The offseason questions begin for the PackersWisconsin Sports
-- The Green Bay Packers cleaned out their lockers yesterday with the realization that some big changes are in the works during the off-season.
GREEN BAY - The Green Bay Packers cleaned out their lockers yesterday with the realization that some big changes are in the works during the off-season.
Defensive coordinator Dom Capers has come under criticism, after his unit had some major lapses that resulted in crushing exits from the playoffs in three of the last four years. But linebacker Desmond Bishop – who missed the season with a bad hamstring – defended Capers, and said he should not get the boot just two years after the Packers last won the Super Bowl. But after Saturday night’s divisional loss at San Francisco, players said they were under-prepared and out-schemed as 49’ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick ran for 181 yards and two touchdowns. The Niners’ offense racked up 579 total yards in a 45-31 blowout. Safety Charles Woodson said after the game quote, “Maybe we need to get bigger and faster.” None of the defensive starters hung around to talk with reporters yesterday, leaving members of the offense to publicly wonder about their futures.
38-year-old Donald Driver still says he wants to play until he’s 40 – and he’ll decide in the next few weeks when he wants to retire as a career-long Packer or play with somebody else. Receiver Greg Jennings would love to stay, just like Driver. But neither has been offered a new contract by GM Ted Thompson – and both are expected to be gone. Others are due to get some big raises, and Thompson will have to decide whether it’s worth it to keep them. Woodson, a 15-year NFL veteran with two broken collarbones behind him, is due to get $10-million dollars next year.
Russell Wilson will not play in the NFC Championship Game – but his former center at Wisconsin will. Peter Konz and the rest of the Atlanta Falcons eliminated Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks in a wild divisional playoff game yesterday, 30-28 at the Georgia Dome. Konz snapped for Wilson in Madison in 2011. And the Falcons moved Konz to right guard, where he earned a starting spot. The Seahawks came back from a 20-to-nothing deficit to take a one-point lead with 34 seconds left. But Atlanta came back, and Matt Bryant kicked the game-winning 49-yard field goal with just under 10 seconds to play. Atlanta will host next Sunday's NFC title game against San Francisco. Fifth-year quarterback Matt Ryan won his first playoff game, throwing for 250 yards and three touchdowns. Wilson, a third-round rookie, set a post-season team record for Seattle with 385 yards, with two touchdown passes and an interception. Wilson also ran for 60 yards and a score, as Seattle's six-game winning streak came to an end. Konz gave up his senior year at Wisconsin to join the NFL. And now, he's two victories away from a Super Bowl ring. The Falcons also have ex-Badgers' fullback Bradie Ewing, but he's on injured reserve.