The Packers have a chance to catch their breath after winning the NFC Title Sunday in Chicago. The team checked in for treatment and meetings Monday and the players are off today. Mike McCarthy and the coaching staff will begin detailing the game plan for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Super Bowl XVL today. McCarthy has had a Super Bowl plan in place since the 2007 season when the team reached the conference championship game, only to lose to the Giants. He's also heard from coaching friends, including Mike Holmgren about how to prepare for the big game. He wants the team to practice hard later this week while still in Green Bay, get the game plan installed and the assignments refined. Super Bowl week in Dallas is not the time or place with so many distractions during the week. The team held administrative meetings Monday to go over details like tickets for family members, travel arrangements and the like. Tomorrow will be like a normal Monday and the work week will begin.
Clay Matthews has gone from a wild haired, high motor draft pick to an NFL superstar in two years. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie last year, was among the leaders in sacks this season with 13.5 to earn a second Pro Bowl spot and Monday, was named to his first Associated Press All-Pro team. I consider this list much more significant than the popularity contest Pro Bowl balloting. The AP uses two media members in every NFL city to select just one NFL all star team. Matthews is the first linebacker since Tim Harris in 1986 to make the squad. New England's Tom Brady is the All-Pro quarterback, Houston's Arian Foster and Kansas City's Jamal Charles are the running backs. Roddy White of Atlanta and Reggie Wayne of Indianapolis are the wide receivers. The AFC Champion Steelers are represented by James Harrison at linebacker and Troy Polamalu at safety. A former Packer also made the team. Fullback Vonta Leach, cut by the Packers in 2007, made the All Pro team with the Houston Texans.
B.J. the dancing Bear. B.J. Raji has turned into a folk hero with his 18 yard interception return for a touchdown against the Bears that resulted in the winning points in the 21-14 NFC Championship victory. Dropping into a fire zone blitz coverage, Raji jumped in front of Matt Forte to swipe Caleb Hanie's pass and rumble into the end zone where he did a wild celebration dance. Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Monday he loved the play watching it live, but after looking at the film, docked Raji one grade point for holding the ball high while rumbling to the end zone and he knocked off another point for the funny dance itself. Raji said he had over 170 text messages on his phone after the game, offering advice on everything to his dance moves, hiring a new dance teacher and simply congratulating him on an unbelievable play for a defensive nose tackle.