12

July

Cory’s Corner: Will teams Johnny Manziel-proof themselves?

Johnny Manziel made this social media post on a  recent trip to Las Vegas. If it affects his play remains to be seen.

Johnny Manziel made this social media post on a recent trip to Las Vegas. If it affects his play remains to be seen.

With the explosion of social media in the last few years, many think that sports teams will need to Johnny Manziel-proof themselves.

Or will they?

By now, everyone has caught a glimpse of Manziel’s mini-vacation photos he took in Las Vegas a few months ago. In it was the usual charade of Vegas: scantily clad women in a party atmosphere with Johnny and his friends.

Now I don’t think this is a big deal. Manziel hasn’t thrown a pass in the NFL yet, and he decided to go to Vegas moments after he was issued the Browns playbook.

Yet I was surprised to see and hear about how many people were upset that he wasn’t at home cramming his brain with hot routes, silent counts and hand signals.

First of all, let the players fail before jumping all over them for a decision based on free time.

Taken a step further, what if said player was a veteran? Would Packers fans have a problem if Aaron Rodgers started filling up social media with himself partying in the offseason?

Football players live in a 24/7 media bubble that makes them feel like they are being suffocated. That’s why offensive linemen usually give the most candid quotes, because that group of hard workers hardly ever gets a microphone thrown in his personal space.

Obviously, athletes have to be a little bit more cautious with what they let the world to see. This isn’t high school where you can post a picture of something and only your close friends are going to see it.

But then again, I don’t think it’s fair for athletes to live as hermits. The reason Rodgers is so adored in Green Bay is because he is approachable. He is spotted in the grocery store, restaurants and doing other regular people things. But Packers fans, being in the smallest NFL town, are smart enough not to ruin every public appearance that he makes by splashing it up on social media every time.

What it all comes down to is filtering. Herm Edwards, the ESPN NFL analyst who is outspoken to a fault, had a brief talk at the NFL Rookie Symposium a few years ago. The main thing he said was, “Think twice before you hit send.”

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20

October

Packers vs. Browns – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: GB 31 CLE 13

Jermichael Finley, Jordy Nelson

Finley TD celebration…

Green Bay Packers vs. Cleveland Browns:  2013 Game 6

Unfiltered game day blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

GAME NOTES:

The walking wounded (otherwise known as your Green Bay Packers) hit the field today in their Throwback uniforms to take on the improving Browns. Cleveland has  a very good unit on defense, but the offense has struggled since Brian Hoyer went down and Brian Weeden stepped in at quarterback.

Packers wide receiving corps will consist of Jordy Nelson, Jarret Boykin and Myles White, fresh off the practice squad.

Today’s captains for the Packers: - OL Josh Sitton, DB M.D. Jennings, LB AJ Hawk.

 

Inactives for today:

 

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
29 CB Casey Hayward
44 RB James Starks
52 LB Clay Matthews
53 LB Nick Perry
59 LB Brad Jones
82 TE Ryan Taylor
89 WR James Jones

Starting lineup changes: 11 WR Jarrett Boykin starts for J. Jones, 96 LB Mike Neal for Perry, 55 LB Andy Mulumba for Matthews, 57 LB Jamari Lattimore for B. Jones.

Cleveland Browns
58 LB Brandon Magee
60 OL Patrick Lewis
64 OL Martin Wallace
65 OL Garrett Gilkey
83 TE Keavon Milton
90 DL Billy Winn

The Browns have only 52 players on their active roster, therefore they have only six inactives.

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Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Keep calm and carry on: Inspiration comes from my wife – has great appreciation for history. Really helps me on a personal level when the kids are being rambunctious. Very appropriate this week for our game against the Browns.

 

NFL requirement to dress 46: We will dress all 46. there will be a player or two on there we’d rather not play – not going to say who.

Question marks: Hayward not going to play he’s inactive.  Mike Neal is active and ready to go.

Linebackers: Malumba and Palmer have had a full week of practice. First time we’ve had all 7 DL up. Excited for Josh Boyd, he’s been working hard in practice – deserves this chance.

Receivers/TEs:  White, Stoneburner – they’re going to have opportunities to play today. I just want them to not overthink and just go out there and play football.

18

October

Packers vs. Browns Week 7 Game Predictions from AllGreenBayPackers.com

GAME PREDICTIONS
Week 7: Green Bay Packers vs. Cleveland Browns
Name Record To-Date This Week’s Pick Score Prediction
Kris Burke 2-3 Green Bay Packers 31-14
Everyone is thinking the Packers will struggle with the pass thanks to injuries at receiver, but I think this is the game he erupts. Look for 350 yards from Rodgers and 125 from Lacy as Green Bay rolls.
“Jersey” Al Bracco 3-2 Green Bay Packers 23-13
Defense comes up big in this game, causing turnovers and helping out the Packers receivers-challenged offense with great field position. Crosby will be called upon again to make 2-3 field goals.
Adam Czech 4-1 Green Bay Packers 27-17
Who’s ready for a 5 WR set featuring Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finley, Jarrett Boykin, Myles White and Jake Stoneburner? *crickets* Nobody? Oh well. We might not see a spread formation featuring Jordy, Jermichael and a bunch of guys we never heard of, but that doesn’t mean the Packers offense will go in the tank. They’ll have to work for it, but they’ll put up some points and back up another nice defensive performance for a shorthanded win.
Marques Eversoll 4-1 Green Bay Packers 24-13
Despite being without Clay Matthews and Nick Perry, I think the Green Bay defense will force Brandon Weeden into a couple turnovers. Offensively, I’d be surprised if James Jones can play, but I think they’ll put enough points because of two things: Eddie and Lacy. Packers win.
Thomas Hobbes 3-2 Green Bay Packers 21-10
This will be an interesting game to see how the Packers adapt to losing so many players last week; luckily Cleveland isn’t a powerhouse team and the Packers can make a couple mistakes without costing them the game.  Figure to see a more balanced offense as the McCarthy adapts to losing Cobb and potentially Jones while Capers likely dials up more exotic blitzes to account for losing Perry and Matthews.
Cory Jennerjohn 4-1 Green Bay Packers 23-10
17

August

Packers vs. Browns – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: CLE 35 GB 10

Packers running back Alex Green vs. Browns

Packers running back Alex Green vs. Browns

Green Bay Packers vs. Cleveland Browns:

My unfitered game day blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

 

Inactive for Packers today:

It’s a long list:

WR Greg Jennings, WR Diondre Borel and TE Jermichael Finley, LB Desmond Bishop, WR Shaky Smithson, RB Du’ane Bennett, RB Brandon Saine, FB John Kuhn, FB Jon Hoese, CB Sam Shields,  CB Davon House, OLB Frank Zombo, G Ray Dominguez,  DT Johnny Jones, T Marshall Newhouse, T Derek Sherrod, TE Andrew Quarless,

Notes: Tonight is the 63 installment of the Midwest Shrine game. Big night for Alex Green, Casey Hayward and DJ Smith.

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Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

 

Lambeau Field: Great to be home – no place like Lambeau Field. Big night for some of our younger players – they’re excited about playing here tonight.

 New Stadium Additions: Anxious to scope out the conditions. Great work for us; 15-20mph winds expected. I’m very interested to see what info our coaches gather.

Cedric Benson:  I look for Cedric to come in and compete for a starting position. He looks to be in great shape. He’s an excellent inside runner, he’s a 220 lb running back .  He defintitely falls forward.

Reggie Wells: Reggie gives u flexibility, has played all 5 positions. He’s older obviously, so brings a lot of valuable experience to a young offensive line group

DJ Smith: I think DJ is definitely one of our more instinctive players. We look for him to fill some big shoes.

Casey Hayward: Casey did some good things against San Diego. Big night for him and all the young cornerbacks.

Browns starters playing longer: Our starters will play at most 20-25 plays, important for us to evaluate the middle part of the roster. That’s great if they play their starters longer – will help our evaluation.

Curenski Gilleylen: Flexible player, has played many positioon. impressed byb his menatal ability – picked up our offense at multiple positions

Hope for tonight: Looking for a big step forward tonight. Discipline, communication, tempo – we’ve been addressing it all week.

Injuries:  I’m not not concerned. Since my first day here, I talk to the team all the time about accountability and availabilty. We have 72 players tonight – they all have to be ready to go.

16

August

Packers – Browns Preview: Shaking Off The Shaky Start

Packers vs BrownsIs it possible for a preseason game to suck?

If it is, then the Green Bay Packers experienced it last Thursday in their 21-13 loss to the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium in their preseason opener.  Not only did the Packers lose, the starting offense came out flat with reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers posting a quarterback rating of 0.0 (yes, it’s a meaningless stat, but the offense looked putrid regardless).

Throw in a possible season ending hamstring injury to starting linebacker Desmond Bishop and the 2012 season opened with a rather loud thud for Packer Nation.

That said, it’s a new week and football returns to Lambeau Field tonight when the Green Bay Packers take on the Cleveland Browns.

The Packers enter the game a little healthier than in the game against the Chargers, they still have a ways to go before they can be declared ready to go before the regular season starts.  Greg Jennings is still out with a concussion and the Packers must be more worried about his health than they are letting on.  Marshall Newhouse finally returned to practice and should see his first game action of the season.

With the starters likely seeing very limited action once again, here are some things to look forward to as the Packers’ preseason schedule hits the halfway point:

James Starks has been put on notice

That’s the first thing that crossed my mind when I read the Packers signed veteran running back Cedric Benson to a one year contract earlier this week. Starks got off to a horrible start last week as his dropped pass sent the first team offense into a tailspin from which it never recovered.

Throw in Starks’ disappointing 2011 and his inability to remain fully healthy and the Packers had no choice but to bring someone in to light a fire under his rear end.  Mike McCarthy has said he wants to “fundamentally change” how the Packers run the ball which was a not too subtle shot across the bow for Starks.

It’s a good sign that the Packers seem intent on getting a run game going, but do they have the proper personnel to help take some pressure off of Rodgers?  Stay tuned.  Benson won’t be playing in the game, so this is a golden opportunity for Starks to show he can be the man.

5

April

Looking at the Packers’ 2012 Preseason Schedule

Last preseason @ Indianapolis

The Packers preseason opponents were announced by the team yesterday afternoon. The schedule for the 2012 preseason is as follows:

Aug. 9 @ San Diego Chargers (ESPN)

Aug. 16-19 Cleveland Browns

Aug. 23-26 @ Cincinnati Bengals

Aug. 30-31 Kansas City Chiefs

After being snubbed by the NFL and missing out on the season opener against the New York Giants, the Packers get the first primetime, national televised preseason game outside of the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 5.

Due to it being a national televised game, the Chargers game is the only game that has a specific date and time. The dates and times for the other games will be revealed in the coming weeks.

When the team released the information, some players took to twitter to express their frustration with having to play a West Coast preseason game. Josh Sitton tweeted, “that’s terrible. West coast preseason games suck. Especially early [in] pre season!” When asked why, Sitton claimed the long flight and time change.

While the players may not be happy, it presents the Packers a chance to open their training camp before most other teams. According to NFL rules, teams can begin their camps 15 days prior to their first preseason game. The Arizona Cardinals and the New Orleans Saints will be the first to open because their Aug. 5 meeting.

The Packers camp should open on July 25 or 26. The players are likely to disappointed about starting camp earlier than most teams, but it gives the team that much more time to work before the season.

When glancing at the list of opponents, not much jumps off the screen. The Packers have played mostly AFC opponents in preseason, but usually included at least one NFC team. This year it’s all AFC opponents.

Also interesting to note is that each opponent has a stable quarterback situation. It doesn’t mean much, but the Packers defense should get some looks at established quarterbacks.

The skeleton of the NFL’s preseason being released is just a teaser for the full NFL schedule expected to be released sometime in the next two weeks. At that point, the road to Super Bowl XLVII will be properly mapped out.

 

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Michael is a sports writer currently attending Seattle University. You can follow Michael on Twitter .

5

March

Packers Elect Not to Franchise Tag Free Agent QB Matt Flynn

The Packers decided against franchise-tagging Matt Flynn Monday.

Packers quarterback Matt Flynn will be free to sign with whichever team he so chooses this spring after the NFL’s franchise tag deadline passed Monday without GM Ted Thompson slapping the $14.4 million tender on the 27-year-old backup.

Instead of taking the risk of tagging Flynn and then trading him to a quarterback-needy team, the Packers have decided to play it safe and let Flynn become an unrestricted free agent on March 13. Depending on how a number of factors play out, the Packers could receive a third-round compensatory pick in next year’s draft for letting Flynn walk.

Early opinions following the re-signing of tight end Jermichael Finley to kickoff the NFL Combine were that the Packers would tag Flynn and find a trade partner, which potentially could have landed a first- or second-round pick in exchange. As the process wore on, however, it appeared less and less likely that the Packers would go down that route.

The Packers certainly did their due diligence to investigate whether the tag-and-trade route would benefit the franchise, but the risk of getting stuck with a $14.4 million backup outweighed the potential of acquiring a top pick in the 2012 NFL draft. Starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers makes more than $6 million less than the quarterback franchise tender.

The Packers also would have been forced to make salary cap room to take on a $14.4 million salary, whether they had a handshake trade partner lined up or not. There were ways to accomplish that, but the Packers are obviously in no hurry to make decisions on veterans Chad Clifton and Donald Driver.

The uncertainity surrounding Peyton Manning also could have played a role, as teams such as the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins—leading candidates to sign Flynn in free agency—likely want a chance to survey whether signing Manning once he’s released on March 8 is a better route than the unproven Flynn.

Flynn has started two games over the last two seasons, with impressive performances in each laying the framework for the interest in Flynn this offseason.

On the road against the Patriots in 2010, Flynn threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns in a close loss. Then on New Year’s Day against the Lions this past season, Flynn broke franchise records for passing yards (480) and passing touchdowns (six). He has a career passer rating of 92.8.