The guys give their predictions for Sunday's season-ending showdown between the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions.
GREEN BAY - In a year when little has gone as planned for the Green Bay Packers, a season-ending victory on Sunday in Detroit would at least assure them of a .500 record. Otherwise, the franchise is looking at its first losing season since 2008.
The difference between 8-8 and 7-9 may be trivial in the broad scheme of things, but players in the locker room said it carries significant weight in the pride category. And with the playoffs out of reach, pride is all they have to play for.
“It definitely does (matter),” defensive end Mike Daniels said. “I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. This is a divisional opponent, and we have to let them know we’re not going to just give up no matter what. We just have to finish strong and go into the offseason on a high note.”
Muscle man: Running backs coach Ben Sirmans has challenged rookie Aaron Jones to improve his lower-body strength during the offseason.
Jones has suffered medial collateral ligament injuries in both knees over the last three months, and Sirmans believes added muscle will increase availability.
“He's just got to get stronger, I think that's the biggest thing,” Sirmans said, “especially in the lower body. … One of the things that he'll work on is getting physically stronger, I think that's something that's going to help him be a lot more durable. He knows that, so again it's one of the reasons why I'm excited about how these guys should come back (next year).”
Helping hand: Wide receiver Davante Adams and left tackle David Bakhtiari were named recipients of the 2017 Tom Mulhern Stand-Up Guy Award as voted by the Green Bay chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America.
The award, given annually, is designed to recognize the player or players who have shown “exemplary professionalism in helping pro football writers covering the Green Bay Packers do their jobs.”
“I think it’s nice,” Bakhtiari said. “I think the biggest thing I’m proud about is my mom is going to be really happy. It just comes down to respect. It doesn’t matter at the end of the day the relationship between media and players, and whether there’s any rift at any point. We’re people. It’s good to act respectful.”
Previous winners include T.J. Lang, Micah Hyde, Jordy Nelson and Tramon Williams.
The award is named for the late Tom Mulhern, a former sportswriter who covered the Packers and Wisconsin Badgers for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Green Bay Press-Gazette and Wisconsin State Journal. Mulhern died in October 2014 from complications of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease at age 56.