The Packers chose quarterback Graham Harrell to fill Andrew Quarless' spot on the 53-man roster when the tight end was placed on injured reserve, but there's more to the story. "When the Bills came calling for practice squad quarterback Graham Harrell on Monday and Tuesday, the Packers elected to promote Harrell to the active roster," writes Bill Huber of Packer Report. Harrell sees he is in a good situation in Green Bay. He might have gotten playing time sooner in Buffalo but knows there's a very good chance he'll be Aaron Rodgers' backup next season.
Punter Tim Masthay was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance against the New York Giants in Week 13. "Four of Masthay’s five punts inside the 15-yard line, including a 49-yard punt in the third quarter that was downed by Jarrett Bush at the Giants’ 1-yard line," writes Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com. "The only punt that wasn’t downed inside the 20-yard line was a 55-yarder from his own 20-yard line." The last time Masthay was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week was last season when the Packers played the Jets in the same MetLife Stadium.
Defensive lineman Mike Neal told Fox Sports Wisconsin that he's not satisfied with this recent play since coming back from an early season injury and playing in the last three games. "I want to be way more productive," Neal is quoted as saying by Paul Imig. "A lot of people know me and how hard I am on myself. I've got a lot of people telling me, especially coaches, ‘Calm down. It's going to come.' I'm the type of person that one bad play determines my outcome and my mood, so I'm just trying to settle down and do what I can." The article lists Neal as playing 73 snaps and not making any tackles yet this year.
The Packers defense, which has been middling at best this season, is scrutinized by Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. The Packers’ scoring defense and defensive passer rating say they’re playing better defense than the yardage suggests, but nothing like the defense they played winning the Super Bowl last season. So far they’ve had at least one take-away in every game and at least two in nine of 12 games. But what happens if they hit a no-turnover game in the playoffs?" With the likes of Tramon Williams, Charles Woodson, the inside linebackers and Mike Neal all getting healthier, I'm still holding out hope they'll improve. It might be overly optimistic of me, but better to be the glass hall-full type of person, right?
On the other side of the football, Tyler Dunne of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel examines the offense and their quest to play flawless football and not turn the ball over. "Any ups or downs on defense don't alter their thinking," writes Dunne. "The offense is a reflection of Mike McCarthy, a 'Martyball' disciple. Clean football is paramount. His quarterback is the torch bearer. Rodgers has only five interceptions on 408 pass attempts. He's completing 70% of his passes. Maintaining this historic pace begins with a code Rodgers has lived by at every level." The "Martyball" slogan is a reference to former Chiefs head coach Marty Schottenheimer, who McCarthy once worked for.
Outside linebacker Erik Walden pled not guilty in response to being charged with disorderly conduct yesterday in a Brown County court. "The main question in this Nov.?25 dispute has been whether Walden was defending himself," writes Tyler Dunne. "His girlfriend required four stitches in her forehead and injured her thumb. According to the complaint, she originally told police that Walden pushed her first. The complaint adds that once she learned Walden would be arrested, the girlfriend changed her story and said she instigated the altercation."
Several Packers players bought stock in the Packers when it went on sale. Mike Vandermause of the Press-Gazette reports wide receiver Greg Jennings and defensive lineman Ryan Pickett were among those to do so. "On the first day of the stock sale Tuesday, team President Mark Murphy said the Packers sold 28,000 shares in the first 2 hours and 20 minutes," writes Vandermause. "That’s a whopping $7 million, or $50,000 per minute." Among players on Twitter, tight end Tom Crabtree and long snapper Brett Goode said they bought stock.
More on the stock sale comes from the New York Times.
Rookie tight end Ryan Taylor is bracing for more playing time, according to Jason Wilde.
Offensive lineman Josh Sitton has been ruled out of Sunday's game. More from Jason Wilde.
The Green Bay media interviewed Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer and coach Hue Jackson yesterday. Stories on the Packers' upcoming opponent appear at JSOnline, Fox Sports Wisconsin, the Packers official website, the Green Bay Press-Gazette and Packer Report (subscription required).
Penalties are the topic of an article at Packer Report (sub required).
Donald Driver was named the Packers Hall of Fame Player of the Week.
Video: The Press-Gazette crew previews the Raiders game in their Insiders episode...
Brian Carriveau is a writer for Cheesehead TV. To contact Brian, email email@example.com.
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