Episode 18 - No Silver Linings

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.

Everyone around the NFL is speculating! From rumors about trading for aging stars to signing running backs, it’s open season for wild guesses. Hosts Jon Meerdink and Gary Zilavy unpack the headlines and discuss the regular season matchups against the Packers’ future playoff opponents. 

Here are the headlines we covered in Blue 58:

Packers Rumors: Connor Barwin to the Packers?

Barwin has produced double digit sacks just once in the past five seasons. It's hard to envision the Packers tripping over themselves to trade for the outside linebacker. He's on the other side of 30 years old and is scheduled to make over $8 million next year. The Eagles will most likely have to release Barwin.

Packers special teams ranked 29th

Rick Gosselin at the Dallas Morning News ranks the NFL's special teams units annually based on 22 different criteria. The results are in, and the Packers special teams were not looked kindly on. Green Bay ranked 29th overall, and finish dead last in kickoff coverage and opponent kickoff starting point.

Franchise and transition tag window open

The NFL franchise tag window opened last Wednesday at 4:00 PM EST and runs through March 1st. Green Bay has not used the franchise tag since 2010, and that streak is likely to continue. The three candidates to be tagged – T.J. Lang, Nick Perry, and Jared Cook – are likely not elite enough to warrant the high dollar investment.

Remembering a rough stretch in the middle of the year

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 5: Dallas 30, Green Bay 16

The Cowboys have yet to be anointed the super power that they were by season's end, as they have yet to beat a quality opponent. Rookie quarterback Dak Prescott has impressed, but many feel the team will go back to Tony Romo when he returns from injury. For the Packers, Lambeau Field becomes a house of horrors. Aaron Rodgers fumbles twice, and both Eddie Lacy and James Starks are lost to injury.

Game 6: Green Bay 26, Chicago 10

Four days later, the Packers play the rival Bears on a Thursday night wearing the all-white Color Rush uniforms. The game was ugly in the first half, ending with a 6-3 Packers lead. Rodgers bounces back, notching a franchise-record 39 completions as the team is without a true running back who knows the playbook. The Bears lose starting quarterback Brian Hoyer to a broken arm early, and Hoyer's replacement Matt Barkley doesn't do much.

Game 7: Atlanta 33, Green Bay 32

The Falcons face the Packers on the heels of blowing a 17-point lead at home to a bad Chargers team. Meanwhile, Green Bay is decimated by injuries as wide receiver Jeff Janis plays in 94% of the offensive snaps. Aaron Rodgers somehow cobbles together a four touchdown performance, but Matt Ryan's game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter gives Atlanta a bounceback win. 

Game 8: Indianapolis 31, Green Bay 26

Indianapolis ranks dead last in the league defending the pass, and their offensive line has done a poor job protecting Andrew Luck so far. The Colts appear to be an easy win at home for the Packers, but Green Bay is out-hustled, out-coached and outplayed. The Packers offense makes a furious rally at the end of the game, but the defense fails to cover T.Y. Hilton and the Colts are able to run out the clock.

While I’ve got you here

Ryan Longwell and Marquand Manuel signed identical contracts on the same day. Longwell signed with the Vikings and Manuel with the Packers. I wonder if Manuel’s came with an Applebee’s gift card.


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