During a Packers-Bears week, was there any more appropriate time to draw parallels between B.J. Raji and William "The Refrigerator" Perry? As Max Ginsberg of the blog Purple Pants, Green Jersey points out from an episode of NFL.com's SoundFX, "On the sideline after the play, a member of the Packers staff joked with Raji and likened him to The Fridge. Raji responded with a smile and said, 'I’m the freezer.'" Being from Green Bay, Wisconsin, it works.
Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette thinks the Packers might keep that play handy. "B.J. Raji’s one play as a goal-line fullback last week at Atlanta worked well enough to think the Packers will consider using it again," writes Demovsky. As long as it keeps the defense guessing about what the Packers are going to do, I say go for it. Jason Wilde also touches on the Raji story.
Running backs coach Edgar Bennett stressed ball security for James Starks on Sunday in an interview with Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "If you noticed that Bennett said nothing about Starks making sure he sees the hole in front of him, hits it quickly and drives his legs forward it's because he already knows Starks will do all those things," writes Silverstein. Starks hasn't fumbled all season long. On one hand, there's a feeling that maybe he's due. On the other, the Packers can only hope the found a sure-handed running back.
Wide receiver Donald Driver is trying to stay out of the spotlight, according to Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin. "The Packers’ soon-to-be 36-year-old veteran wide receiver, who joined the team as a wiry seventh-round draft pick from Alcorn State in 1999 and is nearing the end of an illustrious career, does not want to make Sunday all about him, does not want the focus to be on him making it to his first Super Bowl," writes Wilde. His teammates, especially the wide receivers, are probably acutely aware of Driver's opportunity that's in front of him.
Punter Tim Masthay is confident heading into Sunday's NFC Championship game. “We don’t want to punt eight times, but we’re going to take it punt by punt and expect to succeed on each punt," Masthay said in an interview with Pete Dougherty of the Press-Gazette. "It’s a tall order, it’s tough, but we know we can do it.” Of course, that's no easy task because of the guy in this next article.
Bears return specialist Devin Hester will make the job difficult for Masthay and company on Sunday. "Hester finished the regular season with a 17.1-yard punt return average – the highest in a season in NFL history (minimum 30 returns) – along with three punt-return touchdowns to give him 14 career return touchdowns, an NFL record," writes Jason Wilde. "One of those came against the Packers on Sept. 27, when Hester took a Masthay punt back 62 yards for a score." Hester is referred to as "the human joystick."
The Bears have a distinct advantage on special teams over the Packers, according to Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com. "On Sunday, the Bears will have the best three special-teams players on the field," writes Seifert. "Cover man Corey Graham led the NFL with 22 special-teams tackles, according to press box statistics, while returners Devin Hester and Danieal Manning helped the Bears achieve the best average drive start in the league." The Bears' kicker and punter have been solid over the years as well.
Safety Atari Bigby is reportedly ready for action and is fully healthy. "Asked if he was capable of playing 60 snaps, Bigby said, 'Of course. I could play 75, 80,'" writes Gary D'Amato of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He could be a replacement for Brandon Underwood on the 45-man gameday active roster.
The Packers have done a good job of limiting opposing tight ends as of late, according to Mike Spofford of the Packers official website. "Over their last four games combined – the final two regular-season contests and the two playoff games – the Packers have allowed just eight receptions for 61 yards by opposing tight ends," writes Spofford on Packers.com. "[Bears tight end Greg] Olsen had five of those catches in the Week 17 matchup at Lambeau Field, but he gained just 29 yards on them." Olsen, of course, had a big game and one big catch in the divisional round matchup against Seattle, showing just how much of a weapon he can be.
Linebacker Clay Matthews is featured in an article by NFL Fanhouse's Chris Harry. "In all honesty, we all play this game to win a championship. That's what we do," said Matthews. "If I can pick up some awards along the way, that's fantastic. We'll find out by the time the Super Bowl rolls around, but hopefully we can be there, instead."
Packers president Mark Murphy is profiled in an article by Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "Three years ago at the NFC Championship Game between the Packers and New York Giants, Murphy had just joined the Packers," writes Walker. "He was due to take over from Bob Harlan as the team's chief executive. Sunday will Mark Murphy's first NFC Championship Game as president and CEO. And like the rest of the organization and the fans, he can't wait for kickoff."
The only surviving member of the Packers from their 1941 meeting with the Chicago Bears, the only other time the two teams have met in the postseason, was found by Cliff Christl of the Green Bay Press-Gazette. "[Ed] Frutig, 92, is the only survivor among the 30 players who participated for the Green Bay Packers in their only previous postseason game against the Chicago Bears 70 years ago," writes Christl. "Frutig resides in Vero Beach, Fla."
A look at the upcoming NFC Championship is provided by Adam Czech at AllGreenBayPackers.com.
Also at AllGreenBayPackers, Chad Toporski argues that defense drives the Packers.
Xs and Os are given some attention by Eric Huber for Packer Report.
The Bears secondary praises the Green Bay wide receivers.
The Packers offensive line has a difficult task ahead of them.
The Packers nickel formation is featured at Acme Packing Company.
The New York Post has nothing on the Packer Ranter.
Listen to the Packershow podcast.
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