17

May

Donald Driver: Packer for Life?

Packers WR Donald Driver

Donald Driver: Packer for life?

When Donald Driver tweeted that he’d be a “packer for life”, speculation around the Internet and Twitter grew rampant.  Did Driver just re-work his contract?  Had he been released and will be retiring at the end of the year?

Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk.com spoke to Driver’s agent, Jordan Woy, who stated that, “the Packers have always wanted Driver back.”

He went on to add,

“He has been busy with the DWTS show and the team knows that.  I discussed deal structure with the team a while ago and we will work out the details once Donald returns to Green Bay.”

This clearly doesn’t put an end to the questions surrounding Driver and Green Bay’s plan for him in 2012.  However, upon first glance, it definitely appears as if Driver could be back for another year with the Packers.

This is certainly a bit puzzling because of the depth at wide receiver that Green Bay is already blessed with.  Without Driver, the Packers still have Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones and youngsters like Dale Moss and Tori Gurley.  So, with all this younger talent, where does Driver exactly fit in?

The honest truth is that he doesn’t fit in, and unless Green Bay plans on making him a coach for the foreseeable future, using a roster spot on him seems like quite the waste.  We all have to say goodbye to the players we love at some point, and now is the time for Driver.

39 Responses to “Donald Driver: Packer for Life?”

  1. FourEyesBrewing says:

    They’re going to move him to safety, obviously!

    I wouldn’t mind letting James Jones go. I know he has another 2 (?) years left on his contract (that Driver pressured GB to offer him), but Jones isn’t reliable like Driver or quick like the young guys.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 7

    • PackersRS says:

      James Jones catch rate (2011): 68.4%

      Donald Driver catch rate (2011): 67.8%

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 3

  2. LMB says:

    I was hoping he would stay around in some capacity. I believe he could make a great mentor but is he ready to stop PLAYING? Maybe if push came to shove and a coaching position was offered, he might take it. He clearly loves the Pack. Can’t imagine him anywhere else!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 2

  3. James david Marsh says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

    • Oppy says:

      Wow, James, I’m sorry to see you get so many dislikes that your comment is by default hidden.

      While I understand people are reacting emotionally to your statement, it is fundamentally accurate to the core of the Packers’ system.

      People should be reminded that what you have stated is just another very precise and to the point way of stating one of Ron Wolf’s adages:

      “Better to cut a player a year too soon than to keep him a year too long.”

      Driver will not get better, he will only diminish. Football acumen runs its course on a curve, Driver is on the decline. Youth is developing and rising.

      We all love Donald Driver, and we all would love him to play forever.. But he is already the #4-5 WR on this team, and he won’t be climbing that chart. A young guy might be #6, but has the opportunity to climb that depth chart.

      I love Donald Driver, but I do not want to see the Packers a weaker team because we favor nostalgia over talent and potential.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

    • PackersRS says:

      That is true, but there are more variables than that. Borel and Gurley can still be placed on PS. And there’s the problem of the multiplicity of functions that the wide receivers have to perform in MM’s offense.

      There’s still the big possibility that Driver, this year, is just a better receiver than those guys. So you would keep the worse, unproven receiver, even though you can still keep him in other fashion, just because he’s younger?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

      • Chad Toporski Chad Toporski says:

        “Better to cut a player a year too soon than to keep him a year too long.”

        There’s also still the option of cutting him at just the right time.

        But as for Borel and Gurley, I’d say there’s a significant chance they get snatched up by another team before they could make it to the Packers PS.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

      • Oppy says:

        If we were talking about the incumbent, vet WR (DD) being our #2 or #3 WR on the depth chart, and cutting him in order to make room for an unproven, young PS WR (Gurley, Borel) on the roster, I think we would all agree that would be an unwise decision to cut proven production for unproven potential. There would almost certainly be more dire situations where the #3 WR is needed to make an impact more frequently where the results may be “W” or “L” depending on that performance.

        Based on DD’s current, present role in the Packers’ offense, We’re looking at a guy who only outperformed the Rookie WR last season. A rookie WR, mind you, who everyone agrees just needs more opportunity to become a very real, very explosive weapon this coming season.

        I think the risk/reward for cutting an aging, declining yet proven vet who is basically the #5 WR going into the season to make room for a young, unproven but talented player to to the #5 position…. is clearly tilted towards the reward side of the equation.

        Again, perfect world scenario for me would be the Packers find a way that makes sense to keep 6 WR’s to enable promoting Gurley and keeping Driver.

        I’m not a completely heartless bastard.. But it has to make sense :)

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

        • PackersRS says:

          That’s why you have OTAs, minicamp and training camp. To gauge your players.

          I’ve already said it, if they flat out beat Driver, I’m all for it.

          If they can’t beat a 37 year old vet, I seriously question their long-term potential.

          Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

          • jeremy says:

            This is what I am thinking. Get Drivers contract manageable, then tell him to go out there and beat out the competition.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

          • Oppy says:

            Rs,

            this is all hypotheticals based on the assumption that regular season production would directly correlate to the players’ training camp/preseason performance…

            But please consider:

            Neither of Jordy Nelson’s first two seasons as a pro (08, 09) would have stacked up to Donald Driver’s season in 2011.

            Assuming the difference in production would have been proportionally equal during camp..

            Would that mean we should have questioned Jordy’s long term potential?

            Stack 08 Jordy Nelson against 2011 Donald Driver, and Driver wins. Yet, we know Driver is aging and declining, and Nelson is young and shows talent, presumably still in his upswing as a player…

            Football players develop and decline. This has to be a factor in the decision making process. It is projection, nothing is certain, but it is real.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

            • Oppy says:

              Forgot to state:

              How a young rook or first year player stacks up against even an aging vet does not indicate they can not become a dynamic player. It only indicates they are young and have not necessarily reached their full potential.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

              • Ed Schoenfeld says:

                Potential is determined by the coaches in training camp. Fans get a very few glimpses in pre-season games.

                The Packer’s WR situation is not as deep as some imagine. Jennings is up for a new contract and its TTs responsibility to be ready if he leaves.

                Gurley and Borel are promising, but there are a lot of undrafted phenoms who never take the next step. Like everyone else, those two players did not have an ‘offseason’ program last year; 2012 is the first year the coaches will have a full spectrum to evaluate them.

                Jones seems determined to be Mr. Average, and there are always potential injuries.

                The 8resposible* thing to do is to renegotiate Driver’s contract for a reasonable bonus, minimum salaries, and decent incentives for 2 years and see what happens in training camp. IF Jennings re-signs and the practice squad guys do well, it *may* be time to move on from DD.

                Until that is a known result, instead of speculation, ther is no reason to cut Donald or not give him a chance to keep his job.

                Personally I think he has a better than 50% chance of staying on the team (just an opinion). Unlike some of the other verterans TT recently cut, Donald can still play (he would be an established #3 on almost half the teams in the league), and he should regain some of his ability to gain separation in tight quarters over last season. He was the only receiver who didn’t completely mess up in the playoff game. While the Packers should certainly move on before a player becomes a liability, the equally surely should not move on while that player is still the best contributor in his role (whatever that may be).

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  4. [...] I originally wrote that Driver had to be released to make way for younger talent. 2) More recently, AllGreenBayPackers agreed that it just doesn’t make sense for the Packers to retain Donald Driver. 3) Today, [...]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  5. Ron LC says:

    The one and only question is, will he be a productive member of the offense? If so, he’s on the team. That’s why TT and MM make the decisions and not us.

    One hairbrained idea I have is Cobb will play a role this year similar to NO’s Sproles.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

    • Bubbaloo says:

      I agree Ron LC, your Cobb idea is indeed “Hairbrained”!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • PackersRS says:

      They tried it in one instance last year, coming out of 5 wide, motioning him to the backfield, and handing the ball to him.

      I absolutely love it. You can run out of 5 wide, you can PA out of 5 wide, and you can pass out of 5 wide.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Oppy says:

        With Cobb’s skill set coming out of college, you have to assume that MM has been planning on having a palette of plays to feature him exclusively. He’s a play maker.

        He’s a QB, a RB, a WR, an H-back. He’s a complete offensive skill position player. Very intriguing young man. And his light eyes make him look like such an intense psychopath on the field, lol, I love it.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        • PackersRS says:

          One can get lost in his deep-green eyes…

          In all seriousness, what I really love with him, and using him out of 5 wide sets, is that it gives the rush a moment of pause.

          Usually, with noone at the backfield, the DL won’t even think about lane integrity, much less about a running play. With Cobb motioning, even if he doesn’t go to the backfield, they have to pause.

          I loved the pick at the time, and after last year, I really believe that he can mature into one of the best playmakers in the game. He has the skillset, the work ethic, and the environment to do it.

          I can’t wait for the season to start. There’s a good possibility the team will be even better than last year’s 15-1 squad.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

          • Oppy says:

            Ah, yes, the threat of run.

            I have long belly ached (especially on goal line!) that I don’t care if MM passes on 1st, 2nd, 3rd and short..

            But it drives me up the wall that he lines up in empty sets when he does it.

            At least line up a HB in the backfield to make the D honor the possibility, make them react instead of Tee off on the pass.

            You’re right, Cobb could be the great compromise! MM can still make the D-line and backers freeze if only for a moment, and still have 5 wide outs on the field- just by motioning Cobb, so long as he shows enough of Cobb taking snaps while in motion during the early part of the season.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

            • Ed Schoenfeld says:

              This is the year Cobb finally gets the offseason work and a complete playbook.

              I excited about that, but I am also excited about 2013 or 2014, after Cobb goes to “Quarterback School” :-)

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. alex parkhurst says:

    It’s a shame the limit is 53 players per team and suit up 46 for a game. I think it should be more like 60 and 10 practuc squad, but you can suit up 60.

    This way you can keep 3 QB’s, not every team does by the way; have a back up punter and kicker, and more extra players at most positions. I mean if your punter goes down on a late hit in the 1st Quarter you better hope you have Aaron Rodgers moving the ball each possession for a TD.

    Last year we were down to 4 DL’s in some games with injuries and what not.

    I have never figured out the 46/53 player limits.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

    • Ron LC says:

      The roster for the 1963 Packer Squad was 40 players. More doesn’t always mean better.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

    • Oppy says:

      Alex,

      It’s really as simple as “injuries are a part of the game.”

      As much as I hate the fact certain words of the English language have been hijacked by sportswriters and coaches and made into sports cliches’, “Adversity” truly is a defining factor of American Football, and part of the drama that makes the game so involving.

      When the going gets tough, and a team has to dig down deep and find a way to not only function and make it through a game- but overcome and excel- it makes for a powerful experience.

      Having a limited roster, and only suiting up so many players, forces coaches to make choices, and creates another level of depth to the chess match that is football.

      I wouldn’t change a thing, barring a longer schedule.. Then you may have to tweak the active roster numbers to maintain the current balance.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. pointerjeff says:

    Sorry, for all the back and forth speculation, and almost universal love for DD the what he has done for the Pack and the man he is, there is just no room for sentiment. DD will not be on the 53 this year in GB. I wish him well and hope that some day, if not now, he returns to work for the team. But reality folks, there isn’t a chance he will play for the Pack this year. Time to move on.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

    • Oppy says:

      I can’t say that there “Isn’t a chance he will play for the Pack this year”, but I agree with everything else.

      See as a renegotiation seems to be underway, and the Packers clearly value two young PS WR’s (gurley, borel) enough to pay them like active roster guys to fend off other team’s offers… I think it may be possible that the Packers keep 6 WR’s this season in order to accomodate moving Gurley into the mix and keeping DD in the fold.

      There will be roster spots opened up at TE- remember, we kept about 500 last season. Quarless will be IR, there’s a freed up spot. I believe the quality they have added at OLB means that while Perry will replace one of Walden/Jones/Zombo/So’oto, I wouldn’t be surprised if another was cut as well, leaving the Packers with 4 OLBs instead of 6. there’s a roster spot.

      I think to some extent, we kept higher numbers of players at positions where we didn’t necessarily have QUALITY depth, and having added some quality will result in opening up some roster spots that could accommodate a spot for Driver.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • PackersRS says:

      I agree that there isn’t room for sentiment, but nobody has seen enough of Gurley and Borel to say that there’s no way DD will make the roster.

      There are valid points all across, but it’s all based on conjecture. Nobody knows how good Driver is right now, and nobody knows how the other guys are right now.

      I understand a lot of decisions are made based on conjecture in the NFL, but with 5 months till the start of the preseason, nothing is certain. It’s too close a call, too much information missing, one way or another right now to say that.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. packett says:

    great player. There ARE times to keep a great player around even past their prime. The work ethic, the determination. He still commands significant attention on the field and that impacts the other receivers. He is huge contributer even if declining catches. He lifts the other receivers….and if I was manager, I would recognize his intangible impact and keep him on the field. Management theory also recognizes you do show heart in management, and you show all players that the org values good members…and it translates into higher player morale, commitment. It is good management to be more than strictly stats and dollars. Keep him until significant decline..bcause he still makes the team better.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

    • Oppy says:

      Football is production driven business. It thrives on competition. Interviews with the games greatest players always reveal a common motivator: Fear of losing your job to another player, fear of failure.

      Sentiment does not work in pro sports the way it does is the average workplace.

      Most successful team of the last 10 years? NE Patriots, right? It is ALL about stats and dollars there. it is ALL about “You are expendable. Thanks for your contributions, we’re moving on.”

      Players complain about it, they bitch, they moan. They get released and traded instead of handed extensions and raises.

      What invariably happens to those players attitudes about their former employer after a year or two passes, or their career ends? Are they still bitter?

      Nope.. They seem to always come around and have HUGE respect for the Pats organization, realizing and embracing it’s all about good football decisions and winning, and that’s what the ultra-competitor in every pro player wants more than anything.. to Win.

      I love that the Packers are more “family” oriented and have perhaps more concern for the players as people with families than some organizations, I really do. But at the end of the day, it’s not the same type of business as most of us work in. The stresses they work under are immense, acknowledged, and expected by the players. And the lack of job security is a great motivator they have been conditioned to WELCOME since childhood.

      As far as Driver commanding significant attention on the field, there’s a reason the Giants had single coverage on DD with a LB in the playoff loss..

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. Terrence says:

    Mr. driver is in a nutshell…mr. packer he doesn’t whine,complain,holdout,fake injury,etc. never holds the team for randsom like some players do…and always gives 100 percent…now how can you tell me he should move on? he is worth what we pay him just to show up! I cannot remember any player in packer history that deserves the title “Mr. Packer” better than Donald Driver! So the next time you think he should be replaced or that he has outlived his usefulness? remember what he brings to the table…for the players,for the kids and most of all for the fans…he deserves to stay until he decides he needs to step aside…and then we find a coaching job for him…or public relations…something. By the way if the Packers were willing to hire Brat farve for that position…I rest my case!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

    • Oppy says:

      That attitude is great for fans.

      If you run an football team by your philosophy, you end up a perennial loser.

      This attitude of “He deserves to stay until he decides he needs to step aside” is a flight of fancy that a GM can not afford.

      You do not simply give a guy a coaching job because he’s well liked and was a great player. That’s how you end up with shitty coaches. Coaching is a separate skill. Being a great player and a great guy doesn’t equate to being a great coach.

      Having Donald involved in PR with the Packers? Yeah, I’m down with that. That’s a personality gig, an attitude thing, and he’s got that.

      Donald is a great Packer, one of the best all around, all time Packers. However, the TEAM still comes first. It’s all about what’s best for the team.

      Some of you people don’t seem to understand there’s limited roster spots, you’re so willing to cast away the future for nostalgia. There’s no place for it in this business.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  10. Jay Z says:

    Driver deserves another year with the Pack. I know we have great depth at the position but there is more to playing the position than just the total number of receptions. If I remember correctly the Packers won a couple of games last year with Driver starting. Just a couple.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • Oppy says:

      Jay Z, “starts” are a misleading stat.

      A “start” is literally defined as being on the field for the first offensive or defensive play from scrimmage during a given game.

      For instance, if the Packers win the coin toss, decide to defer, kick off and there’s a touch back.. The opponent takes the ball out at the 20. They line up in a 5 wide formation on first down. The Packers trot out their dime defense. The CB’s on the field: Tramon Williams, Charles Woodson, Sam Shields, Jarret Bush and Pat Lee.

      Sam Shields, Pat Lee and Jarret Bush all notch a “Start” on the stats sheet, even though they are #3,4,and 5 on the depth chart.

      It is easy to confuse depth chart slotting, number of snaps played, usefulness with Games started.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • PackersRS says:

      And the correlation between Driver being in the first offensive snap of the game and the team winning is?

      Aaron Rodgers started every game his first year, yet the team went 6-10.

      I could talk about Tim Tebow, but everybody is sick and tired of him.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. PackEyedOptimist says:

    The young talent is real. Gurley looks great in practices; Borel looks like a young Antonio Freeman, Moss has tremendous potential–he catches everything; and even Darius Reynolds looks amazing in his highlights (talk about body control!): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GCwXFp4hqY
    Most of these young guys are ALSO great leaders/role models.
    It’s time to move on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • PackEyedOptimist says:

      Oops. Looks like Reynolds is already off the roster. Too bad.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

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