19

January

Green Bay Packers Free Agency: Rating the Packers 2012 FAs

C Scott Wells is one of eight free agents for the Packers in 2012.

It’s far from a Moneyball style stats movement, but the guys over at Pro Football Focus have slowly but surely put together one of the premier stat-organizing sites available for the NFL and its legion of fans. It’s not a fool-proof system, and I occasionally disagree with a rating or two from a given game. But PFF grades every player on every play for all 32 teams, so there’s no shortage of work these guys put into their grades and ratings.

With the 2011 season over in Green Bay, I used PFF’s ratings/grades to analyze the Packers’ eight free agents this offseason. If you’re not familiar with the ratings at PFF, don’t fret—a higher score indicates a better rating, and a negative score obviously isn’t what you’re looking for.

Also, for another look at the Packers’ free agents in 2012, check out this article from AllGBP’s own Adam Czech.

CB Jarrett Bush (-4.0, 321 snaps)

There was a time early in the season that Bush was rated as the Packers’ best cornerback. As the season wore on, however, teams exploited Bush in the passing game more and more. In the Packers’ final regular season game against Detroit, Bush played a season-high 83 snaps and allowed 105 receiving yards on 10 targets. Overall on the season, Bush allowed 19 completions on 38 attempts for 302 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions (72.5 passer rating). Bush also finished with seven tackles on special teams, which was good for third on the team.

TE Jermichael Finley (-4.4, 832 snaps)

A couple of factors hurt Finley’s rating in 2011. As you’d expect, one knock was drops. PFF had Finley for 14 on the season, which led tight ends by a wide margin and was fifth overall in the NFL. The other was run blocking, where Finley had just two positive games and finished at -8.3 (46th among tight ends). During a year in which so many tight ends put up shocking numbers across the board, Finley was a big disappointment to PFF’s eyes. He completed the season ranked as the 37th best tight end.

QB Matt Flynn (4.6, 119 snaps)

No backup quarterback had a higher rating in 2011 than Flynn. At 4.6, Flynn finished as the 15th highest rated quarterback overall—an incredible thing to see when you consider that the third-year QB played just 119 snaps. Of course, his 5.5 rating against the Lions in Week 17 was the biggest reason why we saw such a huge jump. His 16 snaps against the Raiders were graded at -1.1.

RB Ryan Grant (2.7, 382 snaps)

James Starks had four times the rating of Grant, who played well against the Bears, Chiefs and Raiders but was a ghost in most other weeks. A drop and fumble against the Giants meant a -1.3 grade to finish the season. Grant was solid in pass protection, and the only two sacks he allowed were against the Chiefs.

DT Howard Green (-4.1, 235 snaps)

Green was never meant to be a playmaking defensive lineman, but PFF had the veteran for only eight total tackles (six assisted) and three quarterback pressures. His pass rush grade (-4.4) was mostly to blame for his overall grade, but Green’s run rating (-0.7) wasn’t anything to write home about either.

CB Patrick Lee (-5.6, 21 snaps)

Lee simply didn’t see the field enough on defense to make much of an impact. He saw 10 snaps against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1, registering one QB pressure but also allowing one catch on one target for 23 yards. On special teams, where Lee saw the majority of his playing time, the former second-round pick was tied for the team lead in tackles with nine.  His painful struggles returning kicks against the Lions in Week 17 (-3.1) was the main reason for his low grade.

OLB Erik Walden (-20.5, 933 snaps)

Where should we even start with Walden? He was the worst graded 3-4 OLB by almost 10 points (Joey Porter was next at -10.7), and no 3-4 OLB was worse against the run (-16.4)—again, by a wide margin (Sam Acho finished at -7.9). There’s more. Walden allowed the second most passing yards by a 3-4 OLB at 204, and a bone-headed personal foul penalty vs. the Lions gave him a negative grade in penalties. Walden had a few bright spots—at San Diego and at New York—but the 2011 season was a complete mess for the Packers starting ROLB. His grade only fortifies the thinking that Green Bay needs to make a massive upgrade at that position for 2012.

C Scott Wells (18.0, 1,132 snaps)

Wells finished as the fourth-best center in the NFL, and he was finally rewarded with a trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl. While he didn’t excel in any one area, Wells was solid in both the run (7.9) and pass (7.5) games and committed just four penalties. He also allowed just two sacks. However, one of his worst performances came Sunday against the Giants (-1.3), as Wells allowed three QB pressures and committed two of his four overall penalties.

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Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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12 Responses to “Green Bay Packers Free Agency: Rating the Packers 2012 FAs”

  1. Since '61 says:

    Good comments here. I agree completely with the comments on Walden. I voted him as the GB defensive player who regressed the most versus 2010 season performance. Maybe due to his personal issues but if he is not re-signed that will be OK with me. The Pack really only needs to sign first Wells and then Finley from this list. And with Finley we should be careful if we believe that we cam draft another tight end in the Finley or Vernon Davis mode (SF) who will actually catch the ball.Thanks, since ’61

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    • Zach Kruse Zach Kruse says:

      Thanks for the comments, ’61. Wells and Finley are definitely priorities, and I’d be shocked if either are playing elsewhere in 2012. The rest? Who knows. They all could be out

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  2. Mojo says:

    Looks like, based on this, that resigning Wells should be a priority. Also in a contract year Finley disappoints. Wonder if TT subscribes to PFF?

    Any who, I would work to keep Finley anyway and of course Wells who should still have a few good years left in him. The others I don’t really care which way Ted goes, but it would be nice if he could finagle a 1′st rounder for Flynn (the highest ranked backup).

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    • Zach Kruse Zach Kruse says:

      Wouldn’t count on any kind of trade with Flynn. I’m guessing TT will be contest on letting him walk then claiming the compensatory pick…

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  3. [...] All Green Packers is rating the 2012 Packers free agents. [...]

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  4. Ron LC says:

    Wells is resigned on performance. Finley is resigned on potential (that’s a high risk situation). If Finley is signed that leaves less for the number one prioroty getting the Pass Rush fixed. I’m convinced that a prime FA may be the only answer here. I know that’s not likely, but the draft has not been capable of filling the holes long term. They’ve had more failures than successes.

    Bush has ST value so he’ll probably stay on the roster. The rest, we bid a fond farewell.

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    • Zach Kruse Zach Kruse says:

      I could see Bush leaving for more money some other place. He’ll have some value as a special teams guy

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  5. Tom says:

    So Zack, what did Finley do in the drops category? You say 12 in one artice and 14 in another.

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    • Zach Kruse Zach Kruse says:

      It’s 14. Forgot to add the two drops from the playoff game into his total in this one.

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  6. Dan says:

    It’s so disappointing to see Finley in a negative category, basically the same grade as Bush, Lee and Howard Green. I didn’t know he was that bad. The other thing that jumps out is how truley bad Walden is and how good Wells is.

    And to think Walden started the Majority of the year. With moves like that its easy to see why this defense regressed so much. I’m glad we have TT but he really miss fired on his Defense for the 2010 season. And why didn’t he try and sign Wells to a 2-3 year extension during the season? I beleave its going to cost more money to sign him now. Especially when he compares him self to other lineman at the Probowl.

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  7. Lou says:

    Walden could not hold the point (always caught inside on sweeps and end arounds) and had minimal push as a pass rusher. There obviously are reasons why a player has been cut 3-4 times. If Kevin Greene can’t get you to hold the point, point him to the nearest airport. Wells is solid and I believe they are looking at a James Jones situation where they match the offer. Bush is like Estus Hood, Tiger Greene, and Maurice Harvey, on 3rd down they will always throw your way when you have no ball awareness skills. Lee is a bust as a #2, and I am hoping that Mike Neal is not the same, he may be the new Donnell Thompson (#3 by Sherman) who looks like Tarzan and always played like Jane.

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  8. big o says:

    I see T.T. looking at Wells Finley and Flynn, and moveing on to taking best athlete, and finding fits for 2013 free agents,he’s I think that far ahead Go pack

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