As long as the Green Bay Packers have Aaron Rodgers, they'll be contenders. Whether the team around Rodgers is good enough to make it back to the Super Bowl is another story. The defense in particular was really bad in a playoff loss to San Francisco. The Packers were as poorly prepared as any NFL team in recent memory. The special teams, especially kicker Mason Crosby, was inconsistent all season too. A few additions were made, but mostly through the draft since general manager Ted Thompson is never a major player in free agency. Green Bay's season could have been different had the Seattle game not been taken away on a bad call, or if had closed out late losses at Indianapolis or Minnesota. One more win would have given the Packers a bye and home-field advantage in the second round. So the Packers aren't that far off. But the image of Green Bay's defense repeatedly being torched by Colin Kaepernick, or the defense being unable to get a key stop late against the Colts or Vikings, makes one wonder if the Packers are still on the same level as the other top teams in the NFC.
The Green Bay Packers were tired of their inconsistent running game over the last few seasons, so they looked to do something about it with authority in the 2013 NFL draft. General manager Ted Thompson and his staff selected Alabama running back Eddie Lacy in the second round, and went back to the well in the fourth by picking UCLA speedster Johnathan Franklin. Lacy was known to be a power back more than anything for the Crimson Tide – while he did have some second-level speed, his primary attribute was his ability to bull through at the line and gain those tough yards. Judging from his first preseason in the NFL, and a picture making the rounds on the Internet (Lacy was trending on Twitter on Monday evening as a result), it looked like Lacy had been bulling through some of his teammates at the training table.
The "Shutdown Countdown" is chugging along. In addition to previewing each team, "Shutdown Corner" will be taking a brief look at each team's salary cap situation heading into the 2013 season and beyond. We continue the series with the Atlanta Falcons. 2013 Adjusted Cap Number : $122.782 million (5th-smallest adjusted cap number in 2013) 2013 Cap Room Remaining : $5.282 million (20th in the NFL, as of July 26). The remaining cap room does not reflect the new five-year, $103.75 million extension signed by quarterback Matt Ryan last week. Before the extension, Ryan had a $12 million cap hit this season. His cap charge could remain unchanged (Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers has a $12 million cap hit after signing a $110 million extension on April 25) or go down, as evidenced by Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco's $6.8 million cap number in the first season of his $120.6 million contract. Where Ryan's cap hit goes all depends on how the Falcons and agent Tom Condon agreed to structure the contract. Best Bargain : At a shade under 5-foot-6, Jacquizz Rodgers is unlikely to be a 15-20 carries per game running back in the NFL, but he serve an important role on third downs and in the return game. Rodgers played in 43.9 percent of the Falcons' snaps last season and totaled 764 yards from scrimmage with a pair of touchdowns. Rodgers was most effective as a receiver, catching 53 passes for 402 yards and a touchdown and was fourth among running backs in Football Outsiders' receiving DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement), trailing Darren Sproles and Danny Woodhead, who will earn between $1.75 million (Woodhead) and $3 million (Sproles) while playing similar roles that Rodgers will play this season for the league minimum ($555,000). Potential Camp Cap Casualty : The weakest link on the Falcons' roster is arguably the linebacker corps. One player who could find himself on the roster bubble is Stephen Nicholas, who turned 30 and underwent sports hernia surgery this offseason. Nicholas is due $2.5 million in non-guaranteed base salary and if Akeem Dent and Sean Weatherspoon establish themselves as the top two linebackers on the roster, and capable of playing three downs, Nicholas could be the odd man out.
The "Shutdown Countdown" is chugging along. In addition to previewing each team, "Shutdown Corner" will be taking a brief look at each team's salary cap situation heading into the 2013 season and beyond. We continue the series with the Atlanta Falcons. 2013 Adjusted Cap Number : $122.782 million (5th-smallest adjusted cap number in 2013) 2013 Cap Room Remaining : $5.282 million (20th in the NFL, as of July 26). The remaining cap room does not reflect the new five-year, $103.75 million extension signed by quarterback Matt Ryan last week. Before the extension, Ryan had a $12 million cap hit this season. His cap charge could remain unchanged (Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers has a $12 million cap hit after signing a $110 million extension on April 25) or go down, as evidenced by Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco's $6.8 million cap number in the first season of his $120.6 million contract. Where Ryan's cap hit goes all depends on how the Falcons and agent Tom Condon agreed to structure the contract. Best Bargain : At a shade under 5-foot-6, Jacquizz Rodgers is unlikely to be a 15-20 carries per game running back in the NFL, but he serve an important role on third downs and in the return game. Rodgers played in 43.9 percent of the Falcons' snaps last season and totaled 764 yards from scrimmage with a pair of touchdowns. Rodgers was most effective as a receiver, catching 53 passes for 402 yards and a touchdown and was fourth among running backs in Football Outsiders' receiving DYAR (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement), trailing Darren Sproles and Danny Woodhead, who will earn between $1.75 million (Woodhead) and $3 million (Sproles) while playing similar roles that Rodgers will play this season for the league minimum ($555,000). Potential Camp Cap Casualty : The weakest link on the Falcons' roster is arguably the linebacker corps. One player who could find himself on the roster bubble is Stephen Nicholas, who turned 30 and underwent sports hernia surgery this offseason. Nicholas is due $2.5 million in non-guaranteed base salary and if Akeem Dent and Sean Weatherspoon establish themselves as the top two linebackers on the roster, and capable of playing three downs, Nicholas could be the odd man out.
The transition from professional football the life after the game can be difficult for many players, and none more so that those who face an uncertain future with the aftereffects of head injuries suffered during their time between the lines. Former NFL running back Dorsey Levens has combined two concerns to try and so some good. Levens, who played in the NFL from 1994 through 2004 with the Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, and New York Giants, has become very involved in film and theater over the last few years. He's now working on a documentary called "Bell Rung," about the post-football concussion effects athletes must endure. To extend the movie from 48 minutes to the projected final length of 90 minutes, Levens has turned to the increasingly popular method of crowd-funding. In 2011, crowd-funding platforms raised an estimated $1.5 billion worldwide. In 2013 that number is projected to exceed $5.1 billion. Indiegogo has established itself as an industry leader by raising millions of dollars a week for campaigns across 24 categories. For example, through Indiegogo (the company Levens is using), the HONY & Tumblr Hurricane Sandy Fundraiser generated three times its original goal, resulting in nearly $320,000 for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. When we recently spoke with him, Levens had a lot to say about his film, and the ways in which the NFL deals with (and has dealt with) concussions. Shutdown Corner: How did you get involved in crowd-funding? Dorsey Levens: We were trying to raise funds for about a year, to try and extend "Bell Rung" from 48 minutes to 90 minutes. I met up with i ndiegogo -- they hit me up on LinkedIn, and they said, 'Listen -- we have a platform.' I had heard of Kickstarter, but I hadn't heard of indiegogo, though they're right there in the same network. So, we traded messages and talked on the phone, and I thought it would be a good idea. The other stuff wasn't working, so it was time to try something new and see what we could come up with. We had tried to reach out to investors -- I have a lot of friends in Los Angeles with a lot of connections, and we bounced that around. We have a distribution deal in place, but we need to finish the film and get it released. SC: Standard negative answer: Football players have all this money; why are you asking for money from the public? Your response? DL: Well, I don't have all the money in the world [laughs]. It's funny, because I went to the Tribeca Film Festival this summer, and Whoopi Goldberg had raised some money on Kickstarter for a movie she's doing on Moms Mabely. And she got the same response: 'You're Whoopi Goldberg; why do you need money?' But this stuff is expensive. And that's the way it's done, most people don't spend their own money. You go out and get investors -- people with money and knowledge of the industry. SC: Let's say this film comes out and makes $10 million above cost. What do your public investors get in return? DL: They get perks -- once you make a donation, the perks run from DVDs to autographed photos to helmets, and a trip to Lambeau Field for a Packers game with me. SC: Before we get into the film, let's talk about concussions, and where things are. You're a part of the larger series of lawsuits brought by former NFL players against the league, and I'm just curious -- how many concussions would you estimate you suffered during your NFL career?
July 26 (The Sports Xchange) - Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is disappointed in Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun after his admission this week that he violated baseball's policy on performance-enhancing substances. "Well, I was shocked, I really was, just like I know many of you were," Rodgers said Friday at the Packers' training camp. "I was backing up a friend, who looked at me in the eye on multiple occasions and repeatedly denied these allegations. ...
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is disappointed in Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun after his admission this week that he violated baseball's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Green Bay Packers released details of another banner year financially on Tuesday, crediting another winning season, revenue-sharing across the NFL and shrinking player costs.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Green Bay Packers released details of another banner year financially on Tuesday, crediting another winning season, revenue-sharing across the NFL and shrinking player costs.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Green Bay Packers released details of another banner year financially on Tuesday, crediting another winning season, revenue-sharing across the NFL and shrinking player costs.

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