Category Archives: Donald Driver

19

August

Cory’s Corner: The Bullseye on Aaron Rodgers’ Back Just Got a Little Bit Bigger

Aaron Rodgers - Bigger Bullseye on his back

Aaron Rodgers has a bigger bullseye on his back

In case you somehow haven’t heard, Donald Driver appeared on ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” last week and tried to clear the air between the offseason schism between Greg Jennings and Rodgers.

“If a guy runs the wrong route, it’s easy for the quarterback to say, ‘Hey, I told him to run that route,’ than the guy to say, ‘Hey, I ran the wrong route.’” Which normally shouldn’t be a big deal until the 14-year Packer and three-time Pro Bowler dropped this bombshell: “Sometimes you ask Aaron to take the pressure off those guys so we don’t look bad. He didn’t want to do that. He felt like if you did something bad, you do it. That’s the difference. You want that leadership. I think sometimes you may not feel like you got it.”

Those are strong words from Driver, who was considered to be the team’s mouthpiece during his final six years in Green Bay. Everyone knows the Driver comeback story. How he lived out of a U-Haul trailer, got picked 213th overall in the 1999 NFL Draft and coupled that into a Packers Hall of Fame bust after finishing with team career highs in receptions (743) and yards (10,137).

Driver doesn’t have an ax to grind here. I completely believe him.

But that’s the point — nobody cares.

Rodgers’ predecessor enjoyed being liked by his teammates. Brett Favre was the kind of guy that loved hanging out with the guys, sharing a beer and a laugh or two.

Rodgers isn’t like that. He demands ultimate perfection each play and when it doesn’t happen he puts on his verbal boxing gloves. If you remember, he even lashed out at coach Mike McCarthy when things weren’t particularly going his way last year.

Of course, the reason no one is really concerned with what Driver said is because Rodgers produces. He is the all-time career leader in passer rating with an absurd 104.9, he won a Super Bowl in his third season as a starter and he’s got a 5-3 playoff record.

Those things trump any beef that receivers may have with their quarterback when things go wrong. I understand that Rodgers needs to own it, and often does, when the offense just cannot get on track at all.

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17

August

Aaron Rodgers At The Front Of The Pack

Green Bay Packers Passing Offense

It’s time for the questions about Rodgers and his leadership abilities to stop

At the risk of repeating some of the content that Adam Czech posted earlier, I felt it necessary to weigh in on the continual questioning of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ leadership.  Point blank: it needs to stop.

For this piece, I am going to depart from throwing stats and calculated theories and just speak off the cuff.

What more do we expect from Rodgers?  Yes, it would be nice if the Packers were in a conference championship game and appearing in Super Bowl after Super Bowl, but that’s just not how it works in the NFL.  While the quarterback is the most important position on the field, this is still very much a team game.

I didn’t play on an organized football team until my senior year of high school, which was 20 years ago this year.  I was even more under-sized than I am now and I barely saw the field.  I was, however, fortunate to have a great head coach who is the reason why I became so passionate about the game.

That man happened to be Tim Beck, who is now offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the University of Nebraska.  Beck treated everyone equally and had us doing the most remedial drills in practice.  Some of the starters probably loathed it but to me, it was the best thing that could have happened to me.  I learned that no matter how much talent you have or how good you are at something, if you can’t do the little things right and be accountable, you are letting the team down.

Today, Donald Driver chimed in with his thoughts on what Greg Jennings has been saying about the Packers and Rodgers.  If you haven’t heard or read them, go and check out Adam’s post.  As of this very moment, it has not published so I have no hyperlink yet.  To me, what it boiled down to is that some guys want to benefit from having a stellar quarterback like Rodgers and what he does for them, but they don’t want to be accountable for their missteps.  And somehow because Rodgers doesn’t shoulder the blame for others’ mistakes, his leadership is under review?

16

August

Donald Driver on Packers QB Aaron Rodgers: Blah, blah, blah, blah

Donald Driver made no sense when talking about Aaron Rodgers’ leadership.

Normally I don’t care about off-the-field drama involving the Packers. I like talking and writing about football, not TMZ- or WWE-style storylines involving the Packers.

Unfortunately, Donald Driver decided to weigh in on the squabble between Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings and ended up piling onto the “Lets take shots at Rodgers’ leadership” bandwagon.

I don’t want to discuss what Driver (or Jennings) thinks of Rodgers’ leadership because I don’t care. I do want to address one thing Driver said because it was completely asinine. I’m all for players being honest and blunt in their comments — if you think Rodgers is a bad leader, fine, say so. But one thing Driver said wasn’t blunt, it was just dumb.

Once I’m done filleting Driver for the comment, I’ll go back to respecting him again. Everyone else should do the same. Driver’s a legend in Green Bay. Just ask him.

Driver on if Rodgers is a “me” guy:

We’ve always been in the room and we’ve always said that the quarterback is the one who needs to take the pressure off of everyone else. If a guy runs the wrong route, it’s easy for the quarterback to say, ‘Hey, I told him to run that route,’ than the guy to say, ‘Hey, I ran the wrong route.’ Sometimes you ask Aaron to take the pressure off those guys so we don’t look bad. He didn’t want to do that. He felt like if you did something bad, you do it. That’s the difference. You want that leadership. I think sometimes you may not feel like you got it.

Let’s say you’re a waitress. A group of four sits at one of your tables, orders drinks and food, and waits patiently for you to bring it out. Instead of bringing the group what they ordered, you drink all their drinks, eat all their food, and take a nap on the bathroom floor. When the group complains to the owner about what you did, the owner calls you and your manager into his office.

Is your manager a bad manager if he doesn’t take the fall and tell the owner that the only reason you ate all the customers’ food, drank their drinks and passed out in the bathroom is because he — as your manager, boss and leader — ordered you to do so?

18

July

Ten Packers Training Camp Topics: #7 — Nelson, Jones, Cobb and?

Jarrett Boykin was a pleasant surprise last summer. Is he ready to be the Packers No. 4 receiver?

Jarrett Boykin was a pleasant surprise last summer. Is he ready to be the Packers’ No. 4 receiver?

A year ago, the Packers had a crowded group of wide receivers. A declining Donald Driver was buried on the depth chart behind veterans Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and James Jones, as well as a budding star in Randall Cobb.

But that was then, and this is now. Driver is retired, and Jennings is playing for the Minnesota Vikings and (apparently really excited about) catching passes from Christian Ponder. Last season, Driver barely played and Jennings missed eight games.

But between Jennings and Driver are six career Pro Bowl selections and ten 1,000-yard seasons. So needless to say, the Packers face some unanswered questions at the position headed into the 2013 season.

Nelson, Jones and Cobb will all return.

Of the three, Jones was the only player to play all 16 games last season, but the trio combined for 2,483 receiving yards and 29 touchdowns. That accounts for 57.8 percent of Aaron Rodgers’s passing yards and 74.3 percent of his touchdowns in 2012.

Nelson missed four games with a lingering hamstring injury and Cobb missed the regular-season finale. But if all three players can stay healthy for the entire season, there’s very little to be concerned about in regards to the Packers receiving corps.

Without Jennings in the fold, the Packers may not have a true No. 1 receiver. But between Nelson, Jones and Cobb, the Packers may have three legitimate No. 2 receivers. The jury is still out on Cobb at just 22 years old.

But chances are, at some point this season, either Cobb, Jones or Nelson will get hurt and be forced to miss time. And if that’s the case, someone will be called upon to step in and contribute to the offense.

But who?

Last year’s training-camp standout Jarrett Boykin is one possibility. After signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars following the 2012 NFL Draft, Boykin was cut in May. The Packers picked him up, and the undrafted rookie cracked the 53-man roster despite Jennings, Driver, Jones, Nelson and Cobb all but guaranteed roster spots.

The coaching staff felt strongly enough about Boykin’s 2012 preseason that they kept six wide receivers on the roster.

But this summer, Boykin will face stiff competition against Jeremy Ross (who wasn’t in Green Bay last summer) along with a pair of seventh-round picks–Charles Johnson and Kevin Dorsey.

20

February

Packers Donald Driver: 2012 Player Evaluation and Report Card

1) Introduction: With the exception of Bart Starr, there may not be a more popular Packer than Donald Driver. But everyone’s favorite Driver entered the 2012 with perhaps the lowest expectations of his career. Through training camp, Driver still looked like he belonged. But playing behind Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb, Driver’s opportunities figured to be limited this season.

2) Profile:

Donald Jerome Driver

  • Age: 38
  • Born: 02/02/1975, in Houston, TX
  • Height: 6’0″
  • Weight: 194
  • College: Alcorn State
  • Rookie Year: 1999
  • NFL Experience: 14 years

 Career stats and more:

3) Expectations coming into the season: Because the Packers were so deep at the position to start the season, Driver wasn’t expected to be a difference-maker within the offense. In fact, some even questioned whether or not the team should use a roster spot on the aging wide receiver. But nonetheless, the Packers decided to keep Driver around for one more season.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: The highlight of Driver’s season was week two against the Chicago Bears. Leading 16-3 in the fourth quarter, Aaron Rodgers hit Driver for a 26-yard touchdown. It was Driver’s only reception of the game and the first of just two scores on the season. As far as low-lights, Driver was a healthy scratch four times in 2012. Starting with the Dec. 2 matchup against the Vikings, Driver missed three of the team’s final five games of the regular season. He was also inactive against the Vikings in the wild card round of the playoffs.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Driver caught just eight passes in 14 appearances this season, so his on-field contributions to the team’s success were clearly minimal. His eight receptions and 77 receiving yards were his lowest totals since his rookie season in 1999.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: After being declared inactive in the wild card round against the Vikings, Driver suited up against the San Francisco 49ers. He was in uniform but didn’t have an impact on the game, as he was held without a catch.

Season Report Card:

(C) Level of expectations met during the season

(D) Contributions to team’s overall success.

(F) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: 80 percent (And a huge thanks for a great career.)

17

February

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

Surviving Sundays With No Packers Football

Surviving Sundays With No Packers Football

As I get older, I can’t tell if I’m getting soft, getting smarter, or both.

I was always one of those people who wasn’t bothered by the use of American Indian imagery and slang for team logos and nicknames. I went to school at St. Cloud State University (the Harvard of the Midwest), which was in a hockey conference with the North Dakota Fighting Sioux.

The Fighting Sioux nickname has been debated endlessly in North Dakota and Minnesota for years. Some say it’s offensive to American Indians and should be scrapped. Others say it’s honorable and should be kept.

In college, I proudly supported keeping the Fighting Sioux nickname. I was the guy at parties who had one too many Keystone Lights and got into fierce political debates. When someone said that the Fighting Sioux nickname should be changed, I would shout them down while cracking open another can of Keystone.

I’ve grown up a lot since then. Most importantly, I now drink good beer, not Keystone Light. Almost as importantly, I now hate American Indian team logos and nicknames.

The Fighting Sioux nickname is bad enough, but nothing gets me going more than the Washington Redskins.

I mean, seriously. The Redskins?! How is it ok to name your team after an obvious racial slur? The fact that our nation’s capital still refers to its professional football team as the Redskins in the year 2013 makes me embarrassed to be a football fan.

Nicknames like the Braves, Fighting Illini or Fighting Sioux are questionable enough, but at least they aren’t blatant racial slurs.

Of course the people in my life who knew me during my pro-offensive-Native American-nickname days are stunned by my change of heart. They ask me when I became so politically correct, why I turned into a weak-ass liberal, or why I care either way.

I tell them it’s got nothing to do with being PC, and it sure as hell has nothing to do with liberal or conservative politics.

31

January

My Favorite Donald Driver Photo…

A photo I took of Donald Driver, in all his glory…  (click on image for a full-screen view)

 

Packers Donald Driver Retires - Image

(This was after the Seattle “Snow Globe” Playoff game.)

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He is a PFWA member who can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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