Category Archives: 2010 News Recaps

16

September

CheeseheadRadio News 09-15-11- Week 1 Happenings

Weekly Green Bay Packers News from Twitter and other Sources by Al Bracco and Jayme Joers (As heard on Cheesehead Radio (9/15/11 ).

To listen to the show, click on the play button below.

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Packers News 9/15/11

Al:The news coming out of Mike McCarthy’s press conference yesterday was not good. Injured Packers defensive end Mike Neal will be missing more games after undergoing a surgical procedure on Tuesday. Details of the procedure were not released, but Mike McCarthy said the doctors were pleased with how it went. McCarthy would only say Neal will miss “significant weeks,” but he doesn’t think it would be long enough to put Neal on injured reserve.

Jayme: The news was better about Tramon Williams. Thanks to the extra 3 days between games, McCarthy believes Williams’ shoulder could be improved enough for him to play Sunday at Carolina.

McCarthy also said that it wasn’t a requirement Williams be able to practice this week to play in the game. Sounds like Mike really doesn’t want to play the game without him…

Al: NFL sources have reported that Packers cornerback Charles Woodson was fined $10,000 for punching Saints tight end David Thomas in the third quarter of last week’s game. Although Woodson was flagged for a penalty, he was not ejected, which the rules call for. After the game, Woodson said he regretted that it happened, but he didn’t exactly apologize for doing it.

Jayme: Aaron Rodgers certainly has nothing to apologize for with regards to the Saints’ game. Rodgers lit up the stat sheet with 3 touchdown passes, 304 passing yards, no interceptions and a 132.1 passer rating. For that fine performance, Rodgers was named NFC offensive player of the week for the 3rd time since last season.

Al:   James Jones, on the other hand, didn’t win any awards or possibly any friends after voicing some concerns about his role in the game plan. While Jones was only thrown to once, he seemed more concerned about how little he was used, and even how he was used. Seems that half of the less than 20 plays Jones was in for were three tight-end formations and running plays. Jones also made a comment that it’s pretty obvious who the #3 guy is now…

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25

February

Green Bay Packers 2010 Player Evaluations – Defense – C. J. Wilson

1) Introduction: When the Green Bay Packers drafted C. J. Wilson in the seventh round last season, I immediately went searching for You Tube videos of him. I found some video that really impressed me, leading me to believe he could be as good as Mike Neal, who the Packers took in the second round. Of course, that was a stretch, but my point is, my expectations for Wilson were probably higher than most.

2) Profile:

Clifford James Wilson

Position: DE
Height: 6-4    Weight: 271 lbs.

Born: March 30, 1987 in Bellhaven, NC
College: East Carolina (school history)    (Wilson college stats)
Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 7th round (230th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft.

3) Expectations coming into the season for that player: As a seventh round draft pick, just making the roster would normally be exceeding expectations. Wilson, however, showed enough for the Packers to cut Jarius Wynn and keep Wilson on the active roster. And it sure was a good thing they did.

4) Player’s highlights/lowlights: C.J. Wilson got his first significant playing time when he was thrown into the fire of the Packers’ home game against the Vikings. With both Cullen Jenkins and Ryan Pickett injured and out of the game, the Packers were down to 3 healthy defensive linemen (the others being B. J. Raji and Jarius Wynn). C.J Wilson played like a veteran that day, recording 5 solo tackles and 4 assists. The playoff game against Atlanta, where he had 3 tackles, one assist and a sack was another highlight. As for lowlights, it was difficult coming up with specific examples, so we’ll go with the 5 straight games after the bye where he saw little or no action when the Packers picked up Howard Green.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Wilson’s contributions were limited, but when called upon, he did an adequate job for a seventh round draft pick from a small college. He proved to be a bit more than just a warm body.

6) Player’s contributions during the 6-win end-of-season run: Wilson found some playing time down the stretch  when Dom Capers mixed in a 4-man defensive front, mostly against strong running teams like the Giants Falcons and Steelers.

Season Report Card:

(B-) Level of expectations met during the season
(C) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(C) Contributions to team’s success during the playoff run (last 6 games)

12

February

NFL Concussion Conundrum is Enough to Make You Feel Woozy

One of the biggest headlines during the 2010 season was the issue of player safety, most notably concussions. After a congressional hearing criticized the NFL for not taking the matter more seriously, the NFL took to the issue with a renewed fervor. What resulted was mass confusion for everyone; players, coaches, referees, the media and the fans had no idea what constituted an illegal hit.

This was followed by frustration by many players, most notably Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison, who was fined upwards of $10,000 per infraction. Harrison lead the league in fines (with over $100,000) and criticism (with a meeting with commissioner Roger Godell in New York and a fiery jab during the Super Bowl media day) and even threatened to retire should these fines continue.

I believe that the NFL is heading in the right direction, concussions are a serious matter and the ramifications for players as they retire and grow older can be devastating, but the system with which officials determine what constitutes an illegal hit and the repercussions that the NFL enforces afterwards are a little baffling.

The first issue, of course, is what constitutes an illegal hit due to the threat of concussion. While some hits, such as the Julius Peppers’ hit on Aaron Rodgers during the NFC championship game are pretty obvious, others, most notably when defenders end up hitting quarterbacks on the head, are a little harder to explain (such as Trent Cole’s “hit” on Peyton Manning this season). Perhaps if Deacon Jones was still playing and axe chopping quarterbacks that might be an issue, but usually these penalties occur when defenders are trying to bat balls or throwing arms and their hand coincidentally ends up touching the quarterback’s helmet.

The second issue comes from how penalties are handed out. These hits are treated as personal fouls, with a 15 yard penalty, an automatic first down and a likely monetary fine somewhere down the road. A 15 yard penalty with an automatic first down is a good start, the percentage of success for an offense rise exponentially based on their position, so usually such a large penalty will result in points, but if a cornerback can be penalized 45+ yards for pass interference holding by a wide receiver’s arm, hitting a defenseless receiver or knocking out the quarterback should probably be a bigger penalty.

4

February

Cheesehead Radio News – 1/28/11 – 2/3/11 – News From the Packers Twitterverse and Beyond

Weekly Green Bay Packers News from Twitter and other Sources by Al Bracco and Holly Phelps. (As heard on Cheesehead Radio 2/3/11 )

Al: Welcome to Super Bowl week. It was really hard finding some Packers related items this week this week, but we’ll do our best. First thing I want to do is give you all a reading assignment for after the show. That’s right, Professor Bracco is giving you some homework. A nice byproduct of the Packers making the Super Bowl is that now the best sportswriters on the National level turn their attention onto the Packers. There were some fabulous articles this week from Mike Freeman at CBSSports.com and three writers from ESPN, Gene Wojciechowski, Patrick Hruby and Wright Thompson. Look up the Packers coverage on these sites and find these articles. You will be reminded why it’s so special to be a Packers fan.

Holly: And special is certainly how the Packers players felt on Tuesday’s media day, surrounded by throngs of photographers and reporters hanging on their every word. And along with all of that, of course, there were the reporters in costumes, the ridiculous questions, and the silly requests, like the female reporter who asked to feel Clay Matthews’ hair.

Al: I guess she wanted to see if he’s really a Suave kind of guy. But in any case, back to football. There are two players this week fighting high ankle sprains and hoping to play on Sunday. Erik Walden of the Packers and Maurkice Pouncey of the Steelers are both optimistic, but only Walden has been able to practice. There so no debating that both guys will do whatever it takes to play, including as many injections as needed to dull the pain on Sunday.

Holly: One thing that has been debated this week is; which team has the better fans? Multiple websites are holding polls, contests and competitions to determine which team has the more storied history, the more rabid fans, the better uniforms, the better tailgate food and on and on. None of this, of course matters. Community-owned Green Bay is the real America’s team, Pittsburgh is a close second and they get to play in the shiny new home of the phony America’s team. Poetic justice, if you ask me.

27

January

Cheesehead Radio News – 1/21/11 – 1/27/11, News From the Packers Twitterverse and Beyond

Weekly Green Bay Packers News from Twitter and other Sources by Al Bracco and Jayme Joers. (As heard on Cheesehead Radio 1/27/11 )

Al: Well, what can I say. After 13 long years, the Packers are back in the Super Bowl. Having survived a season racked with injuries and in jeopardy of not making the playoffs at all, the Packers found themselves winning 5 straight elimination games to propel themselves into the big game. The sweetest part, of course, was beating the Bears in their home for the NFC Championship.

Jayme: And the week that followed could easily be called controversy gate. We had Cutler-gate, Concussion-gate and Photo-gate. The Bears Jay Cutler was criticized by some former and current NFL players for supposedly tanking on his team. Bears fans vilified him, with some taking to burning his jersey. Never mind that this was a huge rush to judgement and Cutler really did have a serious injury.

Al: Yes Jayme, but I think Cutler brought this on himself. His dispassionate attitude on the sidelines would surely infuriate me if I was a Bears fan. Fortunately, I’m not and my quarterback is Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers, by the way, did a classy thing by coming out and saying he was very disappointed by the way Cutler was treated. Rodgers then mentioned the airport incident and noted that he has come to realize that you can never make everyone happy and as long as you know you’re a good person, that’s all that matters.

Jayme: And one thing that matters quite a bit to Packer Nation is the health of one Aaron Rodgers. Many in the media and even observers in the medical profession have speculated that he  may have suffered a concussion from the vicious hit by Julius Peppers. Rodgers has insisted that he absolutely did not and that the new helmet he has been wearing did it’s job.

Al: And finally, we had photo-gate. When it was announced that the Packers team picture would not include the players on injured reserve, some of those players objected. Turns out it was really just a logistics and scheduling issue for the Packers, but after much media attention, Green Bay announced they would move the picture day back to the Friday before the game, when all of the players on IR will be in Dallas with the team.

27

January

Aaron Rodgers and Illegal Hits: When Will the NFL Walk the Talk?

When I read that Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers was fined $10,000 by the NFL today for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Sunday’s NFC Championship, one thought and one thought only went through my head:

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!

For a player who recently signed a huge free agent contract that could total $91.5 million, $10,000 is like pennies to you and me. During the regular season, the NFL apparently made it crystal clear to teams and players that hits that involve the leading of the helmet would not be tolerated and would be met with stiff fines and possible suspensions.

If $10,000 is a stiff fine to multi-millionaires, then I’m the King of England.

Look at Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison (who the Packers will face in Super Bowl XLV). He has been fined for times for illegal hits and the fines total $125,000 for an average of roughly $31,000 per offense. Again, pocket change to the millionaire players of the NFL.

But let’s get back to Peppers, and more importantly for Packer fans, Rodgers.

This is not the first time Peppers has rung Rodgers’ “bell.” In a regular season game at Lambeau Field in 2008, Peppers was flagged for a bruising hit on Rodgers out of bounds when he played for the Carolina Panthers. That hit can be seen here: Julius Peppers Nails Aaron Rodgers

If the NFL really is taking multiple offenses seriously, why aren’t they looking at past seasons so they can definitively establish a pattern of illegal hits from a player? As a lot of fans are so fond of saying when criticizing coaches, it’s not one game—it’s the “body of work.”

Worse yet, this fine once again raises a question that Packer fans have been asking over the past year and maybe more:

“Why is the league so interested in protecting 31 other quarterbacks but not Aaron Rodgers?”

Is some of this fan protectionism of “their” guy? Possibly. Have other quarterbacks taken shots like Rodgers has and not had a flag thrown? No question.

Still, it seems like Rodgers takes more illegal hits that don’t get called than any other quarterback in the league. The question everyone is asking is: why?

5

January

Packers Film Study: Bulaga’s Miscues Overshadow an Otherwise Solid Game (Packers – Bears)

Bryan Bulaga is 6 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs almost 320 pounds. But the Green Bay Packers’ right tackle probably felt like the smallest person in Lambeau Field after each of his four penalties in Sunday’s must-win game against the Chicago Bears.

Bulaga committed two holding penalties that negated Packers’ first downs. He was also guilty of two false starts. The Packers failed to pick up a first down after each of Bulaga’s penalties.

It’s impossible to give Bulaga a passing grade for Sunday’s game because of those drive-killing penalties. You simply cannot afford mistakes like that when the season is on the line.

But lets be as fair as we can to the big guy and examine the plays where Bulaga was not committing a penalty. In my opinion, he actually played decent.

Bulaga’s brightest moments came in pass protection on the two long Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings connections. The fourth quarter connection is especially highlight-worthy.

Aggressive at the line
Bulaga is matched up against Israel Idonije (I think it’s Idonije. It’s difficult to see on Direct TV’s camera angle). Idonije hesitates for a bit on the play-action, then tries to get up field and force Rodgers to move out of the pocket. Bulaga stonewalls Idonogie, which allows Rodgers to stand tall, go through his reads, and deliver a perfect strike to Jennings.

Rodgers also hit Jennings on a long pass late in the third quarter that eventually led to a field goal. On that play, Bulaga picked up Henry Melton, who originally tried to go inside before taking on Bulaga. Once again, Bulaga doesn’t allow any penetration, which gives Rodgers ample space to step into his throw and hit Jennings in stride.

Waiting too long
Contrast these two plays with the Third-and-goal sack of Rodgers near the goal line late in the third quarter. On that play, Bulaga is matched against Idonije and doesn’t engage him until Idonije is about two yards into the Packers’ backfield.

Idonije pushes Bulaga back just a little bit, and it seems to somewhat spook Rodgers. I think Bulaga had Idonije blocked, but because Bulaga waited to engage Idonije so deep in the backfield, Rodgers may have thought he had less time than he actually did.