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Combine Blog: defensive lineman studies up

February 23rd, 2013 at 1:35 pm by under Uncategorized

Ryan Pickett won’t last forever. One of the elder statesmen on the Packers, Pickett is coming off one of his best seasons helping anchor Green Bay’s 3-4 defensive line. You can always use more big people on your team, the Packers may look to this year’s draft to find new pieces for their defensive line.

Penn State defensive tackle Jordan was a first-team All-Big Ten selection his senior year. He played in a 4-3 system in college, but is prepared to switch over to a new scheme in the pros.

What kind of player are you?

A high motor, relentless play. I’m a guy that will make a play down the field even though I’m a defensive tackle. I’m a guy that plays well through run and pass. I don’t feel like I’m strictly a pass-rusher or strictly a run-stopper. I feel I can do both and be pretty effective at both of them.

What do you think about being a 3-4 defensive linemen, it’s not a glamorous job?

I’m fine with it. It’s still a challenge trying to eat up those blocks. It’s something that’s unseen, but your coaches and teammates know what you do.

Have you studied film to get ready for interviews with teams that play a 3-4 defense?

You gotta have a good sense of how to answer certain questions truthfully and honestly. It’s something you’ve got to get used to. I told them I played 5-tech [5-technique, a defensive line position that typically lines up directly across from an offensive tackle, a normal spot for 3-4 defensive ends to line up] in college, I can play in a 3-4 as a 5-tech, it wouldn’t be anything new to me.


It’s official, I’m one of those crazy dog people

November 9th, 2012 at 11:56 am by under Uncategorized, Weather

Yes, I can now be grouped in with the “crazy dog” people.  Phoebe, our Pembroke Welsh Corgi just turned 1 year old.  My step daughter Sarah made her a doggie birthday cake (mostly peanut butter and carrots).  My wife added the party hat, while I was happily snapping pictures the entire time. 

  I’ve been a dog enthusiast from way back.  But when my Labrador Retriever passed I tried going without a dog.  I thought that some new carpeting would be nice.  No dog hair would mean a cleaner house, and I’d save money on dog sitters.  Looking back now those were some silly ideas.  2 weeks of being dog-less and I was suffering from “empty nest syndrome”, or as my wife simply put it I was “freaking out”.  I really missed the pitter patter of paws, the sloppy kisses, the constantly wagging tail, even the fur that coated my work suits.  I found a home with no dog is a truly empty place.  Now my wife was not ready for another dog (she was still missing our Lab).  So I played dirtiest of tricks and emailed her a picture of a new litter of Corgi puppies.  My underhanded email worked and the next day we were in agreement, we are getting a puppy!

  We visited Phoebe and the rest of the puppies once a week as they grew from gerbil looking things into miniature Corgi’s.  At around 6 weeks the puppies ears started popping up into the traditional Corgi pose ^ ^ and we were so proud of our little pup.  New Year’s Day is when our family became complete again and Phoebe came home.  It’s been a doggie love affair ever since.

  Phoebe (aka “The Phoeb’s”…. aka “Fuzzy Butt”….. aka “Big Ears” aka….. aka “My Little Girl”) is a smart dog and loves her toys and chewing the stuffing out of them.  Tug-of-war is a game she always wants to play, and when she does, she makes a most ferocious growl.  I think it’s her way of acting bigger than the 18 pounds she sports.  But her favorite activity of all is catching Frisbees.  She can’t jump very high but she is quite a speedster and catches most of the disks thrown her way.   Although Phoebe like us a lot, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend lately, she seems lonely.  I think she needs a little brother or sister to keep her company.  It may be time to reach into my bag of tricks and email some puppy pictures to Carol.  When it comes to dogs I don’t fight fair.  ;-)

  If you are looking for some companionship I highly recommend dogs, though cats are nice too.  This link Petfinder.com will help you search for you perfect pup or kitty from shelters across Wisconsin and the U.S.  If you have not had an animal before I encourage you to go to a shelter and ask lots of question about what you need to do as an owner.  If a dog fits into your life I highly recommend getting one.  There are a lot brown eyed fuzzy wiggle butts waiting for a forever home!    


Packers talk defensive draft

April 28th, 2012 at 2:04 pm by under Uncategorized

Hanging out at Lambeau as the Packers defensive draft rolls on … five picks, all defense.  Ted Thompson said last night, this is still the ‘best player available’ approach in action … but the Packers had needs on defense, and they’re being addressed.

Maine safety Jerron McMillian was excited and engaging in his phone conference with media here.  Sounded really enthusiastic about getting drafted, and admitted he was surprised to be drafted as high as he was.  McMillian also talked about Nick Collins, said he’d always followed Collins’ career since he came from a small school (Bethune-Cookman).

Dom Capers described defensive tackle Mike Daniels out of Iowa as a football guy.  In his phone conference, that came through.  My favorite part, by far, was when he was asked about his favorite ‘move’ to get to the quarterback.  His answer: ‘hustle.’  Good answer.  At 5’11, Daniels also said he’s been overcoming doubts about his height as a defensive lineman his whole career.  In his pre-draft press conference, Ted Thompson pointed to linebacker DJ Smith as a guy who wasn’t ideal height, but has worked out in the NFL so far.  Thompson may have found another one.

Packers have some time (barring a trade) until their next pick, late in the sixth round.


Key stat against Kentucky

March 19th, 2012 at 2:42 pm by under Uncategorized

We’ve talked about why Green Bay ended up with a lower seed than expected in the NCAA Tournament — but you have to feel for Kentucky.  Second seed, regular season SEC Champions … and good luck against a team ranked ahead of you in the AP Poll in the second round.

Here’s the stat to watch tonight: turnovers.  Kentucky leads all of division 1 women’s basketball in turnover margin, +10.34/game.  Green Bay is second, +9.44/game.  The Phoenix forced 30 (!) turnovers in a win against Iowa State, whereas Kentucky generated just 11 as they struggled against McNeese State.

The Phoenix can go to the ‘Buzz Defense,’ a 2-1-2 zone that forces lob passes, and gets Julie Wojta a bunch of steals.  An athletic Kentucky team prefers to speed up opponents, playing a style they call “40 minutes of dread.”

The team that wins the turnover battle should win this game; especially if the margin is more than 2-3.  Phoenix and Wildcats tip tonight at 8:45pm Central.


Jacobs said he’d consider playing for the Packers

March 9th, 2012 at 5:23 pm by under Sports, Uncategorized

Green Bay isn’t known for forays into free agency, nor do they seem to be in the market for a veteran power back.  That said, Brandon Jacobs said last season he would welcome a chance to, one day, continue his career in the Green and Gold.  On Friday, New York Giants released Jacobs after seven seasons.  He’s the fourth-leading rusher in Giants franchise history.

After losing to the Packers in Week 16 of the 2010 season, Jacobs and the Giants were snowed in and forced to spent some extra time at the team hotel in Appleton.  FOX 11′s Ben Krumholz caught up with Jacobs the Monday after the Giants’ loss, and asked about if Jacobs would ever consider playing in Green Bay.

“If push came to shove and Green Bay offered me an opportunity to extend my career as a Packer, you know, count me in,” said Jacobs on December 27th, 2010.

According to the AP, Jacobs wanted to work out a new deal with the Super Bowl champion Giants, but couldn’t get a deal done.

“Out of every place we play, [Green Bay] is a place I actually respect the fans and the people the most,” said Jacobs back in December 2010. “You know, it’s just all-American people.”

The Packers are scheduled to visit the Giants in the upcoming season, and could be and appealing candidate to face the Giants in the NFL’s season opener.


Regarding the latest Philbin story

March 7th, 2012 at 3:51 pm by under Uncategorized

Earlier today, we posted information regarding the conclusion of the investigation into the death of Michael Philbin, the son of former Packers offensive coordinator and current Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin.

We have received several comments critical of us for reporting the information. Here’s why we believe it’s appropriate to report.

* We have followed the tragic case from the beginning. It makes sense to report the conclusion of the case.

* The incident was the subject of many rumors. By reporting the final determination by authorities – an accidental drowning – hopefully that puts some of the rumors to rest.

* When the Oshkosh Police Dept. sent us the release, included a statement from Coach Philbin and the family. We did not ask for such comment. It was provided to us. If you read it, it is a powerful statement from a grieving family. It includes a warning to not mix illegal drugs and alcohol. Because of the references to illegal drugs, etc., I’m not sure it would make total sense without the information from the police report.

* Our stories have included other information about Michael Philbin, including that he made the Dean’s List and had a 3.4 GPA at Ripon College.

We understand this has been a tragic situation for the Philbin family. It is not our intent to add to the family’s pain. We have respected the wishes of the family and Packers organization in matters related to coverage of the event, the funeral, questioning the coach about the incident, and so on.

But, the fact remains that the accidental drowning death of a college student – whether it was Michael Philbin, the UW-Stevens Point incident a week ago, or the several incidents near the UW-La Crosse campus – is indeed news. The Philbin family’s statement today indicates its hope this incident can serve as a lesson to others. I think it would be irresponsible of us not to report it or to share those sentiments. And it would be irresponsible to withhold information as well.

And, as always, we appreciate your feedback.


Thoughts heading into Horizon League women’s tourney

March 5th, 2012 at 4:19 pm by under Uncategorized

Matt Bollant, Julie Wojta and Adrian Ritchie chatted with media this morning, getting ready for Wednesday night’s Horizon League Tournament opener.  Some thoughts …

–Everyone seemed a little … just a slight bit agitated more Green Bay players didn’t make all-conference (Wojta made 1st team and defensive team, Ritchie 2nd); specifically Sarah Eichler and Lydia Bauer getting some kind of attention.  While it’s tough to make four players from one team all-conference, Green Bay’s the class of the league.  10-8 UIC and 12-6 Wright State also put two players on the first and second teams.  Matt Bollant also made the case for Megan Lukan to make the all-newcomer team.

–”I don’t think my coaches would’ve thought [I'd win defensive player of the year] the first two years either,” –Julie Wojta.  The star forward seemed especially proud of her defensive player of the year honor.  Bollant, too.  This is a player who, in her and Coach Bollant’s minds, wasn’t exemplary on defense when she showed up in Green Bay. Assistant coach Mike Divilbiss told me about how Wojta key’s the Phoenix’s buzz defense from her spot on the 2-1-2 zone’s back line, her 3.5 steals per game easily lead the conference.

–Green Bay might face Milwaukee Wednesday … whom they beat by an average of 40.5 points this season.  Phoenix topped Valparaiso by an average of 32 points.  If you’re going to the HL quarterfinals Wednesday night, might want to show up early.

–Phoenix are up to 25th (from 27th) in the RPI, so leaning on an NCAA 6 seed.  Green Bay might as well root for Detroit, the only team to beat them during the regular season, to make the HL finals … the Titans are currently 108th in the RPI, a few more wins (and strength of schedule bump from a hypothetical HL finals match-up against Green Bay) could sneak them into the top 100 … give the Phoenix a chance at another top 100 win.  Or, you know, a seed-wrecking second loss.


Winter snowfall above average

February 8th, 2011 at 1:59 pm by under Uncategorized

We have only named three storms so far this winter, but our snowfall is still above average. This season we have picked up 43.0”, which is around 9” above average. Less than half of that total has come from named storms. In other words, this winter has had numerous shot of minor snow accumulations.

So what’s at stake for the rest of the winter? Meteorologically speaking, there are only 20 days left in the season. Let’s face it though; winters in Northeast Wisconsin extend well past February. In fact, we typically see an average of 18.6 additional inches of snow between now and our last snowfall.

March is no push over. It’s a month that averages 9.2” of snow. However, in recent years our March’s have been kind. Last year we had no snow in March for the first time on record. The chance of that repeating this year is very slim. We are expected to still be in a la nina this spring. It’s a pattern that has typically brought Northeast Wisconsin above average snowfall.

If the rest of the winter plays by the average, we will come away with more than 61 inches of snow. That will make it the third snowiest winter in the last ten years. It would also fall into the range of our winter forecast which called for between 60 and 75 inches of snow.

Meteorologist Andrew Thut


Brrrr… Temps fall below zero

December 14th, 2010 at 3:27 pm by under Uncategorized, Weather

This morning’s temperatures were the coldest the area has seen since last February. Almost all of our western counties fell below zero. In Wautoma the mercury dropped to -16°.

But for parts of western Wisconsin it was even colder. Eau Claire fell to -22°!

It’s not too uncommon for that part of the state to see the extreme cold. In Eau Claire they see more than 30 days below zero each year. It’s even colder, or worse depending on your preference, in Rhinelander. On average, they have more than 40 days below zero annually.

In that part of the state, lows will generally drop to -25° or -30° at least once a year. Further south there is some improvement. Green Bay’s coldest temperature of the winter generally falls between -15° and -20°.

Our record low, from 1888 is -36°. The states record comes from Couderay, located in northwest Wisconsin. During a cold snap in February of 1996, Couderay plummeted to -55°.

Meteorologist Andrew Thut




35 years since the Edmund Fitzgerald shipwreck

November 9th, 2010 at 5:28 pm by under Uncategorized, Weather

It has been 35 years since one of the most historic shipwrecks in the Great Lakes. On the evening of November 10th, 1975, the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in Lake Superior.  The wreck has evolved into a Midwestern legend and is well known due to Gordon Lightfoot’s song “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. The song was written as a tribute to this ship wreck and the men who lost their lives.

The freighter was one of the largest on the Great Lakes (729 feet long) and was carrying almost 26,000 tons of ore on its last voyage across Lake Superior. The final route of the Edmund Fitzgerald is documented in the image below.

Edmund Fitzgerald Route

On the afternoon of Sunday, November 9 1975, the Edmund Fitzgerald departed Superior, WI en route to a steel mill near Detroit, MI. Shortly after leaving, the Fitzgerald made contact with the Arthur M. Anderson, a freighter headed on a similar route toward Gary, IN.

Due to an intensifying storm system, the two freighters decided to take a more northern route than was typical for the voyage. The forecast called for gale force winds to come out of the Northeast, and the more northern route would bring the ships close to the Canadian shoreline at the storms peak. This would provide a buffer for the ships and reduce the speed of the winds and the waves that the ships would experience.

On the afternoon of November 10th, the wave heights of more than 15 feet were reported and the Fitzgerald began taking on damage. By around 7 PM wave heights of more than 30 feet were reported and the Anderson made final contact with the Fitzgerald. When asked how the Fitzgerald was doing they replied “We are holding our own”. Shortly afterwards the Fitzgerald disappeared from the Anderson‘s radar screen. The freighter sank 17 miles north-northwest of Whitefish Point, Michigan. The Great Lakes Shipwrecks museum has the final chatter between the two ships posted on this page at the bottom of their website. There are numerous theories regarding how and why the ship sank, but no one definitively knows what led to the Fitzgerald’s demise.

Meteorologist Andrew Thut