Packer Rundown: 4 to Pro Bowl, more blitz
Despite Green Bay's 12-and-2 record only four Packers were named to the Pro Bowl Monday.
Quarterback Brett Favre, defensive end Aaron Kampman, and corner Al Harris were all named NFC starters for the inter-conference All-Star game on Feb. 10 in Honolulu.
Receiver Donald Driver was named a reserve. Driver said at least nine or 10 Packers should have been named instead of just four and it's clear that both fans and players nationally are overlooking the Pack.
The Minnesota Vikings had seven selections, including former Green Bay safety Darren Sharper.
Dallas had the most with 11, including Burlington-native Tony Romo.
The Packers' Nick Barnett was among those snubbed, even though he has more tackles than those who were picked, but he and others still have a chance to go as alternates.
For many players, being named to the Pro Bowl is more important than actually going.
More than a few returning players skip out each year with the smallest of injuries. Favre has skipped out four times himself, but this is his first Pro Bowl bid since 2003.
It's the first one for the 33-year-old Harris and he definitely plans to go. Barnett, Charles Woodson, and Chad Clifton are the Packers' highest-ranking alternates.
Others are Nick Collins, Bubba Franks, Ryan Grant, A.J. Hawk, Scott Wells, Donald Lee, and Greg Jennings.
The Green Bay Packers are blitzing more these days.
It never was a big part of the game plan for defensive coordinator Bob Sanders and his predecessor Jim Bates.
But that changed after the Packers barely touched Dallas quarterback Tony Romo in the Cowboys' victory over Green Bay Nov. 29.
Last Sunday in St. Louis, linebacker Nick Barnett got his first sacks in eight games when he took down Rams' quarterback Marc Bulger twice.
Aaron Kampman got one sack, his first since Thanksgiving.
All told, the Packers sacked Bulger four times and hit him twice more.
Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy claims he didn't make the call to step up the blitzing and lets Sanders worry about that.
"I don't ever want to walk into Bob's office and say hey, I want you to be 35 percent pressure. The only thing that I participate in game-planning is volume," said McCarthy.
Sanders said he's had a flexible defense all year and he's always been able to blitz when he thinks the situation calls for it.
The Packers are 12-and-2, and will host Chicago on Sunday.
McCarthy says he won't rest his starters as long as the Packers have a chance for home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
"We're playing for home-field advantage, and that will be our focus. But with that, we have been playing pretty much almost everybody at most of our positions and we'll continue with that mindset," said McCarthy.
To guarantee it, the Packers will have to win one more game than Dallas in the final two weeks of the regular season.