could bring big changes for Packers
January 14, 2013
Bay Packers wide receiver James Jones (89) sits on the bench
during the fourth quarter of an NFC divisional playoff NFL
football game against the San Francisco 49ers in San
Francisco, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013. The 49ers won 45-31.
One by one, Greg Jennings took down the photos of his wife and
children that lined his locker, careful not to rip them as he
removed the tape. Below him, two plastic bins were filled with
shampoo, lotion, toothpaste and deodorant.
from the rout in San Francisco that ended their trying season, the
Green Bay Packers headed into an offseason sure to bring change
some of it big. Jennings and Donald Driver, key parts of the team
that won the Super Bowl two years ago, are all but gone, and Charles
Woodson may have played his last game for Green Bay.
end of the day, you know the Packers are going to do what's best for
the Packers. And that's not going to change whether you're No. 4,
No. 80, No. 85, No. 77. That's going to be the case," Jennings
said Sunday, referring to Brett Favre, Driver and Cullen Jenkins, as
well as himself. "And as the other half of the businessman
sitting down at that table, I have to do what's best for myself and
finished with career lows in receptions (36), yards per catch (10.2)
and total yards (366) after missing half of season with a torn
muscle in his groin. He remains Aaron Rodgers' favorite target,
however, and he reminded everyone why with one big catch after
another when he returned from the injury. He led Green Bay with six
catches and a score in Saturday night's 45-31 loss to San Francisco
in an NFC divisional game.
Packers have perhaps the deepest receiving corps in the NFL, and
breakout seasons by James Jones and Randall Cobb have made Jennings,
an unrestricted free agent, expendable.
Bay Packers players sit on the bench during the fourth quarter
of an NFC divisional playoff NFL football game against the San
Francisco 49ers in San Francisco, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013.
in this locker room is trying to win Super Bowls, but everybody in
this locker room is trying to take care of their family as
well," Jones said. "Football is our job and football is
how we do it, and we understand that we've got four or five No. 1
receivers that are going to want money at some time. So we know it's
going to be hard for this organization to pay everybody what they
want, which (stinks) ... because I wish we could stay together for
the rest of our career and go on a run and win some Super
Green Bay's all-time leading receiver, and is adored by fans. But he
will be 38 next month, and had only a bit role in the offense after
restructuring the final year of his contract. His eight catches for
77 yards were his lowest totals since his rookie season, and he was
inactive for four games, including the NFC wild-card, possibly his
final game at Lambeau Field.
like to play until he's 40, and thinks he can still help a team. But
he said he'll talk with his wife and children before making any
decisions on his future.
(Saturday) is my last game, then it was a true honor just to put
that uniform on once again," said Driver, who played on special
teams Saturday. "I wore that uniform for a long time and it's
truly a blessing to be wearing the green and gold."
linebacker A.J. Hawk and big tight end Jermichael Finley are all
under contract for next year. But they're all due raises, too, and
the Packers have to begin making tough decisions because they need
to lock up long-term deals with Jones, Clay Matthews and B.J. Raji.
The three, considered cornerstones of the franchise, all will be
free agents after next season.
2009 defensive player of the year, is one of the most-respected
players in the Packers locker room by players and coaches alike
and he's still disruptive. But he turned 36 in October and
missed nine games with a broken right collarbone, the same one he
broke in the Super Bowl. Youngsters Casey Hayward and M.D. Jennings
made big impressions this season, and the Packers may decide they're
enough to make up for Woodson's absence.
Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy stands on the sideline
during the fourth quarter of an NFC divisional playoff NFL
football game against the San Francisco 49ers in San
Francisco, Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013.
were repeatedly torched by Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers, and Hawk
looked particularly overmatched.
Finley. He set a franchise record for receptions by a tight end this
year, and few Packers were better down the stretch. But he's
mercurial, and general manager Ted Thompson may decide he's not
worth the big bump in payroll.
finished losing, man," Finley said. "Hopefully I'm here
forever. I'm good for next year, as far as I know."
what the roster looks like, the Packers have to find a way to finish
better next year. This was the second straight year they were
bounced out in the divisional round, and neither game was close.
finishing was a season-long problem for Green Bay. The Packers fell
to 2-3 after blowing an 18-point halftime lead at Indianapolis. They
also struggled to put away less-than-mediocre teams like New
Orleans, Jacksonville and Detroit. After securing the No. 2 seed
with a rout of Tennessee, the Packers gave it up to San Francisco by
losing to Minnesota in the regular-season finale.
Mason Crosby's 31-yard field goal midway through the third quarter
tied Saturday's game at 24, the 49ers steamrolled the Packers,
scoring three straight touchdowns.
didn't finish. That's the bottom line, we didn't finish," Jones
said. "We had a chance to do something great and get back to
the Super Bowl. (But) we didn't finish our season strong. So got to
start all over."
Cedric Benson, who played only five games before a season-ending
foot injury, hopes to return next year. "Absolutely. I don't
have a preference to be anywhere else," he said. "This is
what I know and I'm excited about winning Super Bowls, too, and
everybody around here is as well." ... RT Bryan Bulaga, who
suffered a season-ending hip injury Nov. 4, expects to be ready for
next season. "It's a little bit far out in advance to tell what
I'm going to be doing, but I'm pretty confident training camp is a
Brown County Board to honor
Packers' Donald Driver tries to fire up the crowd before the
first half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans
Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, in Green Bay, Wis.
GREEN BAY, Wis. - The Brown County Board this week will honor
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver for his community
The board will recognize the Packers' all-time
leading receiver for his work with The Donald Driver Foundation,
which deals with issues related to homelessness and education.
Driver has also hosted the annual charity softball game with
Supervisor Bernie Erickson tells the Green Bay Press-Gazette
Driver has given of himself, his money and is a fan favorite, so
it's a great opportunity to honor him while he's still in Green
Driver will be 38 next month and had only a bit role in the
offense after restructuring the final year of his contract.
County officials say the event is on Driver's schedule, but
that's not a guarantee he will attend Wednesday.
Chiefs introduce Dorsey as new general
City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey speaks to the media at a
news conference Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - John Dorsey called
becoming the general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs the
"perfect storm." The word "serendipity" may have been more
The longtime Packers personnel man met his wife,
Patricia, on a blind date orchestrated by former Chiefs
executive Lamonte Winston several years ago. Patricia had
attended the University of Kansas and lived in Kansas City, and
Dorsey remembers being smitten by her.
"I'll be honest with you, the moment I met her, I knew I'd
marry her. That's the truth," he said. "And I could see that she
didn't walk away from me, so that was good."
Dorsey was also smitten by Kansas City.
Even though he played for the Packers during the 1980s, and
got his start in their scouting department, he still considered
the Chiefs his "dream job." So when chairman Clark Hunt called
looking for a replacement for the fired Scott Pioli, Dorsey
couldn't turn down the chance.
Dorsey was officially introduced as the Chiefs' new general
manager on Monday.
"I was like, 'If this could possibly work out, would we be at
peace with this whole thing?'" Dorsey said. "Once Trish was at
peace with it, and I was at peace with it, that was a good
thing. And then we had to make sure Clark Hunt said yes. And my
gosh, when he said yes, I looked right at her, and I said, 'You
would not believe what that phone call just was.'"
It was the culmination of more than two decades of work in
Green Bay, where Dorsey was instrumental in putting together
drafts that helped the Packers win nine division championships,
three conference titles and Super Bowls in 1996 and 2010.
"I didn't know a lot about him other than his reputation,"
Hunt said. "I can't tell you how excited he was. He said, 'This
is the opportunity I've been waiting for.'"
City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey, left, poses with new
head coach Andy Reid during an NFL football news conference
announcing Dorsey's hiring Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, in Kansas
Dorsey takes over a team that was 2-14 last season, the worst
finish in franchise history and tied for the worst record in the
NFL. There are problems at quarterback, holes up and down the
roster and several top players about to become free agents.
But he also inherits a franchise that will have the No. 1
pick for the first time, and that has plenty of salary cap space
to begin plugging all those holes.
"We would like to be consistently competitive in this
division, this conference and ultimately the Super Bowl. That's
why we're here, to do the job," Dorsey said. "I'm going to do
everything within my God-given ability to make sure we have a
competitive team in the NFL."
Dorsey will have final say over all personnel matters, but
he'll likely get plenty of input from new coach Andy Reid, whom
he worked with in Green Bay during the 1990s.
The former Eagles coach was introduced as Romeo Crennel's
replacement a week ago.
"I'm happy to work with John again," Reid said. "I've known
John for a long time, and I have a lot of respect for him. He's
a talented individual with a strong work ethic."
He's also a "people person," Hunt said, someone who can
City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey, left, poses with
Chiefs' chairman Clark Hunt during an NFL football news
conference Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, in Kansas City, Mo.
Hunt interviewed Dorsey for about six hours last Tuesday. The
discussions continued for several days before Dorsey, who had
bypassed other GM overtures in the past, finally decided to move
into the hot seat in Kansas City.
"In his interview, although it went on for a while, he showed
a high degree of enthusiasm the whole way," Hunt said, "which
showed to me that Kansas City was a priority for him."
Dorsey said he spent an hour with the personnel staff Monday,
and that his next order of business is to evaluate the current
roster. He wants to meet with the coaching staff to discuss
their philosophy, and then outline a plan for free agency and
begin meeting about the draft.
The draft, of course, is where Dorsey burnished his
He began his career as a college scout in Green Bay, and
later rose to director of college scouting. During his years
with the Packers, Dorsey helped to scout and draft quarterback
Aaron Rodgers, defensive tackle B.J. Raji, linebackers Clay
Matthews and A.J. Hawk, and wide receivers Jordy Nelson, Greg
Jennings and Randall Cobb.
"John has been a loyal member of the Packers family and the
Green Bay community for more than half of his life," Packers GM
Ted Thompson said in a statement. "The Chiefs have hired a good
man, and John has earned this opportunity."
Dorsey didn't get into details about what the next few months
will hold for the Chiefs, though there are several personnel
decisions that must be made soon.
Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and left tackle Branden Albert are
among several key players who can become free agents, and could
potentially be franchised. Other players will also be available
on the free-agent market, though Dorsey warned about the flaws
of building a team in that way.
"I like to be selective in free agency," he said. "I always
believe you can still get value within that philosophy, and you
can still acquire players."
The Chiefs are also in desperate need of an upgrade at
quarterback, where Matt Cassel was benched last season and Brady
Quinn fared little better.
Kansas City has only drafted one quarterback in the past six
seasons Ricky Stanzi in the fifth round. The Chiefs also
haven't picked a quarterback higher than the third round since
1992, and in the first round since choosing Todd Blackledge in
"Any time when you begin to build a franchise, let's be real,
the quarterback is a very important part," Dorsey said. "As you
note the last couple weeks in the playoffs, the quarterback
position is a very important position to the long-term success
of the organization."