Green & Gold


Packers go defensive in 2nd, 3rd rounds

The Green Bay Packers made shoring up the secondary their first priority in the NFL draft.

They took Washington cornerback Kevin King with the first selection of the second round on Friday to fill a big need on defense. The 6-foot-3 King adds size and speed to a secondary that was burned in the passing game and maligned by injuries.

Later in the second round, Green Bay took Josh Jones, a 6-foot-2 safety out of North Carolina State. They added beef in the third round by taking 6-foot-4, 304-pound defensive lineman Montravius Adams out of Auburn.

Once again, the Packers focused on defense early in the draft. Team executives expressed a need to add versatility, height and speed on the back end, three months after getting blown out by the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC title game.

King had a 40-yard dash time of 4.43 seconds, according to, while Jones was timed at 4.41 seconds.


Bears trade up, take Trubisky No. 2

With defensive studs everywhere in this draft, NFL teams turned offensive — with an emphasis on quarterbacks.

Hardly stunning in a pass-happy league, except that no quarterbacks in this crop have been highly touted. Yet three went in the first dozen Thursday night in Philadelphia, with two whopping trades putting the Bears and Chiefs in position to grab QBs.

Chicago paid a whopping price to move up one spot to second overall for North Carolina’s Mitchell Trubisky. Kansas City gave up its first-rounder next year to go from 27th to 10th for Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes.

The Green Bay Packers, meanwhile, traded out of the first round, passing on defensive stars such as linebackers T.J. Watt, of Wisconsin, and linebacker Reuben Foster, of Alabama.


Packers to face Lacy, Seahawks in opener

A familiar opponent will make its way to Lambeau Field for the opening weekend, and a Week 8 bye is a welcomed change for a squad that had a fourth-week break last year.

The NFL’s 97th regular-season schedule was released Thursday night.

The Seattle Seahawks, along with former Packers running back Eddie Lacy, will travel to Green Bay on Sept. 10 to open the season. It will be the sixth meeting between the teams since 2012, and Green Bay has won seven consecutive games against Seattle at home.

A trip to Atlanta, where Green Bay’s season ended last season, awaits in Week 2, followed by a home game against Cincinnati on Sept. 24.


Packers open workouts with changes in mind

Following the Packers’ drubbing at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons in last season’s NFC Championship, quarterback Aaron Rodgers said the team needed to “reload” and “make sure” it went “all-in every year to win.”

The Packers’ revamped roster convened for the first time Tuesday for the start of the offseason program.

“It’s Day 1,” Rodgers said. “We’re going to wait and see how everybody looks moving forward, but I like the pieces we’ve put in.”

This has been an offseason with an unusual amount of turnover on the depth chart, at least for the Packers. While Green Bay has not replaced burly running back Eddie Lacy or Pro Bowl guard T.J. Lang, it did swap out one tight end (Jared Cook) with two tight ends (Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks). That will provide a dramatic new look to an offense that used to rely on three-receiver sets under coach Mike McCarthy.


Questions ahead for McCarthy, offense

Leader Photo by Greg Mellis Head coach Mike McCarthy and quarterback Aaron Rodgers will work next season without Tom Clements, the associate head coach for offense, who is leaving the team to pursue other interests.

Leader Photo by Greg Mellis Wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who played in the NFC championship game with broken ribs, was one of several Packers who dealt with significant injuries this season. The offense next year will be without Tom Clements, the associate head coach for offense, who coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday was leaving to pursue other interests.

Ty Montgomery is staying at running back with the Green Bay Packers, and he’s getting a jersey number more appropriate for the position.

Montgomery, who wore No. 88 this season, will spend the offseason preparing to be in the backfield full-time, coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday.

The switch epitomized the scrambling that the Packers had to do all season to cope with a litany of injuries. While Montgomery played running back in high school, he played receiver in college at Stanford.

“He’s a running back, so he wants to change his number and that’s the way we’re going,” McCarthy said at Lambeau Field, where he held his season-ending news conference.

The Packers always had designs on using Montgomery in some all-purpose role when he was drafted in 2015, similar to how they use receiver Randall Cobb at times. Injuries to Eddie Lacy and James Starks necessitated a dramatic change.


Rodgers unable to pull injury-riddled Packers off the mat

All afternoon, Aaron Rodgers watched a stream of teammates limp off the field with injuries.

It got so bad toward the end that Green Bay's star quarterback had Letroy Guion, the starting nose tackle, taking snaps at guard.

Rodgers kept his composure throughout the Packers' 44-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC championship game Sunday, but his emotions were raw when asked about Jordy Nelson, who played with broken ribs.

"Yeah, I'm so proud of Jordy," Rodgers said. "I mean it was incredible that he was out there."

Rodgers nearly cried. Standing at the podium, he lowered his head, looked away and paused 10 seconds.
Next question.

"I felt like we kind of hurt ourselves in the first half more than they really stopped us," Rodgers said. "They have a good football team. There's a reason they're moving on to the Super Bowl. They're going to be tough to stop."


Injured WRs could be game-time decisions

The Green Bay Packers might not know the status of injured receivers Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison until just before the NFC championship game on Sunday.

Coach Mike McCarthy said on Friday that all three receivers would be “given every chance to play in the game.”

The Packers didn’t have on-field work on Friday, when all three players were listed as questionable on the injury report.

The team may make a decision on the receivers after the final practice of the week on Saturday, though McCarthy said that it was possible that at least one or two players may be pushed back to just before the game on Sunday in Atlanta against the Falcons.

Nelson was limited in practice this week as he recovers from broken ribs. He led the NFL with 14 touchdown catches.


Leaky pass defenses to be tested on Sunday

The Green Bay Packers’ blueprint to slow down Atlanta in the NFC championship game focuses on turning the high-octane Falcons into a one-dimensional offense.

It sounds simple enough. But this plan could be tough to execute for the Packers with their injury issues in the secondary. It’s tough enough to contain All-Pros Matt Ryan and Julio Jones with a healthy defense.

Linebacker Clay Matthews is eager to take on the next test when the Packers visit the Georgia Dome on Sunday.

“I think that’s easier said than done. But that’s ultimately what we strive for each and every week,” Matthews said about slowing down Atlanta’s fifth-ranked rushing attack to create favorable pass-rushing situations. “It’s about stopping the run and getting after the quarterback.”

The Falcons’ own leaky pass defense will also be stressed.


Packers flip script, experience last-second playoff win

For once after a game, Green Bay Packers kicker Mason Crosby felt sore.

He got mobbed by giddy teammates after hitting the 51-yard field goal as time expired to beat the Dallas Cowboys.

At one point, Crosby had to beg hulking left tackle David Bakhtiari from trying to pick up the kicker for a victory parade.

After getting eliminated from the playoffs on the last play in each of the previous three seasons, the Packers experienced last-second elation in the 34-31 win over Dallas on Sunday.

Green Bay will face the Atlanta Falcons on the road in the NFC championship game on Sunday.

“Usually after a game, I don’t feel beat up,” a smiling Crosby said on Monday. “We play a kid’s game, and those moments like that, just kind of bring that (joy) out of us.”


For Rodgers, Hail Mary is more than a prayer

Not so long ago, it was a one-in-a-million play, the sort of thing a player or fan would pray about.

These days, Aaron Rodgers is turning the Hail Mary into touchdowns — and doing so at such a rate that his high-in-the-sky heaves into the end zone feel more like routine and less like a miracle.

Three times over the past 13 months, including last week against the Giants, the Packers quarterback has dropped back at the end of a half, reared back and thrown the ball high toward the end zone. The ball has dropped on the trajectory of a javelin from the sky and landed in a Green Bay receiver’s hands.

The plays have resulted in touchdowns no one could’ve expected, though maybe now, they should.

“Because he’s done it before, you’re thinking, ‘You never know,’” said Roger Staubach, the Hall of Fame Cowboys quarterback who famously coined the term ‘Hail Mary’ for the desperation heave he used to beat Minnesota in 1975.


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