Episode 19 - NFL Combine Preview with Draft Expert Tony Pauline

Blue 58, powered by WTMJ Mobile, goes beyond the headlines to help you become a smarter fan of the Green Bay Packers. Hosted by former WTMJ newscaster Jon Meerdink and his friend Gary Zilavy, Blue 58 brings you a unique, upbeat perspective on your favorite NFL team, as long as that team is the Packers.

Hosts Jon Meerdink and Gary Zilavy interview NFL Draft guru Tony Pauline ahead of the combine. We break down the Packers situation at running back, discuss the 5th round compensatory pick and reach the low point of the season in our recap series.

Here are the headlines we covered in Blue 58:

What will next season look like at running back?

Between now and the regular season, there’s a good chance the Packers front office will make significant changes at running back. This week, veterans Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles were both released. Additionally, it sounds like the Packers and Eddie Lacy are talking about a new deal. All of this is clouded by the uncertainty of the NFL Draft. Five running backs are ranked by Scouts Inc. as top 50 prospects – in previous years, there have only been about one to three in that category.

Packers given a fifth-round compensatory pick for Casey Hayward

Compensatory picks are confusing, but here's a simple definition: A team that loses more or better free agents than it acquires receives extra selections in the NFL Draft, usually between the third and seventh rounds. The NFL refuses to release the formula used to calculate compensatory picks, but we do know it does not take into account players who were released, like Jared Cook or Julius Peppers. Last year, the Packers received fourth round picks for the departures of Davon House and Tramon Williams.

Interview with NFL Draft expert Tony Pauline

We're thankful to have Draft Analyst's Tony Pauline on the podcast this week to break down the NFL Draft prospects for the Packers.

You can follow our guest on Twitter, @TonyPauline, and be sure to bookmark his excellent site Draft Analyst.

The end of the losing streak, the start of "run the table"

Our mission is to become smarter Packers fans. Green Bay plays their sixteen games a year at a frantic pace; it's hard to add context and perspective to the Packers schedule when the season happens so fast. We're in the middle of a series where we take a quick look over the next few weeks at the Packers season to help tease out the essential story of the season and use hindsight to see patterns for the future.

Game 9: Titans 47, Packers 25

Just about everything went wrong for the Packers against Tennessee. The Titans try an onside kick to start the game, and with the ball at midfield the Packers go three-and-out. Immediately, the Titans score a touchdown on a 75-yard run by DeMarco Murray. After the 1st quarter, the Packers are down 21-0. After a disappointing start against the Colts, it somehow got worse against the Titans. By halftime, the Packers are down 35-10 and leave Nashville with their fifth loss of the season.

Game 10: Redskins 42, Packers 24

In the week leading up to this Sunday night primetime game, Mike McCarthy tells reporters he's "a highly successful NFL coach" and Bleacher Report's Ty Dunne posts a takedown on Aaron Rodgers' personal life. The Packers keep it close through three quarters, but the defensive backs fall apart late. Kirk Cousins is incredibly efficient, completing 70% of his passes and putting up 375 yards. Meanwhile, reserve running back Rob Kelley carries the ball 24 times for 137 yards and three touchdowns. It's a complete defensive meltdown by the Packers.

Game 11: Packers 27, Eagles 13

The season's on the line for the Packers, entering a Monday night game against the Eagles with a 4-6 record and 2.5 games behind the Lions for first place in the division with six games to play. The Packers offense plays at a high level, and Aaron Rodgers throws a touchdown pass to Davante Adams that you'd have to see to believe. An interception by Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the third quarter helps turn the tide for Green Bay, as rookie quarter Carson Wentz continues to struggle with subpar Eagles receivers, running backs and tight ends.

Game 12: Packers 21, Texans 13

Without Jadeveon Clowney and J.J. Watt, the Texans defense is less imposing as it looked at the beginning of the season. The Packers play at Lambeau Field for the first time since the Colts loss in Week 9, and the weather in Green Bay plays a big part. A snowstorm slows both offenses to a crawl. It takes Aaron Rodgers until late in the third quarter to eclipse 100 passing yards, and the score is 7-7 heading into the fourth quarter. A touchdown grab by Jordy Nelson and a rushing score by Aaron Ripkowski in the fourth quarter help send the Packers back to .500.

While I’ve got you here

When Aaron Rodgers was drafted in 2005, he wore #4 as a tribute to Favre at Butte Community College and #8 in college at Cal. Initially, he approached fellow Cal graduate Ryan Longwell and asked if Longwell would allow Rodgers to wear #8. Longwell declined, and Rodgers added 4 and 8 to get to #12.


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