Packers defense carries team to 10-3 win over Bears

CHICAGO | The Matt LaFleur era begins with a win as the Green Bay Packers picked up a 10-3 win over the Chicago Bears Thursday night.

The Good:

Defense | Maybe the Packers don’t have to count on Aaron Rodgers as much anymore. GM Brian Gutekunst focused on defense this past free agency. He spent money on Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith and Adrian Amos to help improve that side of the ball. The Smith’s combined for nine pressures created and 2.5 sacks. Amos made an interception in the endzone on the Bears’ last drive to seal the win.

“I’m extremely happy Gutey and his crew did a great job of getting those guys for us, because they were a difference tonight,” LaFleur said.

“Great for Adrian coming back to the team that drafted him to get a pick in the end zone there,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “But a lot of credit to the front. I thought we put a lot of pressure on ‘em. It looked like obviously both the Smiths, they were in the mix a bunch. It was just a dominating performance. It gives you a lot of confidence when you play like that on offense and win a game by a touchdown.”

Maybe Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears offense was really bad Thursday night. But the Packers defense deserves a lot of credit for the way they played.

The not so good:

Offense | If I were to tell you the Packers would score only 10 points and win, you probably wouldn’t believe me. Getting the win is all that matters in the end but the offense needs to make massive improvements if they expect to be a contender.

It was a slow start for Rodgers and company as they finished the first quarter with -12 yards. Green Bay finished with 213 yards and were just 2-12 on third downs.

Chicago’s defense pressured Rodgers all night long. He completed 18 of 30 passes for 203 yards and was sacked five times.

The Packers had one huge play in the second quarter when Rodgers found Marquez Valdez-Scantling on a deep shot.

“It was a huge play in the game,” LaFleur said. “It gave us the spark we needed.”

Player of the game:

J.K. Scott | I’m not joking. The punter played a huge part in Green Bay’s win. He punted nine times averaging 47.6 yards per punt. Scott’s longest went 63 yards and he landed five inside the 20.

As bad as the Bears offense was, they needed all the help they could get and Scott didn’t give them any.

Play of the game

Amos interception | Thursday night felt like the fifth week of the preseason. There wasn’t a lot of pretty and there was a whole lot of ugly. The Bears had a chance to tie the game in the end but the former Bear made the play to help the Packers hold on.

What’s next?

Vikings | The Packers (1-0) will come back home to Green Bay to host the Vikings (0-0) in week two. Kickoff is scheduled for 12pm on Sunday, Sept. 15.


Clay Matthews signs with the Rams

Clay Matthews’ tenure with the Green Bay Packers is over. According to Ian Rapoport, the former green and gold pass-rusher is signing with the Los Angeles Rams.

According to Mike Garafolo, it’s a two-year deal for Matthews worth a max of $16.75 million. Apparently, he had better offers on the table, but he just welcomed his third child and really wanted to play close to home. Matthews played his college football at USC.

This is a perfect situation for Matthews as he will get a chance to compete for a ring. Also, he will be on a defense loaded with pass-rushers which should allow him for more free runs at the quarterback.

Matthews will finish his 10-year career in Green Bay as the Packers all-time sack leader.

This is what Matthews will look like in a Rams uniform.

Packers, a favorite to sign S Landon Collins

It is no secret that the Green Bay Packers need to improve the safety position. This off-season may be the perfect time to address the position.

According to Ryan Wooden of SportsLine, the Packers have the second-best odds to land All-Pro safety Landon Collins. The Indianapolis Colts have the best odds.

SportsLine’s favorites to sign Collins this season:

Indianapolis Colts| 2/1
Green Bay Packers| 4/1
Washington Redskins| 5/1
Kansas City Chiefs| 6/1
San Francisco 49ers| 8/1
Dallas Cowboys| 8/1
Los Angeles Rams| 9/1
Houston Texans| 10/1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers| 10/1
Field- 5/1

Collins has made a name for himself as one of the top safeties in the NFL. He has been to the Pro Bowl three times in his first four seasons. Last year, Collins recorded 96 tackles and four passes defended in 12 games.

On Twitter, Collins expressed his appreciation for the New York Giants and that he’s excited to move on to the next step in his career.

Packers’ GM Brian Gutekunst said during the NFL Scouting Combine that he’s looking to be active in free agency.

There are multiple holes on Green Bay’s defense but perhaps none bigger than safety. HaHa Clinton-Dix was traded to the Washington Redskins last season for a fourth-round pick.

Collins wouldn’t only solve the problem at safety, but would become one of the, if not the best players on the defense.

Gutekunst failed to go all-in for Khalil Mack last season when the Oakland Raiders made him available. He needs to make a big-splash this off-season and Collins is the answer.

Packers not expected to bring back Davon House

It appears that Davon House’s time in Green Bay may be nearing an end.

According to Tom Silverstein, the Packers are not interested in resigning the defensive back.

House played in only three games last season before landing on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury.

There isn’t a huge need for House considering the talent at the position ahead of him on the depth chart.

Kevin King, Jaire Alexander, Josh Jackson are the future at the position. Alexander has already proven to be a capable starter in the NFL.

If this is the end for House, he’ll finish his Packers career with three interceptions, three sacks and 31 pass breakups over 55 career games.

Wisconsin’s Quintez Cephus shines while playing for late father

MADISON — This season the University of Wisconsin football has had a relatively inconsistent passing game. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook has been up and down, tight end Troy Fumagalli and wide receiver Jazz Peavy have been in and out of the lineup with injuries, and freshman wide receiver Danny Davis has been learning on the fly. The most consistent part of the air attack has been sophomore wide receiver Quintez Cephus.

Cephus entered the season with very limited experience and an extremely tumultuous offseason in which he had to deal with the murder of his father, Andre Taylor, last April. Understandably, there have been difficult moments for him, just as there are for anyone who loses a loved one unexpectedly.

“My teammates have been there for me through the season, through all my trials and tribulations,” Cephus said. “My coaches, everybody, have always been a shoulder for me to lean on. I’m thankful to be where I am and to have the people around me that support me.”

While he’s been able to lean on teammates and coaches for support mentally and emotionally, the offense has been able to lean on him at times as well.

“I’m just pumped for him,” offensive coordinator Joe Rudolph said. “Quintez busts his tail, and he gives everything he possibly can with a smile on his face and great energy. I think a lot of things are coming his way and I love it. I think he’s got a great heartbeat to what this offense needs to be. I love his energy and I love what he’s bringing to this offense and this team.”

So far on the season, Cephus has put up the best receiving numbers on the team for the Badgers. He’s made 23 grabs for 401 yards and five touchdowns in the first six games of the season. Everything he’s doing this season comes with a heavy heart and his late father on his mind.

“Any time I make a good play or a bad play I want to make him happy. Either way it goes. He’s always with me. Any moment whether it’s good or bad I’m always thinking about him.” Cephus said.

The Badgers are sitting at 6-0 for the first time since 2011 and are currently ranked fifth in the AP Top 25. Cephus has played a big role in that success, and it’s something he thinks his father would be proud of.

“It’s crazy to think about, but I know he would be really excited for me. He would probably be talking about me right now if he was here,” Cephus said. “[Despite] everything that’s has happened to me, as I pray and talk to God, I think things are going to work out for me. As long as I keep working hard and have faith, I think things will continue to be great for me.”

Before deciding on Wisconsin as his destination to play football, Cephus was actually committed to Furman to play basketball. The Macon, Ga., native loves LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and still has passion for the game of basketball that almost led him to the hardwood rather than the gridiron.

“I was about to go there [Furman],” Cephus said. “I was committed and signing day was coming. At the last second I wanted to come here and I know my dad wanted me to come here and play football. I felt like that was the right decision for me.”

Cephus made a decision that not only the Badgers are happy with, but one that honors his late father as well.

Wisconsin releases depth chart ahead of season opener

MADISON, Wis. — The Wisconsin football team opens the season on Friday night, and on Sunday the team released its official two-deep depth chart.

Among the noteworthy decisions are the inclusion of four true freshmen slated to get reps in the two-deep: LS Adam Bay (starter), QB Jack Coan (backup), WR Danny Davis (backup), RB Jonathan Taylor (committee).

With Jack Cichy out for the year with a torn ACL, Ryan Connelly and T.J. Edwards will get the start at the two inside linebacker spots. Hawaii transfer Nick Nelson will supersede Jazz Peavy as the main punt returner, while A.J. Taylor will take the majority of the kick returns over Chris James.

You can see how the depth chart compares to Zach Heilprin’s predictions here.

QB | Alex Hornibrook, Jack Coan
RB | Bradrick Shaw OR Chris James OR Jonathan Taylor
FB | Austin Ramesh, Alec Ingold
WR | Jazz Peavy, A.J. Taylor
WR | Quintez Cephus, Dannby Davis
TE | Troy Fumagalli, Kyle Penniston/Zander Neuville
LT | Michael Deiter, Cole Van Lanen
LG | Jon Dietzen, Micah Kapoi
C | Tyler Biadasz, Brett Connors
RG | Beau Benzschawel, Jason Erdmann/David Moorman
RT | David Edwards, Patrick Kasl

DE | Alec James, Chikwe Obasih
NT | Olive Sagapolu, Garrett Rand
DE | Conor Sheehy, Isaahh Loudermilk
OLB | Garret Dooley, Andrew Van Ginkel
ILB | Ryan Connelly, Arrington Farrar
ILB | T.J. Edwards, Chris Orr
OLB | Leon Jacobs, Tyler Johnson
CB | Derrick Tindal, Dontye Carriere-Williams
SS | D’Cota Dixon, Joe Ferguson
FS | Natrell Jamerson, Patrick Johnson
CB | Nick Nelson, Lubern Figaro

P | Anthony Lotti, Connor Allen
FG | Rafael Gaglianone, Zach Hintze
KO | P.J. Rosowski, Zach Hintze
LS | Adam Bay, Josh Bernhagen
H | Connor Allen, P.J. Rosowski
PR | Nick Nelson, Jazz Peavy
KR | A.J. Taylor, Chris James

New faces, numbers added to Wisconsin’s 2017 roster

MADISON — Wisconsin has released an updated football roster for the 2017 season.

Here are some of the more notables changes:

New numbers

S Patrick Johnson — No. 2 (22)
WR Kendric Pryor — No. 3 (27)
WR A.J. Taylor — No. 4 (84)
S Joe Ferguson — No. 8 (36)
OLB Christian Bell — No. 55 (49)

New freshmen numbers

WR Danny Davis III — No. 6
QB Jack Coan — No. 10
QB Danny Vanden Boom — No. 15
CB Faion Hicks — No. 20
WR Cade Green — No. 22
RB Jonathan Taylor — No. 23
CB Madison Cone — No. 24
S Scott Nelson — No. 25
LB Izayah Green-May — No. 50
LS Adam Bay — No. 51
OL Logan Bruss — No. 60
OL Tyler Beach — No. 65
DE Aaron Vopal — No. 69
OL Alex Fenton — No. 73
OL Kayden Lyles — No. 76
WR Emmet Perry — No. 82
TE Jake Ferguson — No. 84
WR Deron Harrell — No. 89

Bulking up

Wisconsin is all about the big guys and several have added a significant amount of weight from what they were listed at prior to last season.

LT David Edwards — +30 to 315 lbs
RT Patrick Kasl — +34 to 325 lbs
C Tyler Biadasz — +25 to 316 lbs
LT Cole Van Lanen — +20 to 307 lbs
DE Isaiahh Loudermilk — +29 to 306 lbs
DE Billy Hirschfeld — +15 to 305 lbs
ILB Arrington Farrar — +17 to 237 lbs
ILB Griffin Grady — +14 to 225 lbs
RB Bradrick Shaw — +9 to 220 lbs
RB Chris James — +11 to 219 lbs
WR Quintez Cephus — +10 to 205 lbs
WR A.J. Taylor — +8 to 202 lbs
WR George Rushing — +8 to 200 lbs
S Natrell Jamerson — +10 to 198 lbs

No longer around

Offseason attrition is normal in college football, and Wisconsin had its share before and after spring practice.

(* indicates a walk-on)

* TE Mitchell Herl
DE Jake Hescock (transfer)
* LB Max Praschak (transfer to UW-River Falls)
* RB Troy Laufenberg
* S Bret Verstegen
* WR Jack Popp
LB Dallas Jeanty (transfer)
* OL Kelly Thomas
OL Kevin Estes (medical non-counter waiver being pursued)
* Ian Dretzka

Former Wisconsin RB Dare Ogunbowale Joins The Joe & Ebo Show

MADISON | It’s an exciting time for a handful of Wisconsin Football players as the NFL Draft nears.

Eyeing up a professional career and possibly being drafted in just a few weeks, former Badgers running back, Dare Ogunbowale, joined the Joe & Ebo Show to talk about his future in the NFL.

Take a listen below:

Best of luck, Dare!

Catch the Joe & Ebo Show weekdays from 8a-11a on 106.7FM/1670AM The Zone.

Cotton Bowl: Wisconsin defense vs Western Michigan offense

ARLINGTON, Tex. — Monday afternoon, Wisconsin and Western Michigan will battle in the 81st Goodyear Cotton Bowl from AT&T Stadium.

It’ll pit the Big Ten runner-up (10-3) against an unbeaten (13-0) MAC champion in a game fans have shown little interest in. But for the 65,018 fans who attended the Big Ten championship game against Penn State, this game could have a similar makeup. Wisconsin ranks fourth nationally in scoring defense, allowing 15.5 points per game. On the flip side, Western Michigan’s offense ranks eighth in scoring offense, putting up 43.5 points per game.

So which team has the advantage?

Western Michigan offense

The Broncos are led by quarterback Zach Terrell, who’s only thrown three interceptions this season, compared with his 32 touchdowns and 70.8 percent completion rate. His favorite target is receiver Corey Davis, who ranked ninth nationally with 1,427 yards this season. He also ranked second with 18 touchdowns.

Western Michigan is also adept at avoiding turnovers as a whole. Their first turnover of the season didn’t come until week seven in a 41-0 win over Akron. They have just seven as a team all year.

Wisconsin defense

It’s been another great year for the Badger defense, despite losing defensive coordinator Dave Aranda this offseason. Taking over was Justin Wilcox, who’s led Wisconsin to the No. 7 defense in terms of yards allowed at 303 per game. As mentioned earlier, the Badgers also rank among the nation’s stingiest, giving up just 15. points per game.

Then there’s the secondary, full of ball hawks that have secured 21 takeaways by interception this season. That ranks third in the nation.


Trying to remove all bias, it’s hard to ignore the fact that Wisconsin’s schedule has proven them to be battle tested. The Badgers have faced six Top 10 teams in 2016, while the Broncos of Western Michigan will go up against their first defense ranked inside the Top 50.