Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was named the 2011 Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year. “Rodgers received 112 votes out of the 212 ballots submitted from U.S. news organizations that make up the AP’s membership,” writes Chris Jenkins of the Associated Press. “Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander finished second with 50 votes, followed by tennis standout Novak Djokovic (21), Carolina Panthers rookie quarterback Cam Newton (6) and NASCAR champion Tony Stewart (5).”
Another honor bestowed upon the Packers quarterback was being named the leading vote getter among all NFL players as fan balloting for the Pro Bowl ended. Rodgers received over 1.5 million votes followed by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady who received over 1.4 million. “The popularity of the Packers was evident in Pro Bowl voting: In addition to Rodgers, Green Bay had the NFC’s vote leader at fullback (John Kuhn), tackle (Chad Clifton), guard (T.J. Lang), center (Scott Wells), kicker (Mason Crosby), cornerback (Charles Woodson), free safety (Morgan Burnett) and special teamer (Jarrett Bush),” writes Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com. Fan voting counts as one-third along with coaches and players. The Pro Bowl team will be announced next week.
Packers players rejected the notion on Wednesday that the Kansas City Chiefs laid out the blueprint for beating the Packers. “The biggest so-called blueprint was the idea that the Chiefs, by playing tight man-to-man press coverage with their cornerbacks and keeping two safeties back over the top, gave the quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the receivers fits,” writes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com. Rodgers, in particular, called the idea “baloney.”
Defensive lineman Mike Neal revealed that his knee injury from earlier in the season is still causing him pain and is not yet 100%. “Combine that with a bruised shoulder, the reason he was listed on the injury report this week, and perhaps that helps explain his ineffectiveness,” writes Rob Demovsky of the Press-Gazette. “He has two tackles in five games — both coming in Sunday’s loss at Kansas City, a game in which he played a dozen snaps.” There’s still time left in the season for Neal to redeem himself, but time is running out. Unless he shows a spark in the last two games of the regular season, he can’t figure to factor much in the playoffs.
The Packers’ running game is the focus of an article by Tyler Dunne of the Journal Sentinel who looks at a team that hasn’t ran much this year, particularly in the first half of games, but may be buoyed by the return of two injured players. “There was a strange sight inside the Don Hutson Center on Wednesday,” writes Dunne. “All four Green Bay running backs were back. None in sweats, none on an elliptical. The offensive line may be bandaged together this week, but the Packers’ horses in the backfield have healed. James Starks (ankle) was a full participant Wednesday, and undrafted rookie Brandon Saine (concussion) was limited.” The Packers may run a little more the rest of the season to keep pressure off Rodgers and because of the cold weather, but in the playoffs, the passing game will still more than likely rule.
The Bears have officially turned the quarterback reins over to Josh McCown for Sunday’s game against the Packers. Back in 2003, he was the quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals. “His 28-yard touchdown pass to Nathan Poole as time expired gave the Cardinals an 18-17 victory over the Vikings,” writes Bill Huber of Packer Report. “Lambeau Field erupted, with the Packers’ victory over Denver that day combined with Minnesota’s loss handing Green Bay the NFC North title.”
Film maker Michael Neelsen chronicles his interviews with the staff of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for the documentary “Last Day at Lambeau.”
Practice squad players Brandian Ross and Diondre Borel received pay raises, according to Mac’s Football Blog.
Defensive lineman Ryan Pickett is still out with a concussion.
Tackle Bryan Bulaga has been ruled out of the Bears game.
Linebacker Desmond Bishop says he’s to resume playing.
A recent survey says the Packers are “America’s Team.”
Linebacker Clay Matthews talks about being the Bears.
Aaron Rodgers is featured in an article at Fox Sports Wisconsin.
Tackle Herb Taylor’s return to the NFL is covered at Packer Report (sub required).
An article on the upcoming free agents for the Packers is at the Press-Gazette.
Several pundits talk about Packers topics at JSOnline.
Mike McCarthy gets some press at Packer Report (sub required).
Video: A Packers fan has a basement shrine…
Brian Carriveau is a writer for Cheesehead TV. To contact Brian, email email@example.com.