Black and Blue times 2

Vikes prep work complete

So what will they do for an encore?

The premiere of the 2019 Packer season was pretty impressive in two of three phases but it won't mean much if Matt LaFleur's team stumbles in their home opener Sunday against another division rival.

The defense shut down the Bears in week one.  The special teams routinely flipped field position.   The offense?  We'll get to that.

We got more insight into the defensive performance from coordinator Mike Pettine today.   He explained how a box heavy and smaller unit held Chicago to 46 rushing yards and forced bad throw after bad throw from Mitchell Trubisky.   Pettine said the 3-3-5 defensive alignment with an extra safety in the box was able to hold up against the run and pass because they've been very diligent in applying his scheme.   Knowing the plan makes the group confident and it carried to the field because this is one of the smartest defensive teams he's had.  They communicated with their eyes and their voices and carried out the game plan with very few missed assignments.  Now the trick is to do it again against a Minnesota offense that was run heavy in their 28-12 opening day win at home against Atlanta.

The Vikings got up 14 points early and controlled the game and clock by rushing 38 times for 172 yards while dropping back to pass only 11 times.

Pettine believes that same formation can hold up even if MInnesota tries to play ball control with Dalvin Cook again.

As for the offense, Head Coach Matt LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers both agreed this week the key to improvement is better early down production.  There were far too many third and longs at Soldier FIeld which is a hard way to make a living.   A stronger run game and a chain moving series early will help get the week two game plan into a rhythm.

The Packers head into their home opener in good health, despite having 16 players on Thursday's injury report.  That's up one from Wednesday when only Darrius Shepherd and Oren Burks didn't practice.   Tramon WIlliams and Bryan Bulaga were given veteran rest days off.   Today's padded practice however, did not include David Bakhtiari.   He sat it out with a back issue.  LaFleur would not say how minor or severe it is.  We'll know more Friday when the last pre-game designations are announced.

The Packers have a complete 10 man practice squad again.  They had a vacancy when receiver Allen Lazard was promoted last week.  Today, the Packers signed Ben Braden, a guard from the University of Michigan.  He spent most of the past two seasons on the New York Jets practice squad.  The 6-6, 329 pound lineman was active for two games in 2018.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced it's list of 122 Modern Era nominees for the Class of 2020.   Several players on the list played all or parts of their career with the Packers.  Among the nominees are LeRoy Butler, Donald Driver, Nick Collins, Ryan Longwell, Seth Joyner, Keith Jackson, Jeff Saturday and Sean Landetta.   The list will be trimmed to 25 semifinalists in November.

Mark Daniels

I’ve got Green and Gold in my blood having grown up in Titletown and it’s been a treat watching and covering sports from the Packers to the preps for you in Green Bay for Midwest Communications.
As a kid, I chased Packer players for autographs, I’m still chasing ‘em now for quotes on the big play or big game. I’ve had the opportunity to cover Super Bowls, the World Series, Stanley Cup Finals, NBA playoffs and major championship golf over the years but I get just as much enjoyment following the college scene at UWGB or St. Norbert, the Green Bay Gamblers and high school sports.
Our prep coverage was honored as the best of 2007 reinforcing our commitment to give these hard working boys and girls their due.
My work has also been recognized by the Associated Press and Wisconsin Broadcasters Association with several achievement awards.
Outside of the studio, off the field or away from the gym, I’ve had the pleasure of helping dozens of organizations over the years. I’ve served as race announcer and master of ceremonies at the Bellin Run almost from it’s beginning, spoken to various service clubs and hosted charity golf events or team banquets.
My wife Kari and I have raised two active children which has kept us involved in both school and club athletics for nearly 15 years. Chances are you’ll see me on a golf course when the weather’s nice. My roots are deep and that’s why I’m so enthusiastic about this area’s sporting scene, and as I often say, “Watching kids play games helps keep me young!”
Thanks for listening and see you at the game.