13

August

Thoughts on the Dozen Green Bay Players Sent Packing

Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson

Ted Thompson on the prowl...

It happens every Summer when Training Camp rolls around in Green Bay, at least under the TED THOMPSON’S regime. Some familiar veteran names show up as ‘cuts’ from the PACKERS roster as the team gets under way preparing for the upcoming season both financially & athletically. It may be less frustrating to deal with this year than most because the team has the Lombardi Trophy on display within the bowels of Lambeau. But once again a rather long list of vet players will no longer wear the Green-and-Gold.

Let me remind you who is MIA as the team prepares for its first Pre-Season game.

NICK BARNETT/ILB     BILLS    Too much $ already being paid to HAWK/BISHOP inside.

ATARI BIGBY/S    Once he got his big contract he’s been fighting HARRELL for hot tub time too often.

BRANDON CHILLAR/LB    Was coming back to team until he hurt his leg (again) in offseason.

DARYN COLLEDGE/LG  CARDINALS    Never completely satisfied coaches with inconsistent play. Too expensive.

KOREY HALL/FB/ST   SAINTS       Pure Special Teamers get too expensive after a few years.

JUSTIN HARRELL/DE     The king of the training room was never available.

BRANDON JACKSON/RB    BROWNS     Solid 3rd Down RB, but wanted, and got, more $ than that role is worth.

CULLEN JENKINS/DE     EAGLES    Great attitude, average athlete who greatly benefitted under CAPERS schemes.

DERRICK MARTIN/S      Marginal player who helped during injury rash last year… no upside.

BRADY POPPINGA/LB    RAMS   Too old, too expensive for ST and back-up OLB with no speed.

JASON SPITZ/OG    JAGUARS    Looked like the real deal until back injury made him a risky investment.

MARK TAUSCHER/RT     Could still play, if he wanted, but BULAGA & SHERROD are in town.

ANTHONY SMITH/S    TITANS    See Derrick Martin

I also believe JAMES JONES would have been on the list without a verbal shout-out from AARON RODGERS  to bring back one of his favorite targets.

For those of you mathematically challenged, that’s a baker’s dozen vets no longer around to do their thing in a PACKERS uniform. It’s not as though they were all chopped liver. Even though most will not all start in their new NFL homes it is clear that other teams perceived value in most of the PACKERS cast-offs.

Under the THOMPSON philosophy it was time for these guys to move on to make room for younger, less expensive, ascending players on the roster. Makes sense to me, and as I previously pointed out this is the NFL’s reigning championship team, or what’s left of it. I must honestly admit that I have called for the departure of about half of these guys in the past 6 months. But when you throw in the balance of the names I’m thinking that the team is gambling quite a bit on youth developing to fill the depth charts at some positions right now… maybe too much for a Super Bowl rerun.

Do I even need to mention that there have not been, nor should you expect to see any new Veteran Free Agent names to appear on the transaction wires as headed to Green Bay?! Since the year that WOODSON & PICKETT came to town VFA is pretty much a 4-letter word around the PACKERS offices.

So what does it mean to the team’s repeat plans to have so many roster spots open?

It mens that young, injured players from 2010 have to become productive starters this season. MORGAN BURNETT/S,  MIKE NEAL/DE, & FRANK ZOMBO would be the main names popping into my mind at the moment.

Young players who the team nurtured last season need to emerge as serious competitors to push for starting jobs and at the least provide reliable, quality back up for the starters. In this list I think of names like T.J. LANG, NICK McDONALD, C.J. WILSON, TOM CRABTREE, JAMES STARKS fit this category.

There also has to be an assumption that vets who missed parts of last season will be healthy and able to return to form in 2011. The big names here are RYAN GRANT/RB, BRAD JONES/LB, JERMICHAEL FINLEY/TE.

And last, but not least, the 2011 DRAFT Class has to step up and provide some immediate help, ay least on a part time basis.

I would also sense that with the serious pruning of the roster an injury epidemic similar to the one suffered in 2011 could have more serous consequences that were avoided in 2010.

No gnashing of teeth, or wailing and whining PACKERS fans. This is still a good team with a solid corps of quality players headed by AARON RODGERS, who is considered in any “elite QB” discussions in current NFL circles. But before you start proclaiming dynasty, and chanting of LOMBARDI era domination, please understand a lot of things still have to go right to consider championship repeat talk. Heck, let’s start by aiming for an NFC North title first.

Next up I will take a look at specific roster positions where I think the soup is a bit thin unless good health prevails and some younger players really strut their stuff over the next month.

Thanks to our friend Pigskin Paul for this post. Be sure to check his website for more of his Packers, NFL and College Football commentary and analysis.

12 Responses to “Thoughts on the Dozen Green Bay Players Sent Packing”

  1. Bearmeat Bearmeat says:

    I’m thinking this is a little too pessimistic Paul. DE and ILB are the only areas (other than ARod) that will hurt the team if injuries occur. I wish TT would have kept Jenkins, but he’s over 30, wanted big money, and is injury prone. That’s not worth it in TT’s eyes.

    Barnett might have caused problems with being a backup – and an expensive backup at that.

    The rest can go… don’t care.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • mark craig says:

      Matty Flynn is not a scrub player by any means. I still hope that Mr. Rodgers never gets hurt though.

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  2. aaronqb says:

    Nice read. However, I think Cullen Jenkins is better than an “average athlete”. Age and injuries were the source of his leaving GB, not athletic ability.

    Even with these losses, there will still be plenty of GB castoffs who will be picked by other teams after cutdown day. I’m betting a TE or two, a DB or two, and maybe an OT are plucked by others. The Packer roster is still VERY deep.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  3. Pigskin Paul says:

    Not trying to be gloom & doom, but the soup is a bit thin in places. CULLEN is an average athlete, with a huge heart & great motor. he deserves major kudos 4 what he’s done in his career. He’s also been nicked up a lot. I wish him luck in Phily, but am not worried about him leaving overall.

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    • Oppy says:

      I’m with Aaronqb on this one.

      Cullen Jenkins is an average athlete? Are we comparing him to LB’s or something?

      Jenkins is the rare combination of size/speed/agility/strength that I talk about often.

      There are not many 300-lbs. guys who have his mix of mobility and speed coupled with decent strength.

      Capers definitely game planned and drew up fronts to take advantage of Cullen; but you seem to make it sound like Capers MADE Cullen. So not the case. Jenkins talent was an immense luxury in a defense where the DE’s are typically block eaters. Cullen Jenkins is a beast in a 4-3 as well.

      Yes, I’m a huge Jenkins fan boy. Guilty as charged. But I have to wonder if you’re a Jenkins hater, or just don’t know much about him. The only thing slowing down CJ is his injury history.

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  4. Dan Frost says:

    We have to remember that 8 of those “bakers dozen” were residents on the Injured Reserve roster when the play-offs started.
    I prefer to see this glass half full instead of half empty.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  5. StarksisbetterthanGrant says:

    All of those players….except for Cullen Jenkins….sucked. They were role players that had players in front of them playing their role better than they ever could dream. I won’t shed a tear for any of them. In fact, I am so happy that I don’t have to watch Nick Barnett and Daryn Colledge suck any more. I have hated watching them for the last 4 years.

    Hey Barnett….you are annoying. You were more worried about your celebration than getting a championship. I’m surprised you didn’t wear your “Dracula” mouth guard for the Super Bowl Team Picture. You are such a poser. Every time you did the samurai celebration or I saw you with that stupid mouth guard, I would blush because it was embarrassing for me to watch a grown man be such a complete tool. Oh….and by the way…..you suck.

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  6. StarksisbetterthanGrant says:

    Some people probably wonder why I wrote something to Nick Barnett on this blog. “Like Nick Barnett is ever going to read this…he’s a professional athlete.” Believe me, he is going to read it because he’s a self-consumed moron that will want to read what people are saying about him….even common fans. “Like he cares what you have to say…you’re just a fan.” BELIEVE ME….HE CARES….THAT’S WHY HE WANTS SO MUCH ATTENTION ON THE FIELD.

    I remember when Nick Barnett was younger and the Gravedigger had just been released. Nick Barnett tried to steal the Gravedigger celebration. I remember the Packers were down and not going to win…he made a normal tackle and did the Gravedigger celebration…..the crowd booooed him. REMEMBER THAT NICK???? I KNOW YOU DO!!!

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  7. Pigskin Paul says:

    Folks i just want to remind you that saying JENKINS is an average NFL talent is not an insult to him. In fact his success in the league speaks to his desire and effort to succeed. But he does not have the size or physical skills to dominate play at the NFL level. I fear he will disappear inside woth the EAGLES, but hey at his age it is bow about the $, and has to be.

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    • Oppy says:

      I am sorry, but that’s a bunch of nonsense.

      He doesn’t have the size or physical skills to dominate play at the NFL level? Beg your pardon?

      He’s on the larger side of average for 4-3 DE’s in the NFL. And there are few NFL DE’s his size with his athleticism.

      I have this weird feeling that you are comparing him to either a pure pass rushing DE or a pure run stuffing, edge setting DE.

      If you stack Jenkins up with a 265-275 lbs. speed rushing DE, I guess you’d say he’s not athletic. If you stacked him up against a 320 lbs. run stuffing DE, you could argue he doesn’t have the size.

      And that’s all baloney, because he’s the rare breed that has enough of both to become a huge problem for offensive linemen.

      Talk to some players on teams across the NFL who have had to line up across from Jenkins when healthy, and talk to the OC’s across the NFL who have to plan on stifling him when healthy..

      Jenkins has the ability, mindset and body to take over games when healthy. What Jenkins does not have is the health to capitalize on his talent with any regularity.

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  8. Art says:

    Cullen is an exceptional athlete for a guy that big.

    “Cullen’s a guy that we feel we can move around,” Capers said. “He’s a rare athlete for a guy his size, so we’re trying to work him in some different spots.

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