20

July

Green Bay Packers Brandon Jackson: Do They Really Have to Keep Him?

My Postulate: Brandon Jackson has not done enough to just be handed a spot on the Green Bay Packers 2010  roster.

Everywhere I look, I see Ryan Grant and Brandon Jackson mentioned as the two “locks” at the running back spot for the Packers.  I say, not so fast

This started out innocently enough as a look at the battle for the last running back spot on the Packers (that will be coming soon), but soon diverted into a full-fledged disparagement of Brandon Jackson. See, I admit it.

Now certainly, I can be fickle. There are certain things I expect from players at certain positions. Pretty key for a running back is to be productive when he gets the ball. Even though Ryan Grant doesn’t fit my perfect running back mold, I’ll never deny that he’s been productive and has done a good job for the Packers.

As for Jackson, his failures as a productive ground gainer and as a receiver are disturbing. One would think he would be perfect for the screen game, yet, with a few exceptions, he has mostly struggled there.

This past season, he  contributed to the team in just one significant way – pass blocking. I know this, of course, because I’ve seen many  a sportswriter or blogger proclaim Jackson as having done  a “great” job in pass protection last season. So it must be true, right?

Well, I’m not ready to anoint Jackson as a great pass blocker. He certainly made huge strides last season to become a dependable pass blocker. But listening to most writers and fans speak, you’d think this guy was lights out every time.

I’ve been spending some time e-watching last season’s games, and here’s what I’ve seen. In situations where he’s been able to square up to the defender, he has dug in and held his ground very well. On plays where he had to go find a rusher or extend his body to block someone, not so good.

In the meantime, he’s been a disappointment as a running back, as a receiver and on special teams. If I’m the Packers, I work extra hard with James Starks, Kregg Lumpkin and even Quinn Porter on pass-blocking . If they can be satisfied with one of those three in that role, then there’s really no reason to keep Jackson, since any of those three are all more versatile than Jackson (whether Porter can make the jump from Div II remains to be seen).

As a former second-rounder, there should be some trade value for Jackson if another team is hit by injury during training camp and needs an experienced running back.

And no folks, this isn’t just a veiled attempt by me to find a way to get Kregg Lumpkin on the roster. I’ve felt this way about Jackson for about a season and a half.

I understand the value of pass blocking skills at that position, and Lord knows, a primary goal this season needs to be to keep Aaron Rodgers off his backside as much as possible. But remember, Jackson was no pass-blocking phenom his first two years. It was a skill he learned. If he could learn it, so could someone else.

If that were to happen,  then the other skills those players bring to the table would help the Packers more than Brandon Jackson can.

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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35 Responses to “Green Bay Packers Brandon Jackson: Do They Really Have to Keep Him?”

  1. Iain says:

    Interesting point of view.

    Sorry to be a pedant, but were you e-watching last season’s game (maybe online?) or re-watching them?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  2. jeremiah says:

    Jackson has been quite a disappointment for being a 2nd rounder.

    But I doubt he gets cut. If he were to be, and we kept starks and grant-what happens if grant goes down? We are left with a rookie one year removed from a major injury, and your. boy lumpkin or some other JAG?

    If we are to give up on jackson, I say sign westbrook. And I don’t really want to sign westbrook.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      Ah, I was anticipating a Westbrook comment. I would actually be in favor of a Westbrook signing, but know it’s highly unlikley TT would ever do that.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. chris says:

    disagree… i think jackson is an excels in two areas, pass blocking and receiving specifically the middle of the field quick hits… althouh used sparingly once he was healthy enough to play, there was a huge difference when he was in on third downs to catch the ball… I don’t think Jackson is not good at screens, I think the packers struggled with running screen plays in general and not because of him, and I think he is above average taking the ball from the shot gun and running(although it wasn’t used much). Jackson needs to make it through the camp/preseason healthy and see what he can do, if he can’t stay healthy then get rid of him, however, when healthy I think he’s an excellent back-up RB

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      No way I can agree Jackson excels in receiving. He runs awful patterns, drops and bobbles balls, and never seems to make the right move after the catch.
      I will agree that a lot of the Packer’s screen problems are not the running backs’ fault. They are more due to the OL not selling it well and then not blocking well downfield. But it’s not like Jackson looks comfortable taking a screen pass and turning upfield.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • PackersThad says:

      Do you remember the Giants game where he was running out on a screen and proceeded to run directly into Antonio Pierce for a tackle EVEN though he had two blockers in front of him. Receiving threat, I think not!

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  4. John Rehor john rehor says:

    Jackson is a huge disappointment as a second round draft selection. He is not the change of pace guy necessary for the offense, and other than being a decent blocker has not done enough to simply hand a roster spot to him. He needs to show he can run and catch, not just block.

    Second rounders are supposed to be able to contribute almost immediately. If they don’t, the term bust starts to be heard. He is close.

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  5. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by The Packers Lounge, Michael Davidsen and Jersey Al – Packers , Cheesehead Nation. Cheesehead Nation said: Jersey Al GBP: Green Bay Packers Brandon Jackson: Do They Really Have to Keep Him?: My Postulate: Brandon Jackson … http://bit.ly/bHAAVV [...]

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  6. Tarynfor12 Taryn says:

    Brandon Jackson,hmm if thay wouldn’t sound better in a Redskins uniform I don’t know what does.Get a 4th or 5th rounder and ship his ass out fast before they think about it.

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  7. JonBob says:

    I tend to agree with you, Al. Make no mistake about it, being able to protect the passer is an important skill for a 3rd down RB to have, and I think we can agree that Jackson does a decent job of it.

    However, if a guy like Starks comes in and proves that he’s a capable pass blocker, then what the heck is the point of keeping Jackson around? I’d have to imagine that Starks is a much more dangerous pass catcher. Also, I think Kregg Lumpkin appears to be a better pound for pound between the tackles type running back.

    But again, it’s all dependent on Starks proving to be a proficient pass protector…which is something rookie RBs traditionally have a hard time doing. For that reason, I don’t see Jackson’s roster spot in serious jeopardy…for now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. Asshalo says:

    At first, I didn’t agree. But after looking into his production further, I have to. His receiving and rushing production are VERY replaceable. But being in the final year of his rookie contract, I doubt he is making much. So if you can’t get trade value, maybe it is worth keeping him for his experience.

    I’m not really sure how good Jackson’s pass blocking is comparatively to other RBs. If that skill is that replaceable than I am all for it, especially if you can get trade value.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Asshalo says:

      “But being in the final year of his rookie contract” Due to CBA issues, this isn’t true. But I’m doubt he’s making very much nonetheless.

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  9. BubbaOne says:

    A huge factor for me is this team ready for a SB run?(I think we’re a year away) If it’s ready then I don’t want to leave the backup RB positions to Lumpy et al. If it isn’t ready and the backup RB’s have more upside then I would be okay w/ trading him.
    Or is this posting a diabolical plot of yours to lather up Packer fans for the annual rite of training camp of who is the 3rd or 4th RB that we can’t live without. We need this years Vernand Morency, Noah Herron, etc. so Packer fans can fret over are we letting go of the next HOF RB.

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  10. Ron LC says:

    There is one thing that makes me want to say one more year. Near the end of last year he started to run the screen with some enthusiasm. That has been a key defect in the already powerful Packer offense. I’d sure like to see that used in the offense more often.

    As a blocker I’d describe as a get-in-the-way blocker. Line up with the DE or LB and hope they trip over him. Don’t bring him back because of his blocking skills.

    Also he did start running with more authority last year too. I think – Worth another look!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      So many have said he did a “great” job blocking last year, which is not what I’ve seen. Good, for sure, but not great.

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      • PackersRS says:

        Better than everyone else at the roster? Including the FBs?

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  11. PackersRS says:

    “And no folks, this isn’t just a veiled attempt by me to find a way to get Kregg Lumpkin on the roster.” – SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUURE it it’s! ;)

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  12. Packer Pete says:

    Jackson will be around this season. Even if Starks looks good enough to make the team as a third halfback, no way McCarthy is gonna put a rookie RB into the game on 3rd and 8 with the responsibility to pick up the blitz, especially a rookie who didn’t play his final college season. With the three halfbacks on board, which fullback, Hall or Kuhn, gets cut? If the Packers one of those two fullbacks, I believe Spencer Havner makes the team and Donald Lee gets cut as Havner is the better special teams player. That would take away Lee’s run blocking, however. If Hall and Kuhn both make the team, Havner is gone and the Packers will go with Findley, Lee, and Quarles at TE.

    In no way do I want Westbrook. Lumpkin has one more preseason to do something. Odds are stacked against him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      In my mind, Lumpkin would be the most likely guy to assume the pass blocking mantle. Not a rookie, as you said.

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  13. Tarynfor12 Taryn says:

    Jackson has had the opportunity to take the spot and has failed.Starks is new blood with a much better all -round ability than Brandon had or will have,especially now when RB’s are not a high draft investment anymore.So how many years can a rb be carried in wait for production to pay off.If your only looking for blocking than a roster spot is wasted.

    As for the FB and TE spots, I will venture Hall is gone as with D.Lee.Havner in my estimation is a better hands guy than Lee and can set up as a back for blocking with a possible outlet for Aaron if things break down which I think he was used as a blocker and caught a TD or 2.

    As for Westbrook,I suggest not holding your breath we can’t use him and don’t need another possible 3-4 weeks in and done guy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  14. Ruppert says:

    For Brandon Jackson to become unemployed, two people will have to beat him out, right? I just can’t see that happening. I’m excited to see Starks, but we have no clue if he is fully healthy, and even then we haven’t seen him in pads at the NFL level yet. But even if Starks beats him out, he’ll still be the 3rd RB.

    He needs to be a 3rd RB. Compare him to some of the other 2nd RBs around the league. He doesn’t stack up well at all. I’ll be thrilled if, somehow, two guys (Starks and Westbrook) leapfrog him. But I seriously doubt it.

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  15. Tarynfor12 Taryn says:

    Leapfrogging isn’t as hard as it use to be,for some positions.

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  16. [...] Jersey Al is asking if the Packers really have to keep Brandon Jackson around. [...]

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  17. Curly Lambeau says:

    Looked up his stats to prove you wrong, but yeah… he hasn’t been that good. 2008 was promising, but he really took a step back last year. If you listen to Nebraska fans, though, they talk about him as the 2nd coming of Ahman Green. So, I still hope the light goes on for him at some point. But NFL stands for Not-For-Long if he doesn’t figure it out pronto.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

      Curly: Unfortunately, in the last decade or so, being a running back from Nebraska has meant you had a nice college career, but were a disappointment in the Pros. (Green being an exception). When the Packers first picked Jackson, I wasn’t pleased.

      And it’s futile to try to prove me wrong, BTW. :)

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