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Posts tagged with "Green Bay"

The Falcons dealt with this the whole offseason, and you saw it, because it was impossible to miss it—28–3, 28–3, 28–3. And riding shotgun to all the taunting was the idea that the mother of all Super Bowl hangovers was coming as a result of the mother of all Super Bowl collapses.

Two weeks in, not so much. And the Falcons have handled all of this so well, because they haven’t run from it. As recently as last week, players—all the way up the chain to Matt Ryan—were speaking freely about overcoming the past. There wasn’t a ceremonial burial of a football, or an embargo on talking about 2016. Instead, the players and coaches have hit what they had coming right between the eyes.

And the reason why is simple. They did what few NFL teams have the stomach to when things go sideways—behind the GM they’ve stuck with for a decade and a head coach they’ve invested in, they believed in their course and stuck to it.

You can start, too, with one thing that actually changed. Atlanta handled its biggest offseason defection—Kyle Shanahan leaving to coach the Niners—by asking every candidate they interviewed, “can you run his offense?” In essence, screaming to the players, stay the course. The man Quinn found, Steve Sarkisian, has background with Pete Carroll, another sign of how Atlanta was building on the program, not tearing it down. So while the pilot was different, the script wasn’t and, at least on Sunday, neither was the result. Matt Ryan and company rolled up 257 yards and 24 points in the first half alone against Green Bay.

If they looked unaffected by all the noise, that makes sense too, because it had been impressed on the players that they’d been through a smaller version of this before. During Dan Quinn’s first season with the Falcons, the team saw a 6–1 start evaporate into an 8–8 finish—and that loomed over the 2016 offseason. The same way 28–3 will come up this year every time Atlanta has a lead, the 2–7 meltdown served as a caveat to every early-season win they had last year. And the Falcons were able to plow through all of that on their way to the Super Bowl.

And then, finally, there’s Quinn himself, a coach who was the king of the 2015 coaching carousel in large part because of his ability to reach players and lead, qualities that equipped him for the aftermath of the letdowns of both the ’15 season, and Super Bowl LI.

We don’t know yet whether or not the Falcons are going to be where they were last year, with a shot to win the franchise’s first world title. But what we should’ve known all along was simple—they most certainly were equipped to handle all that was coming their way.

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On Monday, Nov. 27, 25 people will be selected randomly from the entries.

Those 25 winners will receive a $50 gift card to the Packers Pro Shop.

Of those 25 winners, 10 finalists will be selected randomly to receive a Lambeau Leap Instructional Overview and Meet and Greet with a Packers player at Lambeau Field and a Lambeau Leap tryout on Dec. 5.

The person with the best overall leap at tryouts will be selected the grand-prize winner.

The remaining nine finalists will receive a jersey autographed by a Packers player.

The grand-prize winner will be able to take the Lambeau Leap during the Dec. 23 game and a game ball from the contest, an authentic Packers jersey with your name on the back and four VIP sideline passes for pre-game and four club seats to the game.

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Plus a procedural refresher on IR, PUP and practice squad

Greg from Cuenca, Ecuador

Insiders, compare how you felt last year at the end of preseason vs. how you feel at the end of this year’s preseason. Are you more optimistic regarding the 2017 season vs. 2016’s expectations? Less optimistic? About the same?

When there are no major injuries to be concerned about, it feels the same.

Andrew from Tilleda, WIWith all the handoffs by the backup QBs, I assume they had their minds made up at that position and were more interested in sorting out the running game.

The plan was obviously to have Hundley throw a bunch, and then run the heck out of the ball in the second half.

Jake from Lake Grove, NY

I guess watching the Packers punt this season won’t be all that bad. Justin Vogel looks like the real deal.

I think he nailed down the job last night.

Jerry from Wilmington, NC

How do you like the Rams’ new, old-school uniforms? It looks like the Green Bay coaches have some tough choices when it comes to the running backs.

I don’t know why they ever went away from the yellow horns and jersey trim from the Jerome Bettis era, and I think the Packers might just keep all three of those draft picks at running back. It’s wait-and-see time.

Jason from Kent, OH

What did you take away from the final preseason game?

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Former undrafted free-agent safeties showed up again in Denver

DENVER – Kentrell Brice could almost count the blades of grass separating the Packers safety from finding the end zone for the first time in his NFL career on Saturday night.

However, a 42-yard interception return wasn’t too bad a consolation prize, either.

Brice made the play of night during Green Bay’s third preseason game, picking off an overthrown pass from Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian in the first quarter and returning it all the way back to the Broncos’ 2-yard line.While the Packers ultimately dropped their first preseason contest in a 20-17 defeat at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Brice’s interception set the table for running back Ty Montgomery to score a 2-yard touchdown to give Green Bay a 10-0 lead at the time.

Brice, who made a spot start for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, was tripped up just short of goal line, which his fellow safeties had a good time with once Brice returned to the sideline.“I was messing with him,” Packers veteran safety Morgan Burnett said. “I don’t know if the altitude had something to do with it. I thought he was going to score, though. We always joke about who has return skills in the room. I think we’re going to joke with him a little bit.”

With Clinton-Dix being held out for precautionary reasons with knee soreness, it afforded both Brice and fellow second-year safety Marwin Evans extra snaps in the Packers’ secondary.

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Green Bay opens preseason by downing Philadelphia

GREEN BAY – It’s never perfect in a first game, but the Packers did enough right on Thursday night they felt pretty good about their start to the preseason.

A punt return for a touchdown, a sharp-looking TD pass, and three of four turnovers by the defense all came in the second quarter of Green Bay’s 24-9 victory over Philadelphia at Lambeau Field.Those outweighed some sloppy moments with ball-handling that the Packers will look to shore up before the games begin for real.

“I thought the work tonight was very good for us in all three phases,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said. “We took a step tonight as a football team.”

With quarterback Aaron Rodgers taking a rest, Brett Hundley was the starter, and he overcame a rocky beginning that included a bobbled opening snap and a Ty Montgomery fumble.

On his third drive, starting in Eagles territory thanks to a turnover, Hundley made a check at the line of scrimmage that produced a pretty 20-yard TD toss to Jeff Janis between two defenders.

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Practices will be about preparing for opponents now

GREEN BAY — This is transition week for the Packers in training camp.

With the playbook installation completed Saturday during Family Night, the Packers will begin preparing for their first preseason opponent on Monday. The Philadelphia Eagles visit Lambeau Field on Thursday night.

“You direct the game plan toward everybody that’s playing,” McCarthy said. “You have a general idea of what your opponent is going to do based on last year, but they’ve obviously gone through an offseason and may change direction. It’s to give our guys an idea of what they’re going against.

“This is starting the process of preparing for a football game.”

Practices will feature periods with either the offense or defense running scout-team looks, or opponent plays. Whichever side is running the scout team, an assistant coach will hold up a diagrammed card in the huddle so the players know their formation and assignment to give their teammates the best possible imitation of the opponent.

Film from Family Night was studied and reviewed with the players on Monday morning. McCarthy said fourth-year TE Richard Rodgers, who had a productive practice, is having his best training camp to date.

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Packers’ preseason opener will carry most weight of anything in camp so far

GREEN BAY — With the first preseason game on the horizon, the assessment of players for roster spots takes on more meaning.

“This will be the first evaluation in live action, so this will definitely carry the most weight of anything we’ve done to date,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said on Tuesday, two days before the Packers’ preseason opener vs. Philadelphia. “We always weigh the games higher than a practice. You take in everything, but this is real football Thursday night.”

General Manager Ted Thompson echoed those sentiments.

“Yes, preseason games are very important,” Thompson said in his weekly media address. “I can speak from experience. When I was a rookie as a player, it helped me get comfortable around the veteran players when I was able to make a tackle on the kickoff team or do something on the punt team.

“It’s a wonderful time to try to make the team, and if you do make it, it’s very special, but you have to earn it, and that’s what all these guys will be trying to do over the course of the next several weeks.”

Based on the practice reps from Monday, it appears starting QB Aaron Rodgers won’t be playing on Thursday. He’s running the scout team this week.

As for whether Rodgers would play any more in the preseason than he did last year, when he played in one game, McCarthy said it’s to be determined. He’s more focused right now on getting opportunities in games for the younger players, and seeing certain combinations of players work together.

A lot of eyes will be on backup QB Brett Hundley, and McCarthy wants to see him “play fast,” as he’s done in the past. Thompson sounded just as eager to see Hundley take the field again after being limited in last year’s preseason due to injury.

“I like to see generalship. I like to see him run the show, take charge, be exact,” Thompson said. “If someone lines up in the wrong spot, I like to see him get him moved, like Aaron would do.”

Veteran CB Davon House missed Monday’s practice with a hamstring injury, and McCarthy categorized him as day-to-day. He has no “long-term concern.”

Assuming House sits out on Thursday, there will be even more reps for the younger cornerbacks looking to establish their place on the depth chart and earn roster spots.

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Revenues and investments in community continue to rise

GREEN BAY – The Packers’ most recent financial report looks very similar to the previous year’s, except for one thing.

Net income rose roughly $24 million – from $49 million to $73 million – due to Green Bay’s share of franchise relocation fees, which are on the financial statements this year even though the money will be received in installments over the next decade.

The relocation of the Rams and Chargers to Los Angeles, and the Raiders to Las Vegas, adds $27 million to the Packers’ bottom line this year despite the money not actually existing yet.

“It’s unique having all three hit the same year,” Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said. “It’s standard accounting practice but it dramatically changes our numbers.”

Without the additional $27 million, the Packers’ net income actually would have fallen slightly, from $49 million last year to $46 million this year.

Profit from operations, while still healthy at $65 million, dropped nearly $10 million from the prior year. This was largely the result of two main factors.

Player costs rose significantly, Murphy said, due to the annual increase in the salary cap combined with a few large contract signings, which were expected and part of the cyclical nature of the business. Also, depreciation of some of the organization’s most recent stadium improvements hit the income statement as well.

Those two elements accounted for the bulk of the $42 million increase in expenses, from $334 million to $376 million.

“The depreciation was pretty significant with a full year for the 1919 restaurant, Hall of Fame, and west-side suite renovations,” Murphy said.

That said, revenue increases nearly kept pace, going from $409 million to $441 million. The Packers have increased revenue annually dating back more than a decade now.

Last year’s revenue topped $400 million for the first time, and the Packers ranked in the NFL’s second quartile in the category. This year’s ranking will be known sometime this fall.

It remains an impressive achievement that the team in by far the league’s smallest market can maintain its standing in the second quartile in revenue generation.

“It says a lot about our international reputation and tremendous fan support,” Murphy said.

National revenue rose $21 million and local went up $11 million.

The national boost was due to built-in increases in the long-term television contracts, plus the success of NFL Network and the growth of the Thursday Night Football package.

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GREEN BAY — Given how effortless he often makes it look, it’s easy to take just how good Aaron Rodgers is for granted.

Then an attention-grabbing, perspective-delivering statistic goes viral on social media, and you’re reminded just how good the Green Bay Packers quarterback really has been.

Rodgers, who is entering his 13th NFL season and 10th as the Packers’ starting quarterback, goes into 2017 with 297 career touchdown passes, three shy of becoming the 11th player to reach 300. Impressive enough — having thrown three or more touchdown passes in 61 of his 159 career games (including playoffs), Rodgers might do it in the Sept. 10 regular-season opener against Seattle — but given Rodgers’ two NFL MVP awards and year-in, year-out production, the number has a bit of a ho-hum, Rodgers-being-Rodgers vibe to it.

But in one of those this-can’t-be-true stats — noted first by Packers fan blogger Elisha Twerski on social media over the Fourth of July holiday — Rodgers will be first of the 11 quarterbacks to hit the 300-touchdown mark without having thrown 100 interceptions in the process.

The 10 quarterbacks to reach the 300-touchdown benchmark — Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Dan Marino, Fran Tarkenton, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger and John Elway — averaged 171 interceptions at the time of their 300th TD.

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GREEN BAY – Taysom Hill heard plenty of stories from close friends and family members about how crazy the third and final day of the NFL Draft can be.

So the BYU senior quarterback and his wife, Emily, improvised and instead did what most couples do on Saturday afternoons.

They ran errands.

“We kept ourselves busy and kept ourselves preoccupied,” Hill said. “I obviously made sure my phone was on loud and stuff, doing different things so I wasn’t just watching.”

There wasn’t much to worry about from Hill’s perspective. He’d already been prepped on what to expect during the final day of the draft from former teammates and his brother-in-law, David Nixon, a former BYU linebacker and undrafted free agent who played four seasons in the NFL.

While Hill hoped to be drafted, he and his agents put together a list of five possible NFL destinations if he were to go undrafted.

At the top was the Green Bay Packers, whom he’d visited during the pre-draft process. When the call finally came from Green Bay, the decision was a no-brainer.

“I felt like it was a good situation for me and a good spot for me,” said Hill, who’s one of 15 undrafted rookies to sign with the Packers. “We followed Green Bay through the draft until it was over. When I received an opportunity to come here as a free agent, it was pretty easy to jump on.”
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