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Packers-Saints Week 1 Dope Sheet

Posted Sep 4, 2011


Two years after he co-founded the Packers with Curly Lambeau, George Calhoun began writing a piece called The Dope Sheet, which served as the official press release and game program from 1921-24.

Honoring Calhoun, the first publicity director, the Packers are running this weekly feature as their release, which is being made available to fans exclusively on Packers.com. This is an abbreviated version of the Packers-Saints Week 1 Dope Sheet. To read the full version, download the PDF by clicking here.

Here are some highlights from the Packers-Saints Week 1 Dope Sheet:

NEW ORLEANS (0-0) AT GREEN BAY (0-0)
Thursday, Sept. 8 - Lambeau Field - 7:30 p.m. CDT

PACKERS HOST SAINTS TO KICK OFF 2011 NFL SEASON

  • Green Bay kicks off its 93rd season in team history – and 91st as a member of the National Football League – by hosting New Orleans on Thursday evening in a nationally televised contest, just the third Thursday night game in Lambeau Field annals.
  • The game will be a matchup of the last two Super Bowl winners, the first time since 2000 and the seventh time ever that the two most recent world champions will meet in Week 1. In 2000, the St. Louis Rams, who won Super Bowl XXXIV, hosted the Denver Broncos, who won Super Bowl XXXIII, on Monday Night Football in the season opener.
  • It will mark the third time in the past four seasons that the Packers have opened the season with a nationally televised prime-time contest at home, and the first time in franchise history that Green Bay kicked off a season on a Thursday. In 2008, Green Bay hosted Minnesota on Monday Night Football, while in 2009, the Packers played host to Chicago in a Sunday night contest.
  • Green Bay is 5-0 all-time in prime-time season openers (four on Monday night, one on Sunday night).
  • This will be only the second time in team history that the Packers have opened the season against the Saints. Green Bay traveled to New Orleans for the 1977 season opener and emerged victorious, 24-20.
  • The Saints will be making only their fourth trip to Lambeau Field in franchise history (the teams played seven times in Milwaukee from 1968-85), with the most recent visit coming in 2006. This will be the fourth time overall in the past seven seasons that the teams have met.
  • Green Bay and New Orleans are the only two teams in the league to finish in the top 10 in total offense each of the past five seasons.
  • Thursday’s game is also a matchup of the two most successful teams in the NFC since 2006. Including the postseason, the Packers rank No. 2 in the conference in winning percentage at .609 (53-34), trailing only New Orleans (.616, 53-33) over that span.

 

WITH THE CALL

  • NBC Sports will broadcast the NFL-opening contest to a national audience. Play-by-play man Al Michaels joins color commentator Cris Collinsworth in the booth with Michele Tafoya reporting from the sidelines.
  • Fans also can check out the action online, where the broadcast will be streamed on NBCSports.com and NFL.com.
  • Milwaukee’s WTMJ (620 AM), airing Green Bay games since 1929, heads up the 52-station Packers Radio Network, with Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play) and two-time Packers Pro Bowler Larry McCarren (color) calling the action. The duo enters its 13th season of broadcasts together across the Packers Radio Network, which covers 43 markets in five states.
  • Westwood One radio will air the game across the country. Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Boomer Esiason (analyst) will call the action, with Mark Malone on the sidelines. Jim Gray hosts pregame and halftime shows.
  • For out-of-town listeners, the broadcast is available on Sirius Satellite Radio as part of the network’s NFL Sunday Drive.

 

STARTING STRONG

  • For the fifth time in six years under Head Coach Mike McCarthy, Green Bay will start its season in front of the home crowd at Lambeau Field.
  • The Packers have won four straight season openers overall (2007-10), the first time since 1996-1999 that the team emerged victorious in four consecutive opening games. The last time Green Bay won five straight season openers was in 1980-84.
  • Green Bay is the lone NFC team to win its season opener each of the past four years, joining New England and Pittsburgh as the only teams in the league to accomplish the feat over that span.
  • McCarthy is the first Packers head coach to win four consecutive season openers since Bart Starr did so from 1980-83.
  • Home openers have become near habit for the Packers, as 31 of 42 regular-season openers since the AFL-NFL merger (1970) have been in front of a home crowd.
  • Since McCarthy took over in 2006, the Packers have an 11-6 (.647) mark in the month of September. That winning percentage is tied for No. 5 in the NFL over that span.

THE DOPE ON THIS WEEK’S OPPONENT:

  • Packers vs. New Orleans Saints:
  • All-time regular season: 14-7-0
  • All-time, home: 8-2-0
  • Streaks: The Saints have won three of the last four meetings.
  • Last meeting, regular season: Nov. 24, 2008, at Louisiana Superdome; Saints won, 51-29
  • Last meeting, regular season, in Green Bay: Sept. 17, 2006; Saints won, 34-27

 

COACHES CAPSULES

  • Mike McCarthy: 53-34-0, .582, (incl. 5-2 postseason); 6th NFL season
  • Sean Payton: 53-33-0, .616, (incl. 4-2 postseason); 6th NFL season
  • Head to Head: Payton 2-0
  • vs. Opponent: McCarthy 0-2 vs. Saints; Payton 2-0 vs. Packers

 

MIKE McCARTHY…Is in sixth year as the Packers’ 14th head coach.

  • Having led Green Bay to the playoffs three of his five seasons with the team, he joined Vince Lombardi and Mike Holmgren as the only coaches to guide the Packers to a Super Bowl title with a win over Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV.
  • His .714 winning percentage (5-2) in the postseason is tied for first among active NFL head coaches, matching the mark of New England’s Bill Belichick (15-6) and Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin (5-2).
  • One of only two coaches, along with New Orleans’ Sean Payton, to have his offense ranked in the top 10 in total yardage each of the last five seasons.
  • Was named Packers head coach on Jan. 12, 2006, his first head-coaching job after 13 years as an NFL assistant.
  • Honored as the 2007 Motorola NFL Coach of the Year and NFL Alumni Coach of the Year.
  • Became the first Packers coach since Lombardi to lead the team to a championship game in his second season.

 

SEAN PAYTON…Is in sixth year as the Saints’ 14th head coach.

  • Led the Saints to a victory in Super Bowl XLIV and guided the team to two division titles and two conference championship game appearances in his first four seasons.
  • Earned unanimous NFL coach of the year honors in his first season in 2006 and received the same honors from some outlets in 2009.
  • His offenses have ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in each of his five seasons at the helm.
  • Came to New Orleans after three-year stint in Dallas as assistant head coach, while also coaching the quarterbacks (2003-04) and coordinating the passing game (2005). Other NFL stops include the New York Giants (1999-2002), spending the last three seasons as offensive coordinator, and Philadelphia Eagles (1997-98) as quarterbacks coach. 
  • Passed for a school-record 10,665 yards at Eastern Illinois, then the third-highest total in NCAA Division I-AA history.

 

THE PACKERS-SAINTS SERIES

  • These teams meet for the fourth time in seven seasons after having met only once in the previous nine years.
  • These clubs launched their series in 1968, when former Vince Lombardi assistants Phil Bengston (Packers) and Tom Fears (Saints) met in Milwaukee. The Packers, one year after winning Super Bowl II, defeated the second-year Saints, 29-7. Fears, who coached Super Bowl I hero Max McGee with the Packers from 1962-65, was New Orleans’ first head coach.
  • Green Bay’s 52-3 victory in 2005 was the most lopsided in the series history, eclipsing the Packers’ 35-7 victory in New Orleans on Dec. 13, 1981. 

 

NOTABLE CONNECTIONS
Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy served as the Saints offensive coordinator from 2000-04...Other members of the Packers staff who coached in New Orleans include defensive coordinator Dom Capers (1986-91), quarterbacks coach Tom Clements (1997-99), tight ends coach Ben McAdoo (2004) and assistant head coach/linebackers Winston Moss (2000-05)…Packers offensive line coach James Campen played two seasons in New Orleans (1987-88) after playing collegiately at Tulane…Running backs coach Jerry Fontenot played center for the Saints for seven seasons (1997-2003)...Packers safeties coach Darren Perry played for the Saints in 2000, the final year of his nine-year playing career…Packers offensive quality control coach Joel Hilgenberg played 10 seasons (1984-93) for the Saints and was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 2006…Packers special teams assistant Chad Morton was a fifth-round draft choice of the Saints in 2000 and played one season in New Orleans…Packers CB Tramon Williams attended Assumption High School in Napoleonville, La., and played at Louisiana Tech…Packers NT Howard Green played for the Saints for two seasons (2003-04) and is a native of Donaldsonville, La. …Green and Packers QB Matt Flynn played at LSU…Saints FB Korey Hall was a sixth-round pick by the Packers in 2007 and played four seasons in Green Bay…Saints LB Jonathan Casillas was a three-year starter at the University of Wisconsin...Saints assistant head coach/linebackers Joe Vitt coached the defensive backs in Green Bay in 1999, the same year McCarthy was quarterbacks coach...Packers vice president of football administration/player finance Russ Ball spent six seasons (2002-07) with the Saints, the final two as vice president of football administration and the first four as senior football administrator...Saints QB coach Joe Lombardi is the grandson of legendary Packers head coach Vince Lombardi…Saints asst. special teams coach John Bonamego served as Green Bay’s special teams coordinator from 2003-05…Bonamego also coached in Jacksonville with Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers…Packers college scout Brian Gutekunst assisted the offensive line of the Saints during training camp in the summer of 1995…Saints RB Mark Ingram’s father, Mark Sr., played WR for the Packers in 1995…Saints secondary coach Tony Oden served as a summer coaching intern for the Packers in 1999...Packers special teams coordinator Shawn Slocum coached at Texas A&M with Saints defensive line coach Bill Johnson…Saints coaching assistant Frank Smith was born in Milwaukee…Former college teammates include Packers LB Clay Matthews and Saints T Charles Brown and DT Sedrick Ellis (USC), Packers LB Brad Jones and Saints LS Justin Drescher (Colorado), Packers NT B.J. Raji and Saints LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar and C/G Matt Tennant (Boston College), Packers C Scott Wells and Saints DT Aubrayo Franklin and CB Jabari Greer (Tennessee), Packers CB Sam Shields and Saints TE Jimmy Graham (Miami), Green and Saints WR Devery Henderson (LSU), Packers CB Pat Lee and LB Will Herring (Auburn), Packers S Charlie Peprah and Saints S Roman Harper (Alabama), Packers T Bryan Bulaga and Saints DT Mitch King (Iowa), and Packers LB A.J. Hawk and Saints DE Will Smith and S Malcolm Jenkins (Ohio State).

 

LAST MEETING, REGULAR SEASON

  • Nov. 24, 2008, at Louisiana Superdome; Saints won, 51-29.
  • Saints QB Drew Brees connected on 20-of-26 passes for 323 yards and four TDs to lead New Orleans to victory. Brees threw two 70-yard TD passes, to WRs Lance Moore and Marques Colston.
  • QB Aaron Rodgers threw for 248 yards and two TDs on 23-of-41 passing, but was intercepted three times on the evening. Rodgers added a rushing TD. 
  • WR Greg Jennings led the Packers with eight receptions, which matched his career high, for 101 yards and a score.

 

PROLIFIC OFFENSES SQUARE OFF

  • In each of the five seasons under Head Coach Mike McCarthy, the offensive play-caller, the Packers have finished in the top 10 in total offense.
  • Wth an average of 358.1 yards per game, Green Bay checked in at No. 9 in the team offensive rankings in 2010.
  • That included the No. 5 passing offense at 257.8 yards per contest, following up an average of 261.3 net passing yards per game in 2009. It was the first time in franchise history that the Packers have averaged 250.0 net passing yards in back-to-back seasons.
  • New Orleans is the only other NFL team to have ranked in the top 10 each of the last five seasons.
  • The Packers check in at No. 6 in the league since 2006 with a scoring average of 25.1 points per game, while New Orleans ranks No. 3 with an average of 26.9 points per contest over that span.
  • Both teams have been especially productive through the air since ’06, with Green Bay ranking No. 3 in the NFL with an average of 266.2 gross passing yards per game and New Orleans ranking No. 1 with an average of 290.6 yards per game.
  • The productivity for both teams wasn’t limited to the offensive side of the ball in 2010. Green Bay checked in at No. 2 in the NFC and No. 5 in the NFL in total defense while New Orleans ranked No. 1 in the conference and No. 4 in the league.

 

PRIME-TIME PERFORMERS

  • The Packers have become accustomed to starting their season in prime time in front of a national audience, with Thursday’s opener against the Saints the third time in the past four seasons they have kicked off the season on a national stage under the lights.
  • The other two games over the past four seasons have also come at Lambeau Field, with the Packers hosting a pair of division rivals, Minnesota on Monday Night Football in 2008 and Chicago in a Sunday night contest in 2009.
  • It will mark the first time in team history that the Packers have opened the season on a Thursday night. Green Bay has played two Thursday evening contests under Head Coach Mike McCarthy, a 37-27 loss to  Dallas on Nov. 29, 2007, at Texas Stadium, and a 9-7 win over Minnesota on Dec. 21, 2006, at Lambeau Field.
  • This will be just the third Thursday night game in Lambeau Field history, with the others coming on Oct. 17, 1991, vs. Chicago (L, 10-0) and Dec. 21, 2006, vs. Minnesota (W, 9-7).

 

SUPER SHOWDOWN


  • Thursday’s NFL opener between the Packers and Saints will be a matchup of the last two Super Bowl winners, the first time since 2000 that the two defending world champions will meet in Week 1.
  • In 2000, the St. Louis Rams, who won Super Bowl XXXIV, hosted the Denver Broncos, who won Super Bowl XXXIII, on Monday Night Football in the season opener. The Rams beat the Broncos, 41-36, at Trans World Dome.
  • This will be the seventh time ever that the two most recent Super Bowl winners met in the season opener.

 

THE DRIVE FOR THE RECORD

  • WR Donald Driver enters Thursday’s season opener needing just 42 receiving yards to set the career franchise record.
  • Driver comes into the game with 9,615 career receiving yards, No. 2 on the Packers’ all-time list behind only James Lofton (9.656).
  • Driver already ranks as the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions, having surpassed Sterling Sharpe (595) in 2009.
  • With 698 career catches, Driver needs just two more to become the 33rd player in NFL history to hit the 700-reception mark for his career.

 

A LOOK AT THE 53

  • General Manager Ted Thompson and Green Bay’s football-operations staff finalized the opening-day roster on Saturday.
  • It’s a balanced roster for Green Bay, which holds 24 offensive players, 26 defensive players and three specialists.
  • The breakdown by position is fairly consistent with last year’s opening-day roster. The position groups that are different this season compared to last year are running back (two in 2010, three in 2011), fullback (three in 2010, one in 2011), tight end (four in 2010, five in 2011), offensive line (10 in 2010, eight in 2011) and linebacker (eight in 2010, 10 in 2011).
  • Of the 53 players on Green Bay’s roster, 34 of them (64.2 percent) were drafted by the Packers, and 41 of them (77.4 percent) played in a game for the Packers in 2010.
  • Seven of the team’s draft picks from 2011 made the 53-man roster. For the second straight season, three non-drafted free agents (S M.D. Jennings, LB Jamari Lattimore and LB Vic So’oto) also made the final roster.
  • The 10 rookies on the team are the only ones yet to play in an NFL regular-season game.
  • More than half the players (27) on Green Bay’s roster entered the league as a sixth-round or seventh-round pick or as an undrafted player.

 

AT THE HELM

  • Having led Green Bay to the playoffs in three of his five seasons as head coach, Mike McCarthy joined Vince Lombardi and Mike Holmgren as the only coaches to guide the Packers to the Super Bowl.
  • McCarthy led the Packers to a Super Bowl win in his fifth season in Green Bay, the same point that Holmgren led the Packers for the first time to the NFL title game in 1996.
  • McCarthy joined Pittsburgh’s Bill Cowher (2005) as the only Super Bowl-winning coaches to lead their respective teams to three road wins as the No. 6 seed in the postseason en route to a world title.
  • The Packers’ 21-14 win at Chicago was their second NFC Championship Game appearance in four seasons, the only team in the conference to do so over that span.
  • Including playoffs, McCarthy guided the Packers to a 25-12 mark (.676) over the past two seasons. Green Bay’s 25 victories ranked No. 3 in the NFL over that span behind only New Orleans (27) and Indianapolis (26).
  • That included 11 wins on the road, which was tied for No. 3 in the league since 2009.
  • Since taking over as head coach in 2006, McCarthy has a 53-34 overall record (.609), which includes a 5-2 mark (.714) in the postseason.
  • McCarthy’s .714 winning percentage in the playoffs is tied for No. 1 among active NFL head coaches, matching the mark of New England’s Bill Belichick (15-6) and Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin (5-2). McCarthy trails only the legendary Vince Lombardi (9-1, .900) for the top postseason winning percentage in franchise annals. With the five postseason wins, McCarthy trails only Lombardi and Holmgren (nine each) for the most in Packers history.
  • The Packers have a 21-9 (.700) regular-season record against NFC North opponents under McCarthy, a dvisional record that ranks first among NFC teams over that period and tied for No. 4 in the NFL behind only New England and San Diego (23-7, .767) and Indianapolis (22-8, .733).
  • Green Bay posted a 4-2 record in the NFC North in 2010, the fifth straight season under McCarthy that the Packers won at least four contests in their division. The Packers and New England were the only NFL teams to post four-plus wins in their division each year from 2006-10.

 

PRODUCTION ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BALL IN 2010

  • Green Bay was one of four teams in the NFL to have both the offense (No. 9) and defense (No. 5) rank among the league’s top 10 in 2010. It was the second straight year the Packers had both units finish in the top 10 with the 2009 team featuring the No. 6 offense and the No. 2 defense, and it marked the first time Green Bay had accomplished that feat since 1997-98.
  • Green Bay’s offense ranked among the league’s top 10 for the fifth consecutive season and posted its most prolific performance against the Giants in Week 16 when it recorded a season-high 515 yards, the highest total since the Packers registered 548 at Oakland on Dec. 22, 2003.
  • Despite missing the Week 15 contest at New England due to a concussion, QB Aaron Rodgers finished among the top 10 in nearly every significant passing category for the second straight season.
  • Rodgers spread the ball around, with three wide receivers hitting the 50-catch mark for the first time in franchise history. Greg Jennings (76), Donald Driver (51) and James Jones (50) all posted 50 receptions on the season as the Packers were one of only five NFL teams in 2010 to have three WRs with 50-plus receptions.
  • On the other side of the ball, the Packers posted their best scoring-defense mark since the Super Bowl champion team of 1996 (13.1 ppg). Green Bay finished No. 2 in the league by giving up 15.0 points per game, trailing only Pittsburgh (14.5), highlighted by three games where the Packers’ opponent did not get into the end zone. 
  • The Packers also posted 47 sacks, the most by a Green Bay defense since the 2001 team registered 52. With the 47 sacks, the Packers finished tied for No. 2 in the NFL behind only Pittsburgh (48), the highest ranking in the category in franchise history.
  • Green Bay finished No. 6 in the NFL with 32 takeaways, including 24 interceptions (No. 2). It was the second straight 30-plus takeaway season for the Packers, the first time they had accomplished that feat since 2002-03.
 
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