2014 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

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 30 10:43a

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) is expected to be out at least another week, although tests on his hamstring came back negative Tuesday, July 29. The [ More ]

Marquis FlowersJul 30 10:33a

Cincinnati Bengals DT Geno Atkins (knee) and LB Marquis Flowers (hamstring) were activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list.

David WilsonJul 30 10:13a

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) will sit out of practice the rest of the week and won't play in the first preseason game. He underwent tests Tuesday, [ More ]

Lardarius WebbJul 30 08:33a

Baltimore Ravens CB Lardarius Webb (back) had recent examinations reveal no structural damage to his back. It's believed to be a muscular problem that will require rest and rehabilitation. [ More ]

Chris RaineyJul 30 02:13a

LB Darrin Kitchens (Bills), OT Chris Faulk (Browns), PK Jake Rogers (Browns), OT Aslam Sterling (Broncos), RB Chris Rainey (Colts), WR Gerald Ford (Dolphins), OT DeMarcus Love (Giants) and [ More ]

Ricky SappJul 30 02:03a

The Houston Texans released LB Ricky Sapp (undisclosed) from their Non-Football Injury list Tuesday, July 29. Sapp is free to sign with any team.

Demarcus LawrenceJul 30 01:33a

Dallas Cowboys DE Demarcus Lawrence (foot) suffered a broken foot Tuesday, July 29, and he will need eight to 10 weeks recovery time, according to a source.

Brandon PettigrewJul 30 12:53a

Detroit Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew and the other tight ends have split time between working on the offensive line and working with the pass-catching receivers and running backs catching [ More ]

Corey HilliardJul 30 12:53a

Detroit Lions OTs Corey Hilliard and LaAdrian Waddle appear to be getting an equal shot at the starting right tackle job. Hilliard worked with the first-team offense Monday, July [ More ]

Kevin OgletreeJul 30 12:53a

Detroit Lions WR Kevin Ogletree has been spent time on the top unit each of the first two days of training camp, working as the No. 3 receiver. He [ More ]

Jason HatcherJul 30 12:13a

Washington Redskins DE Jarvis Jenkins said the team's signing of DE Jason Hatcher this offseason was a wakeup call that has motivated him to become a better player. 'I've [ More ]

Patrick PetersonJul 30 12:03a

Arizona Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson announced via Twitter Tuesday, July 29, that he has signed a five-year contract extension worth $70 million with $48 million guaranteed.

Robert MeachemJul 29 11:53p

New Orleans Saints WR Robert Meachem (back) and OT Tavon Rooks (back) returned to practice Tuesday, July 29.

Greg ScruggsJul 29 11:43p

Seattle Seahawks DT Jordan Hill, SS Jeron Johnson, DE Greg Scruggs and LB Mike Morgan are four players that defensive coordinator Dan Quinn mentioned when asked what players have [ More ]

Jonathan DwyerJul 29 11:33p

Arizona Cardinals RB Stepfan Taylor worked with the first-team offense in place of RB Andre Ellington (neck) Tuesday, July 29. Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com believes the move means that [ More ]

Jake MatthewsJul 29 11:23p

Atlanta Falcons OT Jake Matthews has impressed QB Matt Ryan during training camp. 'I think Jake, his size and he's very strong, very athletic,' Ryan said Tuesday, July [ More ]

Dale MossJul 29 11:03p

The Chicago Bears signed free-agent WR Dale Moss (Panthers) to a one-year deal Tuesday, July 29. The financial terms were not disclosed.

Jerrel JerniganJul 29 10:43p

New York Giants CB Charles James could make the roster as a punt returner as a result of injuries to RB David Wilson (neck) and WR Odell Beckham Jr. [ More ]

Zac StacyJul 29 10:23p

St. Louis Ram RB Tre Mason saw received some snaps with the first-team Tuesday, July 29, with RB Zac Stacy receiving a majority of the work with the first-team.

Ray McDonaldJul 29 09:53p

San Francisco 49ers CB Chris Culliver (knee), CB Tramaine Brock (knee) and DE Ray McDonald (leg) did not practice Tuesday, July 29.

O'Brien SchofieldJul 29 09:33p

Seattle Seahawks LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (stomach) missed practice Tuesday, July 29, with a stomach injury, and LB O'Brien Schofield was given a scheduled day of rest.

Bryan BulagaJul 29 08:43p

Green Bay Packers OT Bryan Bulaga (knee) performed well in one-on-one pass-blocking drills Monday, July 28, stopping a rush attempt from LB Clay Matthews and two attempts from LB Julius Peppers.

Calvin JohnsonJul 29 08:23p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson is taking part in fewer reps in training camp this year than in years past and said he is trying to be smarter about [ More ]

Giorgio TavecchioJul 29 08:13p

Detroit Lions K Nate Freese and K Giorgio Tavecchio both missed field-goal attempts from nearly 50 yards during practice Tuesday, July 29, and the two remain in a competition for the starting kicking job.

Theo RiddickJul 29 07:53p

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick possesses intensity, hustle, desire and toughness, according to head coach Jim Caldwell. Riddick added that his versatility enables him to pressure defenses from the backfield.

Ben GardnerJul 29 07:33p

Dallas Cowboys DT Terrell McClain (ankle), OG Ronald Leary (hamstring) OG Darius Morris (undisclosed), LB William Smith (undisclosed), DE Ben Gardner (shoulder), CB Brandon Carr (personal), DT Amobi Okoye [ More ]

Sean LeeJul 29 06:53p

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee (knee) thinks he will return from his torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee completely healthy. Lee is with the team in California [ More ]

Brian HoyerJul 29 06:43p

Cleveland Browns QBs Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer may not be the team's answer at quarterback, according to NFL Media's Charley Casserly. Casserly said the Browns' answer at the [ More ]

David WilsonJul 29 06:33p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) will undergo tests after suffering a 'burner' in practice Tuesday, July 29. The team 'will be careful' with Wilson.

Bobby WagnerJul 29 06:23p

Seattle Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner (calf) and OG James Carpenter (calf) left practice Tuesday, July 29, with calf injuries. Head coach Pete Carroll did not think either injuries were serious.

Steven JacksonJul 29 06:23p

Updating a previous report, Atlanta Falcons RB Steven Jackson (hamstring) injured his hamstring Monday, July 28, which is why he wasn't practicing Tuesday, July 29. Head coach Mike Smith [ More ]

Michael VickJul 29 05:43p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith may be on a shorter leash this year with QB Michael Vick as his backup. Head coach Rex Ryan said the team's quarterback [ 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