The Green Bay Packers were one of 26 teams in the NFL that approved the new kickoff rules, according to Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "The changes to the kickoff — moving it to the 35-yard line from the 30 and prohibiting players on the kicking team from getting more than a 5-yard running head start — almost certainly will result in fewer kick returns," writes Demovsky. "However, the proposal also kept the touchback starting spot as the 20-yard line instead of moving it to the 25 as originally proposed. Teams felt that change would have encouraged kickers to hit pop-up kicks designed to pin return men inside the 25-yard line rather than just booting it into the end zone. Also, two-man wedge blocking will continue to be allowed." I personally don't like the new rules because it will result in more touchbacks, which makes the game less exciting.
Reaction from head coach Mike McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson about the new kickoff rules and their impact on an NFC North Division full out dangerous returners outside of Green Bay is gathered by Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com. He writes, "Voting simply to hurt a competitor, Packers coach Mike McCarthy said, 'is a part-time mindset, and when you deal with that in league-wide rules, that's not right. I think integrity of the game should always be at the mindset. The topic is player safety. It's not individual organizations trying to get a rule passed to make up with a team today.'" The primary concern for them is the safety of the players.
Former Packer Matt Bowen talks about the impact the new rules could have on personnel in the NFL in a column at the National Football Post. "Think of some of the top names in the business when it comes to running down on kickoff," writes Bowen. "Chicago’s Corey Graham, Jacksonville’s Kassim Osgood, Washington’s Mike Sellers, Buffalo’s George Wilson, Dallas’ Sam Hurd, etc. These are players you want on your game day roster—because they bring value to the kicking game. And now I am curious how long that value will last." A guy that comes to mind for the Packers could outside linebacker Brady Poppinga. His job may be in peril for reasons other than just kickoff coverage, but he contributed on special teams as well as providing depth at outside linebacker. Now he must fight to stick around in 2011.
Another new rule instituted on replays is gone into more depth by Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin. "The booth replay official will now have to confirm all scoring plays, saving coaches from using challenges on plays in the end zone," writes Wilde. "To pass that proposal, the committee altered its suggestion by not changing the number of challenges for coaches. Now, coaches can make two challenges a game, but if they are correct on both, they would have access to a third challenge. The committee wanted to eliminate the third challenge." That sounds like an enhancement to the game.
The new rules will not change the way Ted Thompson evaluates players, writes Vic Ketchman at the Packers official website. "Packers General Manager Ted Thompson said rules changes adopted at this week’s owners meetings in New Orleans will not alter how his personnel department scouts players, grades players or how Thompson makes his decision on how to pick those players in next month’s draft," writes Ketchman. The rules regarding punt returns have not changed, so the need for a return specialist remains for the Packers. It's doubtful they want Tramon Williams filling that role next season, all other things being equal.
Mike McCarthy discussed handling success with Rob Demovsky while at the NFL owners meeting. “We’ve achieved team success at the highest level, and I’m a big believer that every level you hit brings new devils,” McCarthy said. “Definitely, there will be some new challenges that come with winning the Super Bowl. We’re anticipating it. It’s something we’ll talk about and keep in the forefront as a football team because to me, that’s where I’ve seen failure. Whether it’s a guy getting a new contract or a guy getting a new opportunity or a coach that’s now getting more attention, it touches everybody." With the way McCarthy runs his ship, I wouldn't expect any major problems dealing with being successful.
Packers alum Bill Schroeder helped deliver Campbell's Chunky Soup to area food pantries on behalf of the organization on Tuesday. "For the ninth year in a row, the Green Bay Packers won the Click for Cans food drive and a total of 29,600 cans were given to 30 pantries statewide," writes Charles Davis of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "The online contest was held during the 2010 NFL season. Fans clicked on their favorite teams, which gave the team points. The Packers more than doubled the score of the other finalist, the Jacksonville Jaguars." The streak the Packers have in winning this contest is rather impressive.
Clay Matthews was ranked as the NFL's second-best pass rusher in a vote by NFL.com writers behind only Dallas' DeMarcus Ware. "Matthews, [Jared] Allen and Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers gave the NFC North a league-high three members of this exclusive group. Peppers' all-around contributions last season earned him a spot on The Associated Press' All-Pro team, but his total of eight sacks left him ranked eighth on our list." No other Packers showed up in the voting.
Penn State center and draft prospect Stefan Wisniewski is compared to Clay Matthews as a player whose bloodlines run deep with NFL talent in an feature by Joe Fortenbaugh for the National Football Post.
A survey of mock drafts conducted by Zach Kruse of AllGreenBayPackers.com has several names going to the Packers, although the one showing up most often is Arizona outside linebacker Brooks Reed.
The Packers were in attendance at Georgia's pro day yesterday, according to Packer Report (subscription required).
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