Episode 11 - Wild Card Weekend

Jon Meerdink and Gary Zilavy discuss Packers personnel executives Eliot Wolf and Brian Gutekunst's interviews with the 49ers for their open GM post [0:30]. Aaron Ripkowski had a big game against the Lions, and he probably has Ty Montgomery to thank [6:05]. Does it matter the Giants' wide receivers partied in Miami with Johnny Manziel [9:40]? We discuss Odell Beckham Jr.'s first postseason appearance and how the Packers offense matches up against the Giants D [12:30]. Finally, you won't believe how many touchdowns Eli Manning needs to catch Aaron Rodgers' TD-to-INT ratio.

Headlines [0:30]

Eliot Wolf, Brian Gutekunst to interview for 49ers GM position

Two high-ranking Packers personnel executives – Eloit Wolf and Brian Gutekunst – will interview for the San Francisco 49ers' general manager job this week, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter and other media reports. Wolf is the presumed likely successor to GM Ted Thompson in Green Bay, but it's not known how much longer the 63-year-old Thompson intends to keep going. Thompson is under contract through the 2018 season. The Packers have regularly promoted Wolf, who now holds the title of director-football operations. - Rob Demovsky, ESPN.com

Jon's recent post: What Do We Know About Eliot Wolf?

Timeline of events - Eliot Wolf and Brian Gutekunst's almost-interviews

  • January 2015 - Eliot Wolf denied permission to interview with Eagles
  • January 2015 - Brian Gutekunst denied permission to interview with Eagles for “major front office position”
  • November 2015 - Eliot Wolf denied permission to interview with Lions
  • December 2015 - Jason La Canfora links Wolf to Browns, “I've become much more inclined to believe Eliot Wolf might actually be willing to leave Green Bay for the right job.”
  • January 2016 - Brian Gutekunst denied permission to interview with Titans for director of player personnel job

Aaron Ripkowski has a John Kuhn look to him - Tom Silverstein, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

There's no debate when it comes to the identity of the Green Bay Packers' lead running back.

It is Ty Montgomery.

But that doesn't mean there isn't room for a 6-1, 246-pound fullback named Aaron Ripkowski, who might be a better runner than he is a blocker. In the Packers' biggest game of the year, a winner-take-all showdown with the Detroit Lions for the NFC North title, Ripkowski set career highs with nine carries for 61 yards and caught two passes for 15 yards and a touchdown.

Montgomery has had some problems with pass protection and so Ripkowski allowed McCarthy a little insurance when the Packers went to their no-huddle. It also allowed McCarthy to force the Lions to keep personnel on the field that could stop the run, giving one of the receivers a match-up with a linebacker or safety.

The Packers opened with Montgomery and Ripkowski in the backfield but as they went to their one-back sets, they stuck with Ripkowski, who on his first two carries had gains of 10 and 5 yards.

The emphasis on Ripkowski may have been a one-game occurrence. Montgomery suffered what appeared to be a leg injury early in the game and that played a part in Ripkowski getting so many snaps. But protection was also an issue because of the pressure the Lions brought with a number of unscouted looks.

Odell Beckham Jr., Giants partied with Justin Bieber after beating Redskins - Washington Post

The New York Giants receivers took a little detour on the way home to northern New Jersey from FedEx Field. Their scenic route took them through Miami Beach, where they cut a celebratory swath after their victory Sunday over the Washington Redskins.

Justin Bieber was there, curse be damned, with several other celebrities, including Lil Wayne, Trey Songz, Fabolous, 2 Chainz, Jamie Foxx, Tristan Thompson, Khloe Kardashian, Adrian Brody and, because of course he was, Johnny Manziel. (Here’s a video clip, with mild profanity.)

“Players are off until [Tuesday] morning,” McAdoo said, declining to say whether they had first returned to New Jersey with the team or headed off on their own after the afternoon game ended. Nor would he say whether discipline was in the offing. The Giants’ first-round playoff game is Sunday night against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

“The players are off,” McAdoo said. “They are not working."

Main Topic: Can Green Bay Finally Beat the Giants in the Playoffs? [12:30]

Notes from Bob McGinn’s scouting report

  • Defensive coordinator Dom Capers basically ignored New York’s ground game, enabling him to employ a two-high safety look to assist his cornerbacks against Odell Beckham Jr. The Packers didn’t use a single snap of base defense.

  • On Eli Manning:

    • “He’s not having a great year but he’s still capable of making plays and hurting you,” said one scout. “I don’t think he’s been as accurate (63%), but he’s accurate enough. Is that his calling card? No, but he takes more shots downfield so the accuracy can be affected at times."

    • "Instead of taking a sack he’ll throw into coverage,” one scout said. “They don’t have a lot of big skill guys. They’re more small guys. With contested balls, sometimes little guys lose out.”

  • According to Sportradar, the Giants had the second-most dropped passes (43) in the NFL. Beckham led with 10, followed by Cruz (eight), Jennings (five), Shepard (four), Tye (four), tight end Larry Donnell (three) and Perkins (two).


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