Green & Gold


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.


Rookies Janis, Elliott bolster roster bids

The Packers rookies who have made two of the strongest impressions this preseason weren’t at the top of the team’s draft board.

Productive performances by seventh-round pick Jeff Janis and undrafted free agent Jayrone Elliott in Thursday night’s 34-14 preseason win over the Oakland Raiders might have cemented their spots in Green Bay. Teams must trim rosters to 53 players by Saturday afternoon.

“I knew that I had to perform and show once again what I could do. I feel really good about the game and I’m just going to hope for the best,” said Janis, a receiver who had a 33-yard touchdown catch and 62-yard kickoff return to set up another score.


Backup QBs shine for Pack

Mike McCarthy dreads this time of year.

The Green Bay Packers’ roster must be trimmed to the 53-man limit Saturday. One of the most important decisions for McCarthy is whether to go with Matt Flynn or Scott Tolzien as the backup to starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

He might even keep both with the way Flynn and Tolzien played in the 34-14 win Thursday night over the Kansas City Chiefs to wrap up the preseason.

Flynn and Tolzien each threw for two touchdowns against a defense that looked lost at times in a game played mostly by reserves.

“I think Matt and Scott have both championed the case to be on our football team,” McCarthy said.

Flynn threw for 102 yards and Tolzien had 139 in splitting reps by quarter in the evening’s most closely watched position battle. They both made solid cases to be the insurance policy at quarterback a season after Rodgers missed seven weeks with a collarbone injury.


Battle continues at free safety position

The battle for starting positions continues even after the conclusion of the preseason with the Packers’ 34-14 victory over Kansas City at Lambeau Field on Thursday.

One of the more interesting battles is at free safety, where first-round draft choice Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and second-year player Micah Hyde have both played well in the preseason.

The edge currently goes to Hyde, who was listed as the starter on the team’s depth chart this week. Still, Clinton-Dix has made his share of plays.

“Really if you watch the tape, (Clinton-Dix) was everywhere, he had a patch breakout and made some tackles,” cornerback Davon House recently told the Leader.

“His professionalism stands out, the way he handles everything, it is really easy to come in as a first round draft pick and feel like you have arrived,” second-year safety Chris Banjo said. “He is well rounded, and he is a great person off the field and on the field and that is what you love to have around.”


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