Dope Sheet: Packers open preseason against the Texans

Green Bay to hold its first preseason game since 2019

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2021 Packers vs Texans dope sheet

The Packers will hold their first preseason game since 2019 when they welcome the Houston Texans to town Saturday night. Last year, the NFL canceled all preseason contests due to COVID-19.

  • This year is the debut of the new NFL schedule, consisting of three preseason games played in preparation for a 17-game regular season. 
  • It is the second time that the Packers have opened the preseason against the Texans, having previously beat them at Lambeau Field, 28-26, in 2019.
  • Green Bay has posted a .500 or better record in the preseason each of the last six preseasons (2014-19).
  • The Packers have won nine consecutive preseason home games, with their last loss coming in 2015.
  • After the Texans game, the Packers will welcome the New York Jets to town for a couple of joint practices (Aug. 18-19) before facing them in Lambeau Field on Saturday, Aug. 21, at 3:25 p.m.  
  • Postgame media availability will be conducted with a combination of in-person media and via Zoom.

PACKERS GIVE BACK GAME

  • The preseason matchup between Green Bay and Houston will mark the inaugural Packers Give Back Game, which will annually support a benefiting charity from Wisconsin.
  • The Packers will recognize Big Brothers Big Sisters as the nonprofit honoree for this Saturday's game.
  • Hundreds of youth called "Littles" will receive a free bus ride to the game, enjoy a special tailgate party with their mentors, called "Bigs," and cheer on the team in a designated Big Brothers Big Sisters area in the north end zone.
  • The Packers have worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin for many years by awarding grants and donations and providing opportunities for Big/Little matches to enjoy experiences at Packers games and Lambeau Field. Additionally, Packers players, alumni and staff frequently appear at Big Brothers Big Sisters events to help raise awareness for the need for volunteers and mentors. There are 15 Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies in Wisconsin. To find the nearest agency in Wisconsin, visit https://wisconsinbbbs.org/.
  • This year's Packers Give Back Game will also continue the team's support of Bishop's Charities and the Midwest Shrine Association, traditional recipients of preseason game recognition.

WITH THE CALL

Preseason games are televised over the 21-station Packers TV Network throughout the state of Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, northeastern Minnesota, Peoria in Illinois, Cedar Rapids-Waterloo, Davenport and Des Moines in Iowa, Omaha in Nebraska, St. Louis in Missouri, Bismarck, Fargo and Minot in North Dakota, Sioux Falls in South Dakota and Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau in Alaska.

The top-notch broadcast team includes CBS's Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) alongside fellow CBS broadcaster and Pro Football Hall of Fame receiver James Lofton (analyst), with former Green Bay fullback John Kuhn and Lance Allan of WTMJ-TV serving as the sideline reporters. Allan will also host an informative half-hour pregame show.

In addition to flagship station WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee and WGBA/NBC in Green Bay the game will be tele- vised over, Wis.; WKOW/ABC, Madison, Wis.; WAOW/ ABC, Wausau/Rhinelander, Wis.; WXOW/ABC, La Crosse, Wis.; WQOW/ABC, Eau Claire, Wis.; WLUC/NBC/FOX UP, Escanaba/Marquette, Mich.; KQDS-TV/FOX, Duluth, Minn./Superior, Wis.; WMDB/CBS, Peoria, Ill.; WHBF/ CBS, Davenport, Iowa; KCCI/CBS, Des Moines, Iowa; KWWL/NBC, Cedar Rapids/Waterloo, Iowa; KTVI/FOX, St. Louis, Mo.; KETV/ABC, Omaha, Neb.; KNDB/BEK, Bismarck, N.D.; KRDK/BEK, Fargo, N.D.; KNDM/BEK, Minot, N.D.; KDLT/NBC, Sioux Falls, S.D.; KYUR/ABC, Anchorage, Alaska; KATN/ABC, Fairbanks, Alaska and KJUD/ABC, Juneau, Alaska. u Milwaukee's WTMJ (620 AM), airing Green Bay games since November 1929, heads up the Packers Radio Network that is made up of 49 stations in four states. For a full listing of radio affiliates, go to www.packers.com. Wayne Larrivee (play-by-play) and two-time Packers Pro Bowler Larry McCarren (analyst) call the action. McCarren first joined the team's broadcasts in 1995 and enters his 26th season calling Packers games. After originally being paired together in 1999, McCarren and Larrivee enter their 22nd season of broadcasts together. They surpassed Jim Irwin and Max McGee for the most regular-season and postseason games broadcast for the Packers with 313 at the 2018 season opener against Chicago

LAFLEUR LEADS THE PACK

  • Head Coach Matt LaFleur (la-flew-er) has led the Packers to back-to-back NFC North titles.
  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, LaFleur was the sixth head coach since 1970 to lead their team to the conference championship game in both of his first two seasons as a head coach, joining Jim Harbaugh (2011-12), Rex Ryan (2009-10), Barry Switzer (1994- 95), George Seifert (1989-90) and Don McCafferty (1970-71).
  • LaFleur is just the second NFL head coach since the league went to a divisional format in 1967 to win 13-plus games and a division title in both of his first two seasons, joining Seifert (1989-90).
  • LaFleur (26-6) posted the most regular-season wins by a Packer head coach in his first two seasons (Mike Sherman and Mike McCarthy, 21 each).
  • LaFleur (26) posted the second-most wins in NFL history by a coach in his first two seasons behind only Seifert (28 in 1989-90).
  • LaFleur guided the Packers to 26 wins in 2019-20 after the Packers won 13 games in 2017-18. That was the biggest two-season win improvement by a head coach in franchise history from the two seasons prior to him taking over, eclipsing the previous mark held by Vince Lombardi (15 victories in 1959-60 after the Packers won four games in 1957-58).
  • LaFleur led the biggest one-year win improvement in franchise history in 2019.
  • LaFleur is 11-1 in the NFC North, a .917 winning percentage that is tied for the best two-season winning percentage in divisional games for the Packers dating back to 1967 (2011-12, 11-1, .917).
  • LaFleur's winning percentage of .917 (11-1) against division opponents is tied for the second best by a coach in his first two seasons as head coach, dating back to 1970 (Mike Tomlin, 11-1, .917 in 2007-08 / Steve Mariucci, 15-1, .938 in 1997-98).
  • LaFleur has not lost back-to-back games as a head coach.
  • Dating back to 2019 (including playoffs), LaFleur has led the Packers to a 14-3 record in games decided by single digits, an .824 winning percentage that ranks No. 1 in the NFL over that span (Sportradar).
  • Dating back to 2019, the Packers are tied for the best regular-season record in the NFL.
  • Dating back to 2019, Green Bay ranks in the top 10 in the NFL in the regular season in point differential per game (plus-6.3, No. 4), points per game (27.7, No. 6) and points allowed per game (21.3, No. 9), according to Sportradar.
  • Under LaFleur, the Packers have had six players register 30-plus receptions each season, marking the first time in franchise history that Green Bay has had six players with 30-plus catches in back-to-back seasons. LaFleur was just the sixth head coach in NFL history to win 24 of his first 30 games (Elias Sports Bureau).
  • LaFleur led Green Bay to a 20-5 record in his first 25 regular-season games, which tied for No. 4 in NFL history for the most wins by a head coach in his first 25 regular-season games (Elias Sports Bureau).
  • LaFleur led Green Bay to seven home wins in 2019, the most by a Packers head coach in his first season. He followed it up with another 7-1 home record in 2020, giving LaFleur the best home winning percentage by a Packers head coach in his first two seasons since 1921.
  • It was the first time Green Bay won seven-plus games in back-to-back seasons at Lambeau Field since doing it in three straight seasons from 2010-12.
  • LaFleur (13-3) finished with the most NFL wins by a Packer head coach in their first season.
  • LaFleur joined Jim Caldwell and Mariucci as the only head coaches with 13-plus wins to go undefeated in their division in their first season.
  • LaFleur tied for the third-most wins by an NFL head coach in their first season.
  • LaFleur became the first Packer head coach to start both of his first two seasons 3-0.
  • LaFleur joined Phil Bengston (1968-69) as the only head coaches in franchise history to win the season opener in their first two seasons

COACHING-STAFF CHANGES

Throughout the offseason, Head Coach Matt LaFleur saw some departures from the coaching staff and used a combination of promotions and new hires to fill those roles. 

  • Joe Barry was named the defensive coordinator, bringing 19 seasons of experience as an NFL assistant coach, including four as a defensive coordinator. He came to the Packers after serving as the assistant head coach/linebackers for the Los Angeles Rams from 2017-20. In his four seasons with the Rams, Barry was part of a defensive staff that helped the team rank No. 2 in the league over that span in in sacks (192.0), tied for No. 2 in takeaways (104) and interceptions (63), No. 7 in overall defense (329.9 ypg) and No. 9 in scoring defense (21.5 ppg). Last season marked the first time in franchise history that the Rams led the league in both scoring defense (18.5 ppg) and overall defense (281.9 ypg). The Rams also led the NFL in pass defense for the first time in franchise history and ranked No. 2 in the NFL in 2020 with 53.0 sacks.
  • Maurice Drayton was promoted to special teams coordinator after spending the previous three seasons as assistant special teams coach for the Packers. Over the past few years he has worked with K Mason Crosby, who made all 16 field-goal attempts last season to become the first player in franchise history (since 1938) to never miss a field goal in a single regular season (min. two FG att.). From 2018-20, Crosby ranked No. 6 in the NFL over that span (min. 60 att.) with a field-goal percentage of 88.3 (68-77). Prior to coming to Green Bay, Drayton worked as the assistant special teams coach for the Indianapolis Colts from 2016-17. In 2016, he assisted P Pat McAfee in earning his second career Pro Bowl selection after leading the league in punting average (49.3) and ranking No. 3 in net punting average (42.7). After McAfee retired, Drayton helped P Rigoberto Sanchez finish No. 4 in the NFL in net punting average (42.6) in 2017 and earn a spot on the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie team.
  • Jerry Gray, who is entering his 34th season in the NFL (nine as a player and 24 as a coach), was promoted to defensive backs/passing game coordinator. He joined Green Bay in 2020 as the defensive backs coach and helped the Packers to a No. 9 ranking in total defense (334.0 ypg) and a No. 7 ranking in pass defense (221.2 ypg) last season, the first time Green Bay ranked in the top 10 in both categories since 2010. Under Gray's tutelage, third-year CB Jaire Alexander earned second-team All-Pro honors from The Associated Press, becoming the first Green Bay CB to earn All-Pro honors since Charles Woodson in 2011. Alexander was also named to his first career Pro Bowl in 2020, making him one of three CBs in franchise history to make the Pro Bowl in his first three seasons (Herb Adderley, 1963, third season; Willie Buchanon, 1973, second season). 
  • Adam Stenavich (STEN-uh-vitch) was promoted to offensive line/run game coordinator. He served as the offensive line coach for the Packers for the past two seasons. Last season, Stenavich coached a line that blocked for an offense that ranked No. 1 in the league in scoring (31.8 ppg), giveaways (team-record 11) and time of possession (32:29), tied for No. 2 in sacks allowed (21), No. 5 in total offense (389.0 ypg) and No. 3 in yards per play (6.29). Green Bay allowed one sack/zero sacks in a league-high 13 games in 2020, tied for the most in a season in team history (2004).
  • Rayna Stewart (ruh-NAY) was promoted to to assistant special teams coach after working as the special teams quality control coach for Green Bay over the last two seasons. Prior to joining Green Bay in 2019, Stewart spent four seasons at Vanderbilt, first as director of player development (2015-17) and then as special teams quality control coach (2018). Stewart was a defensive quality control coach with the Tennessee Titans from 2009-11, a graduate assistant at Northwestern University from 2007-08 and a training-camp intern for the Indianapolis Colts in 2004.
  • Connor Lewis enters his sixth season with Green Bay and was promoted to special teams assistant/game management specialist after working as an offensive quality control coach in 2020. He originally joined the Packers in 2016 as a football technology analyst intern before being elevated to football technology analyst in 2017. Over the past five seasons, he has assisted the offensive coaching staff in data analysis, playing rules and game management. Prior to joining Green Bay, Lewis was an independent consultant for the Oakland Raiders (2015) and worked in the football analytics and information department for the New York Giants (2014).
  • John Dunn was hired as a senior analyst. He is in his fifth season in the NFL and his first with the Packers. Dunn previously coached tight ends for the New York Jets (2019-20) and was a football assistant (2016) and offensive assistant with the Chicago Bears (2017), working with the wide receivers and quarterbacks as well as helping to install the offensive line protections. Between those two stops in the NFL, he was the offensive coordinator at the University of Connecticut in 2018.
  • Justin Hood joined Green Bay as a defensive quality control coach after working as the secondary coach and defensive pass game coordinator at Kent State in 2019-20.
  • Ryan Mahaffey and Tim Zetts were both hired as offensive quality control coaches. Mahaffey comes to Green Bay after coaching in college since 2013, most recently as the offensive coordinator (2019-20) at Northern Iowa, his alma mater. Zetts joined the Packers after serving as the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks for Austin Peay (Clarksville, Tenn.) in 2019-20.

PERSONNEL-STAFF PROMOTIONS

General Manager Brian Gutekunst promoted a couple of people on his staff as well in the offseason. 

  • Chad Brinker, who is entering his 12th season with the Packers' pro personnel department, was promoted to personnel/football administration executive. He has spent the previous three seasons as the assistant director of pro scouting/salary cap analyst. Brinker first joined Green Bay as a scouting assistant in 2010 and was promoted to pro scout in 2012. He spent a brief time as a running back with the New York Jets in 2003 and played for the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europe in 2004.
  • Patrick Mooore was promoted to assistant director of college scouting after spending the previous three seasons as a college scout for Green Bay. He joined the Packers in 2018 after spending five seasons as a scout for the Cleveland Browns. Prior to his stint in Cleveland, he was on the coaching staff at Fordham University for five seasons, serving as assistant head coach/offensive line (2010-11), defensive coordinator (2009) and linebackers/special teams coach (2007-08). Moore also held collegiate coaching positions at Louisiana Tech (2005-06), Auburn (2002-04), Western Carolina (2000-01) and at his alma mater, Illinois Wesleyan (1997).

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