Starter Pack: Calm before the storm

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

There haven’t been many slow news days since training camp began, but we’ll consider it the calm before the storm.

With the players taking their usual regular-season day off on Tuesday, it was a good chance for them -- and us -- to take a deep breath before things gear up on Wednesday in advance of Sunday’s highly anticipated season opener at San Francisco.

Typically on their off day, players will make radio or television appearances, and we heard the season premiere of quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ weekly in-season radio show on ESPN 540 in Milwaukee, the podcast of which can be found here.

On the show, Rodgers offered perhaps his most direct response to the criticism he faced from former teammates Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, who questioned his leadership. To that, Rodgers said: “I feel like I’m going to continue to lead the way I’ve been leading, and I think guys respond very positively to that and appreciate my style of leadership. There’s a reason I’m on the leadership council. There’s a reason I’m voted a captain. I stand by those things, and you learn all the time about leadership. It’s a constant educational process to gather information about your teammates and try and find the best ways to inspire those guys and push those guys and get the most out of them.

“But I’m very confident in the way I lead. I think [coach] Mike [McCarthy] believes in my style of leadership, and I think the guys respond favorably to that. It's not going to change. I enjoy what I’m doing. I love my job. I love the game of football and put a lot into it and expect to get a lot out of it as well.”


  • Packers linebacker Clay Matthews appeared on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike and talked about getting more hits on read-option quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers and that it might make teams less likely to run that kind of offense and thus be easier to defend.

  • Also at ESPN.com, there was the season debut of our weekly Power Rankings, with the Packers starting out at No. 5.

  • In the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Pete Dougherty used Matthews’ comments as the jumping off point for a look at how much 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh might be willing to expose Kaepernick to the kinds of hits Matthews was talking about. Wrote Dougherty: “Harbaugh also has to keep in mind Kaepernick’s long-term health. Kaepernick, like the other read-option quarterbacks already mentioned, has NFL arm talent regardless of his running ability, and his health is paramount to the 49ers’ Super Bowl hopes. Kaepernick also can beat teams with his legs on scrambles, where he’s at least protected by the slide rule. So Harbaugh might be inclined to use the read option only as a change-of-pace against the Packers, if even that, and only enough during the rest of the season to force teams to prepare for it.”

  • Dougherty also has the first of his weekly scouting reports on the upcoming opponent.

  • In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Lori Nickel profiled rookies David Bakhtiari, Jonathan Franklin and Datone Jones, who all share California roots.

  • Bob McGinn of the Journal Sentinel also has a scouting report on the 49ers.