Success hasn’t chang Tomas Plekanec Youth Jersey ed Justin McCray’s mindset

Second-year offensive lineman keeping longshot mentality

GREEN BAY – Justin McCray need only gaze across the Packers’ main locker room to see how far he’s come over the last 12 months.

The second-year offensive lineman began 2017 working as a bellman at an Orlando hotel with his twin brother, Jordan, before the two talked coaches at their alma mater, Central Florida, into allowing them to participate in the school’s pro day.

Justin caught the eye of Packers scouts during the workout and signed a one-year contract with a single guarantee – the chance to compete for a roster spot with a slew of other longshots out of the auxiliary wing of Green Bay’s locker room.

McCray not only beat the odds to earn a pl Tomas Plekanec Jersey ace on the Packers’ 53-man roster coming out of training camp, but also gained the trust of his coaches and teammates with eight productive starts when injuries mounted on the offensive line.

He’s still not patting himself on the back or reading anything into taking starter reps at right guard during the first public practice of organized team activities this past Tuesday. In McCray’s mind, he’s the same street free agent he was last year when he was grinding to keep his NFL dream alive.

“Last year is last year,” McCray said. “I’m not going to live in the past. This is a whole new year. I’m looking to do a lot more good things and less bad things this year. I try not to think about last year too much.”

Head Coach Mike McCarthy and run-game coordinator/offensive line coach James Campen have praised McCray’s lunch-pail mindset, especially in relation to his offseason training.

McCray, working out in Green Bay, Orlando and back in his homet Tomas Plekanec Youth Jersey own of Miami, did his typical weight-training routine, but also placed a heavier emphasis on his conditioning the last three months.

The changes were obvious when McCray returned for the start of the Packers’ offseason program on April 16.

“The kid just keeps impressing you,” Campen said. “The guy came back, he’s lived here and changed his diet. He’s been totally engaged with what Coach (Mark) Lovat and the strength staff have done in that room.

“I’ll never give a player’s numbers or weights or body fats and those things … but the things he has done and displayed this offseason speaks volumes to where he wants to go. I think you just saw he tip of what Justin will be.”

While the mentality hasn’t changed, there have been some noticeable differences for McCray this spring. Unlike last summer when he repped practically every position on the line, the 6-foot-3, 317-pound offensive lineman has concentrated on the right guard position.

It’s a natural home base for McCray, who started three seasons at right guard for UCF. Yet, he only took a single snap at the position last season due to a litany of injuries at tackle and Jahri Evans’ steady presence at right guard.

The return of Jason Spriggs and Kyle Murphy from knee injuries this offseason has freed the Packers to take a closer look at McCray among other interior linemen at right guard.

The Packers drafted Washington State’s Cole Madison in the fifth round last month, but otherwise they’re leaning on McCray and a host of returning reserves to step up to the plate.

“It’s a competition. There’s a lot of good guys in here, a lot of guys who can play guard,” McCray said. “Right now they’re giving me the opportunity to compete for Tomas Plekanec Winter Classic Jersey  a job. I’m thankful for it. I’m going to keep working hard and win the job.”

McCray is the first to admit the 595 snaps he took last season provided a huge jolt of confidence for a former undrafted offensive linemen who was out of the NFL for two full seasons after being released by the Tennessee Titans in August 2015.

Today, looking toward the Packers’ auxiliary locker room remains a massive source of motivation for McCray. He’s come a long way over the last year, but he also understands what must be done to stay on his ascent.

“I was definitely in the hole last year,” said McCray, referencing where he started last summer in the auxiliary locker room. “The scenery is a lot better this year.”

Packers sign TE Tomas Plekanec Youth Jersey Lewis

Veteran tight end is third all-time leading receiver in Jaguars’ team history

The Green Bay Packers have signed TE Marcedes Lewis. General Manager Brian Gutekunst announced the transaction Friday.

Lewis (6-6, 267), originally a first-round pick (No. 28 overall) by Jacksonville in 2006 out of UCLA, played in 170 games (No. 3 in franchise history) with 156 starts (No. 2 in franchise history) in 12 seasons with the Jaguars. He joins WRs Jimmy Smith (12,287) and Keenan McCardell (6,393) as one of three Jaguars to record 4,000-plus career receiving yards (4,502). Lewis ranks No. 3 in franchise history in receptions (375) and No. 2 in receiving touchdowns (33). Since 2006, Jacksonville has averaged 4.31 yards per carry, No. 9 in the NFL over that span. Last season, he helped the Jaguars rank No. 1 in the NF Tomas Plekanec Youth Jersey L in rushing (141.4 ypg) for the first time in team history. Lewis started all five postseason games he played in for Jacksonville, recording 1 Tomas Plekanec Jersey For Sale 0 receptions (No. 4 in franchise history) for 111 yards (11.1 avg.) and a TD.

Packers announce player personnel depar Tomas Plekanec Youth Jersey tment changes

Jon-Eric Sullivan and John Wojciechowski promoted to co-directors of player personnel’

The Green Bay Packers announced changes and additions to their player personnel department. The announcement was made Friday by General Manager Brian Gutekunst.

Jon-Eric Sullivan is entering his 15th season with the club and has been promoted to co-director of player personnel. He spent the past two years as the director of college scouting after working as a college scout for 12 years. Sullivan previously served as the team’s National Football Scouting representative to the annual NFL Scouting Combine and authored evaluations of all prospective seniors in the Southwest region. He joined the team’s football operations department on July 12, 2004, after serving as a scouting intern during the Packers’ 2003 training camp.

John Wojciechowski (woh-jih-cow-skee), who is entering his 23rd season in the NFL and his seventh with the Packers, has been promoted to co-director of player personnel. Last season, he was the director of pro personnel after previously serving as a college scout for the Packers from 2012-16. Prior to joining Green Bay, Wojciechowski was a college scout for the Dallas Cowboys (2003-11) and Jacksonville Jaguars (1998-2002) following two seasons as a player personnel assistant with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1996-97).

Matt Malaspina (mal-eh-SPEEN-ah) enters his 21st NFL season and his second with the Packers. After being hired as a college scout in 2017, he has been promoted to director of college scouting. Malaspina joined Green Bay after spending 12 seasons (2005-16) with the San Francisco 49ers. He was an area scout for the Seattle Seahawks from 2000-04 and for the Carolina Panthers in 1999. Malaspina also spent time with National Football Scouting in 1998.

Sam Seale heads into his 23rd season scouting college players for the Packers. The former nine-year NFL veteran has been promoted to national scout after primaril Men’s Authentic Reebok Montreal Canadiens 14 Tomas Plekanec 2016 Winter Classic Ice Hockey Jersey y focusing on the West region. Seale was recognized as the NFC Scout of the Year at the Fritz Pollard Alliance Meeting, which took place during the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine.

Chad Brinker, who is entering his ninth season with the Packers’ pro personnel department, has been promoted to assistant director of pro scouting/salary cap analyst. He first joined Green Bay as a scouting assistant in 2010 and was promoted to pro scout in 2012. Brinker spent a brief time as a running back with the New York Jets in 2013 and played for the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europe in 2004.

Pat Moore joins the Packers as a college scout after spending five seasons as a scout for the Cleveland Browns. Prior to his stint in Cleveland, he was on the coaching staff at Fordham University for five seasons, serving as assistant head coach/offensive line (2010 Tomas Plekanec Winter Classic Jersey -11), defensive coordinator (2009) and linebackers/special teams coach (2007-08). Moore also held collegiate coaching positions at Louisiana Tech (2005-06), Auburn (2002-04), Western Carolina (2000-01) and at his alma mater, Illinois Wesleyan (1997).

Luke Benuska (ben-EW-ska), who joined the Packers as a scouting intern in 2016, has been promoted to college scout after serving as a pro scout last season. Prior to joining Green Bay, he worked in the football recruiting office at his alma mater, Texas Christi Tomas Plekanec Jersey an University, in 2016.

Brandian (Brandon) Ross, who joined the Packers’ personnel department as a scouting assistant last season, has been promoted to college scout. The former defensive back originally signed with Green Bay as an undrafted free agent in 2011 and spent time on the Packers’ practice squad during the 2011-12 seasons. From 2012-15, Ross played in 45 games with 24 starts for the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins.

GREEN BAY PACKERS PLAYER PERSONNEL DEPARTMENT

Brian Gutekunst – General Manager
Ted Thompson – Senior Advisor to Football Operations
Jon-Eric Sullivan – Co-Director of Player Personnel
John Wojciechowski – Co-Director of Player Personnel
Matt Malaspina – Director of  Tomas Plekanec Youth Jersey College Scouting
Sam Seale – National Scout
Chad Brinker – Assistant Director of Pro Scouting/Salary Cap Analyst
Richmond Williams – Pro Scout
Luke Benuska – College Scout (West)
Joe Hueber – College Scout (Midwest)
Pat Moore – College Scout (Southeast)
Mike Owen – College Scout (Northeast)
Charlie Peprah – College Scout (NFS)
Charles Walls – College Scout (Southwest)
Brandian Ross – College Scout (Midlands)
Danny Mock – College Scouting Coordinator
Autumn Thomas-Beenenga – Pro Personnel Coordinator

Five Tomas Plekanec Youth Jersey things to know about Marcedes Lewis

Former Pro Bowler played the past 12 seasons with Jacksonville

GREEN BAY – The Packers have added another veteran to their tight end room with the signing of former Pro Bowler Marcedes Lewis.

A first-round pick out of UCLA in 2006, Lewis has played all of his 12 NFL seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. A renowned blocker, Lewis has caught 375 passes for 4,502 yards and 33 touchdowns in 170 regular-season games.

The 6-foot-6, 267-pound tight end joins Jimmy Graham as the new veteran additions to a Green Bay position group that returns Lance Kendricks, Emanuel Byrd and Robert Tonyan.

Here’s five things to know about the Packers’ newest tight end:

1. Lewis had a record-setting run in Jacksonville

Lewis is the owner of the Jaguars’ records for receptions, career touchdowns, receiving yards and receptions of 25-plus yards by a tight end. He is one of only three Jaguars to surpass 4,000 career receiving yards, joining Jimmy Smith (12,287) and Kennan McCardell (6,393). He started 156 of the 170 games he played for the Jaguars.

2. He’s in good company

Lewis, 34, was one of 46 players who made at least one Pro Bowl appearance from the 2006 NFL Draft class. Lewis became the Jaguars’ first tight end to achieve the honor in 2010 after recording a career-high 58 receptions for 700 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also was named second-team All-Pro. His 375 career receptions are ninth-most among active NFL tight ends.

3. He can block with the best of ’em

Lewis has developed a reputation for being one of the leagu Tomas Plekanec Winter Classic Jersey e’s top blockers at the tight end position. He blocked for two All-Pro running backs early in his career, Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, and started all 16 games last year during Leonard Fournette’s 1,000-yard season, one of six 1,000-yard rushing campaigns the Jaguars had during Lewis’ 12 seasons.

4. He’s been durable throughout his NFL career

Lewis has missed only 22 games in his 12-year NFL career, nearly half of those coming in 2014 when he suffered a high-ankle sprain. Lewis bounced back from a season-ending calf injury in 2 Tomas Plekanec Jersey For Sale 016 to start all 16 games last season, playing 895 offensive snaps.

5. Something’s Bruin

Lewis’ four seasons at UCLA saw him start 32 of 49 games and set school records for tight ends with 126 catches for 1,571 yards and 21 touchdowns. He won t Tomas Plekanec Jersey he 2005 Mackey Award, an honor given to the nation’s top tight end. Lewis played most of his college football with Jones-Drew before the two landed in Jacksonville together as part of the same 2006 draft class.

That’s w Tomas Plekanec Youth Jersey hy you trust the process

A deeper roster helps soften the blow of the unforeseen

Matthew from High Point, NC

So there will be at least one man on the 53 that wasn’t on the current roster, eh? Didn’t take long for that prophecy to come true Westradamus.

As a wise man once said, “It ain’t over until it’s over.” Good morning!

Dave from Eau Claire, WI

With the signing of Marcedes Lewis, does anyone else think the Packers are looking at using Jimmy Graham as a wide receiver with Lewis in the more traditional TE role?

Graham can play anywhere, but he’s most dangerous creating mismatches from the slot or splitting out wide. Lewis gives the Packers an experienced, in-line option at tight end who’s renowned for his blocking. We’ll see what Lewis has to offer this summer, but this easily is the most accomplished group of tight ends the Packers have had during my time on the beat.

Matt from Chicago, IL

Am I missing something? The only reason to bring in a veteran tight end this late is because they weren’t happy with current backups. Who’s the odd man out?

Nobody is the odd man out. The Packers had a spot open on the 90-man roster after Filipo Mokofisi retired and used it to sign Lewis. They have seven tight ends on the roster at the moment. May the best men win. I would’ve guessed roster spots would have been difficult to come by for Justin McCray and Lucas Patrick last summer, but injuries took care of that. A deeper roster helps soften the blow of the unforeseen.

Steve from Cottage Grove, WI

Is it Tomas Plekanec Youth Jersey  now safe to say we can see Gutekunst putting his own stamp on the team? Additions of Muhammad Wilkerson, Jimmy Graham, and Lewis, with also a few positions full of young but talented and rising individuals. Seems like a good approach to maximize the present while still building for the future.

Draft-and-develop is still a big part of the way Gutekunst runs the Packers’ personnel department, but he’s also shown a willingness to address positions with veteran players the front office feels will fit into the Packers’ scheme. Lewis brings something different to the tight ends room much like Graham, and Wilkerson with the defensive line.

Jake from Greenville, NC

I’ve long believed that the best way to learn is to teach. Do you think Aaron Rodgers helping bring along guys like Brett Hundley and DeShone Kizer does anything to improve his own game?

Absolutely. What better way to reinforce everything you’ve learned over the years than by teaching those same lessons to the next generation of NFL quarterbacks. Plus, I’m sure there are a few things a 22-year-old quarterback can show an established vet 12 years his senior, too.

Philipp from Fayetteville, GA

In response to Sam from Janesville, WI, regarding veteran signings, I think it is still farfetched for the Packers to sign a veteran receiver like Dez (or whomever). JJ was developed in Green Bay and there was value in him knowing the system prior to being brought back.

That’s what I was saying. Help me out a little here, people. The last time the Packers signed a veteran free-agent receiver who didn’t start his career in Green Bay.

Tony from Eagan, MN

In response to Vinny from Arlington, VA, Young players don’t get better or contribute by veterans lowering their expectations. I coach high school, and while admittedly a long way from the professional level, when young guys come up to varsity, the veteran varsity guys are told let it rip as you would to any other player. Nobody benefits from lowering expectations.

Nothing has ever been accomplished from couching expectations. The demand for excellence is what leads to greatness. 

Jordan from Appleton, WI

Mike, do you really think the 2016 offense was the best post-Philbin offense? Because I think the 2014 offense would like to have a word with you.

In totality, I believe the 2014 Packers’ offense is the best since that record-breaking year in 2011. The final stretch of 2016 was impressive in its own right, though. We talk about the “run the table” and Jordy Nelson’s comeback season, but rarely is it mentioned how explosive that offense was down the stretch after Cook returned.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

Why this is even a conversation in regards to adding a veteran WR is that GB’s offense is typically a tough one for a rookie to make an instant impact. It typically takes years to grasp the playbook, various WR spots, adjust to pro speed, etc., to make an impact in the first year. I don’t dismiss the idea of a veteran WR because the rookies are unproven and while they have great potential and should improve over time and each season, strictly looking at the 2018 season has me a little concerned with the level of raw and inexperienced WRs GB has behind Adams, Cobb, and Graham.

That’s not necessarily true, though. Yes, the Packers haven’t had a rookie come in and have a 1,000-yard season, but James Jones, Greg Jennings, Davante Adams and even Randall Cobb (for the reps he was given) all stepped in and made an impact as rookies. There’s always uncertainty with free agents and draft picks. I’d rather bet on the player with upside. That’s why you trust the process.

Richard from Madison, WI

Just looking at Friday’s column-topping picture of Aaron Rodgers in the all-white color-rush jersey. Man, I like that look! Any chance the Packers will add it to their regular jersey rotation?

I thought it was a snazzy look. I believe it’s up to NFL teams whether they want to wear the color-rush uniforms next season on Thursday Night Football. We’ll see if they return against the Seahawks, I guess.

Justin from Utah

“Onside kicks will become much more difficult for the kicking team to recover than they already are.” This is my biggest issue with the rule change. Two-score games might turn to the two-minute offense with 6 or 7 minutes left now. The whole game could potentially be impacted by this change.

This is why I was silently rooting for the league to keep the former rules on “declared” onside kicks. I’ll be interested to hear what Mason Crosby has to say about it at some point because his job just got a whole lot more difficult.

Matthias from Hartford, WI

Frankly, I’m a bit surprised that Julius Thomas hasn’t been signed yet.

Frankly, I’m more surprised Gary Barnidge hasn’t been signed in the last 13 months. Between the injuries and the circumstances, Thomas just never was able to recapture the magic in Jacksonville or Miami.

Jon from Waukesha, WI

I don’t think analytics will ever take over football the way they have baseball, for one simple reason: football is the ultimate team game, and so individual analytics don’t quite tell the whole story the way they do in baseball, where Tomas Plekanec Jersey  it is a game of individual matchups.

The difference with analytics in football is there are just so many unknowns, whereas this has been a trend in baseball for two decades now. Football analytics may not be as illuminating as baseball in the long run, but it probably will show where teams can improve their overall efficiency.

Miguel from Guadalajara, Mexico

Did you get to see Herb Waters at OTAs? How did he look?

Healthy, but cornerbacks aren’t built in a day. Waters has done everything right to this point and now he’s finally able to put it all to  Men’s Authentic Reebok Montreal Canadiens 14 Tomas Plekanec 2016 Winter Classic Ice Hockey Jersey use on the field.

Andy from Sheboygan, WI

Not a question, but an answer to keep the ball rolling. Outside of barely remembering Barry Sanders, I’d have to say the first NFL player I hated but respected was Mike Alstott from Tampa Bay; it seemed no one could ever stop that guy.

Oh, good one.

Joseph from East Moline, IL

What are some key stats you would look for in players when getting together your fantasy draft board? I usually try to compile the last three years of a player’s touches, targets, and TDs per game, and yards per touch. I like to get an average with and without the player’s single highest and lowest games.

I look at three things – age, performance from the previous season and what the depth chart looks like at the player’s position. I also look for who the primary backup is at every running back spot. Locking down Larry Johnson in 2005 is what helped me win my first title.

Griffin from Belmont, NC

When discussing QBs and stats, which stats hold the most weight in your eyes when it comes to ranking? I think Super Bowls are important, but are way overrated when saying a QB is great or not.

I think winning a Super Bowl is important on the resume of a Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback, but the best in my opinion are the ones who consistently performed at a high level throughout a 10-15-year career. A good example of that is Peyton Manning. Winning a second Super Bowl in clearly his worst NFL season didn’t make or break his legacy. It was cemented well before that. Trent Dilfer won a Super Bowl and Dan Marino didn’t. Who had the better career?

Kevin from Stallis, WI

Spoff, perfect response to Greg from Ann Arbor on the anthem issue. Everyone in this country has the right to protest how they see fit, but a business has the right to say not on our watch. Why can’t people from both sides see it with that kind of logic?

As I said Thursday, communication is so important during these polarizing times. I felt the Packers demonstrated the type of unity we need in this country from the top-down when players locked arms during the national anthem. It was a respectful way of honoring the country, but also acknowledging those among us who continue to battle oppression on a daily basis. It’s easy to yell. It takes courage to listen.

Jim from Tucson, AZ

Why is this so hard? The players are in the entertainment industry. They are entertainers. We fans pay to be entertained. We do not pay to hear or see gripes, complaints, or social justice demonstrations. Demonstrations are fine, but not when on stage. Why is this so hard?

Because those players on “stage” are people, too.

Lazaro from Corpus Christi, TX

I don’t know if you’ll reply to another “good bullpen” comparison but I sort of feel like having a good rotation of 2-3 running backs is like having a good bullpen. You keep rotating your running backs, bringing fresh bodies in, wearing down the opposing team. Sort of like how teams bring in fresh arms in the final innings of the game to wear out the batters.

I could see it. A good third-down back is just a solid little closer.

Steve from Kansas City, MO

With the new kickoff rules, how smart do the Patriots look for bringing in Patterson? Have the Pack really identified who their returner will be this year? Trevor Davis, Randall Cobb, or another?

Davis, Cobb and Ty Montgomery all have return experience. I’m sure the three rookie draft picks will get a chance to show what they have this summer.

Jasper from Potomac, MD

Who do you have: Caps or Golden Knights?

If it’s not the Lightning, I hope the Knights take it all.

Mike from Somerset, WI

If the Packers win the Super Bowl in Year 1 of Brian Gutekunst as GM, does this add to Ted Thompson’s legacy?

If the car starts when you turn the key, it says something about the previous owner, right?

Zack from Dayville, CT

Now that the kicker is the only player with a running start, when does No. 88 learn the art of the dribble onside kick? Clearly a more athletic, faster kicker is one way to help with onside kick recovery. FYI, can a kicker wear 88?

Time is a flat circle.

Nate from Ames, IA

Listen up, Wes. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We are all part of the same compost heap.

I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.


 HAVE A QUESTION?


Dramatic shift should benefit D Tomas Plekanec Youth Jersey eShone Kizer

Young QB goes from rookie starter with Browns to backing up one of game’s greats for Packers

GREEN BAY – It’s the age-old debate regarding quarterback development.

Will a young signal-caller be better off in the long run if he gets thrown into the fire right away, initial results be damned, or if he gets to sit back for a few years and learn from one of the game’s best?

DeShone Kizer is not the one to settle the debate, because if there’s such a thing as getting the best of both worlds, he’ll eventually be Exhibit A.

Thrust into a starting job as a rookie with the Browns last year, Kizer predictably struggled. He went 0-15 as a starter on a team that was missing its Hall of Fame left tackle and star wide receiver for most of the season. He threw twice as many interceptions as touchdown passes.

But, as his new QB coach Frank Cignetti said, “There’s no substitute for experience,” and that’s what Kizer now possesses as he makes the landmark shift to backing up a future Hall of Famer in Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers.

“Last year I quickly became the veteran in the room,” Kizer said of his rookie season in Cleveland as a second-round draft pick from Notre Dame. “After six, seven starts I had the  Tomas Plekanec Winter Classic Jersey most experience out there.

“This is an opportunity now to see it from a player’s perspective, a guy who’s been in here and experienced success within this league, and do whatever I can to find the intricacies within the game that I can develop myself.”

Acquired from the Browns in a trade for cornerback Damarious Randall in March, Kizer was brought in to improve the Packers’ quarterback room. Once training camp rolls around in late July, he’ll be in a full-fledged competition with Brett Hundley for the No. 2 job behind Rodgers.

That competition is not foremost on his mind right now, though, as he’s trying to digest his third offensive system in a span of three years. It’s a lot to process while also trying to learn from an accomplished star quarterback, an opportunity he wasn’t afforded as a 21-year-old trying to lead a rebuilding team in 2017.

There are two avenues to learning from Rodgers – by asking the two-time MVP questions, and by observing his every mov Tomas Plekanec Jersey For Sale e. With his locker just two stalls away from Rodgers’, and with daily meetings through OTAs and the mid-June minicamp, there’s ample opportunity to pick Rodgers’ brain.

But Kizer admitted he’ll absorb just as much if not more without saying a word and keeping his eyes glued to every practice snap and film session.

“Discipline is everything. I mean, every time the guy takes a rep, every time he takes his drop, it’s the exact same way,” Kizer said. “If you go back and watch my film, you can see that I was adjusting things throughout the year. Obviously that comes with time.”

Fundamentally speaking, Kizer is working on a different style of footwork in Mike McCarthy’s QB school. That’s a significant adjustment in itself, because the footwork is timed to every aspect of every play in McCarthy’s West Coast-style offense.

The more comfortable he gets with that, the more he’ll be able to let the athletic talents in his 6-foot-4, 235-pound frame take over.

“He’s attentive, he’s bright, he’s very, very hardworking,” offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. “I like the development I’ve seen.”

Kizer also recognizes it’s his job to help Rodgers any way he can from week to week once the regular season starts, but what form that assistance will take remains to be seen.

Like the looming camp competition, those are thoughts for down the road. For now, Kizer is simply making the switch from one method of quarterback development to another, and planning on being better for having gone through both.

“In this league, you can learn one of two ways, by fire or from watching,” he said. “I was out in the fire and learned quite a bit about myself, a lot about what it takes to win in this league.

“Now it’s about making sure that I take those experiences, learn from them and the next time I step back out there on an NFL field during the regular season that I’m in a better position to win a game.”

The story behind the B Tomas Plekanec Youth Jersey ruce Clark bombshell

He chose Toronto over the Packers 38 years ago this week

As slapdash and dysfunctional as the Green Bay Packers’ draft process was at times during the 24-year, post-Lombardi tailspin, one of their most decisive selections turned out to be arguably their most devastating from a performance and PR standpoint.

Thirty-eight years ago this spring, Bart Starr emerged from the draft room and declared he took “about five seconds” before naming Bruce Clark as the fourth overall pick in the 1980 NFL Draft.

On the surface, it appeared the Packers had not only filled a need, but had landed the best available player. After all, Penn State coach Joe Paterno had called Clark his most dominant player ever and Dick Steinberg, then director of player personnel for the Los Angeles Rams, had compared Clark’s skill set to former No. 1 draft pick Lee Roy Selmon.

Clark was a 6-foot-2½, 264-pound defensive tackle who still had the speed and quickness of a linebacker, his original position at Penn State.

The draft was held on April 29, 1980. One stormy and unforeseeable month later, the shell-shocked Packers learned Clark had signed with Toronto of the Canadian Football League.

Three years later, when the Packers hit rock bottom defensively with the ever-forgettable nose tackle trio of Charlie Johnson, Rich Turner and Daryle Skaugstad, players and fans alike wanted to deflect criticism toward former team president Dominic Olejniczak, the executive committee or whatever other nebulous scapegoat was convenient at the time; when, in fact, the blame lied solely with the football department as it almost always did during that bleak stretch.

Here was the run-up to the Clark pick and the aftermath.

April 17 – With the draft less than two weeks away, I polled six NFL personnel directors and asked them to predict the Packers’ first pick for a column for the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

The consensus was Oklahoma running back Billy Sims would be Detroit’s for-sure No. 1 pick; Brigham Young quarterback Marc Wilson might go second to San Francisco, which had started third-year pro Steve DeBerg over rookie Joe Montana the previous fall; and USC tackle Anthony Munoz wouldn’t likely get past Cincinnati at No. 3.

Five of the six personnel directors offered from one to three names as candidates to be the Packers’ choice; the other proposed five names.

Texas wide receiver Johnny “Lam” Jones received the most votes with four. Wilson, Colorado tackle Stan Brock and Clark each received two votes. At the time, Packers quarterback Lynn Dickey had missed the entire 1978 season and all but five games in 1979 because of a career-threatening leg injury.

Steinberg, who would hire Ron Wolf as his personnel director when he became GM of the New York Jets 10 years later, told me, “Jones to go with (James) Lofton would be a pretty awesome tandem.”

Mike Allman, personnel director in Washington and right-hand man for this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Beathard, predicted Clark would be the Packers’ pick. “I don’t think anybody has any reservations about Bruce,” Allman said. “He can physically dominate.”

Tom Braatz, then personnel director in Atlanta and later personnel VP in Green Bay, predicted Brock over Clark because he didn’t believe the Packers were in position to take a player coming off knee surgery. “Clark might be 80 percent, but to take him with the fourth pick – that’s an awful lot of money,” said Braatz.

Steinberg, alone, questioned if Clark was a nose tackle, a position he had played in only five games in his four years at Penn State.

“I don’t think he can play inside where he has to take people on and read blockers,” said Steinberg. He also noted Clark was short for a defensive end, regardless if it was a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme.

April 21-25 – At some point during the week, Starr, then the Packers’ general manager and head coach, headed a contingent, which included director of player personnel Dick Corrick, defensive coordinator John Meyer and local orthopedist Dr. H.A. Tressler, and flew to State College, Pa., to meet with Clark and examine his surgical knee. Tressler, according to Starr, pronounced Clark fit to draft.

April 29 –As expected, the No. 1 pick was Sims, who almost single-handedly turned the 2-14 Lions into a 9-7 playoff contender when gifted and talented rookie running backs often had that kind of impact. The 49ers traded the second overall pick to the Jets, who selected Jones, a 6-0, 175-pound receiver and 1976 Olympic gold medalist in the 400-meter relay. The Bengals drafted Munoz before the Packers snatched Clark.

An elated Starr said shortly after the selection was announced that he expected Clark to be the starting nose tackle in the Packers’ new 3-4 defensive scheme.

Meanwhile, Clark in a telephone interview told the Press-Gazette’s Bob McGinn that might be Starr’s plan, but it wasn’t what he wanted.

“I want to be playing five or 10 years down the road,” said Clark. “But nose tackle has the lifespan like a back. I guess I’m not really sold on it.”

Clark also told John Clayton of The Pittsburgh Press that he had reservations about being picked by the Packers if their plan was to play him at nose tackle. Clark told Clayton he would prefer to play a 4-3 defensive tackle or possibly linebacker.

He said nose tackle still seemed foreign to him.

“You never learn the position when you’re stuck in the middle during the season,” said Clark. “It’s not a position you can learn cold turkey.”

Penn State had moved Clark from defensive tackle to what he called middle guard in a five-man defensive front four games into the 1979 season. Less than a month later, Clark tore a ligament in his right knee in a game against the University of Miami and underwent surgery.

Bear in mind that also was a time when NFL nose tackles were vulnerable to high-low double-team blocks by the two guards on quick passes, being cut-blocked while engaged with another blocker and getting chopped down from the back or side while chasing a play, all things that have since been outlawed.

At the end of the first day’s selections, Corrick told me the Packers started with three contingency plans. Plan A was to take Clark if he was available. Plan B was to take Jones if Clark was gone. Plan C was to take Colorado cornerback Mark Haynes if Clark and Jones were both gone.

Corrick said the Packers had too many questions about Wilson and flunked Munoz on his physical because of his three knee operations.

Starr, on the other hand, told me the Packers were working on a trade with Washington for the 18th pick – they had the 26th choice, acquired from San Diego, to use as trade bait – to draft Wilson until the Oakland Raiders grabbed him at No. 15.

All along in numerous interviews I had with scouts, many of them expressed reservations about Wilson’s stork-like physique – he was 6-5, 204 – and that he was more a polished passer than a strong-armed franchise quarterback in the mold of Terry Bradshaw or Bert Jones.

In fact, before the draft, one of the Packers scouts had told me, “(Wilson) looked like a survivor from the Bataan Death March, but it didn’t bother him on (game day).”

Following the selections, some scouts also revealed Wilson had slipped even further in their minds because of growing concerns over his impassive personality and leadership qualities.

Although Wilson never really established himself as a starter in 10 NFL s Tomas Plekanec Winter Classic Jersey easons, the 1980 draft otherwise turned out to be deep and talented.

Among the 28 first-round picks, Munoz and wide receiver Art Monk, taken 18th by Washington, became Hall of Famers. So did center Dwight Stephenson, drafted in the second round by Miami.

Eight other first-round picks became Pro Bowl players, including Sims, tight end Junior Miller (7th choice), Haynes (8th), defensive end Jacob Green (10th), center Jim Ritcher (16th), linebacker Otis Wilson (19th) and cornerback Roynell Young (23rd). The eighth was Clark, who made the Pro Bowl with New Orleans in 1984.

More on that later.

Ray Donaldson, a third center, was drafted in the second round and selected for six Pro Bowls.

May 6 – The Packers introduced Clark to the local media at a hastily scheduled press conference at Lambeau Field. At first, the Packers scheduled the press conference for the next day, but were forced to change it because of a mix-up. Clark had to get back to Penn State for a class and couldn’t stay.

“I’m an easy man to get along with,” said Clark when asked about reports that he preferred to play linebacker. “They’re set at linebacker and they need me at nose guard. That’s fine…I’m willing to give it a shot.” Clark also was asked about a Los Angeles Times story published that morning where scouts had supposedly panned the Packers for taking a “lame tackle” over a much-needed quarterback. “I’m not a lame tackle,” Clark shot back.

What about Green Bay’s small African-American population, a concern of other black players at the time?

“There weren’t too many blacks at Penn State,” Clark answered.

What about money?

“I’m going to stay out of those things like Mr. Starr,” said Clark. “My agent can take care of that.”

Money should have been no object for the Packers, either. The previous night they reported a record profit of $1.85 million.

May 11 – A newspaper report out of New York quoted Dr. James Nicholas, longtime orthopedist for the Jets, as essentially saying he had flunked Clark on his physical. “Clark had a very serious ligament injury,” Nicholas said. “I’ve never seen a guy play effectively with that.”

May 23 – Richard Bennett, Clark’s Washington, D.C., attorney and agent, told me in a telephone interview that morning his client would skip the Packers’ spring camp. Rookies were scheduled to report that night and just a day earlier, the Packers said they expected Clark to be on hand and to participate in most drills.

Bennett said Clark was staying home because the two parties were too far apart in contract negotiations. Bennett also told me that he had held preliminary contract talks with Toronto and had informed Packers corporate general manager Bob Harlan of the development.

May 28 – Harlan learned from a reporter that Clark had signed with Toronto. Later, Starr was walking off the practice field on what was the second day of the veterans’ spring camp when Corrick broke the news to him.

Roughly two hours later, Starr held a press conference. He accused Bennett of using Clark as “a guinea pig.” He blasted Bennett for not giving the Packers a chance to match Toronto’s offer. Starr also defended the Packers’ handling of the negotiations, although he admitted he never feared losing Clark.

Meanwhile, Rick Matsumoto wrote in the Toronto Star that Clark simply didn’t want to play in Green Bay. As for Harlan, he said he had taken Bennett’s CFL threat seriously, although he had not talked to him in five days.

May 30 – Upset over Starr’s comments, Bennett accused him of being “hysterical” and called Starr’s charge that he had selfishly used Clark “ridiculous.”

In the same telephone interview, Bennett told me that while Harl Tomas Plekanec Jersey an might have conducted the negotiations, he believed Starr had set the parameters and it created problems in the talks.

“For me the most frustrating matter was that they ask Bob Harlan, a fine gentleman and nice man, to negotiate a contract, but they don’t give him any power or leeway,” said Bennett. “Bart Starr assured Bruce and I more than once that he had nothing to do with figures or contract. He said he was in charge of the football end. But as soon as Bruce signs a contract, I see where Bart Starr comments extensively on our opening negotiations.”

Clark also criticized the Packers while talking to a reporter with the paper in State College, Pa.

“All along I thought they’d have a professional attitude and handle themselves well,” said Clark. “I guess I was a little naïve. I’m used to Penn State, where everything is first class.”

The Packers heard Clark received $1 million over two years from Toronto, which was coached by their former safety Willie Wood. Other sources said those numbers were high.

Bennett told me the Packers hadn’t offered Clark as much as Washington gave Monk, another of his clients and a player drafted 14 slots later who had already signed.

Nov. 14 – Bruce Clark was one of two defensive tackles named to the CFL’s all-Eastern Conference team.

Dec. 27 – Starr was stripped of his GM title during a contentious two-hour 45-minute meeting of the Packers’ board of directors following a 5-10-1 season. Shortly thereafter, Harlan was promoted to assistant to the president.

July 22, 1981 – With Clark entering his second and what figured to be his final season in the CFL, he told the Janesville Gazette he wasn’t going to play nose tackle in the NFL and, therefore, wasn’t likely to play for the Packers.

He also reminisced about his short visit to Green Bay a year earlier and said he wasn’t impressed with the city, echoing what many players, black and white, were saying at the time. Just as it had been during the grim 1950s, Green Bay was considered the Siberia of the NFL.

Worse yet, it had a lousy team with a number of discontented players.

June 10, 1982 – New Orleans obtained Clark’s rights from the Packers in exchange for its No. 1 draft pick in 1983.

Clark played defensive end for the Saints for seven years in a 3-4 scheme and registered 39½ career sacks. He ended his career with Kansas City in 1989. Clark’s best season was 1984 when he had 10½ sacks and made the Pro Bowl.

The Packers used the draft choice a year later to select cornerback Tim Lewis, whose promising career was cut short by a neck injury in his fourth season.

What went wrong for the Packers in this long chain of events?

Harlan has consistently told the same story in several interviews over the years, including one last month.

“As soon as we drafted somebody, I got the name of the agent and his number, and that day that player had an offer on the table,” said Harlan, Clark included.

Did Harlan lowball Clark?

“No, that wasn’t how I operated,” he said.

If anything Harlan was optimistic about the negotiations, partly because the Bengals had taken Munoz the pick before.

“I loved it when Cincinnati had the guy in front of me,” said Harlan. “I know Mike Brown would lowball him and I’d look good.”

Had he previously negotiated with Bennett?

“(Clark) had the same agent that Steve Atkins had the year before,” said Harlan. “We negotiated and it went on and on and on. I think we signed him close to the start of training camp. We had good negotiations, but it took a long time.”

Did Olejniczak or the executive committee set limits in the negotiations or interfere in any way?

“No, I never included Ole in my negotiations,” said Harlan. “If I was having trouble with someone, I’d go to Bart. I wouldn’t put the executive committee into the Bruce Clark thing.”

Harlan said it wasn’t until after Clark signed in Toronto that he was told the nose tackle issue was the hang-up.

“Someone who knew Bennett, or maybe another agent, called and said, ‘That’s why he’s not coming to Green Bay,’” said Harlan. “I said to Dick Corrick, ‘Did Bruce ever mention that (in the pre-draft meeting in State College)?’ He said, ‘Not a word.’ And I said, ‘You told him he’d be our nose tackle?’ ‘Yeah.’”

Was Harlan hearing from agents and especially African-American players back then that they didn’t want to play in Green Bay?

“Yeah, it was a problem at that time,” he said. “(But) Bennett never said to me (Clark) didn’t want to come to Green Bay.”

At 6-2½, Clark’s stock might have dropped several slots, especially in a deep draft, if he had informed teams in advance he didn’t want to play nose tackle. Also, if other teams projected him as only a 4-3 defensive tackle and not an end in either a 4-3 or 3-4, the pool of teams interested would have shrunk even more.

Could Bennett and/or Clark have gotten wind of that and decided not to voice any objections about playing nose tackle prior to the draft?

“Oh yeah,” said Harlan. “I don’t think we would have ever taken him if he had said he wouldn’t play nose tackle. Bennett probably said, ‘Let’s get drafted up there and then make a deal with Toronto.’”

Worse yet, if Steinberg was right about Clark not being a good fit at nose tackle – the Rams were reigning NFC champions and he was widely considered one of the more astute personnel people in the game at the time – Starr and his football staff had tried to fit a square peg in a round hole.

Some stats mean more Tomas Plekanec Youth Jersey than others

Onside kicks will become even more difficult for kicking teams to recover

Michael from Santa Cruz, CA

Good day, gents. I just re-watched the Bengals game from last season and what stood out most (besides the second half and OT brilliance of Rodgers) was that Josh Jones was the  Men’s Authentic Reebok Montreal Canadiens 14 Tomas Plekanec 2016 Winter Classic Ice Hockey Jersey best defensive player on the field for that game. He was not asked to cover much and his impact was greatest playing at or near the line of scrimmage. He was causing havoc behind the line the whole game. While I expect his coverage skills will only improve going forward, I hope they don’t ask him to cover much in Pettine’s D. His strength seems to be “see the ball, go get the ball.”

I’ve referenced the Bengals game several times in this space. I think Jones has plenty of skills in multiple areas, but McCarthy said again this week too much was put on his plate last year, partly out of necessity due to injuries. Early in the year, like the Bengals game (Week 3), before the injuries mounted, Jones gave us a glimpse of what he can be. Whatever lumps he took later on, he’ll be better for it and so will the Packers’ defense.

Ben from St. Charles, IA

Biff, the NFL equivalent of a strong bullpen would be a team with a good “four-minute” offense, i.e. an offense that can close out a game, don’t you think?

I like that analogy.

Vinny from Arlington, VA

Mike, with you previously mentioning being hit by an errant throw along with Wes’s Thursday comment about seeing Rodgers’ passing velocity first-hand reflects something I’ve wondered. My question is does he need to pass with such velocity? Essentially, does Rodgers throw too hard? Especially, if doing so, results in dropped passes, broken fingers, etc. No one will ever question Rodgers’ velocity. Given that there are a lot of young players on the team and three rookies, they have enough to adjust to then to add Rodgers’ arm strength. Some of these younger players are either transitioning to a WR (Clark) or have been labeled, from college whether fair or not, with drops (Moore).

Let me see if I’ve got this straight. You’d like Rodgers to soft-touch the ball more for the young guys, which means he needs a bigger window in which to throw to them, necessitating holding the ball in the pocket longer and allowing more time for the defenders to react to his throws? Sure, that’ll work. Down the street at Ashwaubenon High maybe.

Keith from Dearborn, MI

Hello Insiders, as we progress through the offseason, the hype will continue to grow as we march toward another Super Bowl run. We have been very fortunate to have our eyes on the Super Bowl year-in and year-out as a new season approaches. When was the last offseason you can recall where the Super Bowl wasn’t a legitimate possibility?

Probably McCarthy’s first year in 2006, when he was taking over a 4-12 team whose roster Thompson was in the process of gutting.

Joe from Ames, IA

I was watching baseball the other day and on a play that went to review the announcers mentioned it would be interesting if the people reviewing in New York didn’t know the initial call on the field, instead making their decision based only on what they saw. Do you think replay review could ever go that route in sports or will the call on the field always have to be irrefutably overturned?

I believe if the leagues wanted to diminish the weight given the calls on the field, they’d have done so explicitly already. The officials/umpires deserve the respect the review process gives them, in my opinion, though I think it was obvious last year in the NFL some calls were getting overturned with less than conclusive evidence.

Bob from Rossford, OH

“I think it’s only a matter of time before teams have analytic sectors the size of coaching staffs and personnel departments.” Well that would be nice, but how about some analytics on the Insider Inbox. Percent “snarky” replies. Total number of movie references in a single day. Number of Oxford commas. Now if we had that going for us, that would be nice.

Indeed.

Mark from Bettendorf, IA

Clay Matthews doesn’t seem convinced the pieces are in place for a better defense. He said it, but didn’t sound believable. Was he calling out his fellow OLBs to step up?

Sure he was, but I’d expect nothing less. The organization has put a lot of faith in the young edge-rusher group behind Matthews and Perry, and it’s going to need veteran leadership. I’m getting a story ready for next week discussing this, but as for Matthews’ tempered tone, I think he’s just being realistic, knowing the young corners being counted on and the edge-rushing depth are not going to develop overnight. Both are works in progress, but it’s still only May.

Antonio from Kimberly, WI

Marcedes Lewis won’t be over-hyped as a receiving threat, and he shouldn’t be. He’s 34 years old, and has a reputation as one of the league’s best blocking tight ends, helping lead the way last season for Leonard Fournette. However, five touchdowns on just 24 catches is significant: his size still makes him a red-zone threat. The Packers can put him on the field at the same time as Jimmy Graham in the red zone, and make defenses pick their poison.

Nicely summarized.

Ben from Albuquerque, NM

“There are players who will be on the 90-man roster for training camp who aren’t here yet, and there’s at least one who will be on the 53 in Week 1 who is not here yet.” Ding ding ding!

I wasn’t exactly going out on a limb there. I would say it still holds true.

Steven from Silver Spring, MD

In response to the Jon from Columbia, MO, moneyball question, the spread formation is really the marking point from the “small ball” era of power running to achieve field position and time of possession, over to the NFL equivalent of “OPS” with downfield throwing and multi-receiver sets. As for predicting team successes, you can do that by QB quality.

I’m getting lost in all these analogies, but I’ll say this: Some stats mean more than others. Turnover margin and passer rating differential correlate more toward wins and losses in the NFL than any others.

Guilherme from Lins, Brazil

2017: first season without Lacy, three RBs drafted, fans asking for a veteran RB and two rookies stood out. 2018: first season without Jordy, three WRs drafted, fans asking for a veteran WR…I think we’re going to be fine.

I tend to agree.

Luke from Wichita, KS

I just watched the David Raih press conference. He seems so real and genuine. Can you tell us a little more about him?

He gave up a lucrative medical device sales job in southern California to join Rick Neuheisel’s UCLA staff unpaid. That’s how he got into the coaching business. It’s all you need to know about his love of the game and passion for his job.

Wyatt from Grand Rapids, MI

Hi Insiders. With the use of scout teams, how often do the No. 1 offense and defense go against each other in practice? Are you present enough to estimate a winning percentage?

Through the playbook installation phases – such as now at OTAs and during the first couple of weeks of training camp – the first units go head-to-head all the time. Later in camp, and during the regular season, it’s cut back to mostly two-minute and no-huddle situations.

Darren from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Jimmy Graham had less productive years in Seattle than New Orleans, yet Green Bay signed him to a three-year deal. Do you interpret this as the Packers staff feeling he was underutilized or maybe just in the wrong system in Seattle?

Not necessarily. I interpret it as feeling Green Bay’s best Joe Philbin offense prominently featured Jermichael Finley in ’11, while Green Bay’s best post-Joe Philbin offense prominently featured Jared Cook during the ’16 stretch run, and acquiring Graham was the fastest, most effective way to get the offense back on that track.

David from Hallowell, ME

When traffic lights first went to LED, cold-weather cities had issues with snow accumulation blocking the lens because the energy efficiency meant the bulb was not hot enough to melt the snow. Newer designs include a heating element to compensate. Do the new Lambeau lights come prepared for blizzard playoff conditions?

I hope we get to find out.

Ralph from Goose Creek, SC

With Mark Murphy not one of the privileged owners, what level of respect does he receive from the owners at gatherings like the spring league meeting?

Plenty. Murphy serves on the NFL’s management council executive committee, which is the owners’ labor bargaining team. He’s also on the competition committee, which has as much say regarding on-field rules as any group, and the health and safety committee, also very influential and important in the current climate.

Greg from Ann Arbor, MI

The NFL is understandably concerned that fallout from anthem protests may ultimately eat into the league’s profit margins, but at what point does clearly and unequivocally endorsing players’ freedom of expression as American citizens become more important than maximizing corporate profits? And if the answer to that question is “never,” then who’s being unpatriotic here?

I’ll go back to what I said when this issue first arose – I was most disturbed by the suggestion, if not insistence, from many corners and pulpits, that anyone should be punished or disciplined for legal, constitutionally protected actions during the anthem in the absence of any league or team rules. That’s not how the First Amendment works, whether you agree or disagree with the conduct. Now, there are rules in place. An angry, vocal segment of the NFL’s fan base made its feelings known, and the owners have responded. That’s how the free market works, whether you agree or disagree with the resulting action. I hope the players continue to bring awareness to the issues and causes, but the owners have decided it won’t be during the anthem. Their league, their rules. As for whether these rules should be collectively bargained, that’s for labor lawyers to argue. Personally, I wish people could find a way to respect different interpretations of what the anthem and flag represent, as well as different definitions of patriotism. That’s America, to me. Will there be more fallout to come from this issue? Probably. That’s America, too.

Matt from Verona, WI

The NFL should make a rule requiring that the anthem singer sing without needless embellishment of the tune.

Thanks for adding some needed levity to the subject.

Sam from Janesville, WI

I agree with you on not bringing in a veteran receiver this year, but to answer your question, the last time the Packers signed a veteran free agent WR it was James Jones. I miss the hoodie.

A hoodie that has since been outlawed. How I long for the days of that controversy. Congrats to JJ on the San Jose State University Sports Hall of Fame, by the way.

Carl from Marshfield, WI

Spoff, I don’t want Rodgers to change the way he plays, and I don’t think the coaches do either. However, I do envision the ball coming out quicker and Rodgers not dancing for 8-9 seconds as often. I see better rhythm and efficiency with the development of the talented RBs, better play at TE, and playbook enhancements. What are your thoughts?

That’s the goal. You’d love for every play to be executed with perfect timing, just as it’s drawn up. But when it doesn’t, it’s guys like Rodgers who make the difference. You can’t give up that advantage.

Geoff from Omaha, NE

I don’t know about you, but I think the recent kickoff rule change is going to put a premium on kick returners. As we all know, these guys only need a small crease to take it to the house and I think this rule might be that crease. What do you think?

Maybe. The changes are going to make kickoffs more like punts, with blockers and cover men running more side by side down the field and then engaging in close quarters. But unlike punts, the coverage team is not going to get down there fast enough to force fair-catches.

Ben from Stanley, WI

How do you think the new kickoff rules will affect onside kick attempts?

Mandating five players on each side of the kicker and eliminating the running start will make onside kicks much more difficult for the kicking team to recover than they already are.

Jason from Ringle, WI

It’s nice to see a couple references to D.C. Everest in the column lately, with Derek Abney and Dave Krieg. Mike, you probably remember Everest football coach Wayne Steffenhagen. The field is now named after him: “Steffenhagen Field at Stiehm Stadi Tomas Plekanec Jersey um.” You also might remember Tim Strehlow from 1994-1995. I played on the team with him…he’s now the head coach.

I believe Strehlow graduated just before I got there, but yeah, of course I remember Steffenhagen. My favorite moment was covering a playoff game on the Everest sideline. One of the Everest kids fumbled just as he was going out of bounds near Steffenhagen. The ball was sitting there, just inside the boundary, and Steffenhagen was yelling so intensely I thought he was going to jump on it and recov Tomas Plekanec Youth Jersey er it himself. To revisit the 50-yard field goals previously mentioned, Mike from Pawcatuck, CT, recalled witnessing some there. This might not be Mike’s time frame, but the kicker I covered on that team, Preston Gruening, certainly had the leg, and he went on to kick for Minnesota in the Big Ten. Steffenhagen always gave his kicker a ton of credit for giving his defense 80 yards of field to defend every time after a score. In high school, that’s a huge advantage.

Jake from Greenville, NC

Are we allowed to talk about Wes’s Fight Club reference, or is that against the rules of Insider Inbox?

The perfect paradox with which to end the day and the week. I’m tapping out. Enjoy the holiday weekend, everybody.


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Kevin King Tomas Plekanec Youth Jersey feeling good, ready to learn

Former second-round pick excited about competition brewing at cornerback

GREEN BAY – The reception was shoddy at best inside the Bradley Center.

So while Kevin King watched Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks turn back the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the first round of the NBA playoffs, the Packers cornerback mostly was shut out from opening night of the NFL Draft.

At least until the updates started to flood in around him.

“A lot of the fans there recognized me and said it,” said King at Tuesday’s organized team activities. “Everybody around was saying, ‘You guys got him.’”

“Him” was Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander, whom the Packers selected with the 18th overall pick. A day later, General Manager Brian Gutekunst then used his second-round pick to take Iowa cornerback Josh Jackson to add to the position.

King  Tomas Plekanec Jersey is excited about the new acquisitions. The second-year cornerback felt the same way when the Packers brought back veteran Tramon Williams in March and re-signed Davon House on April 13. In his mind, the more, the merrier.

As last year proved, injuries can force NFL teams to entertain Plan B, C and D to navigate a season. King and the rest of the secondary hope the new additions help fortify a Green Bay pass defense that finished 31st in the NFL last season.

King, for his part, stepped up to the plate after the Packers selected him with the 33rd overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Men’s Authentic Reebok Montreal Canadiens 14 Tomas Plekanec 2016 Winter Classic Ice Hockey Jersey  cornerback started five of the nine games he played, covering the likes of Julio Jones, Dez Bryant and A.J. Green despite battling a persistent shoulder injury.

King sat out against Minnesota, Baltimore and Tampa Bay before finally traveling down to Birmingham, Ala., to undergo season-ending surgery with Dr. James Andrews in December.

The Packers are being cautious with King during the offseason program, but the 23-year-old cornerback was on the field for the first public practice of OTAs earlier this week.

“I wasn’t worrying about it last year,” said King of his shoulder. “I wasn’t thinking about it too much. But I feel good. I went to the best surgeon in the world, Dr. Andrews. He got me right, so I feel good.”

With the shoulder shored up, King says he wants to harness the mental side of the game in Year 2. He’s been engulfed in the playbook of new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine and spent extra time working with House and Williams after meetings.

The three have been attentive students in the classroom of defensive pass-game coordinator Joe Whitt. With House and Williams combining for 18 NFL seasons, King can think of no two better veterans to help him learn the position.

“Those guys are in the spots I want to be,” King said. “Just soaking in as much knowledge and as much information as I can from them. They know a lot about the game and a lot about how to do it at a high level for a long period of time. Besides the football stuff, they’re good guys.”

The Packers got off on the right foot in OTAs, with all five defensive backs who ended last year on injured reserve – King, Quinten Rollins (Achilles), Demetri Goodson (hamstring), Kentrell Brice (ankle) and Herb Waters (shoulder) – participating in Tuesday’s practice.

It all figures to add to the competition at the position this summer. Although it’s early, King likes what Alexander and Jackson have brought to Green Bay so far.

“Oh, I like them. They’re hungry. Good learners,” King said. “Of course, it’s the second day of OTAs so they have a lot ( Tomas Plekanec Youth Jersey to learn), but everybody has that, everybody has a lot to learn. Everybody has steps to take in OTAs. That’s what OTAs are for.”

San J Tomas Plekanec Youth Jersey ose State to honor former Packers WR James Jones

School’s sports HOF will induct him this fall

GREEN BAY – Former Packers receiver James Jones has been chosen for induction into the San Jose State University Sports Hall of Fame.

Jones played four years at San Jose State from 2003-06 and compiled 126 receptions for 1,496 yards and 12 touchdowns.

The bulk of that production came in his senior season (70 catches, 893 yards, 10 TDs), which led to being drafted in the third round by the Packers in 2007.

Jones joins a class of inductees that includes six other individuals and one team in  Tomas Plekanec Winter Classic Jersey San Jose State sports history. The induction ceremony will take place on Friday, Sept. 28.

Jones played a total of nine seasons in the NFL, eight with the Packers and one with the Raiders. After se Tomas Plekanec Jersey For Sale ven years in Green Bay, including the Super Bo Tomas Plekanec Youth Jersey wl XLV championship, he left as a free agent to sign with Oakland in 2014 and then came back to the Packers for one more year in 2015 following Jordy Nelson’s season-ending knee injury.

With Green Bay, Jones recorded 360 receptions for 5,195 yards and 45 TDs. All three totals rank in the top 12 in Packers history in their respective categories. He led the NFL with 14 touchdown catches in 2012.