Thursday, August 21, 2014

Forbes Ranks Packers Fans NFL's Best

Forbes has ranked Packers fans NFL's best.

Immediately behind Green Bay on the recently-released list are the Broncos, Saints, Patriots, and Ravens, with the arch-rival Bears also making the top 10 with the ten spot.

According to Forbes, 84% of adults in the Green Bay Area are fans of the team, an unsurprising statistic considering Lambeau's constant sellouts.

Also, since the Pack have probably the NFL's most notable history you can't exactly even be proud of this news, as likable as it is. 

Remember, in their history the Packers have impressively won a league-best 13 titles, something that can only be expected to draw supporters.

Preseason Game Number 3: Packers Host The Raiders

I'm just glad their playing at home. Watching these first two preseason games in bad weather (Tennessee) and in a stadium filled with empty seats (St. Louis) makes me long for Lambeau Field. But the current forecast calls for either thunderstorms or fog, so it's not exactly ideal playing conditions.

The starting lineup is pretty much set, and the biggest thing to watch against the Raiders is whether Matt Flynn or Scott Tolzien can move ahead in the backup quarterback battle. There will be a lot of individual players battling for a roster spot, and rookies like 4th round LB Carl Bradford are going to have start showing something if they want a spot on the 53-man roster. A few guys should be considered safe as backups, I don't think CB Jarrett Bush will ever lose his roster spot, but everyone should play like their job is on the line.

As for the Raiders, I'm not sure what to make of them. And one of their most interesting young players won't be stepping onto the field:
I really want former Packer executive Reggie McKenzie to succeed as GM of the Raiders, but he's not off to a great start. His first draft choice from 2013 (CB D.J. Hayden) is so far a bust with constant injuries. He's like the Justin Harrell of the Raiders. McKenzie traded for veteran checkdown specialist QB Matt Flynn in 2013, and he traded for another checkdown artist in 2014 (QB Matt Schaub). Schaub's arm strength looked non-existent against the Lions. It's easy to understand why Carr might seem so much promising when compared to Schaub.

The Raiders have signed a whole bunch of veterans who are trying to extend their career (Charles Woodson, Justin Tuck, Lamarr Woodley, Carlos Rogers, Maurice Jones-Drew) after being released, which isn't a bad idea considering the Raiders have had to strip away all the dead wood from the last of the Al Davis years. Fielding a team with veterans on short-term contracts will keep them competitive and create a better environment for the young players to develop.

But McKenzie has got to improve the roster through the draft. Hayden's hurt, the QB they drafted last year (Tyler Wilson) has already been released, and their 2014 1st round pick (LB Khalil Mack) has so far been underwhelming. Yes, it's early for Mack, but if he's really such an elite athlete you'd expect him to look pretty good against backup players in the preseason. The Raiders are looking to their veterans as a strength of the team, when the spotlight should be on their 1st and 2nd year players.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Packers Release Injured TE Colt Lyerla

The Packers have released injured Tight End Colt Lyerla, USA Today's Tom Pelissero reports. 

Lyerla, a rookie out of Oregon, tore multiple ligaments in his knee earlier this week, an injury that will probably keep him out a couple of months.

So, in a move that'll definitely surprise some, the Pack cut him this afternoon, officially limiting their amount of possible starters to just three (Recent Draftee Richard Rodgers, and longtime backups Andrew Quarless and Brandon Bostick)

Lyerla, 21, signed with the Pack this summer after a workout, giving him the NFL chance he originally didn't have after going undrafted.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Former Packer Collins Officially Retires

Former Packers Safety Nick Collins has officially retired from the NFL, NBC Sports' Pro Football Talk reports.

During his playing time with Green Bay from 2005-2011, as you probably remember, Collins was a huge part of the team's defense, collecting 417 tackles and 6 interceptions en route to 3 Pro Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl ring in 2010.

However, in 2011 all of that success ended when Collins sustained a severe neck injury against the Panthers, an event that eventually led to today's news.

Collins, 31, was released by the Pack in October 2012, essentially ending his professional career.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Flynn/Tolzein Competition To Go Through The Final Preseason Game

The competition for the Packers' backup QB job between Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzein will go through the team's final preseason game, QB Coach Alex Van Pelt recently told ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky. 

"I would think that would be the fair way to do it," Van Pelt said this week. 

In Green Bay's first two exhibition contests, as you probably already know, both of their possible arms have looked pretty good, likely meaning this decision will be hard to make two weeks from now.

Nonetheless, since a pair of contests do currently remain on the exhibition schedule a lot can obviously happen before actual play begins, with this Friday's hosting of the Raiders beginning what should be a very entertaining seven day period.

Packers Preseason: Beat Rams 21-7 in St. Louis

The headliners were the two starting QBs. It was the first preseason action for Aaron Rodgers, and the first time Sam Bradford played in a game since last October, when he tore his ACL. Rodgers looked great, but the offensive line gave him a time to throw and he made it look easy.

The biggest play of the game was made by the rookie, in his first preseason NFL game:
Janis and WR Davante Adams stood out and took the lead in the battle for the No. 4 and 5 WR spot. Adams was always going to make the final roster, but he could still slip down the depth chart if he struggles in the final two preseason games.

On offense and defense, the first team players still look like the opening week starters. There are only two positions that still could change:

Tight end. TE Brandon Bostick was their lone reported injury, which was unfortunate because he probably had the best game among the top three TEs. Rookie Richard Rodgers wasn't even targeted and he didn't look good blocking. Andrew Quarless had a big gain at the end of the 1st quarter on a busted coverage, but he also committed offensive pass interference on a 4th quarter pass attempt. If Bostick can bounce back quickly, he's probably in the lead to start.

FS HaHa Clinton-Dix. On a 41 yard completion to Rams' WR Brian Quick near the start of the 2nd quarter, CB Sam Shields went underneath in coverage expecting safety help. Instead, Clinton-Dix didn't go for the ball or the tackle, and Quick ran right around him on his way to an extra 20 yards. It wasn't a great day for safeties, TE Lance Kendricks beat Micah Hyde for a touchdown later on the same drive, but Clinton-Dix isn't ready to start.

Speaking of 1st round picks, I expect him to start, but I still haven't seen much from DE Datone Jones. I don't know what to expect from him.

Matt Flynn vs. Scott Tolzien. Tolzien is the one who's making quick decisions and getting the ball out his hand. Flynn is the one throwing short, dump-off passes (Janis's TD pass was almost entirely yards after the catch) and he's holding the ball too long. But Tolzien's drives don't lead to touchdowns, though a Tolzien TD pass to WR Myles White was waived off because of a penalty on rookie C Corey Lindsay. Meanwhile, Flynn is more likely to lead them to points. They'll still need the final two preseason games to sort out who should be the backup, but I don't know who's in the lead.

As for the backups on offense, I already mentioned Janis, but elsewhere on offense RB DuJuan Harris fumbled away the only turnover in the game, which will put some pressure on him for the remainder of the preseason. OT Derek Sherrod struggled in pass protection on at least three occasions after a good game against the Titans. He's still the biggest lineman on the roster, and I don't expect them to give up yet on their former 1st round pick, but he's not ready to step in and start if needed.

As for the backups on defense, former 1st round LB Nick Perry is definitely on the second team now that LB Julius Peppers is on the roster, but the entire second team front seven looked good. I wasn't ready to jump on the NT Mike Pennel bandwagon last week, the guy couldn't get on the field at Arizona State in college, but he did look good again this week. His biggest problem is that I'm not sure whether the Packers intend to keep two nose tackles.

It was a sack-fest for undrafted LBs Jayrone Elliott and Adrian Hubbard, but they were rushing against a sieve of a left tackle for the Rams. They both showed speed around the edges, but it's not clear they're faster than either backup LB Nate Palmer or Andy Mulumba. A three sack performance (Elliott) would usually be enough for any player to earn a roster spot, however, Elliott will have to keep it up to prove this game was no fluke.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Packers Don't Think Bostick's Leg Injury is Serious

The Packers don't think TE Brandon Bostick's leg injury is serious, ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky reports.

During yesterday's preseason win over the Rams, Bostick sustained the wound, the details of which have yet to be revealed.

Nonetheless, this news is definitely good for Green Bay, as who will start for them at Jermichael Finley's old position this year is a complete mystery.

Remember, since Colt Lyerla just got hurt and will be out weeks this season's TE possibilities have begun to dwindle, with Bostick, longtime backup Andrew Quarless, and rookie Richard Rodgers really the only possible candidates at this point.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Notes From Packers' 21-7 Win Over The Rams

Some notes from the Packers' 21-7 win over the Rams this afternoon:

Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers looked like his usual self today, completing 11/13 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown.

Mason Crosby. Crosby continued his great summer in this W, successfully converting both a 31 and a 49 yard field goal while also making a pair of extra points.

DaJuan Harris. Harris led Green Bay with 32 rushing yards on 7 carries this afternoon.

Scott Tolzein. Tolzein wasn't necessarily great during his few drives, but since he did complete 10/15 passes for 107 yards you could definitely appreciate his performance. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Former Packers LB Bishop Signs With Cardinals

Former Packers LB Desmond Bishop has signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals, Pro Football Talk reports.

From 2007-2012, as you probably remember, Bishop was a constant contributor to Green Bay's defense, even starting for them in 2010 and 2011.

However, during the 2012 preseason opener Bishop sustained a severe hamstring injury, ending his year and eventually leading to his release the following offseason.

Since then, unfortunately, things haven't really gotten any better for the former Super Bowl Champion, definitely making this piece of news likable, as it gives a deserving veteran another chance to help out a playoff contender.