Packers Daily Links: Matthews To Return Sunday

Linebacker Clay Matthews will reportedly return to the field for the Minnesota game after missing this past weekend's game against the Dolphins.

Linebacker Clay Matthews will reportedly return to the field this Sunday for the tilt with the division rival Minnesota Vikings after missing this past weekend's game according to Steve Wyche of the NFL Network. "The return of Matthews, who has 8.5 sacks in five games this season, is even more important given that backup linebacker Brady Poppinga sustained a knee injury during Sunday's overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins and will require arthroscopic surgery," says an article at NFL.com.

Packers players are saying that a win this weekend is going to be more important than revenge against Vikings quarterback Brett Favre. "Not so much that it's Favre, but that he came and beat us in our house and he beat us there," linebacker Desmond Bishop is quoted as saying by Chris Jenkins of the Associated Press about last year's games against the Vikings. You'll be hearing a lot of this, this week.

Cornerback Tramon Williams is starting to get some attention for his superb play this seaosn. "With [Al] Harris out for the first six weeks of this season, as well, Williams has been Green Bay's best and most reliable cornerback - even if his exceptional play has been, once again, buried under the problems of another struggling 3-3 Packers team," writes Lori Nickel of the Journal Sentinel. Williams is seriously playing at a Pro Bowl if not All-Pro level this season. He has to keep up his level of play over the course of the next couple months in order to earn post-season honors, but if he does, it will be sad if he doesn't get some recognition.

Buried at the bottom of the Nickel article is news that practice squad running back James Johnson has been released. This probably should serve as an indication that James Starks is ready to return to practice.

Very interesting information is provided by Mike Spofford of the Packers official website about artificial lighting the team is using on a trial basis to keep the grass growing at Lambeau Field. "The artificial lighting structures, which cover roughly 30 percent of the field and are moved around in one- to two-day intervals where needed, produce light rays that plants need to grow," writes Spofford at Packers.com. "As autumn progresses in Wisconsin, Lambeau’s grass gets less and less natural light and stops growing long before the season ends." Apparently the Packers are the first sports team in North America to experiment with this system of stimulating grass growth. Recommended reading.

The trade deadline passed without a move by the Packers. "There had been talk about the Packers going after Marion Barber, but Dallas – which is hosting the Super Bowl – had no reason to help a fellow championship contender," writes Bill Huber of Packer Report. I gave the Packers a chance to pull off a trade because of the all-in mentality to win a Super Bowl this season, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.

Speaking of trades the Packers should or should not have made, Patrick Castleberg of Packershow compares Brandon Jackson, Ryan Grant and Marshawn Lynch and finds out the Packers aren't in dire straits at running back. "I was also surprised to see that Brandon Jackson’s 71 yard scamper from scrimmage was the longest play from scrimmage for any of the 3 backs," writes Castleberg. "In fact when just looking at the stats one could argue that Jackson is just as good as Lynch."

Rookie offensive lineman Bryan Bulaga is profiled by Jason Wilde of ESPNWisconsin.

Colleen at Pocket Doppler discusses Aaron Rodgers' spotty play.

Legendary Packers running back Jim Taylor is signing copies of his book this Saturday at the Packer Pro Shop.

The Bucky Channel touches on the importance of Jermichael Finley.

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Comments (32)

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zub_a_dub's picture

October 20, 2010 at 08:05 am

This is good, but the defense is not the Packers problem the last 3 games or for the season (Chicago game is the exception).

The true identity of this team maybe the defense, forcing MM to play a more controled conserative offense, winning the field position and time of possession stats to set up the defense.

Although this requires a coach to change up his game plan, something MM has not done, while his QB continues to gamble for that big play, giving up sacks.

Yet the defense gets the job done with no help from MM or A-rod.

I am going to call it, to beat the Vikings, the defense will have to score 10 points.

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hyperRevue's picture

October 20, 2010 at 08:40 am

The pass-rush was non-existent last week. The return of Matthews should make a solid, in unspectacular, defense into a dominating one.

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hyperRevue's picture

October 20, 2010 at 08:43 am

Also, you talk about MM not changing up his game plan. And while I think I agree with that to a large degree, there did seem to be a bigger commitment to the run last week.

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WoodyG's picture

October 20, 2010 at 08:18 am

BF to Moss/Harvin is much more lethal than Henne to Bess/Marshall ..... It could be a long night if GB is unable to pressure BF with or w/out CM3 ...... A resounding win over the Vikes can only help when GB visits the Jets the following week ......

My confidence level is not high ..... A stout defense, Moss, Harvin, AP, even BF ..... I hope I'm surprised & celebrating by midnite, Sunday ....

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Franklin Hillside's picture

October 20, 2010 at 08:29 am

"stimulating grass growth"

I knew a guy in college who could probably get hired by the Packers ground crew.

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lebowski's picture

October 20, 2010 at 09:57 am

HA!

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hyperRevue's picture

October 20, 2010 at 08:41 am

Any word on Pickett and Neal?

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lebowski's picture

October 20, 2010 at 09:57 am

The word is, we need them both badly.

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foundinidaho's picture

October 20, 2010 at 08:54 am

Thanks for the shout out, Brian. I am so glad Matthews is coming back. SO. GLAD. Here's hoping Brent chews a lot of turf this Sunday.

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Tarynfor 12's picture

October 20, 2010 at 08:55 am

As the OLD ADAGE goes"be carefull what you wish for";the Return of Matthews!

The defensive flow of this game will be decided for us by the tone of the first penalty decided possibly in Favres' favor,by what may be an overzealous Matthews slamming him to the ground for RTP.

Then every one will be wondering why we stopped blitzing him(CM3) and he(Favre) chews us up over the MIDDLE.

The KEY to this game will be to win over the REFS away from Favre-tism.Yes,the Refs know this a very EMOTIONAL one for the Packers and will control it by flagging us,at the least amount of over-action.

This is not to take the worry of defeating ourselfs by poor offensive play calling and lack of performance of it,but I will venture that it will be our DPOY that does us in this time.

Moss,Harvin,Berrian will be adorned with yellow cloth so CW can just flag himself for all the grabbing he will do.

I know this will set fire to many but,deep down inside we all know it's the most likely thing that happens.

Regrettfully,Minn 31-28 with the final FG set up by that DPOY...PI.

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keeley2's picture

October 20, 2010 at 09:04 am

On the contrary, it's the Vikings defense that tends to take those "just after the whistle" cheap shots on whoever they are playing. Hopefully the referees call it evenly.

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WoodyG's picture

October 20, 2010 at 09:10 am

That's a pretty specific prediction ..... (PI by CM3) & as a result, it probably won't happen (Who could possibly call that & hit it correctly)

But I do agree, the Favre-tism factor may rear it's ugliness ...... BF's always chatting & smiling with the refs(Maybe he even texts them, who knows)

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Tarynfor 12's picture

October 20, 2010 at 09:15 am

The PI is on CW -DPOY and I like all can make predictions,unless they are outlawed if contrary to CHTV beliefs.

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WoodyG's picture

October 20, 2010 at 09:49 am

PI on CW is more likely ..... I misread it ..... Woodsn's not getting the call like he did in 2009 .... He's got to adjust.

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Brian Carriveau's picture

October 20, 2010 at 08:58 am

Be careful what you wish for? So Packers fans possibly shouldn't be wishing for the return of Matthews?

And the defensive flow of the game will be decided by the first penalty?

Take this stuff to the bank.

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Tarynfor 12's picture

October 20, 2010 at 09:11 am

Brian really?That is how you interpret what I wrote,"fans possibly shouldn't be wishing for the return of Matthews".

This is about CONTROL of EMOTION and not giving the Refs the easier case of deciding the game.

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hyperRevue's picture

October 20, 2010 at 09:14 am

How else is there to interpret "As the OLD ADAGE goes” be carefull what you wish for”;the Return of Matthews!"

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Tarynfor 12's picture

October 20, 2010 at 09:17 am

It doesn't say DON'T wish,simply be careful,as in it may not be what you hope in the end.

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hyperRevue's picture

October 20, 2010 at 09:24 am

Seems like a nit picky distinction.

In any event, I am, without reservation, thrilled with the return of Matthews.

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keeley2's picture

October 20, 2010 at 09:02 am

I was at Lambeau a couple of weekends ago for a reception and saw the lights being used down on the field. Really eerie looking. The lights cover about 1/5 of the field at a time so I assume they move them around. I took some pictures - will forward if requested.

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lars's picture

October 20, 2010 at 09:07 am

TT is a hedge trader. The Packers are not(and will never be) "all-in." Considering the injury epidemic and general lackluster play, not overpaying for Barber is a wise decision. Same with Lynch. Thompson's going to need all the picks he can get next April.

A few players (Barnett, Finley) saying "SB or bust" hardly constitutes an organizational "all in" anyway.;)

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lebowski's picture

October 20, 2010 at 09:52 am

And after one month both players predicting 'Super Bowl or bust' or done for the year.

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MarkinMadison's picture

October 20, 2010 at 09:31 am

I think it's a bit premature to write the book on the RB comparisons. Lynch was a malcontent buried on the bench at Buffalo, and is adjusting in Seattle. And I'll stand by what I've said as well - he's a former pro bowler with two 1000 yard seasons under his belt. Reminds me a bit of Woodson in Oakland in terms of alleged attitude and uneven production. Even IF he's not better than BJax, he still could have helped - unless you think he would not be an upgrade over Nance. In any case, it's a dead issue now, but maybe one that can be hashed over at that end of the season if/when we're all wondering if TT and MM can take us to the SB.

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lebowski's picture

October 20, 2010 at 09:56 am

I've said it before and I'll say it again, that "1000 yard season" stat is a joke. That translates to about 60 yards a game. Not saying Lynch isn't good or anything, just pointing out that benchmark means absolutely nothing ever since the league went to 16 games.

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MarkinMadison's picture

October 20, 2010 at 01:51 pm

All good points. 1000 yards still has some cache. It will have none once they go to an 18-game schedule.

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WoodyG's picture

October 20, 2010 at 10:02 am

Woulda, coulda, shoulda may exact a price on both MM & TT by season's end ..... If the bottom falls out, decisions by Murphy & the Board of Directors may heavily influence the Packers-2011 & beyond ....

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Brett C's picture

October 20, 2010 at 09:32 am

I also think releasing Johnson means Starks is going to be activated very soon, w/ Nance headed to the PS.

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RickyBobby's picture

October 20, 2010 at 10:22 am

i asked about this a couple days ago.

Can nance be moved to the PS even though he's played in games?

Can starks be placed on the PS? if so - is see this being more likely. let him get some PS reps. If he doesn't break again - move him up.

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Tarynfor 12's picture

October 20, 2010 at 10:30 am

I don't think Nance can be put on PS,but putting Starks on PS you leave him open to be taken and we want to keep him.He doesn't need to be activated for three more weeks I believe.

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hyperRevue's picture

October 20, 2010 at 10:36 am

"Green Bay Packers have signed DT Jay Ross to the practice squad and released RB James Johnson from the practice squad"

That move makes sense. Not having a DL on the practice squad always seemed curious.

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Brett C's picture

October 20, 2010 at 10:40 am

Yeah they're both PS eligible, the rule is you can't be active for 9 or more games; which obviously, they haven't. I don't think they want to send Starks to the PS, if they did, they would have just IR'ed him so they could keep him till next year. To me they definately see a role for him, reason why they held onto him. I've said it before and i'll say it again, I think he is going to be our starting RB at some point this season. I know, he hasn't played since August of 2009, but being a RB is 80% instincts IMO. It's part of the reason why you see so many RBs come fresh off the bench and run with success, also a reason why Rookie RBs seem to have the largest impact as opposed to any other position, sans LB. Here's what I think is going to happen...

Starks is given extra conditioning reps this week to kind of get his feet wet. He's activated either this week or next and plays mostly on STs save for a few carries here and there. Once the coaches get some tape on him, they look it over during the bye week and Starks becomes our starting RB Week 10 against Minnesota. Is it wishful thinking? Sure, but I don't think it's out of the realm of possibility. But what do I know, I thought Collins should have been benched for Aaron Rouse 3-4 years ago. : )

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jack in jersey city's picture

October 20, 2010 at 10:08 pm

i just saw on the nfl channel that driver didn't practice today. i hope he's good to go for sunday because we'll need him big time!

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