Packers Midweekly News: Week Four
Welcome to the Packers Midweekly News! This article details everything Packers, but halfway through the week! This is the Week Four edition of the Packers Midweekly News.
Punter Pat O’Donnell Named Special Teams Player of Week Three
The Green Bay Packers’ punter Pat O’Donnell was named week three’s special team player of the week. O’Donnell is a big legged punter from Palm Beach County’s Palm Beach Central High School (561 represent!) who attended the University of Cincinnati and the University of Miami. He was drafted by the Bears in the sixth round of the 2014 Draft. O’Donnell averaged 45.1 yards per punt in high school and 43.5 in college. He smashed 23 50+ yard punts in his senior year. In addition, he set two all-time Bear records in career yards per punt (45) and season yards per punt (46.98).
O’Donnell is a major part of the reboot of the Packers’ special teams unit in 2022, having signed a two year deal early in the off season. His special teams player of the week accolade was awarded to him for his seven punts averaging 48.4 yards per punt. Also, he placed five of those punts within Tampa Bay’s 20 yard line. Since field position is so important in the NFL, O’Donnell has the leg and the accuracy to absolutely push the advantage to the Packers’ side. If he continues at this pace, he will be in contention for his first ever Pro-Bowl.
Packers Sign CB Corey Ballentine to Practice Squad
The Packers signed CB Corey Ballentine to the practice squad on Wednesday. This move comes in the wake of news that Jaire Alexander injured his groin on the first play on defense. Alexander is reportedly day to day with the injury. Ballentine, who was the nations top Division II defensive player in 2019, will be called up in the case that Alexander isn’t ready for the Patriots in week four. As a kicker returner in college, he could also add some more expertise to the revamped special teams unit.
The Packers rotated their LTs Sunday against the Buccaneers. That game was David Bakhtiari’s first since reaggravating his knee injury in the season finale last year. However, he split time with OL Yosh Nijman. Bakhtiari played 56% of the snaps while Nijman played the remaining 44%. Coach LaFleur said that there would be “a split here and there” in the press conference Wednesday. Nijman filled in admirably while Bakhtiari was out so it will be interesting to see how the rotation works going forward with regards to Bakhtiari’s health.
Clay Matthews Retires
One of the Packers all-time greats retired this week. After a highly decorated career at USC, Clay Matthews was drafted by the Packers with the 26th pick in the 2009 draft. He was instrumental in the team’s 2011 Super Bowl run. In addition to six Pro-Bowls, Matthews finishes his career with 519 tackles, 130 tackles for loss, 17 forced fumbles, 91.5 sacks, and six interceptions.
Coach LaFluer said that Monday was a mandatory day off and that Tuesday was optional training. Wednesday’s practice was just a jog through. Considering the heat and the level of competition, Sunday’s game was a “large load on the players”, according to LaFleur. Despite the light session, Elgton Jenkins was seen on an exercise bike instead of practicing on Wednesday.
Interviews with LaFleur – Wednesday’s Press Conference Summarized
- Wednesday’s practice was a jog through. The team is taking it slow this week because of Sunday’s game in Tampa. Keeping a very fluid practice schedule to handle these types of things.
- Bakhtiari is in good spirits, he is day-to-day in his recovery.
- Pat O’Donnell did a good job at controlling the field, also.
- 3rd down defense is great this year. Good pressure on QB with help from the backend. A lot more 3rd and longs. 1st and 2nd down efficiency is better, too.
- Biggest challenge against Belichick: “you never know what you are up against”. “Best of the best”, Belichick “plays many different looks on the same personnel”. Hard to prep against, have to do “educated guesses and adapt.”
- Was getting frustrated in the 2nd half, “getting out-coached”. Changing strategy on the fly is key to success.
- Lot’s of respect for Brian Hoyer.
- His summary of Rashan Gary: lights out, disruptive force, tone setter, energetic, puts in hard work, infectious work ethic
- Playing in London does not affect game plan: “you look too far ahead in this league, you get your ass kicked.”
THOUGHTS OF RODGERS
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was interviewed on Wednesday, here is a quick summary of the interview:
- On Belichick: “Belichick is the best coach ever in the history of the game.”
- On what Belichick might do to shut down offense: “I’m not giving him any ideas, (he’s) going to look at what we do best and take away options….going to need in game adjustments.”
- On Rashan Gary: different body type, great motor, productive, tough to block, offenses scheme for him, came in as “one trick pony” but built up his repertoire.
- On Robert Tonyan: confidence is key for coming back from a hard injury, getting close, “almost there.”
- On going to London: “We don’t talk about that stuff in the locker room.”
- On Hoyer: “good dude…smart…knows schemes.”
- Mentality behind clock management and timeouts: many factors, including which quarter, momentum, score, probability of positive play. Sometimes it’s better to take the timeout and rethink play, get in better alignments
- Does LT rotation change anything for QB? “No”
- How big of a challenge is it to change game plan on the fly? Got to have a great first 15-20 minutes and then transition out of that, need high probability plays in the bank, “good first 15-25 plays.”
- How does good special teams help? Helps the team break even. Three legitimate special teamers – Ford, Dallin, and Dixon.
- Each team of refs have different standards for calling delay of game
- Called plays for Flynn, but he’d audible out of them
- “Had nothing to do with the 2 point conversion, much before that.”
LP – CB Jaire Alexander (groin), OT David Bakhtiari (knee), RB AJ Dillon (knee), WR Allen Lazard (ankle), WR Christian Watson (hamstring), TE Marcedes Lewis (groin), LB Jonathan Garvin (hip)
DNP – OT Caleb Jones (Illness), G Elgton Jenkins (knee)
Thank you for reading the Packers Midweekly News Week Four edition! See you halfway through next week!
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