Gaining attention is an article by Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers who was unabashed in publicly pointing out his teammates’ mistakes this past game against the 49ers. “On Sunday against San Francisco, Aaron Rodgers was very demonstrative in pointing out mental errors, dressing down fullback Quinn Johnson, chirping at tight end Andrew Quarless and in one instance, seemingly getting irate with wide receiver Donald Driver,” writes Silverstein. If you haven’t already, read the rest of the article. The question becomes, is Rodgers’ crossing a line? From everything I’ve seen and heard, Rodgers is very, very highly respected by his teammates. And as long as he keeps playing at a high level, this shouldn’t become an issue.
Is an MVP award in Aaron Rodgers’ future? “The Green Bay Packers quarterback’s current four-game stretch matches up with the best such run by Brett Favre, who’s three-MVP career featured several streaks of exceptional play,” writes Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Because Rodgers didn’t start the season hot, he’ll be behind the 8-ball. But the season isn’t over. If he can keep up the level of play he’s had over the past month, he could make a late push. But that’s easier said than done.
With Chad Clifton sidelined by a concussion and knee issues, T.J. Lang is ready to step in reports Jim Polzin of the Wisconsin State Journal. “Lang, a fourth-round pick in 2009, had a wrist injury during the offseason that lingered into training camp and kept him from competing for a starting spot,” writes Polzin. “McCarthy said last week that he was pleased with Lang’s development.” Without further information, I’d say there’s still a good chance Clifton plays Sunday. But if not, Lang and not Bulaga will probably be at left tackle.
Speaking of Lang, he and rookie Nick McDonald could be starters on next year’s offensive line states Monty McMahon of Total Packers. “The only spot that’s already wrapped up going into next season is right guard, where Sitton is playing at a Pro Bowl level,” writes McMahon. “Bulaga could slide back to his natural position at left tackle, Lang could step in at right tackle and McDonald could take over for Colledge at left guard or Wells at center.”
On the defensive side, linemen C.J. Wilson and Jarius Wynn are preparing to take on bigger roles because of the loss of Cullen Jenkins for Sunday. “Wynn has been on the game-day inactive list the last four weeks,” according to the Journal Sentinel. “He was beaten out by rookie C.J. Wilson for a spot on the 45-man roster, but defensive line coach Mike Trgovac said Wynn had shown steady improvement in practice.” Wynn should be active on Sunday. Remember, he’s one of only two Packers to sack Brett Favre.
Sunday will be a homecoming for rookie linebacker Frank Zombo who grew up in the suburbs of Detroit. “A native of Sterling Heights, Mich., who also attended Central Michigan, Zombo estimated that a ‘couple hundred’ family and friends would be at Ford Field on Sunday to cheer him on against the Lions,” writes Tom Fanning of the Packers’ official website. “Luckily for him, he said, everyone was able to acquire tickets on their own.” Considering his unheralded status, Zombo has been plus for the Packers this season. Fans, no doubt, hope he’ll be extra motivated to get a sack against Detroit.
The Packers aren’t taking Detroit lightly. “They’re a 2-10 team with 10-2 talent,” Packers safety Charlie Peprah told Gary D’Amato of the Journal Sentinel. “They’ve been drafting high for a number of years now. For whatever reason, they’re 2-10. They haven’t won the close ones, but they’ve been moving the ball on everybody they’ve played and if we don’t come to play we will lose.” With talent like Ndamukong Suh, Jahvid Best, Matt Stafford and Brandon Pettigrew among others, the Lions will not stay down forever.
Three Packers lead their respective positions in Pro Bowl voting: Charles Woodson, Clay Matthews and Chad Clifton. “The fact that Woodson and Matthews lead in voting shouldn’t surprise anyone, the former is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year while the latter is the front runner to win the award in 2010,” writes Bart Winkler of the Bucky Channel. The Chad Clifton selection would be a little shocking if it stood.” Rodgers is behind Mike Vick. And Tramon Williams probably should lead the voting.
Don’t buy the James Starks hype warns Tom Oates of the Wisconsin State Journal, at least not yet. “The best advice would be to temper your enthusiasm and take a wait-and-see approach because Starks still has much to prove,” writes Oates. I think most can agree with that sentiment.
Head coach Mike McCarthy says his team is getting ready for the stretch run of the season. “I don’t see a dip in energy,” McCarthy is quoted as saying by Kareem Copeland of the Press-Gazette. “We’re going into the fourth quarter. This is what you live for. This is the type of football games you live for when you start working out together in March. If anything, our energy is improving. We need to play our best football of the year, and that starts in practice. That was evident, we were off the field eight minutes early today. They’re going to be pushed harder than they’ve been pushed this week. That’s our mindset as a coaching staff.”
The Packers are getting ready to face Lions quarterback Drew Stanton writes Bill Huber of Packer Report. “Due to constant injury problems that have hamstrung the early career of would-be franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford, the Packers faced Daunte Culpepper and Stafford last season and Shaun Hill in the Week 4 game at Lambeau Field. With Stafford hurt again and with Hill out with a broken index finger on his throwing hand, Drew Stanton will get the call on Sunday at Ford Field.”