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  • Sat., Apr. 19, 2014 12:30PM - 3:00PM CDT Tailgate Tour: Merrill party

    The Green Bay Packers announced plans for the ninth ‘Green Bay Packers Tailgate Tour,’ set for April 15-19. This year’s tour includes two stops in Michigan, in addition to three Wisconsin stops, to visit with fans and thank them in person for their support.

    Tour celebrities will include Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy, players Jarrett Bush, Brad Jones and Mason Crosby, and Packers alumni Paul Coffman, Lynn Dickey and James Lofton.

    The tailgate parties will welcome the players and alumni arriving at each location at 6 p.m., and will run until 8:30 p.m., except in Merrill, where the tailgate party will take place from 12:30 to 3 p.m. A local non-profit organization will host each party which will feature food, giveaways, question-and-answer sessions and autographs. Tailgate party tickets cost $30.

    General admission tickets also will be available for $5, which includes access to the Q-and-A sessions as well as tailgate party activities. Food and beverage will be available for purchase. Due to space limitations, no general admission tickets will be available in Ironwood. 

    One hundred percent of the Tailgate Tour proceeds will benefit the hosting organizations.

    Tickets for the tailgate parties at all locations will go on sale Friday, Feb. 28. ‘Green Bay Packers Tailgate Tour’ tailgate party locations, hosting organizations and ticket information are as follows:

    Merrill: MARC. To benefit Riverbend Trail. Tickets on sale at Merrill Chamber of Commerce, 705 N. Center Ave., Merrill; Dave’s County Market, 300 E. 1st St., Merrill; and Drew’s Piggly Wiggly, 3404 E. Main St., Merrill. Tickets also available online at www.merrillchamber.org.

  • Sat., Apr. 26, 2014 8:00AM - 6:00PM CDT Packers Pro Shop Tent Sale

    The sale is taking place earlier than in previous years, due to the construction at Lambeau Field and the work that the Pro Shop team must complete in preparation for the new store, which will open this summer. Visitors to Lambeau Field should enter the Atrium through the Oneida Nation Gate. Parking is available in the lot on Lambeau Field’s east side near the Oneida Nation Gate, which can be accessed off Oneida Street and Lombardi Avenue.

    The sale will feature the traditional mix of Pro Shop items greatly reduced in price and other special purchases.

    The team’s football operations staff also has provided Packers team apparel no longer in use, including a large assortment of t-shirts, shorts, jackets, jerseys and pants. Some items are practice-worn gear not normally available in the Pro Shop.

    The tent sale began in 1994 in the parking lot outside the former Pro Shop on the north end of Lambeau Field and grew into a popular event. Now in its 11th year in the Atrium, the tent sale also was held in the west side stadium concourse in previous years.

  • Sat., May. 10, 2014 7:00PM CDT Eddie Lacy appearance 22nd Annual Doug Jirschele Memorial Sports Award Banquet
  • Sat., Jun. 07, 2014 8:30AM - 3:30PM CDT JPP Kids Clinic

    The 17th annual Junior Power Pack Kids Clinic is set for Saturday, June 7, 2014 in the Don Hutson Center with sessions ranging from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

    The Junior Power Pack Clinic gives members ages 5-14 years old the opportunity to practice football skills and drills with other Packers backers and a few up-and-coming Packers players.  Parents/Guardians are welcome to come and watch their child/ren participate in the clinic. 

    Members may choose one of three sessions to attend:

    • Session 1 – 8:30 to 10 a.m.
    • Session 2 – 11 to 12:30 p.m.
    • Session 3 – 2 to 3:30 p.m.

    The event will be held inside the Don Hutson Center, the Packers indoor practice facility. Parking for the event is available in the lot on Lambeau Field’s east side near the Oneida Nation Gate.  

    The Junior Power Pack Clinic is a member’s only event and will have a registration fee of $5.

    Deadline to register:

    • New Members – May 11, 2014
    • Current Members – May 18, 2014

    To sign up to become a member of the Junior Power Pack and receive an invitation to the clinic fans can go to www.packers.com/jpp.

  • Sat., Jun. 14, 2014 2:30PM CDT Jerry Parins Cruise for Cancer

    The eleventh annual Jerry Parins Cruise for Cancer motorcycle ride will be held, rain or shine, on Saturday, June 14, 2014. The ride will start at Vandervest Harley-Davidson (1966 Velp Avenue, Green Bay) and will make a fun-filled stop at the Seymour Fireman's Picnic, held at the Outagamie County Fairgrounds in Seymour.

    Ride Day Schedule

    • 9-10:30 am: Registration at Vandervest Harley-Davidson, Geen Bay
    • 11 am: Depart Vandervest Harley-Davidson, Green Bay
    • 12 pm: Arrive in Seymour. Enjoy food, beverages, entertainment and a short program.
    • 2:30 pm: Party kicks off at the new South Endzone Festival Foods MVP Deck at Lambeau Field! Guests can access the space by way of the Shopko Gate. See the field and enjoy the atmosphere from this beautiful indoor/outdoor space newly opened and accessed by very few. The party will include silent and live auction, food, beverages, music and merchandise available for purchase.

    More information: http://cruiseforcancer.org/



Mike Spofford

Mike Spofford has worked as a sportswriter in Wisconsin since 1995 and has been a packers.com staff writer since 2006. He has covered the Packers' last two Super Bowl appearances, XXXII and XLV.


Burnett, Matthews deserve deeper look

Posted Sep 30, 2011

For safety Morgan Burnett, the statistics are impossible to ignore. For outside linebacker Clay Matthews, the stats don’t come close to telling the whole story.

No matter how they’re evaluated, though, there’s no denying the impact these two are having on the Packers defense in 2011.

Burnett is in just his second season, after playing only four games as a rookie due to a knee injury, but he’s rapidly developing into the same type of playmaker he was in college, which the Packers need in place of the injured Nick Collins.

He recorded 14 interceptions in three seasons at Georgia Tech and, now, in his first seven games in the NFL, Burnett has four more picks, including his first two-interception game last week in Chicago.

The term “ball hawk” gets tossed around often with defensive backs that create turnovers, but Burnett’s position coach, Darren Perry, believes in Burnett’s case it’s not just a convenient label. Some players are simply different when it comes to reading and reacting to the ball, and Burnett would seem to be one of them, in part because he’s a former high school quarterback.

“I do think there’s a lot of truth to that,” Perry said. “Sometimes it’s unexplainable, because guys just have an innate ability to come up with the football.

“Some guys just have a mindset that when the ball is in the air, it’s theirs.”

Burnett, who is the first Packers player with four interceptions in his first seven games since safety Chuck Cecil turned the trick in 1988, showed that type of mentality on his first interception in Chicago, when he sprinted across the field to intercept an overthrown ball intended for Roy Williams.

Cornerback Charles Woodson said after the game he felt Burnett’s range has been underrated since he arrived as a third-round draft pick in 2010, a selection General Manager Ted Thompson traded up to get. Perry agreed that observers will notice his range the more he’s manning the “centerfield” position Collins frequently played.

Burnett’s interceptions haven’t been as acrobatic as some of Collins’, but he’s been swooping in for overthrows with regularity and making quarterbacks pay.

“I think probably playing in the shadows of Nick, people have underestimated his ability to get to the football and close on it,” Perry said.

“He’s trying to play with a certain attitude that safeties have to play with in this league to command respect. There’s a hunger. I think some people questioned his toughness, and I think he took that as a personal challenge to disprove people.”

Burnett has earned a defensive game ball from the coaching staff in two of the first three games this season, but he’s reminded in every film session that he’s far from a polished player.

That’s what’s so exciting for the coaching staff about Burnett, because this Sunday will be just his eighth game, completing his first full half-season. There’s no way in that short a time he’s shown his full capabilities.

“I’m starting to understand things a little more, but it’s still early in the season, and I still have a lot of growing and a lot of learning to do,” Burnett said.

Matthews, meanwhile, is putting his own learning to good use, even if it’s not showing up in the form of the glamor statistic – sacks.

With just one sack through three games, Matthews is far off his pace from a year ago, when he had six in the first two weeks. After being drafted in 2009 in the first round – another player Thompson traded up to acquire – Matthews has reached double digits in sacks in each of his first two pro seasons.

But any member of the Green Bay coaching staff will tell you that Matthews is playing, perhaps, the best football of his career right now. He’s defending the run better than he ever has, with at least one tackle for loss in each game so far, including four last Sunday in Chicago.

Outside Linebackers Coach Kevin Greene said Matthews’ run-stuffing comes directly from his extensive film study. Even Matthews said he knows “the plays are coming before they’re even coming.”

“His vision is so much better and he’s more of a student of the game now than he’s ever been,” Greene said. “He knows the odds of a specific play being run based on who’s in the game and how they’ve lined up at the line of scrimmage and where they are on the field.

“He sees it, he recognizes it, and he plays to what he sees on film.”

Matthews did that all day against the Bears, reading the counter runs coming his way and beating the pulling guard with his quickness. Greene, one of the best 3-4 outside linebackers in NFL history, said the type of recognition and instincts Matthews is developing takes most linebackers six to eight years to discover.

His one sack was actually kind of a “cheapie,” when in Week 2 he ran Carolina quarterback Cam Newton out of bounds and was credited with a sack. That play didn’t come close to matching the impact he’s had on other key stops, namely at the goal line on the final play against New Orleans and inside the 5-yard line on a fourth-down tackle of Newton.

Matthews would like to get more sacks, to be sure, but he’s also absorbing regular double-teams when he rushes, particularly on third-and-long when the Packers have usually rushed just three. Greene said the percentage of snaps in which Matthews must engage two and three blockers is up over last year, and he’s rarely seen him left one-on-one.

“You just have to stay persistent,” Matthews said. “That’s what I think makes a great pass-rusher, is the fact that you’re relentless from the first play through the fourth quarter, and that’s when you come up big, figuring they’re going to slip up at least once and you’re going to get home and put a demoralizing hit on the quarterback.”

Those plays will light up the stat sheet and the crowd, but it’s not worth changing his all-around game to get them. He’ll stay patient and let things take their natural course.

“As long as I’m making my impact plays, whether that be in the run game, the pass game, covering someone, I’m doing my job,” Matthews said.

“My time will come.”

Additional coverage - Sept. 30

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