Early games against Seattle and Atlanta highlight Green Bay’s 2017 schedule

We knew who and where the Green Bay Packers would play in 2017, and now we know the when after the NFL released its full regular-season schedule on Thursday.

Things get underway for the Packers on Sept. 10 against Seattle at Lambeau Field, a game that will mark the return of running back Eddie Lacy, who signed with the Seahawks this offseason. That’s followed by a trip to Atlanta for Sunday Night Football and a rematch of the NFC title game as the Falcons open their new stadium.

Overall, Green Bay will play five of their first eight games at home, including visits from Cincinnati on Sept. 24, a Thursday night tilt with Chicago on Sept. 28 and then the New Orleans Saints come to town on Oct. 22.

Coach Mike McCarthy’s team will finish the season playing four of their final six games on the road, including the season finale in Detroit on New Year’s Eve.

The Packers have five primetime games, including their game at Pittsburgh on Nov. 26, the first time they’ve visited the Steelers since 2009.

Here’s the full schedule:


Packers GM Ted Thompson on retaining their own free agents: ‘It’s a process.’

Green Bay has 11 unrestricted free agents that will be able to sign with any other team when free agency officially begins on March 9.

The names range from Pro Bowl guard T.J. Lang to sack-leader Nick Perry to versatile safety Micah Hyde. And though there has been some recent talk of negotiations starting to pick up, no deals appear imminent. But when he met with the media Wednesday morning at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, general manager Ted Thompson didn’t sound overly concerned.

“It’s a process,” Thompson said. “I stand on this podium, I think, every year and say the same thing. Our best intentions will be to sign as many of our own players as we can and keep it together.”

Having not re-signed any of their own guys at this point is not unusual for the Packers. Two years ago, just three days before free agency was set to start, the team came to an agreement with wide receiver Randall Cobb. Then, on the day free agency started, they got a deal done with right tackle Bryan Bulaga. A year earlier, cornerback Sam Shields got a long-term contract from the club a day before he would have been able to go out on the open market.

“You’ve watched the guys that we’ve signed,” Thompson told reporters. “Over the years, we’ve probably signed several right at the start of free agency. My guess is that’s what’s going to happen this year.”

Coach Mike McCarthy spoke later in the day and echoed much of what Thompson said in wanting to see as many of their guys as possible come back into the fold for 2017. That included Perry, who despite breaking his hand, led the Packers in sacks with a career-high 11 in 2016. And with several other top pass rushers having the franchise tag applied to them, namely the Los Angeles Chargers Melvin Ingram, Perry could be in a for a big pay day.

“I have a lot of love for Nick and what he’s gone through,” McCarthy said, noting injuries that limited him to just 17 games his first two years. “He’s hopefully someone we can get his contract worked out.

“Nick’s a hell of a football player.”

ESPN reported that negotiations between running back Eddie Lacy and the team have picked up, while Lang told ESPN Wisconsin this week that he’s had some talks with the team but intends to test the free agent market.

Green Bay’s unrestricted free agents:

RB Eddie Lacy
RB Christine Michael
TE Jared Cook
OL Don Barclay
C/G J.C. Tretter
G T.J. Lang
OLB Julius Peppers
OLB Nick Perry
OLB Datone Jones
S Micah Hyde
LS Brett Goode

Lacy reveals ankle surgery required 4-6 month recovery window

GREEN BAY, Wis. — In a podcast with ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy revealed details of his ankle surgery, which held an estimated recovery timetable of 4-to-6 months.

“I messed up my deltoid and widened the bone on my ankle, so I had to get two screws, two wires and a plate to fix it because I messed up my deltoid ligament,” Lacy told Schefter. “That’s the longest thing to heal.”

Sunday marked the four-month mark in his recovery, in which time he’d been working out at the University of Alabama — his alma mater. He recently posted a video of himself doing pool-jogging exercises where he’d run against the water current.

“I’m going to try and go out and run, but if it’s not comfortable then I’m just going to continue doing what I’ve been doing. But by April, whenever I have to report, I should be able to go out and do everything.”

Whether or not Lacy will be retained remains to be seen. He played in just five games in 2016 before injuring his ankle Oct. 9 against the New York Giants. Lacy put up 360 yards this season and was unable to find the end zone. His estimated market value, according to Spotrac is $2.8 million per season.

while evident from coach Mike McCarthy’s season-ending press conference, the Packers appear to want Lacy to return next season. Lacy says discussions with his agent have been positive, and that the Packers have been “very vocal about having me back there.”

The Packers have finalized their coaching staff for 2017

The Green Bay Packers have finalized their 2017 coaching staff.

Head coach Mike McCarthy announced Monday that Jeff Blasko will serve as assistant offensive line coach, Tim McGarigle will be a defensive quality control coach and David Raih will serve as the newly created offensive perimeter coach.

It’ll be year No. 2 for Blasko with the organization after spending 2016 as a coaching administrator. He was a college and high school coach prior to joining the Packers.

Green Bay picked up McGarigle from the University of Illinois staff, where he served as linebacker coach for one year under former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith. McGarigle played at Northwestern and played in 12 games for the then-St. Louis Rams in 2007.

For Raih, this will be his third different role with the team, spending 2014-15 as a coaching administrator and last season as the assistant offensive line coach.

The full staff:

Offensive Coaching Staff
Edgar Bennett – Offensive Coordinator
Brian Angelichio – Tight Ends
Jeff Blasko – Assistant Offensive Line
James Campen – Offensive Line
Luke Getsy – Wide Receivers
David Raih – Offensive Perimeter
Ben Sirmans – Running Backs
Alex Van Pelt – Quarterbacks

Defensive Coaching Staff
Winston Moss – Associate Head Coach/Linebackers
Dom Capers – Defensive Coordinator
Scott McCurley – Assistant Linebackers
Tim McGarigle – Defensive Quality Control
Jerry Montgomery – Defensive Front Assistant
Darren Perry – Secondary – Safeties
Mike Trgovac – Defensive Line
Joe Whitt Jr. – Secondary – Cornerbacks

Special Teams Coaching Staff
Ron Zook – Special Teams Coordinator
Jason Simmons – Assistant Special Teams

Strength and Conditioning Staff
Mark Lovat – Strength & Conditioning Coordinator
Chris Gizzi – Strength & Conditioning Assistant

Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy to meet with the media at the NFL Combine

For the first time in more than six months, Green Bay Packers general manager Ted Thompson will meet with the media next week.

The team announced yesterday that Thompson, along with coach Mike McCarthy, will hold their annual NFL Combine press conferences on Wednesday in Indianapolis.

A lot will have happened in the 184 days between Thompson’s last press conference on Aug. 30 and the one he’ll take part in on March 1, including the cutting of Pro Bowl guard Josh Sitton in the week before the season opener, the team’s ugly 4-6 start and the team’s remarkable turnaround and run to the NFC title game.

Among the topics likely to be broached include his future with the club, the reported potential of the team being more involved in free agency and the comment from quarterback Aaron Rodgers that the team needs to be “all in” every season.

Thompson’s press conference will take place at 10 a.m., with McCarthy taking to the podium at noon.

Packers confirm CB Sam Shields has been released

Sam Shields time in Green Bay has come to an end.

The cornerback posted on his Instagram account, “Sam Shields Released From The Green Bay Packers,” and among the hashtags under the message were #IWasGettingBetter, #StillMad, #AtleastLetMeRetireFromThePack, and #NoMoreFreezingWeather.

The Packers confirmed the release on Wednesday night.

An undrafted free agent out of Miami, Shields played seven years in Green Bay, including earning a Super Bowl ring his rookie year. The 29-year-old grabbed 18 interceptions in his career and was named to one Pro Bowl.

But he had missed more and more games in recent years, including 2016, when, in the season opener against Jacksonville, he suffered what is believed to have been at least his third concussion in his NFL career. Shields missed the rest of the season and still hadn’t made it through the league’s concussion protocol when coach Mike McCarthy held his end of the year press conference two weeks ago.

“I think we can all focus on Sam getting healthy,” McCarthy said. “Having a chance to visit with Sam in Atlanta (during the NFC title game) briefly, he needs to get healthy for himself and his family, and that’s the primary focus right now.”

Shields salary cap number on 2017 was $11.7 million. By cutting him, the Packers will reportedly save $8 million.

McCarthy comments may indicate more active offseason

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be 34 years old by playoff time in the 2017-18 season, and coach Mike McCarthy’s comments during his end-of-season press conference on Thursday may indicate a more aggressive approach to a Super Bowl run.

“We all want to win the world championship, and I can just promise you and our fans that we’re doing everything we can to get that done. And I think — going back to Aaron [Rodgers’] statement, ‘all in’ — we can control what we can control. With everybody in football ops, we need to max out this opportunity and we’re already working on the next opportunity.”

The narrative for several years now has been on Rodgers’ perceived “window” for how long he can play at an elite level. Rodgers has already made several changes to his lifestyle to maximize his health, including the removal of dairy from his diet, a decision not taken lightly in Wisconsin, the nation’s dairy production leader.

But a healthy Rodgers hasn’t been enough to return to the Super Bowl after the team’s title run in the 2010 season. Much of the criticism has fallen on general manager Ted Thompson, whose “draft and develop” philosophy has largely meant straying away from signing players in free agency. Occasionally he’ll take a flier on a position of need, most recently signing tight end Jared Cook to a one-year, $2.75 million contract.

With the obvious success of Cook’s season, Rodgers and McCarthy have stated that re-signing the former Rams utility man is a high priority. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport says Cook’s emergence, as well as continued areas of need, could force Thompson to go away from his rule of thumb and get more weapons in free agency.

“From what I’m told,” Rapoport said, “I would think the Packers are going to go and get some free agents this year along with trying to re-sign Jared Cook — which is a priority for them.”

In his Thursday press conference, McCarthy added that Thompson would indeed return for another season, seeming to end speculation that either director of football operations Eliot Wolf or Kansas City Chiefs GM John Dorsey could be his successor next year. What McCarthy didn’t say, however,  is whether Thompson’s role would remain the same.  Rapoport reported earlier this month that Thompson may step down to become a senior scouting advisor — a position change McCarthy didn’t address.

Green Bay lists five players as questionable for the NFC title game

The NFC title game is less than 48 hours away, and the Green Bay Packers still have major injury concerns and now an illness going through the team to worry about.

The team released its final injury report Friday afternoon, and saw five players — wide receivers Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison, along with defensive backs Morgan Burnett and Quinten Rollins — listed as questionable.

“They’ll be given every chance to play in the game,” coach Mike McCarthy said of the wide receivers. “If we know (Saturday), we’ll know (Saturday). If we know Sunday, we know Sunday. I’m going to give these guys the open time frame to do everything they can to play.”

If that wasn’t enough, there is an apparent illness that has hit the team, including Nelson, who was told to stay away from the facility on Friday to avoid spreading it. Still, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and kicker Mason Crosby have been affected by it.

“Rest, fluids, all that stuff. We’ll be OK,” Rodgers told reporters Friday afternoon. “We’re going to be OK and deal with it.”

On Atlanta’s side of the things, wide receiver Julio Jones practiced on a limited basis Friday and is expected to play on Sunday. He had missed the previous two days with a toe injury.

WR Davante Adams among several injury concerns for the Packers

GREEN BAY — Injuries continue to be the biggest story for the Green Bay Packers in advance of their NFC title game at Atlanta on Sunday.

The latest concern is wide receiver Davante Adams, who suffered an ankle injury late in the win over Dallas.

“We’ll see,” coach Mike McCarthy said when asked if he expected Adams to play on Sunday. “I’m curious to see him move. I don’t think he’ll practice until Saturday.”

Adams has played in every game this season and is the team’s second-leading receiver. The top guy, Jordy Nelson, is also very much in question as he battles a pair of broken ribs that kept him out of last week’s game. McCarthy said he’ll practice with the rehab group on Wednesday, but gave no indication of how he’ll handle the rest of the week.

The other starter that there is some concern about is safety Morgan Burnett. He suffered a quad injury in the first half against Dallas, and didn’t return. He won’t practice Wednesday, spending the day with the rehab group as well.

McCarthy said cornerback Quinten Rollins is getting closer to clearing the concussion protocol and will do some work in practice. He’s missed the last two games after getting injured in the season-finale against Detroit.

Starting offensive tackles Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari each came out of the game against Dallas a little gimpy, and McCarthy said they’ll likely be limited in practice this week.

Packers rule WR Jordy Nelson OUT for Sunday’s playoff game at Dallas

The Green Bay Packers will not have their leading receiver for their NFC Divisional Round matchup with the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

Coach Mike McCarthy ruled wide receiver Jordy Nelson out for the game when he met with the media Friday morning. Nelson suffered several broken ribs in the Packers’ win over the New York Giants last Sunday. McCarthy said if the Packers advance to the NFC Championship game, Nelson will be reevaluated.

“He’ll continue to progress,” McCarthy said of Nelson. “He said he feels better every day.”

Nelson leads the Packers with 97 catches for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns.

“It gives us one less receiver but obviously an extremely productive player,” McCarthy said of what the team will be missing. “You just go by the way the game plan was set, the importance and really the emphasis on Jordy Nelson. That’s gone. You just tilt opportunities the other way. That’s the way you always have to approach these types of situations anytime you have a player of his magnitude that’s not available.

“We anticipated potentially not having him this week, so we’ll be prepared for it.”

Nelson’s absence will mean more time for rookie Geronimo Allison and third-year pro Jeff Janis.