Tagged in: Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Chargers hire Rams’ Brandon Staley as coach

The Los Angeles Chargers have agreed to terms with Brandon Staley to become their next head coach, the team revealed Sunday night.

He will be formally introduced at a news conference on Thursday.

Staley served the past season as the Los Angeles Rams’ defensive coordinator, developing the top-ranked defense in the NFL behind star defensive tackle Aaron Donald and cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

Staley’s unit propelled the Rams to a 10-6 season and a wild-card playoff victory over the Seattle Seahawks before the team exited the postseason with a loss to the Green Bay Packers on Saturday. I

n his first year as an NFL coordinator, Staley’s defense ranked No. 1 in efficiency, yards permitted per game and points allowed per game. With the Chargers, Staley replaces coach Anthony Lynn, who was fired after four seasons and a 33-31 record.

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The Chargers are coming off a 7-9 season that resulted in a third-place finish in the AFC West.

However, Staley inherits a roster that includes several cornerstone players, including rookie quarterback Justin Herbert, who became the youngest quarterback in NFL history to throw 30 touchdown passes in a single season. Staley also takes over a defensive unit that includes Pro Bowl defensive end Joey Bosa and All-Pro safety Derwin James.

“It’s hard to put into words just how excited I am for the opportunity to be the Los Angeles Chargers’ Head Coach,” Staley said in a statement.

“While this is certainly a dream come true, it’s also a dream that’s just beginning. There’s a reason this was probably the most sought after job out there — from ownership, to the fans, to the city, to the men in that locker room — it’s the total package.”

The 38-year-old Staley has quickly risen through the NFL ranks since he first was hired as a position coach in 2017 with the Chicago Bears. He spent two seasons in Chicago under defensive coordinator Vic Fangio before he followed Fangio to the Denver Broncos, where he spent one season as outside linebackers coach before joining the Rams’ staff.

Staley is the third assistant under Rams coach Sean McVay to get an NFL head coaching job, joining Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur and Cincinnati’s Zac Taylor.

“I think any time that you have those situations arise, that’s one of the most gratifying things,” McVay said Sunday during his season-ending news conference.

“That’s also really a unique thing to see him come in and do such a great job, then immediately be a prime candidate for a lot of these openings and you realize how precious these opportunities are.”

Prior to coaching in the NFL, Staley coached for three seasons at John Carroll University, a Division III college in University Heights, Ohio, and also spent a season as defensive coordinator at James Madison University.

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Packers host Rams with NFC championship game berth at stake

No NFL team scored more points during the regular season than the Green Bay Packers. Nobody has played better defense than the Los Angeles Rams.

That sets up an intriguing showdown of strength vs. strength when MVP favorite Aaron Rodgers and the Packers (13-3) host All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald and the Rams (11-6) in an NFC divisional playoff match Saturday.

“This is what you love,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “These are the type of matchups and opportunities that as a competitor, you can’t wait for.”

Both of these units are at the top of their game.

The Packers have won six consecutive games and have been held below 22 points just once all campaign. Los Angeles got to this point by sacking Russell Wilson five times in a 30-20 triumph at Seattle last week.

“They went to Seattle, played a familiar opponent and played really, really well, and they’re coming in with the confidence that they should have,” Rodgers said. “And we’re coming in with confidence as well, the season that we’ve had and what we believe we’re capable of.”

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Rodgers has set franchise single-season records for touchdown passes (48) and completion percentage (.707) this year while throwing just five interceptions for an offense scoring 31.8 points per game. Donald calls Rodgers a “great quarterback that’s playing lights out this year.”

Donald leads a defense that permitted the fewest points and yards of any team during the regular season.

“At any time, at any quarter of the game, a different guy could make a big-time play for us,” Donald said. “It’s not just one or two guys. When you’ve got a group of guys – all 11 out there – who are pretty much playmakers who can make that game-changing play at any time, you’ve got a great group.”

This will be the first time the NFL’s top-ranked scoring offense and scoring defense have faced off in the postseason since the New England-Atlanta Super Bowl on Feb. 5, 2017. The Patriots had the top-ranked defense and the Falcons had the No. 1 offense that year.

This also will be the Rams’ first playoff game at Lambeau Field. These two franchises have met in the postseason just twice before, with the Packers winning 28-7 in Milwaukee on Dec. 23, 1967, and the Rams winning 45-17 in St. Louis on Jan. 20, 2002.

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Green Bay Packers fear LT David Bakhtiari suffered season-ending ACL tear in practice

The Green Bay Packers have lost one of the most important members of their high-powered offense, All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari, to what is alleged to be a season-ending knee injury suffered in practice on Thursday, a source told ESPN.

The primary diagnosis is a torn ACL, a source told ESPN, confirming a report by NFL Network. Bakhtiari will still need to undergo further tests to confirm that preliminary diagnosis.

The Packers added Bakhtiari to the injury report after Thursday’s practice. During the portion open to reporters, there was no apparent issue. Coach Matt LaFleur spoke before practice and will next take questions from reporters on Friday.

The Packers (12-3), who lead the NFL in scoring at 31.6 points per game, would be the NFC’s No. 1 seed if they triumph their regular-season finale on Sunday at the Chicago Bears.

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But now they’ll have to do it without their best non-skill position player on offense.

It comes just six weeks after they signed Bakhtiari to a record-setting, four-year, $103.5 million contract extension, making him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history.

The 29-year-old, who was drafted in the fourth round in 2013, has been either first- or second-team All-Pro each of the past four years. He was named a Pro Bowl starter when the selections were revealed last week.

When Bakhtiari missed three games earlier this season because of broken ribs, the Packers played Billy Turner at left tackle. Turner has been a regular starter on the right side, at both guard and tackle.

Most recently, Turner has started the past four games at right guard, while Rick Wagner has started at right tackle. However, Wagner suffered a knee injury in Sunday’s victory over the Tennessee Titans and was a limited participant in practice. Another option would be to move Pro Bowl left guard Elgton Jenkins to left tackle.

Jenkins has played everywhere but right guard this season, having played 599 snaps at left guard, 286 at center, 31 at right tackle and 26 at left tackle, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

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Green Bay Packers claim Damon ‘Snacks’ Harrison off waivers

Another run-stopper is on the way to the Green Bay Packers to perhaps help them evade getting run out of the playoffs like last campaign.

Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst claimed Damon “Snacks” Harrison off waivers on Wednesday, according to the NFL transaction wire.

The Packers did not informed the move.

The Seahawks waived the 32-year-old defensive tackle on Monday after Harrison requested his release. All players waived at this point in the season are subject to waivers, and Harrison said in a tweet after his release that he was not interested in getting claimed.

However, in response to a tweet that suggested he might actually play for the Packers given that they’re a Super Bowl team and one that was on his list of teams he planned to meet with before he signed with Seattle earlier this season, Harrison responded with a one-word tweet that read: “Bingo.”

A source told ESPN that Harrison assured the Packers he would report to and play for Green Bay.

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The Packers rank 14th in rushing yards permitted but 24th in yards per carry — a slight improvement over last season. But their run defense let them down in the NFC Championship Game, when the San Francisco 49ers rushed for 285 yards en route to the Super Bowl.

If the Packers (12-3) triumph Sunday’s regular-season finale versus the Chicago Bears, they would be the No. 1 seed in the NFC and have a first-round playoff bye. Even if they have to play on wild-card weekend, they could get Harrison through the COVID-19 protocols and ready for that weekend.

They were granted a roster exemption for Harrison.

The Seahawks signed Harrison to the practice squad Oct. 7 and he made his first appearance in a game on Nov. 15 versus the Los Angeles Rams. He played 138 total snaps in six games before he requested his release.

At the time, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was under the impression that Harrison no longer wanted to play. “He’s decided to stop playing,” Carroll said Monday during an appearance on 710 ESPN Seattle.

“He’s done playing. I talked to him this morning. He’s in good spirits and all of that. He’s really grateful for the opportunity in playing here, and he did really well by us, but he just … he’s done.”

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Ravens sign veteran CB Tramon Williams

The Ravens have added a veteran cornerback to fortify a position hit hard by injuries. Tramon Williams, who has spent most of his career with the Green Bay Packers, has been signed to the 53-man roster.

Williams substitutes cornerback Khalil Dorsey (shoulder), who has been placed on injured reserve.

The 37-year-old Williams has 34 career interceptions, but has not played this campaign after his second stint with the Packers ended in 2019. An undrafted free agent in 2006 from Louisiana Tech, Williams had his best years with the Packers, where he played from 2006-14 and acquired a Super Bowl in 2010.

In his second stint with Green Bay that started in 2018, Williams started 23 games, including seven games last season. Though he has primarily been a cornerback, Williams also played some safety for the Packers last season.

Williams has also played for the Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals.

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Williams will add depth to the cornerback rotation that includes Pro Bowlers Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey, veteran Jimmy Smith and second-year pro Terrell Bonds. Humphrey (COVID-19) is expected to return this week after missing Sunday’s game versus the Indianapolis Colts.

Dorsey, who dislocated his shoulder during Sunday’s game in Indianapolis, joins a lengthy list of injured cornerbacks from Baltimore. Tavon Young and Iman Marshall are out for the season with knee injuries and Anthony Averett (shoulder) is on injured reserve, though he could return later this year.

Dorsey will be out at least the next three matches. The Ravens have also signed two players to the practice squad – defensive back Nate Brooks and offensive tackle R.J. Prince. Prince was on the Ravens’ practice squad last season and has also spent time with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Brooks was an undrafted free agent from North Texas in 2019 who has been with the Cardinals, New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.

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San Francisco 49ers shut facility after WR Kendrick Bourne tests positive for COVID-19

One day before they are planned to play the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football, the San Francisco 49ers shut down their facility because of a positive COVID-19 test Wednesday morning.

The Niners confirmed the positive test after a league source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that wide receiver Kendrick Bourne tested positive. League sources told ESPN that Thursday’s match is expected to go on as planned, pending more contact tracing and information.

In a statement, the Niners acknowledged the positive test and said they have entered the league’s “intensive protocol.”

“The San Francisco 49ers were informed today that a player has tested positive for COVID-19 and the individual immediately went into self-quarantine,” the statement said. “Our organization has entered the NFL’s intensive protocol and we are working with the league on contact tracing to identify high risk individuals. All team functions will be conducted virtually today.

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“The health and safety of our players, staff and community are the organization’s highest priority. We will continue to work closely with the NFL and medical professionals and will follow their direction.”

Later Wednesday, Bourne was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

After Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the 49ers returned to the facility and held a practice early Tuesday evening in preparation for Thursday’s game versus Green Bay. The Packers flew to the Bay Area late Wednesday afternoon.

Bourne’s positive test means he won’t be able to play versus the Packers if the game goes on as organized, leaving the 49ers particularly short-handed at wide receiver after ruling out Deebo Samuel because of a hamstring injury and waiving wideout Dante Pettis.

Receiver Richie James has been limited in practice because of an ankle issue.

The Packers, meanwhile, will be without running back AJ Dillon, who tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, while running back Jamaal Williams and linebacker Kamal Martin also have been ruled out after they were deemed “high-risk close contacts” of Dillon. Running back Aaron Jones (calf) is listed as questionable.

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Green Bay Packers WR Allen Lazard out indefinitely after core muscle surgery

Allen Lazard, who caught six passes for 146 yards and a score in the Packers’ Week 3 victory over the Saints, is out indefinitely after undergoing core muscle surgery this week, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Green Bay, without Lazard, will look to keep its unbeaten start intact Monday night versus the winless Falcons.  A former undrafted rookie out of Iowa State, the 6-foot-5, 227-pound Lazard signed with the Packers in December of 2018 after spending most of his rookie season on the Jaguars’ practice squad.

After catching just one pass that campaign, Lazard caught 35 passes for 477 yards and three touchdowns last season. Lazard is now the Packers’ leading receiver, with 254 yards and two touchdowns on 13 receptions.

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Lazard’s 19.5 yards per catch this season is over four yards over his career average. 

With Lazard out, that will lead to more playing time for Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Darrius Shepherd and Malik Taylor. Valdes-Scantling has caught eight passes for 165 yards and a score through three games, while Shepherd and Taylor have yet to catch a pass. 

The Packers did receive some positive news on Thursday when receiver Davante Adams, who missed last week’s game with a hamstring injury, was a limited participant during practice. Adams is hoping that his hamstring will let him to face the Falcons on Monday night. 

Regardless, it appears that the Packers’ offense may rely more on running back Aaron Jones, who has rushed for 303 yards and four touchdowns. He has also caught 10 passes for 95 yards and a score through three games.

The Packers signed two receivers to the practice this week, adding Caleb Scott and Juwann Winfree. The team also has Reggie Begelton and Robert Foster on the practice squad.

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Packers rookie Kamal Martin has surgery on knee, to miss at least six weeks

The Green Bay Packers got some unsatisfactory news on the injury this week. Head coach Matt LaFleur alluded to some injuries on Monday during his press availability, noting that there were a few players who were banged up and whose statuses could affect the makeup of the 53-man roster.

Indeed, it appears that the team will be without a promising young player for at least the first several weeks of the 2020 regular season. That player is linebacker Kamal Martin, the Packers’ fifth-round draft pick in April.

According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Martin will be having knee surgery that will keep him out for an extended period of time. The injury is to Martin’s meniscus, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who notes that it is not expected to be season-ending. It would therefore appears that Martin may be a candidate to start the regular season on injured reserve.

He injured a knee last campaign while playing for the University of Minnesota, though it is unclear if the injuries are related.

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The Packers can maintain Martin’s eligibility to return this season from injured reserve if they keep him on the active roster through the 53-man roster deadline on Saturday and place him on IR afterwards. However, if they send him there before the cut-down deadline, he would be lost for the entire season.

Martin has fascinated heavily in training camp this summer and was reportedly taking snaps with the starting defense early in camp before the team cracked down on the detail that media members could report about the depth chart in practice.

This is just the latest injury at a position that keeps to be a problem for the Packers

Oren Burks missed a few days of practice late in camp and Curtis Bolton remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list in his attempt to return from a torn ACL he suffered last preseason.

That leaves the Packers with just presumed starter Christian Kirksey plus youngsters Ty Summers, Krys Barnes and potentially Tipa Galeai (who seems to be a better physical fit on the inside than on the edge) at the position.

Martin and Burks appeared to be the front-runners to start this season next to Kirksey, but if both of them are unavailable or unready to play, this could drive defensive coordinator Mike Pettine back to using a safety like Raven Greene at the second linebacker spot.

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Kicker Mason Crosby, Packers reach 3 year deal

The Green Bay Packers and kicker Mason Crosby have reached to a new three-year deal, per his agent Mike McCartney

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the contract is worth $12.9 million.

Crosby enjoyed a career-high 91.7 percent field-goal success rate (22-of-24) last year. He was a perfect 14-of-14 from 39 or fewer yards.

The 35-year-old out of the University of Colorado will be entering his 14th campaign in the NFL next year, all with Green Bay.

Crosby won Super Bowl XLV with the Packers in 2011, going 3-of-4 on field goals and hitting all 16 of his extra points in the postseason.

The signing does not come as a surprise considering that Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst told Mike Spofford of Packers.com that he wanted Crosby back.

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“I think when you have a guy who has been through the fire like Mason has, for a guy in my position it makes us feel very comfortable,” Gutekunst said. “He obviously had an excellent year last year. He’s a big part of our team, a big part of what we’re trying to do here. I’m very hopeful that will reach the right ending.”

A veteran of 10 NFL postseasons, Crosby has shined when the lights are brightest, hitting 26 of 29 playoff field goals and all 65 of his extra points.

He notably drilled field goals of 56 and 51 yards in the final 1:33 of a 2017 NFC Divisional Round Game in a road upset over the Dallas Cowboys.

He’s also been a reliable source of points for 14 years as he hasn’t missed a match since the Pack picked him in the sixth round of the 2007 draft.

Crosby and the Packers will look to build off a 13-3 NFC North-winning campaign that saw the team reach the NFC Championship Game.

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Kansas City Chiefs at Green Bay Packers

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Monday Night Football presents fans with a high-quality match as the Kansas City Chiefs visit Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers.

The match is on September 28, 2015 at 8:30 PM ET.

The Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers are both in familiar positions after the first two weeks of the season. The Chiefs are hovering at .500 and still chasing the Denver Broncos in the AFC West. Meanwhile, the Packers are 2-0, looking like Super Bowl contenders and are a heavy favorite to capture their fifth straight division title. They’ll face off in a primetime battle at Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football to cap off the third week of the 2015 NFL season.

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The Chiefs nearly knocked off the Broncos last Thursday night, but a couple of late miscues led to a heartbreaking loss. Kansas City allowed two touchdowns in the final minute, letting a seven-point lead slip away. Once again, the Chiefs were forced to watch Denver escape Arrowhead with the win. Kansas City fell to 1-1 with the loss and now faces an uphill battle in trying to overtake the Broncos in the division race.

Green Bay is coming off an emotional win over the Seattle Seahawks, one that exorcised some demons and gave them a little shot of revenge for their epic collapse in the NFC Championship last January. The victory was impressive on many fronts.

The Chiefs and Packers don’t have a long history of playing each other — this will be just the 12th game in the series — but their first matchup is one of the most important games in NFL history. On Jan. 15, 1967, the Chiefs and Packers faced off in the first ever AFL-NFL World Championship Game — which is now more famously called the Super Bowl — at Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. The Packers took a 14-10 lead into halftime and then broke the game open with three second-half touchdowns en route to a 35-10 win.

Nearly 50 years later these two franchises will rekindle their rivalry in the primetime spotlight on Monday night.

 

 

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