2013 DRAFT GUIDE
Packers try to get better grip on 4th quarters

By GENARO C. ARMAS - AP Sports Writer
    2013-11-14 17:36

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - Clay Matthews' fingers on his right hand are free.

Maybe that will give the Packers' defense a tighter grasp on shutting down opponents in the fourth quarter.

Green Bay has been outscored 83-46 in fourth quarters this year. It's a season-long problem especially exposed the last two weeks when long drives by the Bears and Eagles chewed away fourth-quarter minutes in victories over the Packers at Lambeau Field.

Last week's game-ending 15-play, 75-yard drive in the final 9:32 of the 27-13 loss to Philadelphia was especially painful.

''We're on the next week,'' Matthews would only say when asked about that finish.

Otherwise, it was a typically colorful Matthews on Thursday. He might be in an especially good mood because he no longer has a large, heavy wrap, or ''club'' encasing his right hand to protect a thumb healing from surgery. He's still wearing a protective cast for the thumb, but it appears as if it will offer Matthews more mobility with his other fingers.

Time to get better grip on shedding blockers.

''I'm hoping with my fingers back, I'll be like a feline who got his whiskers back and then I'll be able to be more spry out there,'' the pass-rushing specialist said Thursday.

A healthier Matthews is always better for the Packers, who have been weighed down by injuries all year.

This week, fellow outside linebacker Nick Perry (foot/ankle) and cornerback Casey Hayward (hamstring) have been sidelined again. Defensive tackle Johnny Jolly hasn't practiced yet this week, too, with a groin injury. He said Thursday he would be ready for Sunday's game against the Giants.

LB Mike Neal (abdomen) and DT Ryan Pickett (knee) are two other key defenders on the injury report. Coach Mike McCarthy said earlier this week that the team, in part, hasn't overcome the changes that come with the rash of injuries.

They're also not using injuries as an excuse for the subpar fourth quarters.

''We're always talking about who's not there; we need to focus on what the hell we're doing,'' McCarthy said Monday. He had promised a heightened emphasis on tackling this week.

A lack of turnovers has also hurt. The Packers have just three this season.

''Those interceptions are going to come as long as you play with the right technique doing your job, because when they come, they come in bunches,'' safety Morgan Burnett said about the lack of interceptions.

A lack of picks, though, is a problem the whole game, not just late. Burnett said he doesn't think problems are being compounded in the fourth quarter.

''No it is just do your job, play the defense and put (the Eagles game) behind us and move forward,'' Burnett said.

Same with Pickett, who doesn't think there's ''magic formula'' to playing better late.

Cornerback Davon House said it might come down to mentality. ''Everyone has just got to know and buckle down when it's the fourth quarter,'' he said. ''So it's changing the culture.

''Right now, the Green Bay Packers are known as, when the fourth quarter comes along, we're giving up late scores and late yardage,'' House said. ''I guess it's just a mentality-type thing.''

It's a message especially emphasized on the team this week.

''Oh yeah,'' House said. ''Not just this week, the last couple weeks.''

With quarterback Aaron Rodgers still on the mend from a fractured left collarbone, the margin of error is smaller for the rest of the Packers, no matter the time of the game.

Notes: Center Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee) was limited a second straight day of practice, while RT Don Barclay (knee) missed a second straight practice. The team had ordered a knee brace for Barclay. ''He didn't probably feel as good today as we had hoped. So we'll see how he is tomorrow. I'm going to give him a chance, the full week to try and give it a go,'' McCarthy said. ... Rodgers watched in sweats while watching Scott Tolzien and newly-signed Matt Flynn in practice. Tolzien, who was on the practice squad two weeks ago, is expected to start Sunday against the Giants. ... McCarthy said Hayward could miss a few weeks again after re-aggravating his hamstring injury. Hayward missed the season's first six games with the injury.

----

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Josh MorganApr 22 09:52a

Chicago Bears WR Joshua Morgan is likely to compete for the No. 3 or 4 wide receiver role this year, and he'll compete with WRs Domenik Hixon, Eric Weems [ More ]

Will HillApr 22 09:33a

New York Giants FS Will Hill is facing a year-long suspension after reportedly failing another drug test. He will appeal what would be his third drug-related suspension.

Kyle WilliamsApr 21 09:33p

The Kansas City Chiefs re-signed WR Kyle Williams Monday, April 21. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Colt AndersonApr 21 07:12p

The Indianapolis Colts signed free-agent FS Colt Anderson (Eagles) to an undisclosed deal Monday, April 21.

Jamar TaylorApr 21 06:43p

Miami Dolphins CB Jamar Taylor (groin) is healthy following hernia surgery and began offseason workouts with his teammates Monday, April 21. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said he expects [ More ]

Dustin KellerApr 21 05:42p

Eugene Parker, agent for free-agent TE Dustin Keller (knee), said Keller is ready to participate in offseason workouts when he signs with a team.

Eric FisherApr 21 05:12p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) said there is no timetable for his return following multiple surgeries, but he doesn't think he'll be out for long. 'He's [ More ]

Josh MorganApr 21 04:02p

The Chicago Bears have signed free-agent WR Joshua Morgan (Redskins) to a one-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

A.J. GreenApr 21 03:32p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green said he has added around six pounds this offseason, because he wants to be more physical as a way to beat coverage at the [ More ]

Michael VickApr 21 02:42p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith said he believes he will be the starting quarterback this upcoming season even though the team added QB Michael Vick this offseason. He [ More ]

Navorro BowmanApr 21 02:12p

The San Francisco 49ers plan to place LB NaVorro Bowman (knee) on the Physically Unable to Perform list when training camp begins, because he is not expected to be [ More ]

Eric FisherApr 21 02:02p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) underwent shoulder surgery and had a procedure to fix a sports hernia. He's currently rehabbing in Kansas City.

Tony CarterApr 21 01:22p

The Denver Broncos signed DT Mitch Unrein to his restricted free-agent tender Monday, April 21. CB Tony Carter, SS Duke Ihenacho and LB Brandon M. Marshall all signed their exclusive rights tenders.

Rolando McClainApr 21 01:02p

Baltimore Ravens LB Rolando McClain is retiring from the NFL again Monday, April 21. 'I gotta follow my heart. It ain't football. If football made me complete I would [ More ]

Tony RomoApr 21 12:42p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) will take part in the team's voluntary offseason program beginning Monday, April 21, according to a source. Players are allowed to lift weights, [ More ]

Marcus LattimoreApr 20 09:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) is not expected to be restricted in any way when offseason workouts begin.

Michael EgnewApr 20 08:42p

The Miami Dolphins likely will add at least two more tight ends this offseason that will compete with TE Michael Egnew for a roster spot.

Armon BinnsApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Armon Binns is currently the team's No. 4 receiver, but the Dolphins have had discussions about WR Rishard Matthews replacing Binns at the spot, according to a source.

Tyrone CrawfordApr 20 12:02a

Dallas Cowboys DT Tyrone Crawford (Achilles') is expected to be ready for the team's offseason program, and he is expected to be a key piece to the defense this season.

M. Jones-DrewApr 20 12:02a

If healthy, Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden is expected to be the team's starting tailback with RB Maurice Jones-Drew as his backup.

Brian HartlineApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Brian Hartline (knee) is expected to be ready for the start of mini camp, according to a source. He suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament in the 2013 regular season finale.

Terrelle PryorApr 19 01:02p

The Oakland Raiders will release QB Terrelle Pryor if they are not able to trade him by Monday, April 21.

LaMichael JamesApr 19 12:22p

The Kansas City Chiefs could consider pursuing San Francisco 49ers RB LaMichael James if he could become a slot receiver. The team likely would not have interest in James [ More ]

Matt HasselbeckApr 19 12:22p

Indianapolis Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck plans to retire after the 2014 season.

Asa JacksonApr 19 12:12p

Baltimore Ravens CBs Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson are expected to compete for the No. 3 cornerback job during training camp. If the team takes a cornerback in one [ More ]

Michael FordApr 19 11:32a

The Chicago Bears probably will select a running back in the later rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft to compete with RB Michael Ford for the No. 2 running [ More ]

Jordan PalmerApr 19 09:52a

The Chicago Bears could target a quarterback in the late rounds of the NFL Draft or in free agency to provide competition for backup QB Jordan Palmer.

Cam NewtonApr 19 09:32a

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (ankle) remains in a walking boot about a month after ankle surgery. The team is hopeful Newton will be ready to go for training camp.

Michael RobinsonApr 19 12:02a

The Seattle Seahawks have not tried to re-sign free-agent FB Michael Robinson this offseason.

Russell AllenApr 18 11:42p

The Jacksonville Jaguars released LB Russell Allen (concussion) after he failed a physical.

Kendrick LewisApr 18 08:32p

Houston Texans FS Kendrick Lewis and SS Chris D. Clemons are expected to compete for the starting free safety job during training camp.

Trent RichardsonApr 18 08:22p

Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said it will be important for RB Trent Richardson to participate in all of the offseason workouts so he can get more comfortable [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group