1

September

Surviving Sunday: News, Notes and Analysis from Packers Preseason

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Well, Packers fans, since the 2013 NFL season starts next Sunday, this is the last Surviving Sunday of the year.

NFL football games that actually matter will be keeping us occupied for the next 20 weeks or so, and there won’t be a need for 800-word posts wrapping up the news of the week and mixing in my ramblings about pro wrestling, video games, concussions, the media or whatever other tangent I like to go off on.

As always, thanks for reading. Hopefully the next Surviving Sunday isn’t published until Feb. 9, 2014, the Sunday after the Packers win Super Bowl XLVIII.

Roster cuts
All of the Packers roster cuts are in and there were a few surprises: 1) Vince Young is gone. I thought his ability to run and at least have a chance to make a play every now and then would save him, but I thought wrong. Now who’s going to back up Aaron Rodgers? Your guess is as good as mine. 2. Tyrone Walker didn’t make the team. I suppose that’s not really too big of a surprise, but he had a nice camp and I liked what I saw. Alex Green getting cut wasn’t much of a surprise. Starks has more pop than Green and is just a better back. You can’t play the injury card on Starks when comparing the two, either, because Green has injury issues of his own.

Tramon is back
Tramon Williams returned in Thursday’s preseason finale and had an interception on the Chiefs’ first pass. I’m not worried at all about Williams’ pass coverage. Sure, he gets beat more often than he did in 2010, but the good far outweighs the bad when Williams drops back in coverage. What I need to see from Williams is toughness. The 49ers will look at film of the 2012 Packers this week, see Williams retreat when a run comes his way, and start licking their chops. Williams needs to be a tougher tackler this season. Plain and simple.

Kuuuuuuuhn!
Remember when we all thought John Kuhn might get cut? Turns out his job in the Packers’ backfield might be the safest of all the running backs not named Eddie Lacy. Jonathan Franklin — drafted to possibly play a role on third down — has flopped so far. Worst of all, he looks totally lost as a pass-blocker and likely won’t see the field until he improves. Once again, Kuhn will be the Packers go-to back on third down passing situations. Now, all we need to do is get our hands on a Packers playbook and remove the page that contains the Kuhn fullback dive in short yardage situations.

Crosby doesn’t get cut, his paycheck does
Mason Crosby won’t be buying the bar a round any time in the near future. The Packers K took a pay cut and now has an incentive-based contract, further upping the pressure he faces heading into the season. Pressure on Crosby is a good thing, in my opinion. The Packers didn’t really have anyone else to bring in and push Crosby when he struggled in 2012, and who knows if the viable alternatives will be gone again if Crosby struggles early this season. A little financial pressure might be the best kind of pressure to apply.

Concussion lawsuit settled
The NFL will pay $765 million to 4,500 former players over 20 years to settle concussion litigation. For a league that is projected to rake in $10 billion just this season, that sounds like a clear victory for The Shield. Don’t get me wrong, $765 million is a lot of money. But when you consider the PR nightmare and the potential for other problems that comes with having concussions and lawsuit news overshadowing the actual game, it’s chump change. Here’s hoping the lives of former players suffering from concussion-related problems are improved in some way by the money they will be receiving from the settlement. And here’s hoping the NFL continues its recent push of taking head injuries more seriously.

Packers awful preseason
The Packers scored just 37 points this preseason and looked helpless on offense when Rodgers wasn’t in the game. My wife asked me if I was worried about the 49ers game because of how awful the Packers looked in exhibition games. I said no, I wasn’t worried because of how the Packers played in preseason, but I was worried because the 49ers are a damn good football team. I’m also a little worried about the Packers’ depth. It’s a team that’s already beat up and has had to tap into its reserve players before the season has even started. If David Bakhtiari goes down, then what? If Morgan Burnett’s hamstring injury is serious, then what? If one of Lacy’s several past injuries flares up, are we ready for Alex Green and James Starks again? Who in the hell plays center in Evan Dietrich-Smith gets hurt?

Season prediction
I’m burying my Packers season prediction at the bottom of this post because it likely will be wrong, anyway. I’ll explain my reasoning in a future post, but for now, here it is: 10-6, NFC North champs, divisional round playoff loss.

——————

Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

——————

28 Responses to “Surviving Sunday: News, Notes and Analysis from Packers Preseason”

  1. Mark says:

    Raiders kept 4 QBs. What draft pick are we giving for Matt Flynn?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  2. RobS says:

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

    Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8

    • nick perry says:

      I thought the same thing may happen until someone on this site answered my question. I asked if the Packers would then get stuck with that horrible contract Flynn received? The answer? Yes they would, and Flynn isn’t worth 5 million a year to backup Rodgers. My buddy, a die hard Raiders fan thinks they’ll stick with Pryor so maybe, just maybe Flynn gets cut later. Stranger things have happened, like actually heading into last season with Harrell and this season with Coleman at backup QB, at least at this time.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • Ed Schoenfeld says:

        If a player is traded the team that gets him gets to pay the annual salary. IIRC Flynn’s is about 1.25 Million, which is not too bad even for a back-up QB.

        But the salary is the least important part — the key to a trade is what happens to the **signing bonus.** The signing bonus has already been paid, so the cap effects stay with the original team, and accelerate into the following season. In Flynn’s case, Oakland would get stuck with it in 2014.

        Oakland will not be trading Flynn this year. Like Seattle, they will wait one year before moving him.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

    I’ve felt (and said) all along that packer nation have severely overrated Matt Flynn’s abilities. I’m not interested.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

    • nick perry says:

      I’m sure your right Al, but in his two starts he didn’t do to bad. Had the kid knew what he was doing at the end of the Patriots game in 2010, he just may have won that one too. Well that and the Packers inability to tackle Dan Connolly, a offensive lineman as he rumbled and stumbled down inside the 5 yard line for a 69 yard kickoff return. 9 TD passes and 1 INT in his starts against New England in 2010 and Detroit in 2011. I agree, Flynn is probably a tad overrated but Coleman, well he just scares the hell out of me if he had to actually play.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • Slim11 says:

      Many QBs have been accused of being a “system QB.” In Matt Flynn, I think we can actually see what a sysytem QB looks like. His successes in GB haven’t been duplicated in Seattle or Oakland.

      Graham Harrell was a system QB at Texas Tech. His collegiate successes didn’t translate to the NFL or CFL.

      All that said, I’d be more comfortable with Matt Flynn backing up Rodgers than with Coleman. Coleman definitely needs another PS season. If I was inclined to sign Flynn, it would have to be for one year and at the veteran minimum. Given his contract with Oakland, that may not be possible.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • Dobber says:

      You never know when a QB whose abilities are so-so (Doug Pedersen, Matt Flynn) and who fails when they have to establish their own identities on their own team with their own supporting cast really fly with the coaching staff and supporting cast that made them, though.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Ed Schoenfeld says:

        That’s true, but it also means that QB, like Pedersen, is not someone you want to spend a draft pick to get.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. ike says:

    Plenty of QB’s on the street at the moment. No need to was a pick on Flynn as TT needs them all since he does miss often as he gambles on finding hidden gems. He obviously cannot judge RB’s. Lucky Lacy fell into his lap. TT gets lots of praise but here we r with great QB and yet only 1 SB appearance (and Rodgers fell into his lap as well)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

    • Dobber says:

      How many really good or great QBs never get that chance? I’m not saying we shouldn’t expect more, but we should at least be grateful for AR’s ability to leat this team to one SB appearance (and win).

      Who would’ve thought that Eli would be ahead of big brother and Dad?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • ike says:

        2 Sb vs 1, that’s the difference between a good coach/GM tandem and a great coach/GM. Irsay (Colts) has said that it was a disappointment that they only won 1 SB with Peyton. TT/MM are good and packer faithful will live with winning the division, but with Rodgers, we should have higher expectations. Why settle? Just look at Ozzie and the ravens….

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Archie says:

    Heck, he traded down at the bottom of R2 rather than take Lacy! And Lacy was still there when Pack cam to plate again. So yes, fell into his lap is appropos. And the Alex Green and Jon Franklin picks show again he can’t judge RBs. Although I will point out that back in the day, he drafted Shaun Alexander for SEA. Still, after 9 years, Eddie Lacy may be the first real RB he has drafted in GB. That’s a long wait. But Packer cheerleader fans think TT walks on water because of 2010. Oh well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

    • Dobber says:

      I think you’re a little premature in labeling Franklin a bust. Keep in mind, also, that 31 other GMs let him go into the 4th round also.

      There are many teams out there that have won SuperBowls without bellcow backs. This is a passing league, and that diminishes the value of the RB position in general.

      People value TT because they saw what happened under Mike Sherman with a coach/GM who was overmatched in the role, and what can happen to a team as a result. The bottom line is that under TT and MM the Packers are relevant in the playoff/SB discussion every year. I’m not sure what you want beyond that.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

      • Nick Perry says:

        I agree Dobbler and its really iratating that at the end of April, Ted was the toast of he town, he had the steal of the draft in Franklin. 2nd best back in the draft said some. Now, people seem to be getting ropes and are reading to hang him out already. Although they say Running back is a easier position to come in and contribute, it’s still not easy when veteran Defensive Cordinators are dialing up blitzes and a rookie is supposed to know exactly what to do. Give Franklin half the time they given Starks and he’ll be doing just fine, better than Starks will ever be. Heck Starks has been here since 2010 and still can’t pick up a blitz!

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Barutan Seijin says:

        To be fair to Shermie, the Packers were also relevant in the playoff discussion for all but the final year of his tenure. They were 9-7, 12-4, 12-4, 10-6, 10-6, & 4-12 under Shermie. The issue was more what they did when they got to the playoffs; the team was only 2-4 in the postseason under Shermie. Also, Wolf was GM through the 2001 draft and TT took over for the 2005 draft, so Shermie only had three drafts.

        TT is a better judge of talent, but he’s also had better luck than Shermie. Had the Bears or Lions taken a QB in the first round instead of later on in the 2005 draft, the Packers might have been stuck with somebody like Kyle Orton or Dan Orlovsky after Favre.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

        • Dobber says:

          I think TT plays the odds a little better in the draft in terms of determining who has a chance to contribute but tends to get by on volume of picks, whereas Sherman didn’t seem to value the draft much and had a penchant for packaging picks and sending them away. The talent level of the team was stressed as a result…very little behind the 1′s.

          I think Sherman was a good coach. His teams might have started slow on a yearly basis, but they played well down the stretch.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. Ed Schoenfeld says:

    Focussing on the 53 we currently have, the numbers skew to the defense, which probably can’t be sustained throughout the season.

    I’ll suggest that one of the backup DL may wind up as trade bait, and that Banjo may be temporary depth for Burnett’s injury.

    As for QB, the Packers have an early bye week to bring in a different QB. They would likely need to carry 3 for a few weeks, but may not sign a veteran until after contracts stop being guaranteed. Same consideration applies to another RB like McKnight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • jeremy says:

      When one of the defensive players ends up on IR (and with this team that is just a matter of time) they will start to prop up the offensive reserves. Considering the Packers offensive cuts were probably no better that any other teams offensive cuts going heavy on defense was the likely correct move to make.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. HawgNSonsTV says:

    All of you that keep ripping Jon Franklin need to STOP and use the tools GOD gave you! (your brain) I know it’s alot to ask of people these days but TRY! Packers are a DRAFT & DEVELOP TEAM. Do you understand what that means? Let me give you a HINT – It means Aaron Rodgers would NOT be a Packer right now if YOU were the GM/Coach. You would have cut him because how terrible he looked his 1st few years!!!! If you really THINK you are that much better than TT & MM … than for god sake, send in your resume. The Packers can ALWAYS use another GENIUS!!!

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

    • Barutan Seijin says:

      Sure, and if it were up to you the Packers would probably still be “developing” future HOFers like Ingle Martin & Brian Brohm.

      In any case, RB & QB are different positions. Savvy & seasoning help, but RBs can still be expected to produce in their rookie seasons because there isn’t quite as much to learn as there is for other positions. And relatively more of it is just physical ability. Can a guy run hard, break tackles, see the holes, get by tacklers? Didn’t see much of that from Franklin.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Barutan Seijin says:

        Nice. A racist ad hominem argument. How about discussing Franklin?

        What do people see in this guy? So far the arguments i’m hearing are about TT & draft-n-develop. No one seems to be saying anything positive about Franklin himself. What has he done well?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Dobber says:

        Your points are good…RB can make a difference early, but some backs–especially speedier ones–sometimes need a chance to learn how not to run up their linemen’s backs or how to hit the hole when they’re supposed to.

        All these guys come in on the merits of their college performance and workout numbers. It’s still a matter of turning that into pro production. Drafting and draft analysis is an inexact science…kinda like quantum mechanics.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  8. Tarynfor12 Tarynfor12 says:

    If the run game doesn’t qualify for a good solid ranking…it won’t matter who the back up is at QB,since the lack of the run game has made it hard for Rodgers..what chance does any one else have?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. Mike Sherman says:

    Clearly I was overmatched as a GM…. The only reason I came off as a competent head coach was because of #4! Lets not forget that I drafted a punter in the 3rd round and then was so paranoid of losing him to a waiver claim that I kept him on the 53 man roster to hold a clip board for the starting punter. That was one hell of a roster. But enough of the glory days, can Manning be offered a practice squad spot? I hate to lose him especially after TT traded up in the draft to get him. Maybe he is no good but I’d like to at least get a longer look at him. Palmer over Moses was my biggest roster surprise, I didn’t believe we would cut an improving player like Moses. Why didnt we just put him on IR and let him compete with Palmer next year?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  10. jOE says:

    I can say something good that franklin did, he made some good plays on special team vs. KC. Hard to judge a guy that hasnt even taken one snap in a game that counts. Plus i dont think our o line is very good at run blocking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • ike says:

      Our O line does seem to have a prob w/ run blocking and yet they stick to same line coach… I am ready to see more “attitude” from the team’s o & d line and linebackers

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. Undoubtedly feel that that you stated. The favorite reason seemed to be at the net most effective factor to realize associated with. I say to you, I definitely get irritated as well since other folks contemplate problems which they simply do n’t understand with regards to. Anyone were able to hit the claw on the very best and also discussed the total point without having side-effects , other people may take a transmission. Might be once more to obtain additional. Thank you!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0