Green & Gold


Keys to the Game: Jets at Packers


Go Deep

Against a tough Seattle Seahawks defense, it’s no surprise that the Green Bay Packers’ highly touted offense looked very pedestrian. The Packers played into the Seahawks’ plan, using Jarrett Boykin as a placeholder on cornerback Richard Sherman. That effectively took away half the field. The Packers not only need to find the other side of the field, they also need to hit some deep passes. Getting rookie receivers Davante Adams and Jeff Janis involved would be a good idea, as well. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is at his best when he has multiple targets. The team needs more than Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb as options in the passing game.

Settle the Defense


Packers look to shore up run defense

The Green Bay Packers signed Julius Peppers to get to the quarterback.

To get better at that, the veteran pass rusher realizes the defense has to get better at stopping the run first.

Allowing 207 yards on the ground, which is what Green Bay gave up last week to Seattle, might not cut it against the New York Jets in the Packers’ home opener Sunday.

“You’ve got to stop the run to be able to have a chance to rush the passer, so that’s where our focus is,” Peppers said Thursday.

It sounds like a sound plan against a Jets team that ran for 212 yards in a win over Oakland last week. Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory provide a solid one-two punch, and Geno Smith is a mobile threat at quarterback.

The Packers expect to see some read-option, just like in Seattle. What the Jets don’t immediately present is an all-purpose threat like receiver Percy Harvin, who beat the Packers on sweeps and through the air.


Packers’ offense looks to get over slow start

One of the worst offenses in the NFL will try to get back on track this weekend when the New York Jets visit the Packers at Lambeau Field.

Surprise — it’s not the Jets seeking to get over a slow start.

After one week, high-powered Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and Eddie Lacy is ranked 29th in the NFL in total offense. The Jets are 11th in the league in offense, and first in defense.

There are two big caveats, though.

The Packers lost to the Super Bowl champion Seahawks in Seattle in the league opener. New York beat the subpar Oakland Raiders at home.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers hopes his team can pick up the pace in Green Bay’s home opener.


McCarthy and Packers look to regroup

While they received relatively good news on the injury front Friday, the Green Bay Packers still must fix all that went wrong during a season-opening loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy confirmed Friday that starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga escaped major damage to his surgically repaired left knee. He said running back Eddie Lacy, who suffered a concussion late in the Packers’ 36-16 loss on Thursday, had already passed one of the initial post-concussion tests.

Still, from shoddy tackling to poor communication from the sideline to an uneven performance from what was supposed to be one of the NFL’s top offenses, McCarthy acknowledged that there is much to be done before the team’s next game on Sept. 14 against the New York Jets at Lambeau Field.


Pack no match for Seattle

Russell Wilson made sure everyone knew Percy Harvin was healthy. Marshawn Lynch bullied his way to another 100-yard rushing performance.

Richard Sherman? He was just bored.

The Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks started 2014 the same way they finished last season, with a convincing blowout win.

Lynch rushed for 110 yards and a pair of touchdowns, Harvin had 100 combined yards rushing and receiving, and the Seahawks stymied Aaron Rodgers’ up-tempo offense in a 36-16 win over the Green Bay Packers to kick off the regular season.

The Seahawks unveiled the first Super Bowl banner in franchise history during a brief pregame ceremony and then began the process of trying to be the first team in a decade to repeat by piling up 398 yards.

Their effort against the Packers — a popular pick to contend in the NFC — will only reinforce the belief Seattle is still the favorite.

Packers coach Mike McCarthy was impressed.


Packers, Seattle raise curtain on NFL season

At some point they will take a moment to acknowledge the celebration taking place around them. Pete Carroll and his team will step back from an offseason focused on forgetting what happened in 2013 and for a brief second appreciate the festivities commemorating Seattle’s first Super Bowl title.

Once the Super Bowl banner is unveiled, it will be time to embark on the quest to become the first team in a decade to repeat.

“There’s a challenge every game, particularly opening game. After coming off the offseason and all that, there’s always a big challenge,” Carroll said.

Seattle will raise the curtain on the 2014 NFL season Thursday night hosting fellow NFC contender Green Bay. It’s the first regular-season meeting between the teams since the “Fail Mary” two years ago when Seattle won on a disputed touchdown on the final play of a game that also helped bring an end to the use of replacement officials.


Keys to the Game: Packers at Seahawks


Balancing Act

With an entire offseason to game-plan for each other, the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks will no doubt have a few surprises for each other Thursday night. The Packers have the added obstacle of playing on the road. The team is more balanced this year than it has been in many years with a proven running back in Eddie Lacy. The Packers will need to assert that balance early and often against the No. 1 defense from a year ago. A balanced attack will keep the Seahawks’ defense honest and has the best chance of finding the end zone.

Tale of Turnovers


Packers’ defense ready to make statement

The single biggest factor in the success of the Green Bay Packers in Thursday’s league opener against the Seattle Seahawks, and for the rest of the 2014 season, is how much the defense has improved from last season.

An offseason’s worth of changes, to both personnel and philosophy, make an argument that the defense that takes the field at CenturyLink Field will show marked improvement over the unit that finished last year ranked 25th in the league.

“We feel like we’re physical, fast, aggressive, ready to make a statement and kind of get back to that defense we were accustomed to in 2009, 2010, early in my career,” Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews said.


Packers rookie center headed into noisy Seattle

Mike McCarthy's scouting report was brief. In fact, it wasn't really a scouting report at all. It was just a statement.

"Corey Linsley is our starting center," the Green Bay Packers coach said. "So, obviously, we feel good about where he is."

That McCarthy didn't feel the need to give his rookie fifth-round pick a public vote of confidence before his NFL regular-season debut was telling, given what Linsley is up against: He's starting in place of an injured JC Tretter without having had a single snap with quarterback Aaron Rodgers in preseason play. He'll be playing in the loudest venue in the NFL, CenturyLink Field. He's facing the defending Super Bowl-champion Seattle Seahawks, the NFL's best defense a year ago. And he'll do it on national television, in the annual NFL Kickoff game.

But given his quiet, do-the-job approach, the feeling among Linsley's teammates is that he won't be fazed by any of it.


2 years later most say 'Fail Mary' is history

This story involves a rookie quarterback, a banker turned NFL replacement official, a touchdown that should not have been and actor Cary Elwes.

Yes, the actor from satirical classics "The Princess Bride" and "Robin Hood: Men in Tights." But we'll get back to him later.

It's been nearly two full years since the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks met in the regular season, a game that was noted for stifling defense on both sides, until the final play of the game.

With the clock winding down, Russell Wilson — then a rookie in his third NFL game — scrambled and lofted a desperation pass from Green Bay's 39-yard line into the end zone. After the officials ruled that Golden Tate had scored, the play instantly became known as "The Fail Mary," and within days the NFL settled its labor dispute with referees.


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