Starter Pack: Matthews, Harbaugh stir pot

A daily roundup of what’s happening on the Green Bay Packers beat.

A game like this -- Packers at 49ers -- deserves a little intrigue and perhaps even some controversy.

Thanks to Clay Matthews and Jim Harbaugh, we now have some of both. A day after the Packers linebacker suggested that hits to the quarterback might be the best way to stop the read-option offense that 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick used to blow out the Packers last year in the playoffs, the 49ers coach took issue with it.

To review, we covered some of the back-and-forth between the two in this post on Wednesday evening.

It’s interesting that Harbaugh said he planned to talk to the officials before the game about how hits on his quarterback will be called. Clearly, Harbaugh, like every NFL head coach, has a full understanding of the rules, but this is one area where there might be some room for interpretation.

But Harbaugh went a step further when he suggested, without mentioning the word bounty, the Packers sound like a team that is “targeting a specific player.”

Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel was at 49ers headquarters and had this from Harbaugh: “You’re hearing a lot of tough talk right now, intimidating type of talk, the kind of things, the same thing we were hearing a couple of years ago. It sounds like targeting a specific player. You definitely start to wonder.”


  • At ESPN.com, we profiled one of the rookies, cornerback Micah Hyde, who will play a key role in Sunday’s game and looked at the drop-off in yards after the catch by the Packers receivers last season.

  • In the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Pete Dougherty wrote that some of the things that the Packers did in training camp were “enough to leave open the question of whether (coach Mike) McCarthy’s commitment to the run is wavering with the season about to start and the team’s best offensive talent still heavily weighted to the passing game.”

  • Weston Hodkiewicz broke down some of the changes the Packers have made on defense as a result of their playoff loss to the 49ers.

  • In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bob McGinn took another look at the roster that general manager Ted Thompson assembled coming out of training camp.

  • At ESPNMilwaukee.com, Jason Wilde noted that quarterback Aaron Rodgers dismissed the notion that the Packers are heading to San Francisco to get even with the 49ers. Wilde also spoke with University of Wisconsin defensive coordinator Dave Aranda about the day he spent this offseason talking about defending the read-option with Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers.