A Scout’s Take on Wisconsin’s Chances of Winning the B1G West


The 4-2 Wisconsin Badgers have definitely proven that they can play with the big boys. The 10th-ranked Badgers have played four teams in the top 10 already this year. Wisconsin defeated LSU and Michigan State earlier this season, but lost a couple of very hard-fought games against Michigan in Ann Arbor and Ohio State in Madison in their last two contests .

The Badgers had an opportunity to win both of those games, but in both cases it was a case of close, but no cigar.

But both polls saw enough from the Badgers to keep the team in the top 10 in the rankings.

The Badgers have one of the best defenses in the country (ranked No. 12 in total defense), plus the offense took a big step forward last week against a very tough Ohio State defense (ranked No. 6 in total defense).

The running game got untracked, led by Corey Clement, who rushed for 164 yards, plus the offense as a whole had 450 total yards.

The Badgers are 1-2 in the B1G West, but still have a chance to run the table and represent the division in the B1G Championship Game.

But the road won’t be easy, as the Badgers first have to face the 5-2 Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium this Saturday, and then host the 6-0 and No. 8 Nebraska Cornhuskers at Camp Randall Stadium the following week.

If the Badgers can somehow get by those two teams, Wisconsin would then have two road games against Northwestern and Purdue, while hosting two games against Illinois and Minnesota.

That’s a tough road to hoe, but the Badgers have proven that they are certainly up to the challenge, especially based on the past two weeks when they went toe to toe with both the Wolverines and Buckeyes.

I wanted to get an opinion on whether that goal of winning the B1G West was a doable goal for the Badgers by talking with NFL scout Chris Landry.

I had an opportunity to speak with Landry on 620 WDAE’s Steve Duemig show on Wednesday.

“I think now that they are getting into the meat of their schedule,” Landry said. “They  have obviously played the two toughest teams [Michigan and Ohio State] already. I think they will fare pretty well.

“I think one of the best coaching jobs done all year has been done by Paul Chryst. They don’t have the playmakers on offense, but they are finding a way to get it done. They have to be careful this week against Iowa and then Nebraska. That will determine it.

“They’ll beat Northwester, Illinois, Purdue and Minnesota. But these next two weeks are going to determine it. Ohio State and Michigan, no issue there losing to those two teams, that are better than them, but as you mentioned, they [Wisconsin] played very well.

“I think these next two weeks at Iowa and then Nebraska at home will tell the story obviously in the [B1G] West. That will determine who will win it. But I like them. I think this defense is really good. Their linebackers are very long and athletic and are playing well.

“I think they carved up a phenomenal offensive game plan, getting guys open, devoid of playmakers against a very good Ohio State defense. Just hope that there is no let down. If not, I like their chances to win those two and maybe end up representing the West playing either Ohio State or Michigan, although I think it will be Ohio State, in the B1G Championship Game.”

Green Bay Packers: Jerry Kramer Talks About Playing da Bears


George Halas and Vince Lombardi

Playing the Chicago Bears was always special for Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi. Not just because the storied rivalry started way back in 1921, but because Lombardi was personally endorsed by George Halas for the head coaching job in Green Bay.

So it was very apropos that Lombardi’s first game as head coach was against the Bears at new City Stadium (now Lambeau Field) on September 27, 1959.

The Packers rallied from a 6-0 fourth-quarter deficit in that game and won the contest 9-6. Lombardi was carried off the field by his players after the victory. That was a habit which was duplicated at least four more times in Lombardi’s tenure.

The last time that occurred was after the 33-14 victory over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II, when Forrest Gregg and Jerry Kramer hoisted up Lombardi in his final game as head coach of the Pack.

I talked with Kramer on Wednesday and he related a couple of instances about how Lombardi was focused on Halas when a game against the Bears was approaching.

For example, Lombardi was always worried that Halas would use spies to check out the practices of the Packers.

“We would be practicing and Coach would see a lineman on a power pole a couple of blocks away doing electrical work,”Kramer said. “And Coach would go, ‘There’s one of Halas’ spies! Somebody go down there and check out that guy!’

Lombardi also had other tactics to help hinder any spy tactics of Halas.

“At practice, Bart would wear No. 75 at times,” Kramer said chuckling. “We would change our numbers and everyone would wear a different number to confuse the spies of the Bears. Like Halas was going to think an offensive tackle is playing quarterback for us.”

Lombardi was always primed to play the Bears and he let his team know about as well.

“We were practicing on day before playing the Bears and Coach Lombardi brought us together,” Kramer said. “Coach said, ‘You guys go out and kick the Bears’ ass. And I’ll go out and kick old man Halas’ ass too.’

Kramer also remembered a quote from Halas talking about when the Bears played the Packers.

“Coach Halas said, ‘We knew what they [the Packers] were going to do. We knew where they were going to do it and we knew when they were going to do it. We just couldn’t do anything about it.”

Even with all the various techniques Lombardi would use to stop the flow of information to Bears about the Packers, Halas still had a way to get vital data regarding his rival to the north.

“When I played in the Pro Bowl after the 1967 season, Coach Halas was coaching the team and we we late coming in from Florida after our Super Bowl win,” Kramer said. “There were nine of us and Coach Halas had a bus saved for us to go to practice.

“So I get on the bus and Coach Halas is sitting right behind the driver and he hands me a playbook. I go back about four seats on the opposite side of the bus near the aisle. So I start looking at the playbook and I see the first play is red right 49, which is our play, our code, our number system and our blocking.

“So I flip the page and I see red right 48, 46, 44, 42, 40 and so on. I look up at Coach Halas looking stunned with my mouth hanging open and he’s checking out at my reaction. “Halas said, ‘Jerry, we didn’t want you Green Bay boys to get behind so we just put in your offense.’

“The old fart had it exactly right. The numbers, the colors, the blocking assignments and the variations of the blocking assignments. He knew exactly what our playbook was.”

But even with all that, Lombardi and his Packers had a 13-5 record in the nine years he coached in Green Bay over Halas and his Bears.

The Packers also won five NFL titles in seven years in the 1960s, plus won the first two Super Bowls, while Halas and the Bears won the 1963 NFL title.

The quarterback of those five championship teams of the Packers and the MVP of both Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II, was Bart Starr.

In an earlier conversation that I had with Kramer, he talked about a game which let the team know that Starr was truly their leader.


“We were playing the Chicago Bears,” Kramer said. “Bill George was their middle linebacker at the time. On a deep pass attempt, George thought he would try to intimidate Bart.

“Bill took about a five-yard run and he gave Bart a forearm right in the mouth. George timed it perfectly and put Bart right on his behind. He also cut Bart badly, from his lip all the way to his nose. After that, George said, ‘That ought to take care of you Starr, you pu**y.’ Bart snapped right back at George and said, ‘F— you, Bill George, we’re coming after you.’

“My jaw dropped after that exchange, as I was shocked. Meanwhile Bart was bleeding profusely. I told Bart that he better go to the sideline and get sewn up. Bart replied, ‘Shut up and get in the huddle.’

“Bart took us down the field in seven or eight plays and we scored. That series of plays really solidified Bart as our leader and we never looked back.”

It’s that type toughness and resiliency that the current 3-2 Green Bay team needs to have as they get set to play the 1-5 Bears on Thursday night at Lambeau Field on national television.

The Packers did not play well at all this past Sunday, when they lost to the Dallas Cowboys 30-16 at Lambeau Field.

Kramer was at the game, as he sat in a box with Brett Favre, Frank Winters, Antonio Freeman and LeRoy Butler.

“The Packers were chaotic and inconsistent,” Kramer said. “It was not a good showing at all.”

Going into the game against the Bears, the Packers have a number of issues. For one, the the team is dealing with a number of injuries. Which includes their top two running backs, as Eddie Lacy (ankle) and James Starks (knee) won’t be available to play and will be out for several weeks.

In fact, Lacy will be out until at least Week 15, after he was placed on injured reserve after it was determined he needs surgery on his ankle.

The Packers traded a 2018 conditional seventh-round pick to the Kansas City Chiefs for running back Knile Davis on Tuesday. Also, rookie running back Don Jackson was promoted from the practice squad to replace the roster spot of Lacy.

Kramer knows all about not being able to play with your best running backs. In 1967, the Packers went into the season for the first time in a decade without Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor in the backfield, as Hornung retired and Taylor moved on as a free agent.

In addition to that, both starting running backs, Elijah Pitts and Jim Grabowski, suffered season-ending injuries in Week 8 versus the Baltimore Colts.


Running back Travis Williams tries to elude linebacker Dick Butkus

The Packers didn’t flinch, as backs like Donny Anderson, Travis Williams, Ben Wilson and Chuck Mercein filled in and helped the Packers finish second in the NFL in rushing that season.

Another problem that the current Packers are having is that the passing offense of the team is not in sync. Aaron Rodgers has been in a year-long slump, at least based on the superlative passing numbers he put up from 2009 through 2014.

The receivers are having trouble getting open, even with the return of Jordy Nelson, and when they are open, Rodgers is missing them at times.

Again, Kramer has dealt with this before, as the offense of the Lombardi Packers had to transform itself over the years.

From 1960 through 1964, the Packers relied on the running game to be the focal point of their offense. In those five years, the Packers were either first or second in the league in rushing.

But in 1965, the running game started having some issues. The Packers were just 10th in the NFL in rushing that season. Ironically, the running game came alive when the team needed it the most that season.

The Packers would be playing for the 1965 NFL title versus the defending NFL champion Cleveland Browns at Lambeau Field.

And although the running game of the Packers had struggled almost the entire year, the Packers could not be stopped on this snowy and muddy day on the frozen tundra.

Green Bay rushed for 204 yards behind Taylor and  Hornung, as the Pack won 23-12. The power sweep was especially effective, as Kramer and left guard Fuzzy Thurston kept opening big holes for the backs, mowing down defenders so the Packers gained big chunks of yardage on the ground.

The Packers won three straight NFL titles starting that season. In 1965 and 1966, the Packers became more of a passing offense. Starr was magnificent, as he threw 30 touchdown passes versus 12 interceptions in those two years.

Starr was also named the NFL MVP in 1966.

In 1967, Starr had a number of injuries which affected his play. Because of that, Lombardi leaned more on the running game again and another NFL title was the result.

The current Packers need to change their offensive tendencies like Lombardi did back in the day. Instead of running simply isolation pass patterns, perhaps they can try a few bunch-formation pass patterns, which usually allows receivers to get open a bit more easily.

Plus, go back to the basics of the west coast offense. Use quick-hitting pass patterns like slants and short curls.

The bottom line, the Packers have to find a way to get through all their issues and injuries and beat their most hated rival. With a win, the Packers be within a game of tying the all-time series between the two teams.

Right now the Packers are 91-93-6 in the regular season and 1-1 in the postseason versus the Bears. By winning on Thursday night and again in Week 15 in Chicago at Soldier Field, the Packers will even up the series for the first time since 1933, when the two teams were knotted at 11-11-4.

The Packers have been the dominant team in the past quarter century when the two teams played. A lot of that has been due to great quarterback play. In the 24 years that Favre and Rodgers have been under center for the team, the Packers have a 34-14 record versus da Bears.

Rodgers has been phenomenal for the most part in his career against Chicago. Not only did he beat them in the 2010 NFC title game at Soldier Field, but he’s 12-4 in the regular season as well.

In those 16 games, Rodgers has thrown 35 touchdown passes versus just nine picks for 3,839 yards. That adds up to a very robust passer rating of 107.3.

The Packers need more of the same from Rodgers on Thursday night. Head coach Mike McCarthy can help by changing his offensive scheme a bit, as his offensive inclinations are being diagnosed by the opponents.

The struggles of Rodgers and the offense over the past year or so validate that point.

Kramer knows what the Packers need to do versus da Bears.

“Just do what Coach Lombardi always instructed us to do to meet our challenges,” Kramer said. “Coach told us that we had to be tenacious, we had to be committed and that we had to be disciplined.

“We listened and followed his directions and we focused on the job at hand. That led us to all those championships, including the three straight NFL titles.”

The job at hand for the current Packers is beating the Bears on Thursday night. Not just winning, but also improving all facets of the football team with their play.

Green Bay Packers: The Play in the Trenches Has Been Stellar


Going into the 2016 NFL season, looking at the units on both the offensive and defensive lines of the Green Bay Packers, there were a number of questions that needed to be answered.

On the offensive line, the biggest question was how would the Packers be able to replace two-time Pro Bowler and two-time (second-team) All-Pro Josh Sitton, who was a surprise cut for the team just before the season began?

Plus, how would JC Tretter do as the starting center, with Corey Linsley on the PUP list?

In addition, the offensive line as a whole did not have a great campaign in 2015, but a lot of that was due to injuries. Everyone of the starters on the line was affected. So, would the group be able to bounce back and play well as a unit if healthy?

The defensive line had a number of questions too. For one thing, nose tackle B.J. Raji surprisingly retired. How would he be replaced?

In addition, Mike Pennel was facing a four-game suspension to start the regular season. How would the Packers overcome losing Pennel over those four games?

Also, first-round draft pick Kenny Clark hurt his back late in the preseason, plus wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire either with his play. Would he be able to play? And if he did, would he play effectively?

The units on both the offensive and defensive lines have answered these questions quite well over four games.

First, let’s look at the offensive line. Lane Taylor has done a very nice job replacing Sitton at left guard. Not only is his run-blocking been good, but his pass-blocking has been effective as well.

Left tackle David Bakhtiari, who was given a contract extension shortly after Sitton was released, is playing the best football of his career. The most notable improvement for Bakhtiari is his run-blocking. No. 69 always had the quick feet to be an excellent pass-blocker against edge-rushers, but now that Bakhtiari is stronger, he can wade off the bull-rushers too.


Tretter isn’t as strong as Linsley, but is quicker, especially getting to the next level. All in all, Tretter will probably remain the starter when Linsley comes off the PUP list. It’s a great problem for the Packers to have though, as both are effective starters.

Right guard T.J. Lang played through some shoulder woes in 2015 that affected his play, but is healthy in 2016 and his excellent play shows that. The play of Sitton over the past few years has over-shadowed the play of Lang, but like Sitton, Lang deserves Pro Bowl consideration, as well as All-Pro mention.

Right tackle Bryan Bulaga has always been considered one of the top players at his position since he came into the NFL in 2010. The problem with Bulaga has been staying healthy. Right now, No. 75 is indeed healthy and playing very well.

Pro Football Focus just put out their rankings for the top offensive lines in the NFL so far in 2016, and the offensive line of the Packers is ranked No. 2.

Here is what Pro Football Focus said about the offensive line of the Pack:

Another team with no real weak link along the line, the Packers have had all five starters playing well, especially when it comes to pass protection. The Packers’ line has allowed just 17 total pressures on the season, the best mark in the league (albeit across only three games). They have the second-best pass-blocking efficiency score, trailing only New Orleans, despite Aaron Rodgers ranking among the bottom half of QBs when it comes to the average time it takes to get rid of the football.

In terms of the defensive line, the production has just been outstanding. And also somewhat shocking. In fact, if one was going to rank the various units on the defense of the Packers before the 2016 season, the defensive line would have come in third, behind the defensive backs and linebackers.

Now, four games through the 2016 season, the exact opposite is true.

The Packers are ranked No. 1 in rushing defense in the NFL currently. No other team comes close to how good the Packers have been playing the run. After four games, Green Bay has only allowed an average of 42.8 yards per game.

The next closest team to the Packers in that category, is the New York Jets, who have allowed an average of 68.4 yards per game.

The line has been very stout in stopping the run, especially Mike Daniels, who is having a Pro Bowl and All-Pro season. Daniels has been unblockable at times.


Daniels isn’t the only one performing well. The rookie Clark has played much better than he did in the preseason and has shown steady improvement. Veteran Letroy Guion has also played solidly.

Christian Ringo and rookie Dean Lowry have also chipped in at times in stopping the run.

The play of the line has made it much easier for the inside linebackers to get to the hole and the running back. Jake Ryan leads the Packers with 29 tackles, while rookie Blake Martinez is second on the team with 21 tackles.

The ability to stop the run should get even better now that Pennel will be back after serving his four-game suspension.

That will come in handy this upcoming Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field, as the 3-1 Packers take on the 4-1 Dallas Cowboys.

Dallas leads the NFL in rushing, as the Boys average 155.2 yards per game on the ground.

Plus, the Cowboys are not just a running team, as the offense as a whole is second in the NFL in total offense (397 yards per game), as the team is led by rookie quarterback Dak Prescott.

The Cowboys aren’t bad on defense either, as the team is ranked 11th in the NFL in run defense.

It doesn’t help that the Packers have listed both Eddie Lacy (ankle) and James Starks (knee) as questionable for the game on Sunday. It may get to the point where the Packers may need to call up rookie running back Don Jackson from the practice squad for the game on Sunday.

The Packers can also use Ty Montgomery and Randall Cobb at running back if need be.

But the good news for the Packers is that both the offensive and defensive lines are playing exceptional right now. That should bode well for the rest of their units to follow suit.

In the total offense category, the team is ranked just 25th in the league. That should improve, especially in the passing game, as quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been given more than ample time to scan the field for open receivers.

Rodgers has a solid stat line, as he has thrown nine touchdown passes versus three interceptions, but his passing yardage (876 yards) has not been up to snuff, nor has his passer rating (87.7).

If Rodgers continues to get the protection he has received thus far this season, the improvement in the passing game is sure to follow. Against the New York Giants last Sunday night, Rodgers sometimes had seven or eight seconds to look for open receivers.

As it is, Rodgers has been sacked eight times in four games, which is the eighth-best mark in the league.

The Packers are ranked 12th in the NFL in running the football. Lacy has had a good bounce-back season thus far, after having a disappointing 2015 season. Currently, Lacy has run for 295 yards and has averaged 5.5 yards per carry.

Lacy always seems to run the ball well against the Cowboys, so it would be nice if he could play on Sunday. In two games against the Cowboys in his career, including last season, No. 27 has averaged 132.5 yards per game on the ground and has two touchdowns.


By the way, Rodgers also plays very well against Dallas. In five games against the Cowboys, Rodgers has thrown seven touchdown passes without a pick and has a passer rating of 100.8.

The defense of the Packers should also continue to improve. Overall, the Packers are ranked ninth in total defense. The line play has been outstanding to be sure, but so has the play of the linebackers, especially outside linebacker Nick Perry.

Perry is off to the best start of his career. No. 53 has 17 tackles, 4.5 sacks and has been very good in stopping the run around the edge.

As a team, the Packers are tied for fifth in the NFL with 14 sacks.

The Packers have had some issues in their secondary so far this season, but a big reason has been the absence of their best cornerback…Sam Shields. Shields suffered a concussion during the opener versus the Jacksonville Jaguars and has not played since. No. 37 will be out again on Sunday against the Cowboys, but is showing steady improvement and should be playing soon.

Demarious Randall has also been hampered by a groin injury and his availability for the Dallas game is still in question. No. 23 missed the game against the Giants last week due to the injury.

But the bottom line is that NFL games are won or lost in the trenches more times than not. And that is why the Packers should feel very good about their football team, as both lines are playing very well up to this point.

A Scout’s Take on the Ohio State vs. Wisconsin B1G Matchup on Saturday Night


When it comes to playing football games on Saturday nights at Camp Randall Stadium, the Wisconsin Badgers have a pretty nice track record.

For example, one could look back on the classic 1998 contest between Drew Brees and the Purdue Boilermakers versus the Badgers on homecoming at Camp Randall, when Wisconsin outlasted Purdue 31-24. Brees attempted a whopping 83 passes in that game, completing 55 for 494 yards and two touchdowns.

But Brees also had four passes picked off, including one for a pick-six.

The Badgers went on to win the first of back-to-back Big Ten and Rose Bowl titles under head coach Barry Alvarez that season.

Then there was the 2011 night game versus Nebraska, which was the first ever Big Ten game for the Huskers. Wisconsin whipped the Huskers 48-17 that night. Russell Wilson threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns, plus ran for another score. In addition, Montee Ball rushed for 151 yards and four touchdowns.

The Badgers went on to win their second straight Big Ten title under head coach Bret Bielema that year, as well as winning the first ever Big Ten Championship Game.

But the Saturday night games that stir up the most memories were the two times the Badgers met the Ohio State Buckeyes on a Saturday night in Madison.

When the Buckeyes came into Camp Randall in 2003, they were defending national champs and were riding a 19-game winning streak. Ohio State was ranked third in the country, while Wisconsin was ranked 22nd.

With 5:20 remaining in the game, and with the game knotted at 10 apiece, backup quarterback Matt Schabert  threw a 79-yard touchdown pass to Lee Evans, as the Badgers shocked the Buckeyes by winning  17-10.

On Oct. 16, 2010, Ohio State came into Camp Randall on a Saturday night ranked No. 1 in the country. The game got off to a fantastic start for the Badgers, as David Gilreath ran back the opening kickoff for a touchdown.


David Gilreath

The Badgers never let up, winning the game 31-18. The offense was very sharp, led by then offensive coordinator Paul Chryst. Quarterback Scott Tolzien was 13-of-16 for 152 yards, while John Clay rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns.

The defense played a big part in the victory as well, as J.J. Watt posted four tackles, three for a loss and two sacks.

The win was the first time the Badgers had defeated the No. 1 team in the country since 1981.

The game also set the stage for a season that would bring the first of three straight Big Ten titles for the Badgers.

That history also sets up a very important game this Saturday night in Madtown, as the No. 2 Buckeyes will face off against the No. 8 Badgers.

This will be the biggest test thus far this season for the 4-1 Badgers, as the 5-0 Buckeyes are loaded with talent.

Ohio State is well-rounded on both sides of the ball, as the Buckeyes are ranked fifth in total offense in the country and fourth in total defense.

On offense, the Bucks are led by quarterback J.T. Barrett, who has thrown 15 touchdown passed versus just three interceptions for 981 yards. Barrett has also rushed for 342 yards and four touchdowns.

The Buckeyes have two additional threats running the football at running back. They are Mike Weber and Curtis Samuel. The two have combined for 976 yards rushing and seven touchdowns.

Samuel is also a threat in the passing game, as he has 23 receptions for 345 yards and three scores. The top two wide receivers for the Buckeyes are Dontre Wilson and Noah Brown. The two have combined for 27 receptions for 354 yards and nine touchdowns.

On defense, the Buckeyes are led by linebacker Raekwon McMillan, who has 33 tackles this season, plus defensive back Malik Hooker, who is having a fabulous season. Hooker already has four interceptions this season to go along with 23 tackles.

When it comes to playing defense, the Badgers don’t have to take a back seat to anyone. Wisconsin is ranked 11th in total defense overall, which includes being ranked fourth in points allowed, as the Badgers only give up 12.2 points per game.

Ohio State is ranked second in that category, as they only give up 10.8 points per game.

The big difference between the two teams in terms of their defensive statistics are concerned, is the fact that Wisconsin has played three top-10 opponents already this season, while the Buckeyes will be facing their first top-10 test this Saturday night.

The Badgers are also ranked sixth in rushing defense in the country, as they only allow an average of 90.4 yards per game on the ground.

The Badger defense is led by their talented group of linebackers. Inside linebacker Jack Cichy leads the team with 35 tackles and 3.5 tackles for a loss, while outside linebacker T.J. Watt has 29 tackles, 7.5 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks. Inside linebacker T.J. Edwards also has 28 tackles this season.


Outside Linebacker T.J. Watt

The Badgers lost talented outside linebacker Vince Biegel for a few weeks prior to the game against Michigan due to a broken foot. In his absence, Biegel was replaced by Garret Dooley, who had a very solid game against the Wolverines.

The Wisconsin secondary is led by safety Leo Musso, who has 23 tackles and one interception, plus returned a fumble for a 66-yard touchdown against Michigan State.

The offense for the Badgers has had it’s share of issues in terms of production, both running and passing the football.

Quarterback Alex Hornibrook, who is a redshirt freshman, looked very good in his first ever start against Michigan State, but then struggled against Michigan. Hornibrook has thrown four touchdown passes for 455 yards.

The running game is definitely not where it needs to be at this point of the season. The Badgers are just eighth in the Big Ten in rushing at just 161.6 yards per game after two games.

Granted, that was against Michigan State and Michigan on the road.

Tailback Corey Clement leads the Badgers with 329 yards rushing, but is averaging just 3.9 yards per carry and 79.8 yards per game.

The three pass-catching threats for the Badgers are wide receivers Jazz Peavy and Robert Wheelwright, along with tight end Troy Fumagalli. Combined, the three have 51 receptions for 736 yards and two scores.

With a big game like this on the horizon, it’s always a pleasure to get the perspective of NFL scout Chris Landry, who I was able to speak with on 620 WDAE’s Steve Duemig show on Wednesday .

Landry first talked about what a great atmosphere Camp Randall is during night games for the Badgers.

“It’s a very underrated place [speaking of Camp Randall],” Landry said. “It’s very difficult. People talk about the “Horseshoe” and “The Big House”, but that place is very tough, particularly at night. It’s a tough, tough environment to come out with a win, particularly if the talent level is fairly even.”


Landry then talked about the Wisconsin defense.

“I love their linebackers,” Landry said. “They are playing well defensively, but their linebackers are the key. That keeps them in the game. There is no question. We could see what that Michigan offense could do against most people, but they [Wisconsin] did stay in that game.

“This will be their toughest challenge yet. This Ohio State team is really good. I think they are a step above of where Michigan is. So if Wisconsin, even at home and in that night environment, can keep this close, this will say a whole lot.

“I put my mid-season grades up for college football today, and one of the best coaching jobs has been done by Paul Chryst. And one of the biggest surprises has been Wisconsin. I think they have gotten better and better.

“I think that LSU game was a little bit of fool’s gold. If they line up and play LSU again, I think they would beat LSU more decisively. I don’t think they played all that well when they played LSU, personally.

“But I don’t see them matching up if Ohio State plays their best game. This Ohio State team, the more and more I study it, this Ohio State-Alabama potential matchup would be one for the ages, because these teams are so good.

“But, as Bob said, this is one of those matchups which can be very difficult. Wisconsin, nothing is expected of them. They expect to play hard and play well, but no one expects them to win.

“If it’s close into the fourth quarter and Ohio State gets tight, we’ve seen it happen before. We saw it happen against Virginia Tech a couple of years ago for the Buckeyes. It could happen, but boy, this Ohio State team is at a different level of anyone in the Big Ten.”

I agree with Landry that it would be a monumental upset if the Badgers beat the Buckeyes. Not to mention that the Buckeyes are coached by Urban Meyer, who already has three national titles under his belt as a head coach.

All that being said, if history is a blueprint for the future, at least based on the success that the Badgers have had on Saturday nights at Camp Randall Stadium, especially against Ohio State, an upset is certainly a possibility.

The Packers and Giants Have a Storied History With Each Other


The Green Bay Packers and the New York Giants will be meeting for the 53rd time in their regular season history on Sunday night at Lambeau Field. Green Bay holds a 27-23-2 advantage over the G-Men in a series that began back in 1928.

The Packers and Giants have also played in the postseason seven times, with the Pack again holding the advantage with 4-3 edge over New York.

The Packers have also played seven postseason games against the Dallas Cowboys (3-4) and the San Francisco 49ers (4-3), which is the most times that the Packers have met teams in the playoffs.

In the preseason, the Packers and Giants have met on 30 occasions, which is also the most times the Packers have played an opponent in the exhibition season. The Pack leads that series 19-9-2.

When the Packers and Giants met back in 1928, Green Bay played it’s home games at old City Stadium, while New York played their home games at the Polo Grounds.

The Packers never played a postseason game at old City Stadium (1925-1956), while they did play in three NFL title games at the Polo Grounds when Curly Lambeau was head coach.

The first one was in 1936 against the then Boston Redskins, which was a year before the team moved to Washington.

Owner George Preston Marshall of the Redskins was not happy with the support the team was receiving in Boston. Because of that, Marshall decided to host the NFL title game in New York at the Polo Grounds, instead of Fenway Park, where the Redskins played their home games.

The title game in the Big Apple drew 29,545 fans.

The Packers won that championship game 21-6, mostly because of the passing of Arnie Herber. The Packers had twice as many passing yards in the game, compared to the Redskins.

In 1938, the Packers played in the NFL title game again in the Polo Grounds, but this time against the Giants.

Before this title game, the Packers had lost to the Giants 15-3 in the last game of the regular season, also at the Polo Grounds.

The 1938 NFL Championship Game was much closer, as Herber threw a 40-yard touchdown pass to Carl Mulleneaux and Clarke Hinkle scored on a one-yard run.

The Giants won the game 23-17 behind two blocked punts and the play of Ed Danowski, who threw two touchdown passes.

The attendance for the title game was 48,120.

In 1939, the Packers and Giants met again to see who would win the NFL championship. But this time the game was in Wisconsin. But instead of old City Stadium in Green Bay, the game was played in West Allis (just outside of Milwaukee) at State Fair Park.

That title game drew 32,279 attendees, which included my dad and grandfather.

The Packers dominated the game after getting off to a slow start.  The Giants blocked a punt and had two interceptions early in the game, but missed three field goals and also had one of their passes picked off near the Green Bay goal line.


Cecil Isbell carries the ball for the Packers in the 1939 NFL title game

Herber threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Milt Gantenbein in the the first quarter (the only score of the first half) and Cecil Isbell also threw a touchdown pass in the second half to Joe Laws.  Also, Ed Jankowski scored on a one-yard run.  The Packers added a couple of field goals in their 27-0 victory over the Giants.

The Green Bay defense was outstanding in the game, as they held the Giants to 164 total yards, plus picked off six passes.

In 1944, the Packers and Giants would meet once again in the NFL title game, this time at the Polo Grounds. The attendance was 46,016.

The two teams met in the regular season that year, when New York shut out Green Bay 24-0 in the second to the last game of the schedule.

The Packers played much better in the postseason, especially on defense, as the former Packer Herber threw four interceptions for the Giants, with Laws picking off three of them.

The Packers scored two touchdowns in the second quarter on runs by Ted Fritsch, and the Packers won the contest 14-7.

The next time the two teams met for the NFL title was 17 years later. The game was played at new City Stadium (now Lambeau Field) in Green Bay.  This was the first playoff game ever played in Green Bay.  The attendance was 39,029.

Head coach Vince Lombardi had to pull some strings to get halfback Paul Hornung a leave from the Army to play in this game.  Lombardi personally called President John F. Kennedy to make sure that Hornung would be able to play.

Why was Hornung in the Army?

The Army activated him due to the escalation of the Cold War and the building of the wall in Berlin by the Soviets. In October of 1961, the Department of Defense had activated thousands of military reservists and national guardsmen for duty, including a couple dozen players from the NFL and three very important Packers players (Hornung, Boyd Dowler and Ray Nitschke).

As noted in David Maraniss’ book When Pride Still Mattered, Lombardi was very upset by this situation.  He mentioned that the Packers were hit harder than anyone in the NFL because of the scenario.

This is when the relationship between Lombardi and Kennedy helped make Hornung available for the title game.  Lombardi was a big JFK supporter during the 1960 Presidential election.  They became friends over time.  The Packers won two NFL championships while JFK was in the White House as well.

Initially, Hornung was not granted access to go back to the Packers for the championship game.  That would have been a HUGE blow as Hornung was the NFL MVP in 1961.

Lombardi was concerned about that situation, so he placed a call to JFK to see if the President would get Hornung a pass to join the team for the big game.  Sure enough, Hornung received permission.

“Paul Hornung isn’t going to win the war on Sunday, but the football fans of this country deserve the two best teams on the field that day,” Kennedy told Lombardi a few days before the championship game against the Giants.

The Packers beat the Giants 37-0 in that game, and Hornung scored 19 points in that game just by himself.

Titletown was born that year, as local merchants coined the community nickname—Titletown USA—to describe the spirit of the little town that could.

The Packers and Giants met again the very next year for the 1962 NFL title. This time the game was played at storied Yankee Stadium. The attendance was 64,892.

Guard Jerry Kramer of the Packers played an important role in that title game.

Jerry after the game-winning kick in the '62 championship game

No. 64 was very excited to play in this game, as he did not play in the 1961 NFL title game due to a broken ankle.

The 1962 NFL title game figured to be a much tougher test against the Giants, who wanted to show their fans in New York that the game the year before was an aberration.

Kramer definitely soaked in the fantastic history of Yankee Stadium before the game began.

“Yankee Stadium was an awesome experience,” Kramer said.  “Especially for a kid from Idaho.  Just to walk into that place where you had heard fights broadcast from, where so many World Series games were played, plus to see all the statues out in center field of Gehrig, Ruth and DiMaggio.  The experience was just awesome.”

Yankee Stadium was also a homecoming for Lombardi, as he was a New York City native and was an assistant coach for the Giants from 1954-1958.

“We knew how badly coach Lombardi wanted to win that ball game,” Kramer said.  “And we knew the Giants had been embarrassed the year before in Green Bay.  We knew the Giants were going to be loaded for bear that day.  But we also knew coach Lombardi desperately wanted a victory, and so we wanted to win for him and much as ourselves.”

Besides playing right guard for the Packers that day, Kramer was also the placekicker for the Packers as well, after Hornung hurt his knee early in the 1962 season.  Kramer had been Horning’s backup at kicker since his rookie year in 1958.

The weather would not be an ally for Kramer that day while he was kicking, as the wind was gusting at up to 40 miles per hour at times.  The temperature was 13 degrees, but it seemed much colder due to the wind.

Were the conditions at the 1962 NFL title game comparable to the Ice Bowl?

“You know, they were very similar, ” Kramer said.  “Vince Lombardi Jr. and I were talking about it years later, and Vince Jr. thought the Giants game was colder than the Ice Bowl.  Vince Jr. was at both games, too.  It was just a bitter cold day.  The wind was sharp and biting.”

Because of the weather conditions, the game was mostly going to be won via the ground game and because of turnovers.  The Packers rushed for 148 yards in the game, with fullback Jim Taylor getting 85 of those yards.  Taylor also scored the only touchdown of the game for the Packers.

Kramer was three for five in field goals that windy day.  “The wind was circling in the stadium that day,” Kramer said.  “When I made my last field goal, I aimed maybe eight to 10 yards outside the goal posts.  The wind ended up bringing my kick into the center of the goal posts.  It was one of the very few times I had to play the wind that way.”

Kramer scored 10 of the 16 points the Packers scored vs. the Giants.  When he made that last field goal, the Packers now had a nine-point lead late in the game.

“It was a hell of a moment,” Kramer reflected.  “It put the game out of reach, as they would have to score twice to beat us.  It was probably the most excited I had ever been in a contest, and the guys were pounding me on the back.  I experienced a Bart Starr-like moment, of having everyone applaud me and congratulate me.”

The Packers won 16-7 that day at Yankee Stadium.  Taylor had a big day rushing, and Ray Nitschke was named MVP of the game for his two fumble recoveries and a pass deflection that was intercepted by Dan Currie.

But Kramer had a big day as well.  In fact, Kramer received the game ball from his team for his efforts.

“It was a huge moment and a wonderful experience,” Kramer said.  “The big thing was they you were able to come through.  You met the test and were able to get the job done.  And also not let the team down.”

The Packers and Giants have played twice in the postseason over the past decade and both games were played at Lambeau Field.

The first one was in the 2007 NFC Championship Game, which was played at under frigid conditions, where 72,740 were on hand to watch the game at Lambeau.

The game time temperature was minus-one.  That Ice Bowl-type weather didn’t seem to bother the Giants too much.  The Giants had 24 first downs, while the Packers only had 13.  The Giants time of possession was 40:03, compared to the Packers 22:34.  The Giants had 134 rushing yards, compared to the Packers’ 28.

Quarterback Eli Manning didn’t throw any interceptions, while Brett Favre threw two picks, including a very costly one in overtime.  Favre threw for 236 yards passing, but 90 yards of that came on one touchdown pass to Donald Driver.


The Packers defense also allowed the Giants to come back from deficits twice.  The Packers led 10-6 at halftime, only to see the Giants regain the lead 13-10.  After the Packers took the lead again at 17-13, the Packers allowed the Giants to go ahead again, 20-17.

The Packers ended up tying the game and the contest went to overtime. Then Favre’s interception set up the game-winning 47-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes of the Giants as New York won 23-20.

The Packers and Giants also met in a 2011 NFC Divisional Playoff game, which is the only time the two teams did not meet in a title game in their seven postseason games with one another.

The Packers finished the 2011 season with a 15-1 record and had high hopes heading into the postseason.  After all, the Pack had secured home-field advantage for the NFC playoffs and the team was the odds-on favorite to win a second consecutive Vince Lombardi Trophy.

However, all of that went down with a resounding thud, as the Packers were beaten by the Giants 37-20 at Lambeau Field in shocking fashion.

There were several reasons for why the Packers lost the game vs. the G-Men.  Among them were a lack of focus, four key turnovers, eight dropped passes, giving up big plays at critical times and also the fact that Aaron Rodgers did not play like Superman as he had done almost all of the 2011 regular season when he was the NFL MVP.

Manning was clutch again versus the Packers, as he threw three touchdown passes, plus was able to convert several 3rd and long situations.

This Sunday night, Manning gets another shot at the Packers, as he is 4-3 versus Green Bay in his career, which includes the two postseason wins at Lambeau. Both of those wins later led to Super Bowl triumphs by the G-Men.

When you talk about the Packers-Giants series, you have to talk about the coaching dynamics. As mentioned, earlier Lombardi was assistant coach (offense) with the Giants from 1954 to 1958 under Jim Lee Howell.

The Giants won the NFL title in 1956.  Lombardi was also very good friends with Giants owner Wellington Mara from their college days at Fordham.

After Lombardi went on to Green Bay and had the Packers in the NFL championship game in 1960 in just his second year, the Giants and Mara tried to get him back as their next head coach.  But Dominic Olejniczak, the president of the Packers at the time, refused to let Lombardi leave.

Good thing, too, as the Packers ended up winning five NFL championships in seven years, including three straight titles from 1965-1967.  The Packers also won the first two Super Bowls under Lombardi.

The two head coaches (Tom Coughlin and Ben McAdoo) who Manning has played under, both had assistant coaching jobs with the Packers.

Coughlin coached under Forrest Gregg in 1986-87 when he was the receivers/passing game coach.

McAdoo coached tight ends and quarterbacks under Mike McCarthy from 2006 through 2013.

Bottom line, there has been a rich history between the Packers and Giants. Not only that, but both franchises also have storied histories in the NFL.

The Packers have won 13 NFL titles, which is more than any other team in NFL history. The Giants are third in NFL history with eight NFL titles.

The Packers Have Fared Well After the Bye Week Under Mike McCarthy


Since Mike McCarthy became head coach of the Green Bay Packers in 2006, the team has had an 8-2 record following the bye week.

The Packers didn’t have much good fortune last year following the bye week, as they went into Denver to face the Broncos with a perfect 6-0 record. The Broncos totally dominated the Packers 29-10 in a game which was played on a Sunday night on national television.

The Packers only had 140 total yards, as quarterback Aaron Rodgers was sacked three times and hit a lot more often than that. No. 12 only had 77 yards passing in the game as he seemed to be running for his life on every passing play.

This year, the 2-1 Packers will also be playing on a Sunday night following their bye week. This time the opponent will be the 2-2 New York Giants, plus the game will be at Lambeau Field. The G-Men have been hampered by injuries on both sides of the ball and lost on the road Monday night to the 4-0 Minnesota Vikings, who lead the NFC North.

Under McCarthy, the Packers have never lost a home game following the bye week. That being said, the Giants behind quarterback Eli Manning, have won three straight games versus the Packers, which includes winning the 2011 NFC Divisional Playoff Game 37-20 at Lambeau.

The Packers came into that game with a 15-1 record, but Manning threw three touchdown passes to lead New York to victory. The G-Men went on to win Super Bowl XLVI later that postseason against the New England Patriots.

That was the second time Manning and the Giants upset the Packers in the postseason at Lambeau Field. The first time was the 2007 NFC Championship Game, when New York won in overtime 23-20. Like they did in 2011, Manning and the Giants also won the Super Bowl later that postseason, also against the Pats, who were undefeated at the time.

This is the history that the Packers will be up against when they face the Giants next Sunday night at Lambeau.

Even though the Packers are 2-1 and are coming off a 34-27 win against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau in Week 3, the Packers seemed to sleep-walk through the second half of that game and almost let the Lions back in the game after holding a 31-10 lead at the half.

The good news in that game was that Rodgers had his first over-100 passer rating (129.3) in 15 games, as he threw four touchdown passes without a pick.

Still, there are issues for the Packers on both sides of the ball, especially in pass coverage on defense. That is never a good thing when one is facing Manning and his talented receiving corp, even with Odell Beckham Jr. struggling somewhat.

On offense, the Packers are still only ranked 29th (293.7 yards per game) in the NFL, even after their output against Detroit. That includes being ranked 29th (193.3 yards per game) in passing offense and 16th (100.3 yards per game) in rushing offense.

The Giants meanwhile are ranked sixth (382.2 yards per game) in total offense. That includes being ranked fourth (288.5 yards per game) in passing offense and 19th (93.8 yards per game) in rushing offense.

On defense, the Packers lead the NFL in stopping the run, as they have only allowed 42.7 yards per game. But Green Bay’s total defense ranking is only 13th (350 yards per game) because of the issues the team is having in stopping the pass.

Currently, the Packers are ranked 29th in passing defense, as they have allowed over 300 yards per game, plus have allowed six touchdown passes. Overall, the opposing quarterbacks have had a passer rating of 105.3.

When one looks back over the first three games of this season defensively, compared to expectations going into the 2016 campaign, it’s almost as if Rod Serling has written this script.

The Packers were expected to struggle somewhat on the defensive line and excel in the secondary this season. But the opposite has happened, at least through three games.

Part of the reason the secondary has struggled has been the absence of cornerback Sam Shields for two games due to a concussion. Shields is still in concussion protocol and his status for the game against the Giants is uncertain.

The Packers will be facing a tough New York defense that has also had to overcome injuries in their secondary, as Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie didn’t play against the Vikings due to a groin injury.

The G-Men are ranked 11th (346.2 yards per game) in total defense, which includes being ranked ninth (84 yards per game) in rushing defense and 18th 262.2 yards per game) in passing defense.

For the Packers to have success against that defense, the Packers have to continue to protect Rodgers in the passing game and also be productive in the running game.

The Giants have just four sacks in four games, but are tough to run against. Running back Eddie Lacy is off to a great start in 2016, as he has rushed for 214 yards in three games (71.3 average), plus has a 5.0 rushing average per carry.

Rodgers is having another fabulous season in terms of his touchdown passes vs. interceptions ratio. No. 12 has thrown seven touchdown passes compared to just one pick.

But even with those great stats, the passing yardage has been somewhat minimal, as Rodgers has thrown for just 617 yards. The passer rating for Rodgers this season now stands at 98.6.


Manning on the other hand, has been struggling. No. 10 has thrown four touchdown passes, but has also thrown four interceptions for 1,186 yards overall. The passer rating for Manning currently sits at 87.8.

But before Packer Nation gets too comfortable about expectations regarding the game on Sunday night versus the Giants, know that Manning has sort of been kryptonite to the Packers when he plays them.

Yes, the Packers have beaten Manning three times when they have faced him in his career, but he has also beaten Green Bay four times, including two postseason games at Lambeau Field.

Rodgers and the Packers did beat Manning and the Giants 45-17 at Lambeau late in the 2010 season, which was a game the Packers needed to have to keep their playoff hopes alive for that season.

The Packers went on to win five straight games after that victory against the Giants, which included a 31-26 win in Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Ironically, the Giants now essentially use the same offensive system the Packers use under head coach Ben McAdoo. McAdoo coached tight ends and quarterbacks under McCarthy from 2006 through 2013.

Bottom line, even with their success at home after a bye week under McCarthy, the Packers still have a lot of details to improve upon, both offensively and defensively.

In addition to that, the Packers will be facing an opponent in Manning who has been victorious at Lambeau Field when it was truly win or go home.

A Scout’s Take on the Wisconsin vs. Michigan B1G Matchup


As the 4-0 and eighth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers prepare to take on the 4-0 and fifth-ranked Michigan Wolverines on Saturday afternoon at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, the team from Madison has been hit with some tough injury news.

First,  it was announced this week that kicker Rafael Gaglianone, 7 of 8 on field-goal attempts through three games (including the game-winner vs. LSU), would miss the rest of the season after undergoing back surgery.

Then late on Thursday, it was announced that outside linebacker Vince Biegel is expected to be sidelined several weeks after suffering a broken foot.

Both of those injuries will be difficult to overcome, especially the one to Biegel.

Biegel, who is a senior, was named third-team All-Big Ten in 2015. This year, No. 47 has nine tackles, including two for loss, and two hurries. His pressure against LSU quarterback Brandon Harris resulted in the victory-clinching interception in the opener.

Both Biegel and fellow outside linebacker T.J. Watt have played the run extremely well through four games, plus have put constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Watt leads the Badgers in sacks with 4½ and in tackles for loss with 5½.

Time will tell who defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox will call upon to take Biegel’s place at outside linebacker. Wilcox has a couple of options.

One would be to put redshirt freshman Zack Baun, Biegel’s backup, into the starting lineup opposite T.J. Watt.

Another would be to move redshirt junior Jack Cichy from inside linebacker into Biegel’s spot and move redshirt sophomore Ryan Connelly into Cichy’s spot. Cichy leads the Badgers with 23 tackles.

Luckily for the Badgers, their linebacker corp is the deepest and most talented position group on the team. That being said, it will be very tough to replace Biegel.


Linebacker T.J. Watt

Both the Badgers and the Wolverines are also 1-0 in the Big Ten. This has to be the biggest game that the two teams have played against each other in over a decade.

Michigan last won a Big Ten title in 2003, while Wisconsin won three straight Big Ten titles in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

The last time these two teams met was when the Badgers rolled to a 48-28 victory at Ann Arbor in 2010. Current head coach Paul Chryst was the offense coordinator for Wisconsin in that contest.

The Badgers will be making their second straight weekend trip to the state of Michigan, as Wisconsin is coming off of a very convincing 30-6 victory over the Michigan State Spartans last Saturday in East Lansing.

That win was the second one in which the Badgers had defeated a top-10 opponent this season, with the first one being the victory against LSU at Lambeau Field.

The Badger defense will have a big test on Saturday against Michigan.

The Wolverine offense has been fantastic so far, cranking up 45 points or more in each of the first four games versus Hawaii, UCF, Colorado and Penn State.

The Wisconsin defense figures to put up a much bigger fight however.

The Badgers allow just 80.5 yards per game on the ground, which has them ranked 10th nationally.

Michigan rolled up 326 rushing yards in last Saturday’s 49-10 trouncing of Penn State. The Wolverines are averaging 229.8 yards per game toting the rock. For Wisconsin to get a win on Saturday, they definitely have to stop the run.

Senior running back De’Veon Smith leads the Wolverines with 259 rushing yards and averages an impressive 6.6 yards per carry.

As a group, the Badgers rank seventh nationally in scoring defense (11.8 points per game) and 12th in total defense (277.0 yards per game).

In passing defense, the Badgers are tied for 10th nationally with six interceptions.

The Badgers will be facing quarterback Wilton Speight, who has performed well as a first-year starter for the Wolverines. Speight has thrown nine touchdown passes against one interception while completing 63.2 percent of his passes for 875 yards.


Jabrill Peppers

The player to watch on Michigan is definitely sophomore Jabrill Peppers. Peppers can do it all. He is force on defense, plus is an exceptional kick returner. And like former Heisman Trophy-winning Wolverine Charles Woodson, Peppers likes to play on offense at times as well.

“He’s made it clear he wants to do as much as possible,” head coach Jim Harbaugh said. “That isn’t in question. There’s no question that all of our coaches, special teams, offense and defense, they’re like a bull with their paw in the ground, they want Jabrill involved.”

Chryst is definitely is aware of Peppers as well.

“He does a lot of the little things that are kind of reserved for when you specialize in it,” Chryst said. “That’s what’s impressive: his knowledge and awareness of the game. Clearly as an athlete, he’s special, but I think the football part of him — the understanding — that’s what to me really makes him. He’s got to be the best player in college football right now.”

Peppers has rotated playing both at safety and linebacker for the Wolverines and has been outstanding. Peppers already has 9.5 tackles for a loss and ranks second on the Wolverines with 33 tackles. He also leads the Big Ten with a 22.7-yard punt return average and has already had three returns of 50 or more yards (two punts, one kickoff).

The Wisconsin offense will certainly have to be aware of Peppers and the 11th-ranked Michigan defense.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Alex Hornibrook of the Badgers will be getting his second career start on Saturday, and he will be aiming to follow up on a strong effort last week versus the Spartans.

Hornibrook was unflappable, as he passed for 195 yards, one touchdown and one interception against the Spartans.

The Badgers will need to exploit the biggest weakness of the Wolverines on defense, which is stopping the run. Michigan is ranked just 40th in stopping the run and have given up 122.5 yards per game.

Wisconsin has not been bad in running the football so far in 2016 (184.3 yards per game), but to win on Saturday, they will need an impressive effort by Corey Clement and company.

Clement leads the Badgers in rushing with 251 yards  and five touchdowns. Dare Ogunbowale has also chipped in 182 yards and another touchdown.

In the the passing game,  Jazz Peavy (16-274-2), Robert Wheelwright (15-228-0) and Troy Fumagalli (14-169-0) are the Big Three to watch as receivers.


Head coach Paul Chryst talks with quarterback Alex Hornibrook

Overall on offense, the Badgers are second in the nation in time of possession, as they have held the ball an average of 37 minutes per game. If that comes close to happening again on Saturday versus the Wolverines, Wisconsin will have a solid shot of winning.

Special teams will be key in a game like this, and the Badgers obviously have to be aware of the return skills of Peppers.

Plus, now the Badgers know that Gaglianone won’t be returning as their kicker. That means that Andrew Endicott will again handle field goal and extra-point attempts. Last week against Michigan State, Endicott made a 41-yard field goal and 3 of 4 extra-point attempts.

With a game like this looming, it’s always a pleasure to get the perspective of NFL scout Chris Landry. I occasionally write for Landry on his website and his takes about college and pro football are always insightful.

Landry talked about the Wisconsin versus Michigan matchup on 620 WDAE’s Steve Duemig Show on Wednesday.

“Hey listen, I’m going to tell you something,” Landry said. “Wisconsin has looked better and better. They were not that impressive against LSU when they beat LSU. But they have gotten better. [Alex] Hornibrook has allowed them to attack a little bit in the passing game.

“Michigan, who I think has been overrated, and I still do to some degree, they are getting a little bit more impressive on film. Their Front 7 is pretty good defensively. They are tough and physical on offense.

“I can’t wait to watch this game. I think this is going to say a lot. I like Michigan a little bit at home, but don’t be surprised here. This would not be that big of an upset [if Wisconsin wins]. Only in terms that it’s on the road.

“Wisconsin is playing well. Certainly they are playing the best in the West. Iowa is struggling on the offensive line and at quarterback. Nebraska is good, but not quite there yet. This Wisconsin team is interesting and we’ll see how much better.

“Let me caution that Wisconsin is getting into the meat of their schedule. And they were very impressive last week [against Michigan State]. If they win this week, we can really start talking about the Badgers a little bit more.”

I agree with Landry. I would not be shocked at all if Wisconsin comes out of this game with a victory.

Add to that, the Badgers have to be coming into this game with a chip on their shoulder. I mean, they have beaten two top-10 teams for the first time since the 1962 season, yet are still 10 ½-point underdogs versus the Wolverines.

This just a week after Wisconsin upset eighth-ranked Michigan State 30-6 at East Lansing. After that game, Biegel tweeted, “Keep sleeping on Wisconsin.”

But Biegel will not be on the field this Saturday like he was just a week ago.

Still, the Badgers have been playing with a next man up attitude all season long, whether it’s been at quarterback, running back, linebacker, tight end or on the offensive line.

That mantra has put the Badgers at the precipice of perhaps beating their third top-10 opponent of the 2016 season. And it only gets tougher down the road with No. 2 Ohio State coming to Camp Randall in a couple of weeks to play the Badgers.

Bottom line, time will tell if the Badgers can continue on this historical run they are on in terms of beating top-10 opponents.

I know this much, I won’t be surprised if Bucky Badger comes away with another top-10 win on Saturday at “The Big House” in Ann Arbor.

Green Bay Packers: What is the Problem With the Offense?

during the game on September 18, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Mike McCarthy took over the reins as head coach of the Green Bay Packers in 2006. Up until last season, the offense of the Packers was in the top 10 in the entire NFL in eight out of nine years.

The only year the Packers were not in the top 10 was in 2012, when the Packers finished 13th, which is still in the upper half of the league.

But in 2015, the Packers fell to 23rd in the NFL in total offense. Guess where they are after two games in the 2016 season? That would be 29th. Yes, you read that correctly. 29th.

The passing offense of the Packers was always in the top 10 under McCarthy until last season. But in 2015, the passing offensive also went south, all the way to 25th.

This season the trend continues, as the passing offense is ranked 30th.

Not only that, but quarterback Aaron Rodgers is on an alarming trend downward. Rodgers has gone 14 consecutive games without achieving a passer rating of 100. This from a guy who had a career passer rating of 104.1 heading into the season, which was the best in NFL history.

In 2016, through two games, Rodgers currently has a passer rating of just 82.6.

In terms of running the ball, historically under McCarthy, the Packers were quite pedestrian toting the rock up until 2013, which marked the arrival of Eddie Lacy. Up until that point, the Packers averaged ranking 21st in rushing offense each year.

But in 2013, the Packers jumped up to the No.7 spot in running the football. In 2014, Green Bay was ranked 11th. And even in 2015, when there were questions about Lacy’s weight, the Packers were still ranked 12th in the league in rushing offense.

But that stat has dropped as well in 2016. The Packers are currently ranked 19th in rushing offense.

So, what is the problem with offense of the Packers? Well, that is a difficult question to answer.

It’s sort of like a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma.

Let’s take a look at two different perspectives. Last week I talked with NFL scout Chris Landry about how the Packers offense looked in the opening game versus the Jacksonville Jaguars in hot and humid Jacksonville.

Landry first talked about the performance of the offensive line in that game and also the performance of Rodgers.

“I thought they did a pretty good job,” Landry said, speaking of the offensive line. “The interior of the line did a good job. [David] Bakhtiari played well for them. It was a really good performance. Jacksonville is a good team. I thought that Jacksonville had a good chance to beat them [the Packers] at home. If it wasn’t for Aaron Rodgers, they would have.

“Aaron, I didn’t mean to omit him, because he was one of the highest-graded players. Of spectacular plays, there is no doubt that Aaron Rodgers had the most spectacular plays of any quarterback in last week’s games.

“He kind of bailed them out. Jacksonville was really good and [Blake] Bortles played well enough to win, but that’s the beauty of Aaron Rodgers. What I’ve mentioned to Bob and other Packer fans is that last year they had no protections and had no vertical passing game, everything was horizontal.

“The ability to protect better allows Aaron Rodgers, it puts that paint brush in his hands, and it allows him to make plays. Yeah, they aren’t healthy, Jordy Nelson is not quite back, and there are issues, but he [Rodgers] cures a lot of ills.”


All of that is true, but No. 12 came back and had one the worst games he has played in recent memory versus the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night in Minneapolis. Greg Cosell, who has evaluated tape for 36 years for NFL Films, doesn’t like what he’s been seeing regarding the play of Rodgers.

Cosell said this on his recent appearance on The Herd:

“The film says Rodgers’ poor play at the end of 2015 has continued into 2016. He’s regressed to become a “scattershot thrower” who is missing throws he used to routinely make, and he refuses to execute the Packers offense. If the Packers are going to have success, Rodgers needs to get back to executing the offense within the designed framework. Right now, it looks bad.”

So, what does Rodgers think of the opinions of those in the media.

“I don’t care about that,” Rodgers said at his weekly press conference on Wednesday.

Rodgers also accepted the blame about his performance against the Vikings.

“I have to,” Rodgers said. “I have to lead by example. As a leader, you have to take the blame when it’s necessary, and even sometimes when it’s not your fault. I think it’s important to let those guys know that you’re going to stick your body on the line, but also you’re going to stand up for them when you need to in the locker room, the meeting room and the media, and take your responsibility for the way you played.

“I didn’t play as well as I wanted to last week, and I turned the ball over twice, and I can’t do that if we’re going to win the game. So I’ve got to play better, and I’ve got to play more efficiently on offense.”

McCarthy talked about the play of Rodgers when he met with the media on Wednesday.

“I have great confidence in Aaron,” McCarthy said. “I’ve never trusted a quarterback or an individual as a player more than I trust Aaron Rodgers. His work ethic is at the top of his career, the time he spends in the facility with the coaches and his teammates.

“So from that, it’s a process. We’ll all stick to the process, and from that we’ll have success.”

McCarthy expects Rodgers to bounce back this week versus the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field in the home opener for the Packers.

“First of all,” McCarthy said, “we’ve had two games. It’s a process, and he’s no different than any other player. Fundamentals is something you’re always chasing as a football team, and it’s no different at the quarterback position. We’ll focus on the process. The work ethic is outstanding for Aaron and our guys, and we’ll improve off of last week off of that.”

Speaking of the process, earlier in the week, McCarthy inferred that the Packers need to start utilizing the running game more.


“The analysis of our offense after two games, the running backs have not been given enough opportunities, so that’s something that I need to focus on,” McCarthy said. “Our perimeter players, we need to get them more opportunities too. We’re not getting the ball (for enough plays), and it really goes back to the efficiency, execution and flow of our offense.

“We’ve got to convert first downs. Frankly, our problem in the first half was we didn’t generate enough first downs. And the production reflected it. So I thought the second half we played more like we want to play.”

At this point, just as it was in 2015, the running game is the best aspect of the Green Bay offense. That’s hard to fathom, based on the great success Rodgers has had in the passing game in his career, but the facts and the stats don’t lie.

If the Packers do place an increased emphasis on the running game, it should help in a number of ways. The offensive line can be the aggressor in that perspective of the game, as opposed to being a reactor while trying to pass block.

Success in the running game also creates more play-action opportunities in the passing game.

Lacy and James Starks can dominate at times when they get their share of touches. Case in point, Lacy rushed for 124 yards and one touchdown on 25 carries last season versus the Dallas Cowboys. Starks rushed for 71 yards  and another touchdown on 11 carries in that same game.

Rodgers also threw two touchdown passes in that game without a pick.

McCarthy talked about fundamentals with the media this week. The Packers need to focus on that, even with all the veterans that the team has on offense.

There is no doubt that with Rodgers, Lacy, Starks, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams and Jared Cook, that the offense should be ranked near the top 10 and not near the bottom of the league.

On Sunday afternoon, Rodgers and the offense of the Packers will be facing a Detroit team which is ranked 26th in total defense.

The Lions have been giving up over 400 yards per game. In the first two games, teams have averaged over 110 yards on the ground against Detroit. In the passing game, the Lions have given up almost 300 yards a game.

Defensive end Ziggy Ansah (ankle) has been declared out for the game on Sunday. Ansah is certainly the best defensive linemen for the Lions and also may the team’s best defensive player period.

The Lions are also banged up with injuries at linebacker. DeAndre Levy didn’t play this past Sunday against Tennessee because of a thigh injury. Levy is listed as doubtful for the game versus the Pack. Fellow outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy also left the game against the Titans with a calf injury.

The Packers need to exploit the issues that the Lions are having on defense. But they need to approach that game plan by being fundamentally sound in both running and passing the football.

Vince Lombardi always went back to the basics when he met each of his Green Bay teams at the opening of training camp. It didn’t matter if the team was the defending NFL champions or not.

Lombardi would address the team by holding up the ball. “Gentlemen,” Lombardi would say. “This is a football.”

And the teaching would start from there. “It was like learning the ABCs all over again,” Zeke Bratkowski told me in a recent story about the coaching methods of Lombardi.


Quarterback Zeke Bratkowski with Head Coach Vince Lombardi

The 2016 Packers need to follow that simple lesson from Lombardi.

Bratkowski mentioned a great quote that should be the credo for the offense of the Packers now.

“Billy Casper said it best, ‘Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.’ That’s basically what the Packers were,” Bratkowki said. “It was a simplified, complex offense. There was a lot of repetition. That was the approach.”

That’s what the offense of the Packers needs to do now.

As in, practice a play. Then repeat the play. Over and over again until it’s second nature. Repetition needs to be a key factor now at all the practices of the Packers.

As does going back to the basics about teaching the players about how each play is supposed to succeed.

It’s not just the players on offense who aren’t playing up to their capabilities, but also the coaches who have designed the game plan.

Bottom line, the offense needs to go back to square one and let things develop from there.

That approach certainly can’t do any worse than what has transpired over the past year or so for the offense.

Jerry Kramer Talks About Lee Roy Caffey


When the 1-1 Detroit Lions play the 1-1 Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday, the game will be the 2016 home opener for the Pack. Green Bay opened this season with two games on the road. The last time that the Packers had opened the year like that was way back in 1924.

The game on Sunday will also be the annual alumni game for the Packers, when former Green Bay greats will be on hand to watch the Packers.

One of the greats who will be attending is Jerry Kramer. Kramer played on five NFL championship teams with the Packers, which included the first two Super Bowls.

The Packers also won three straight NFL titles from 1965 through 1967. No team has ever duplicated that feat.

Unfortunately, a number of players from those three championship teams have passed on. The list includes Henry Jordan, Ron Kostelnik, Lionel Aldridge, Ray Nitschke, Tommy Joe Crutcher, Bob Jeter, Max McGee, Fuzzy Thurston, Elijah Pitts, Travis Williams, Gale Gillingham and Don Chandler.

The list also includes Lee Roy Caffey, who tragically passed on at the age of 52 in 1994 due to colon cancer. That same affliction cost Vince Lombardi his life at the age of 57 in 1970.

Caffey came to the Packers in 1964 in a famous trade. This was the trade when Lombardi traded center Jim Ringo and backup fullback Earl Gros to the Philadelphia Eagles for Caffey and a future No. 1 draft pick, which turned out to be Donny Anderson.

Caffey was a rookie in 1963 with the Eagles and had a fine rookie season. He had the longest interception return for a touchdown that season in the NFL, as Caffey ran one back to the house on an 87-yard jaunt. Caffey also recovered five fumbles that season.

Caffey then became a big part of the Ringo trade the next season.

The mythical story was that Lombardi traded Ringo because he was being represented by an agent. Actually, there was no agent involved, but Ringo did want a hefty pay increase, as he was coming off seven straight appearances in the Pro Bowl, as well as being named first-team All-Pro for five consecutive seasons.

But Lombardi wouldn’t meet Ringo’s demands and he made the trade. The move caused all sorts of issues on the offensive line for the Packers. Rookie center Ken Bowman wasn’t ready to play yet, so the Packers had to move left tackle Bob Skoronski to center for awhile.

In addition to that, Kramer was undergoing some intestinal issues which caused him to miss almost the entire 1964 season, as well as having to undergo nine medical procedures. It’s no wonder that the Packers started out 3-4 that season, before finally finishing 8-5-1 and missing the postseason for the second consecutive year.

Caffey immediately became a starter at right outside linebacker in ’64, opposite Dan Currie, who played left outside linebacker. Ray Nitschke manned the middle as usual.

The Packers had the No. 1 ranked defense in the NFL that season, as Caffey picked off another pass and was a great fit for the Packers at linebacker.

Before the 1965 season, Lombardi made another trade, this time sending Currie to the Los Angeles Rams for wide receiver Carroll Dale.

Replacing Currie at left outside linebacker was third-year linebacker Dave Robinson.

Over the course of the next five seasons, the trio of Caffey, Nitschke and Robinson was considered the best set of linebackers in the NFL.

From 1965 through 1969, the Packers were ranked third, third, first, third and fourth in total defense in the NFL.

Over that time period, Nitschke was named to four All-Pro teams, including first-team All-Pro by AP in 1966. Robinson was named to three All-Pro teams, including being named first-team All-Pro by AP in both 1967 and 1969. No. 89 also was named to three Pro Bowl squads

Caffey was named first-team All-Pro by AP in 1966, plus also went to the Pro Bowl in 1965.

In his career in Green Bay, Caffey had nine interceptions for 177 yards and two touchdowns.

I was there to witness one of them. It was the home opener for the Packers in 1966 and Green Bay would be facing the Baltimore Colts at County Stadium in Milwaukee on a Saturday night.

The Packers were losing 3-0 that night when Caffey made a huge play for the Pack. No. 60 picked off a Johnny Unitas pass and ran it back for a 52-yard touchdown. Not long after throwing that pick, Johnny U threw another one, this time to Bob Jeter, who also ran it back for a 46-yard touchdown. The Packers ended up winning the game 24-3.

Just three days before that game, Caffey’s daughter Jennifer was born. The pick-six by Caffey turned out to be a wonderful birthday present. Years later, Lee Roy told Jennifer that he dedicated that touchdown to her.


Caffey was also an outstanding tackler and blitzer when he played with the Packers. No. 60 was one of the heroes in the 1967 NFL title game between the Packers and the Dallas Cowboys. The game is better known as the “Ice Bowl”, as it was played in truly frozen tundra conditions at Lambeau Field. The game-time temperature was 13 degrees below zero.

Caffey had a great performance in that game. The Cowboys dominated the third period, but thanks to Caffey, Dallas never scored in that quarter. Caffey stopped one drive by forcing a Don Meredith fumble and another drive by sacking Meredith.

In the end, and in the final seconds of the game, the Packers won 21-17, thanks to the classic block by Kramer on Jethro Pugh. The block by No. 64 allowed quarterback Bart Starr to score the winning touchdown on the most famous quarterback sneak in NFL history.

Speaking of Kramer, I talked with him recently and he shared his thoughts about playing with Caffey.

“When Lee Roy joined the team, there was an immediate connection with him,” Kramer said. “He was about my size. He was friendly and always had a big ole smile. Plus he was a hell of a ballplayer.

“He was a funny guy and I really enjoyed him. Lee Roy and Tommy Joe Crutcher played at high schools in Texas which were about 40 to 50 miles apart. Tommy Joe used to bust Lee Roy’s ass all the time.

“Lee Roy went to Thorndale High school. The school mascot was the Little Red Rooster. Tommy Joe would get Lee Roy going in the locker room or on the bus when he would sing, ‘Little Red Rooster sitting on a fence. Root for Thorndale, he’s got sense.’

“Lee Roy  would then shout out to Tommy Joe, ‘Damn you Crutcher!’ And then the two of them would get into it with each other a little bit. But it was all fun.

“Lee Roy was also part of our poker-playing group. I spent a lot of time with him over the years. Lee Roy also looked like me. We were mistaken for one another quite a bit.

“But Lee Roy was just a good all-around football player. He had great reflexes too. I remember walking down the sidewalk in Cleveland with him one day and a pigeon flew up while we were walking. Lee Roy instinctively jumped at it like it was a pass play, and he hit the pigeon with his hand. He didn’t catch it, but that was an amazing display of athleticism.”

In 1970, Caffey was traded once again, along with Elijah Pitts and Bob Hyland to the Chicago Bears for the second overall pick in the 1970 NFL draft. That pick turned out to be defensive tackle Mike McCoy of Notre Dame.

Caffey spent one year with the Bears and then played with the Super Bowl champion Cowboys in 1971, before finishing his NFL career with the San Diego Chargers in 1972.

But it was Green Bay where Caffey made a name for himself in the NFL. In six seasons in Titletown, Caffey showed off his athleticism time and time again at right outside linebacker for one of the NFL’s  most dominant defenses.

Caffey was rewarded for that play with three championship rings, plus was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1986.

A Scout’s Take on the Offensive Line Play of the Green Bay Packers in Week 1


Before training camp began for the Green Bay Packers, I asked NFL scout Chris Landry how he thought quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the offense of the Packers would do in 2016, after a disappointing performance in 2015.

Rodgers had a decent year individually, as he threw 31 touchdown passes versus just eight interceptions, but as a team the Packers were ranked just 25th in the NFL in passing offense last season.

Green Bay was also ranked 23rd in total offense.

“I’m not worried about Aaron,” Landry said in July. “I’m more concerned about the offensive line. That will dictate how effective they will be running the football and that’s going to determine the protection level and what he [Rodgers] can do in the passing game.

“Listen, you never know, but you hope for good health, better health. They [the Packers] have got weapons. I think they have better weapons than they have had in the past. But to me, the success of the offense is going to come down to the offensive line play and how well they are able to hold up there.

“If they do, this offense can flip around and be one of the eight or ten best offenses in the league and be a big, big factor for them going deep into the playoffs. If they don’t, they won’t even win their division, because I think this Minnesota team is pretty good and pretty consistent.

“I think it’s pretty clear where the issues are. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I like at least some of the things I’ve seen. The offensive line to me is one you have to see and grow and develop. They won’t be as good in Week 1 as they will be in Week 7 or 8, but I want to see the progress there. That will determine ultimately how good this team will be.”

In the 2016 NFL draft, the Packers added some depth to the offensive tackle position by selecting Jason Spriggs of Indiana and Kyle Murphy of Stanford.

Both showed flashes of being very solid additions to the team at tackle this preseason, but they also had a few down moments, which is the norm for a rookie.

The big news on the offensive line in training camp was that starting center Corey Linsley was unable to play due to a hamstring issue, which ended up putting the former Ohio State Buckeye star on the PUP list.

JC Tretter stepped in at center and played so well that head coach Mike McCarthy named him as the starter, even before the injury status of Linsley had been determined.

At that point, it looked like the Packers would have a very solid offensive line from left to right. The Packers would line up with left tackle David Bakhtiari, left guard Josh Sitton, Tretter at center., right guard T.J. Lang and right tackle Bryan Bulaga.

But the football world was shocked when the Packers released Sitton on the team’s final cut.

Sitton had been considered one of the best guards in the NFL. Over the past four seasons, Sitton had been named to three Pro Bowls and was named second-team All-Pro twice.

There were a number of reasons why the Packers may have released Sitton. One may have been the back issues which have been bothering him the past couple of years. Not to mention the ligament tear below his left big toe, which has also hampered him for a couple of seasons.

But the main reason Sitton was released most likely had to do with his contract status and also the contract status of others on the offensive line.

Sitton, Lang, Bakhtiari and Tretter were all going to be unrestricted free agents in 2017.

Something had to give.

Last week, Lang confirmed a report that both he and Sitton were told their contract negotiations would be put on hold while the Packers worked on younger players’ contracts during the season.

That may not have sat well with Sitton. Pete Dougherty of USA Today Network-Wisconsin also put out a very interesting article shortly after Sitton was released which included a comment from an NFL source.

The source said that in the eyes of the Green Bay organization, Sitton had become haughty and uncommunicative.

When asked about why he decided to release Sitton, general manager Ted Thompson didn’t really add any insight.

“I’m not going to go there,” Thompson said. “Not right now, no.”

Thompson did however have a comment about the former No. 71 of the Packers.

“I will say this,” Thompson added. “Josh Sitton is a heck of a football player and a good teammate. He’s one of the better picks I’ve ever made.”


Josh Sitton

But when it was all said and done, the Packers released Sitton. And one the eve of the opening game of the 2016 NFL season against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Packers came to an agreement with Bakhtiari on four-year extension worth almost 52 million dollars.

The release of Sitton meant that Lane Taylor would be taking his place and he had a big first test, as he would be going up against Malik Jackson, who came to the Jaguars via a big free agent deal, after playing four years with the current Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos.

I had another chance to speak with Landry on Thursday on 620 WDAE’s Steve Duemig show. I asked Landry how he thought Taylor and the Packers offense did as a whole against a very talented Jaguar defense in very hot Jacksonville last Sunday.

“I thought Lane played very well,” Landry said. “I thought JC Tretter and [T.J.] Lang did too. I thought the interior of the offensive line was very solid.”

Landry then gave his take on the situation regarding Sitton.

“One of the reason why they wanted to move on from him [Sitton] was because look, they understand Josh’s value, but they like the players they have,” Landry said. “In terms of the overall structure of what to pay, they weren’t willing to go there at this point. And if it’s going to be a problem and going to be an issue, then they just move on.

“Just another note. This move certainly helped out the Bears interior offensive line. Because even though Kyle Long is dealing with a shoulder issue, he and Sitton graded out very well this past week.”

Landry then continued to talk about the line play of the Packers versus the Jaguars.

“I thought they did a pretty good job,” Landry said. “The interior of the line did a good job. [David] Bakhtiari played well for them. It was a really good performance. Jacksonville is a good team. I thought that Jacksonville had a good chance to beat them [the Packers] at home. If it wasn’t for Aaron Rodgers, they would have.

“Aaron, I didn’t mean to omit him, because he was one of the highest-graded players. Of spectacular plays, there is no doubt that Aaron Rodgers had the most spectacular plays of any quarterback in last week’s games.

“He kind of bailed them out. Jacksonville was really good and [Blake] Bortles played well enough to win, but that’s the beauty of Aaron Rodgers. What I’ve mentioned to Bob and other Packer fans is that last year they had no protections and had no vertical passing game, everything was horizontal.

“The ability to protect better allows Aaron Rodgers, it puts that paint brush in his hands, and it allows him to make plays. Yeah, they aren’t healthy, Jordy Nelson is not quite back, and there are issues, but he [Rodgers] cures a lot of ills.”


The 1-0 Packers face another big road test this Sunday night when they travel to Minneapolis to take on the 1-0 Minnesota Vikings at their new U.S. Bank Stadium. The defense of the Vikings has one of the better front sevens in the NFL.

That front seven was responsible for two defensive touchdowns last week when the Vikings defeated the Tennessee Titans 25-16 on the road.

Bottom line, the Vikings will be another difficult challenge for Rodgers and the offensive line of the Packers to overcome.

We shall soon find out how that situation unfolds in this big NFC North matchup.