draft choice would automatically guarantee another SB win. Leave them to their cluelessness and ignore them as I and many other do. Go Pack! Thanks, Since ’61