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Custom Davante Adams Jersey Large

 

GREEN BAY – As Davante Adams draws more and more attention from opposing defenses, Matt LaFleur continues to find unique ways to make life a little easier on the Packers’ two-time Pro Bowl receiver.

Take for example this past Sunday’s 21-13 win over Chicago when the Packers’ head coach and play-caller shifted Adams into the slot at times to counteract some of the coverages the Bears were implementing.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers targeted his longtime receiver six times off those alignments, connecting on four passes for 46 yards and an early 29-yard touchdown that came off an audible at the line of scrimmage.

On the touchdown, Adams was lined up in the slot at the “2” receiver position in the trips-left formation, with Geronimo Allison outside at the “1” and Jake Kumerow in the “3” closest to the line of scrimmage.

Faced with a fourth-and-4, the package usually calls for three in-breaking routes but the Bears shifted into a single-high safety coverage when Eddie Jackson dropped down to cover Kumerow at the line of scrimmage.

Instead of cutting inside, the check called for Adams to go vertical with his route, and he beat Chicago nickel cornerback Buster Skrine for the first score of the afternoon and the receiver’s fourth touchdown catch in as many games.

“I think that’s the beauty in what we did last week, especially with Matt getting (Adams) ‘2’ in the slot,” said Rodgers on Thursday. “There’s been times over the years where we’ve put him at ‘3’, and I think ‘3’ is a dangerous spot, but you know ‘2’ can really be a dangerous spot if teams are going to play more two-high because you have to worry about some of the seam stuff that he’s so talented at doing.

“Him at ‘2’ or ‘3’ is a little harder for the defense to double him and he’s kind of at a danger spot there, which we like.”

Despite missing a month with turf toe, Adams is on pace to lead the Packers in receiving for the third consecutive season (63 catches for 788 yards and four TDs). If that trend holds, he’d become the first Green Bay receiver since Donald Driver (2005-07) to lead the team in receiving in back-to-back-to-back campaigns.

With Adams no longer the league’s best-kept secret at receiver after consecutive Pro Bowl appearances in 2017-18, the Packers have evolved with their competition in how they deploy their star receiver. According to Pro Football Focus, Adams has caught 24 passes for 203 yards and three touchdowns in 90 snaps from the slot this season.

Adams has followed a long line of versatile receivers who have lined up everywhere in Green Bay’s offense. At the peak of their own careers, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb shifted around to keep defenses on their toes. By lining up Adams in the middle of the field, the Packers have unearthed a unique offensive chess piece defenses must account for.

“Just like they keep us honest by moving around coverages, it keeps me moving around,” Adams said. “It’s tough to double in different areas of the field. If I’m out wide or if I’m inside, it just keeps them guessing. They don’t really know what’s going to happen if I move around a lot. It puts us in a good position where I can be freed up and potentially mess up their communication.”

The Packers face a tall task this Monday night when they travel to U.S. Bank Stadium to take on the Minnesota Vikings. Historically, that matchup has meant Adams squaring off against Pro Bowl cornerback Xavier Rhodes, but that’s not necessarily a given this time around.

Rhodes has started all 14 games this year for Minnesota but Vikings head coach and defensive play-caller Mike Zimmer has been rotating young cornerbacks Mackensie Alexander, Mike Hughes and Holton Hill more this year, with starter Trae Waynes a constant. In last week’s 39-10 win over the Los Angeles Chargers, Rhodes only played 14 defensive snaps.

Regardless of who’s covering him – or where he’s lined up – Adams is merely focused on what he needs to do in an important game that could clinch the Packers their first NFC North championship in three years.

“I try to make my approach the same every time I go out there, which is play full speed and be an impact player,” Adams said. “That doesn’t really change much for me. We know what the stakes are.”

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Custom Arnie Herber Jersey Large

 

When Billy Howton retired from pro football following the 1963 season, he held NFL records for most career receptions and receiving yards. While Howton’s career spanned 12 seasons in all, he spent the first seven in Green Bay where he was well on his way to breaking what were arguably the two most prestigious records set by Packers immortal Don Hutson two decades earlier.

As it turned out, Howton’s records didn’t last long and, fair or not, it has probably diminished his legacy. Raymond Berry of the Baltimore Colts broke Howton’s record for most catches one year later and surpassed his yardage record three years later.

Nevertheless, entering the 1970 season, following the completion of the merger between the National and American football leagues, only two receivers in the 50-year history of the NFL, Berry and Bobby Mitchell, had more catches than Howton and only Berry had gained more yards.

Howton caught 303 of his 503 career receptions in Green Bay. He also gained 5,581 of his 8,459 yards with the Packers and averaged 18.4 yards per catch with them compared to his career average of 16.8. Of his 61 career touchdowns, Howton scored 43 with the Packers, including 13 in a 12-game season as a rookie.

He also led the NFL in receiving yards as a rookie with 1,231 and, again, in 1956 with 1,188. In fact, he was the first rookie in NFL history to gain more than 1,000 yards on pass receptions and his 1,231-yard rookie total also broke Hutson’s club record for receiving yards in a season.

On Oct. 21, 1957, Howton set the Packers’ record for most receiving yards in a game. He caught seven passes that day for 257 yards against the Los Angeles Rams. “For my money, Howton is the toughest pass receiver to cover in the National League,” future Pro Football Hall of Fame safety Emlen Tunnell said before the 1958 season, Howton’s last in Green Bay.

Howton also was the first player to catch a touchdown pass at what is now Lambeau Field. On Sept. 29, 1957, the day the stadium was dedicated, he caught a 37-yard touchdown pass from Babe Parilli and the Packers went on to beat the Chicago Bears, 21-17.

“I’ll tell you a guy who is overlooked (as a Pro Football Hall of Fame candidate) is Billy Howton,” said Berry, who was inducted into Canton in 1973, his first year of eligibility, and went on to be a longtime NFL coach. “(Howton) was extremely professional in his pass routes. He knew what he was doing to maneuver and fake to get open. He would be effective going inside, going outside, effective going deep. He was an extremely dangerous receiver and had great technique.”

The Packers drafted Howton in the second round in 1952. Two years earlier, they had drafted his quarterback at Rice, Tobin Rote, and they would play together for five seasons in Green Bay. In all, Howton played in 80 games for the Packers.

He was traded to Cleveland on April 24, 1959, within three months after Vince Lombardi was hired as general manager and head coach. In return, Lombardi received defensive end Bill Quinlan and halfback Lew Carpenter. Howton played one year in Cleveland and four with Dallas before retiring following the 1963 season. Howton also was the first president and one of the driving forces behind the creation of the National Football League Players Association in 1956.

Born July 5, 1930, in Littlefield, Texas. Given name William Harris Howton.

Billy Howton

End: 1952-58

Height: 6-2; Weight: 191

College: Rice, 1949-51

HONORS:

Associated Press All-Pro Team (chosen since 1940): 1956, ’57,

Pro Bowl Selection (game played since 1950): 1952, ’55, ’56, ’57

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Custom Bart Starr Jersey Large

Joe Namath and Bart Starr are among the 22 quarterback finalists for the NFL 100 All-Time Team.

For its 100th season, the NFL has assembled an all-time, all-star team. The position finalists for the NFL 100 All-Time Team are being released on Monday nights, with the players selected for the team at those positions revealed on Friday nights.

On Monday night, the NFL released the finalists at quarterback. From the finalists, 10 quarterbacks will be on the 100-player all-time team.

Eight QBs who made the final cut will be announced on NFL Network at 7 p.m. CST Friday after Tom Brady and Joe Montana were revealed earlier to have made the centennial team.

Namath and Starr are Alabama alumni, and Starr also played at Sidney Lanier High School in Montgomery.

Starr played for the Green Bay Packers from 1956 through 1971. He earned first-team All-Pro recognition in 1966, received four Pro Bowl invitations, won the NFL MVP Award in 1966 and led the Packers to five NFL championships, including the first two Super Bowls, where he was the MVP in both games.

Namath played for the New York Jets from 1965 through 1976 and the Los Angeles Rams in 1977. He earned first-team All-Pro recognition in 1968, received five Pro Bowl invitations, won the AFL Player of the Year Award in 1968 and 1969 and led the Jets to victory in Super Bowl III, where he captured the game’s MVP honor.

The other quarterback finalists are Troy Aikman, Sammy Baugh, Terry Bradshaw, Drew Brees, John Elway, Brett Favre, Dan Fouts, Otto Graham, Bobby Layne, Sid Luckman, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Aaron Rodgers, Roger Staubach, Fran Tarkenton, Johnny Unitas, Norm Van Brocklin and Steve Young.

Five players with Alabama football roots have been named to the NFL 100 All-Time team so far — defensive tackle Buck Buchanan (Parker High School), guard John Hannah (Albertville High School, Alabama), wide receiver Don Hutson (Alabama), offensive tackle Walter Jones (Aliceville High School) and center Dwight Stephenson (Alabama).
Buck Buchanan

Birmingham’s Buck Buchanan makes NFL’s centennial all-star team

Kevin Greene, Derrick Thomas and DeMarcus Ware reached the finalist stage in the selection of the NFL 100 All-Time Team.
Walter Jones

NFL’s all-time team adds 3 with Alabama football roots

John Hannah, Walter Jones and Dwight Stephenson have been chosen for the NFL 100 All-Time Team.
Green Bay Packers end Don Hutson

Don Hutson becomes third Alabama alumnus on NFL 100 All-Time Team

The Alabama Antelope is among 10 wide receivers chosen for the league’s ultimate all-star squad.

Along with Hutson, the wide receivers on the centennial team are Lance Alworth, Raymond Berry, Larry Fitzgerald, Marvin Harrison, Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch, Steve Largent, Randy Moss, Jerry Rice and Paul Warfield.

Along with Stephenson, the centers on the all-time team are Mel Hein, Jim Otto and Mike Webster.

Along with Hannah, the guards on the centennial team are Larry Allen, Dan Fortmann, Bruce Matthews, Randall McDaniel, Jim Parker and Gene Upshaw.

Along with Jones, the offensive tackles on the NFL 100 All-Time Team are Roosevelt Brown, Forrest Gregg, Cal Hubbard, Anthony Munoz, Jonathan Ogden and Art Shell.

The NFL 100 All-Time Team running backs are Jim Brown, Earl Campbell, Earl “Dutch” Clark, Eric Dickerson, Lenny Moore, Marion Motley, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Gale Sayers, O.J. Simpson, Emmitt Smith and Steve Van Buren.

Joining Buchanan as the defensive tackles on the centennial team are Joe Greene, Bob Lilly, Merlin Olsen, Alan Page, John Randle and Randy White.

The defensive ends on the NFL 100 All-Time Team are Doug Atkins, Bill Hewitt, Deacon Jones, Gino Marchetti, Lee Roy Selmon, Bruce Smith and Reggie White.

The six outside linebackers on the team are Chuck Bednarik, Bobby Bell, Derrick Brooks, Jack Ham, Ted Hendricks and Lawrence Taylor.

The NFL 100 All-Time Team middle linebackers are Dick Butkus, Jack Lambert, Willie Lanier, Ray Lewis, Joe Schmidt and Junior Seau.

The team’s cornerbacks are Mel Blount, Willie Blount, Darrell Green, Mike Haynes, Night Train Lane, Deion Sanders and Rod Woodson.

The NFL 100 All-Time Team safeties are Jack Christiansen, Ken Houston, Ronnie Lott, Ed Reed, Emlen Tunnell and Larry Wilson.

The team’s kickers are Jan Stenerud and Adam Vinatieri, the punters are Ray Guy and Shane Lechler and the return specialists are Devin Hester and White Shoes Johnson.

The coaches on the centennial team also have been revealed — Bill Belichick, Paul Brown, Joe Gibbs, George Halas, Curly Lambeau, Tom Landry, Vince Lombardi, Chuck Noll, Don Shula and Bill Walsh.

The NFL 100 All-Time Team was selected by a 26-member panel that included former Colbert County High School and Alabama star Ozzie Newsome. After his Hall of Fame playing career, Newsome became the general manager of the Baltimore Ravens.

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Custom A. J. Hawk Jersey Large

For many people, Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday, if not one of their favorite days of the year.

A.J. Hawk, however, is not one of those people.

“Without tying to sound like a huge downer or a grump, I don’t really care about any of it,” the Super Bowl champion said on Taz & The Moose. “I enjoy being with my family and everybody and hanging out and the camaraderie and all that, but I’m not going crazy about certain meals. I like turkey. I put turkey in my eggs every morning, but Thanksgiving turkey, I think, is highly overrated.”

Hawk and his wife hosted a “Friends-giving” Monday night. It was fine.

“I ate a bunch of turkey and a little bit of stuffing,” Hawk said, mildly unimpressed. “I don’t go too crazy, though. It’s just another day . . . (to) hang out with my family.”

While Hawk might not love Thanksgiving food, there’s at least plenty of football to watch in between plates. The Cowboys (6-5) host the Bills (8-3) on Thursday at 4:30 p.m. ET. Dallas has lost five of eight since its 3-0 start, and if Jason Garrett is wise, he will find a way to win this game, especially after being criticized by Jerry Jones following the Cowboys’ loss in Foxboro.

Just how hot is Garrett’s seat right now?

“You would think it’s very hot when the owner comes out and says that,” Hawk said. “Jerry seems to have, up until this point, really been on board with Jason Garrett and saying all the right things to the media. But when your owner – the guy that is making every single decision in that building – when he comes out and he seems to be critical of something that is pretty out of the norm for him as far as supporting his head coach, I feel like yeah, you’ve got to be a little bit worried if you’re Jason Garrett. I can’t imagine him being back next year if they don’t get to the NFC Championship or Super Bowl.”

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Custom Rashan Gary Jersey Large

Rashan Gary could make a fast start in the new-look Green Bay Packers defense.
Many wondered whether the Green Bay Packers would still select an edge rusher in the first round after signing Za’Darius and Preston Smith in free agency. But they did just that, further strengthening the pass rush by selecting Rashan Gary in the opening round.

What role with Gary have in Mike Pettine’s defense in his rookie year?

2018 stats
Gary played nine games in his final year at Michigan, finishing with 3.5 sacks, 38 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss. The biggest concern entering the NFL is his lack of sacks, and that’s something the Packers will be hoping improves at the next level.

Odds of making roster: 100 percent
With all of the offseason additions made this spring, there’s absolutely a chance the Packers defense can be the most improved in the NFL. But for that to happen, they’ll need Gary to produce right away.

What to expect in 2019?
Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will likely move his pass rushers around, but will that mean Gary starts in Week 1? Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith will likely start at outside linebacker, but could Pettine have Gary line up inside or along the defensive line? The ability for each edge rusher to move around could help Pettine find the best matchups.

What kind of impact will Gary have this season? While it’s certainly understandable to be concerned about his lack of production in college, there’s a reason the Packers were willing to select him with the 12th overall pick in April.

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With the talent Green Bay has signed at edge rusher, Gary won’t face too many double teams right away, and that’ll allow him to make an impact on the game and provide pressure.

Gary can absolutely make an instant impact in the league. Not only do the Packers now have four players who all have the potential to hit double-digit sacks (Gary, Za’Darius and Preston Smith, and Kyler Fackrell) but they also have a defensive coordinator who was able to scheme pressure last season even when there was little production from the edge rushers (outside of Fackrell).

MORE: Top 30 moments in Green Bay Packers history
Many believed selecting Gary so early was a risk, but he could have a great rookie season in this defense.