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  • Wed., Apr. 16, 2014 6:00PM - 8:30PM CDT Tailgate Tour: Ironwood 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:

    Ironwood: Big Powderhorn Mountain Resort. To benefit Ironwood Volunteer Fire Department. Tickets on sale at Super One Foods, 1480 E. Cloverland Dr., Ironwood, Mich.

  • Thu., Apr. 17, 2014 6:00PM - 8:30PM CDT Tailgate Tour: Superior 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:

    Superior: Superior High School. To benefit the National Bank Commerce Spartan Sports Complex. Tickets on sale at Screen Graphics, 1327 Banks Ave., Superior.

  • Fri., Apr. 18, 2014 6:00PM - 8:30PM CDT Tailgate Tour: Rice Lake 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:

    Rice Lake: Barron County Fairgrounds. To benefit Benjamin’s House. Tickets on sale at Marketplace Foods, 330 S. Main St., Rice Lake; and Rainbow Home Center, 1124 Hammond Ave., Rice Lake.

  • 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

News

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.

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Special teams Taylor's inside track

Posted Aug 17, 2011

On paper, the situation didn’t look too promising at first.

When General Manager Ted Thompson drafted tight end Ryan Taylor in the seventh round, Taylor joined a roster that had four established veterans at the position, plus another rookie tight end in D.J. Williams drafted two rounds earlier.

Taylor decided from the get-go, however, that he couldn’t worry about any of that.

“Obviously, they drafted me for a reason,” Taylor said of how he viewed the seemingly disadvantageous circumstances. “They didn’t just pick a name out of a hat. I know Mr. Thompson and everybody knew what they were doing.”

Coming from someone fighting for a roster spot from day one, that comment reflects a player who’s either very confident in himself or has some kind of ace up his sleeve.

In Taylor’s case, it’s a little of both. His confidence stops far short of arrogance, and that ace is his special-teams prowess.

Taylor talks and plays like he belongs, even if he had to pinch himself when he stepped into the huddle on the first day of training camp, listening to Aaron Rodgers call the play and looking through his facemask at Greg Jennings and Donald Driver.

“It was almost mind-blowing,” Taylor said. “I almost couldn’t listen to the play.”

He hasn’t acted like a wide-eyed rookie since, rarely if ever dropping a pass that comes his way in practice. Ben McAdoo, his tight ends coach, said Taylor is a raw offensive player that needs a lot of refinement in technique and fundamentals, but his college experience as a tight end, linebacker and special teams demon at North Carolina makes him a well-rounded player that knows the game.

“He’s bowling-ball-butcher-knives,” McAdoo said. “He’s got great energy out there, great practice habits, finishes well.”

That boundless energy has come in handy because at different stages of camp the four veteran tight ends – Jermichael Finley, Andrew Quarless, Tom Crabtree and Spencer Havner – have all missed practices due to injury. That has put a heavy burden on Taylor and Williams, but they’ve held up physically while mentally learning the playbook that much faster.

Taylor’s workload has been even greater on special teams. Working with the first unit on most, if not all, of the “big four” (kickoff coverage and return, punt coverage and return), Taylor has proven to be ahead of the curve on special teams for a rookie at this level, for a couple of reasons.

For one, he captained the special teams units at North Carolina, where position coach Allen Mogridge called him “reckless” in a good way. Many skill-position draft picks haven’t handled special-teams duties before, nor are offensive rookies normally as well-versed in tackling and pursuit angles as Taylor.

Also, former North Carolina head coach Butch Davis, who previously coached the Cleveland Browns, ran pro-style special-teams schemes, not punt formations such the “elephant spread” that are becoming more common now in college.

“These guys that have twists coming off in their face have no clue what to do (in punt protection),” Taylor said. “You can tell the guys that have done it before, how to pick guys up and stuff.”

Special Teams Coordinator Shawn Slocum said Taylor might be the first Packers rookie since Korey Hall in 2007 to work on all the top special-teams units in camp, and he’s doing it without the benefit of offseason mini-camps and OTAs to get an initial taste of the playbook.

“He’s very bright,” Slocum said. “He looks like he’s well-prepared coming out.”

Ultimately, Taylor’s ticket to a roster spot is on special teams, but in order to secure his place he’ll have to prove he can produce on offense, too.

He got off to a good start in that regard in the preseason opener in Cleveland, catching two passes for 30 yards in the fourth quarter – an 18-yarder to pick up a first down, and a 12-yarder that put the ball on the 2.

There’s no telling at this point if he’s figuratively that close to the goal of making the team, but if the circumstances back on draft day didn’t phase him, it’s hard to believe anything will.

“He’s a pretty confident kid, and I like that,” McAdoo said. “One thing we talk about, even with Jermichael, it’s not where you start it’s where you finish.

“I think he enjoys the challenge. He knows it’s going to be an uphill battle, but he doesn’t seem to be backing down at all.”

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