Category Archives: Marques Eversoll

26

January

Casey Hayward 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Packers CB Casey Hayward

Packers CB Casey Hayward

1) Introduction: After a great rookie season in which he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 4 cornerback, Hayward appeared poised to take on an even larger role in 2013 with Charles Woodson playing elsewhere. But a bum hamstring hampered Hayward (shoutout to alliterations) throughout training camp and into the season. As a result, Hayward was only on the field for 88 snaps in his second season. The Packers dipped to 26th in the league in interceptions without Hayward–who led the team with six interceptions as a rookie in 2012. It’ll be interesting to see a healthy Hayward on the field next summer at training camp.

2) Profile: Casey Hayward

  • Age: 24
  • Born: 9/9/1989 in Perry, GA
  • Height: 5’11″
  • Weight: 192
  • College: Vanderbilt
  • Rookie Year: 2012
  • NFL Experience: 2 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season: As a rookie, Hayward was clearly the Packers’ top slot cover man. So with Woodson playing in Oakland, the need for a “turnover creator” was pressing, and Hayward was the most logical choice on the roster. The Packers had big expectations for Hayward coming into the season.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Hayward played a season-high 42 snaps Nov. 4 against the Chicago Bears and made five tackles. That’s about it for his highlights. As far as low-lights, it’s pretty easy. Hayward was hobbled by his hammy literally from summer through the winter, and the result was a lost season.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Hayward was rusty–certainly not in top form–as he battled through his hamstring injury, and 88 snaps can only elicit so much in terms of a contribution.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Hayward ended up on the I.R. and didn’t appear in the playoffs. If you’re keeping score at home and/or looking for reason to be optimistic about the Packers’ chances against the 49ers, Hayward didn’t play a snap in either game against San Francisco this season and both games were decided by one possession. In fact, Hayward has played a total of 35 snaps in four games against the 49ers.

Season Report Card:

(N/A) Level of expectations met during the season

(N/A) Contributions to team’s overall success

(N/A) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: LS (Lost Season)

26

January

Micah Hyde 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Packers CB Micah Hyde

Packers CB Micah Hyde

1) Introduction: Despite being named B1G Defensive Back of the Year following his senior year at Iowa, Hyde fell all the way to the fifth round in the draft. As a rookie, Hyde was expected to contribute primarily on special teams; few foresaw the rookie playing 448 snaps on defense, but that’s what happened. Now, as the team weighs its options with Tramon Williams and Sam Shields, guys like Hyde, Casey Hayward and Davon House may be forced into a larger role moving forward. Hyde certainly exceeded expectations for his rookie year.

2) Profile: Micah Hyde

  • Age: 23
  • Born: 12/31/1990 in Toledo, OH
  • Height: 6’0″
  • Weight: 197
  • College: Iowa
  • Rookie Year: 2013
  • NFL Experience: 1 year

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season: With the ability to return punts and kicks, Hyde was mentioned as a possible replacement for Randall Cobb, whose days as a primary return man were thought to be numbered. A versatile defender capable of playing the perimeter or the slot, some thought Hyde could find the field in some capacity during his first season. Still, expectations were limited for the fifth-round rookie. But when Hayward’s hamstring issue lingered, Hyde became the Packers’ best option covering the slot.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Everyone remembers at least one of each for Hyde. Of course, he had the punt-return touchdown in Minnesota. We remember that as highlight, although it was nearly a low-light, as Hyde stumbled as he approached the end zone. Hyde later told me he was “trying to be too cool” on the play. Nonetheless, the play was a turning point for the Packers in that game. On the flip side, Packers fans will remember Hyde’s dropped interception in the playoffs for a long, long time. Hyde’s best game as a rookie came Oct. 13 in Baltimore, in which he registered seven tackles, a sack and a forced fumble.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Hyde had big shoes to fill (in part) with Casey Hayward’s ongoing hamstring battle, which first flared up in training camp. Straight up as a football player, Hyde wasn’t Hayward. But for a rookie picked in the fifth round, Hyde performed admirably and, on defense, filled in for Hayward and Sam Shields–who missed two games–and on special teams, Hyde helped mask the midseason loss of Randall Cobb as the primary return man. All in all, Hyde was one of the team’s key contributors from Week 1 to season’s end.

25

January

Tramon Williams 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Packers CB Tramon Williams

Packers CB Tramon Williams

1) Introduction: For running backs, perhaps the most demanding position in football, hitting age 30 can be the death blow to a player’s career. But for Tramon Williams, a cornerback in his age-30 season, the veteran remained relatively consistent before a late-season surge that now may have the Packers rethinking their stance on the cornerback this offseason. Prior to the season, it looked as if this past year may be Williams’ last in Green Bay, but he was undoubtedly one of the team’s best defenders late in the season. Along with the uncertain future of Sam Shields, the Packers face several question marks at what may be one of their deepest positions.

2) Profile: Tramon Williams

  • Age: 30
  • Born: 3/16/83 in Houma, LA
  • Height: 5’11″
  • Weight: 191
  • College: Louisiana Tech
  • Rookie Year: 2006
  • NFL Experience: 8 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season: Williams was a big question mark for the Packers coming into the 2013-14 season. Since his breakout season in 2010, Williams was up-and-down through the subsequent two seasons as he battled a shoulder injury. With a crowded group of cornerbacks (Williams, Sam Shields, Casey Hayward, Davon House and Micah Hyde) geared up for the season, it was unknown how Williams’ playing time would be affected. If at all.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: While not the All-Pro caliber player he was in 2010, Williams may have been the Packers’ best defensive player in the late-season stretch run that landed them in the playoffs as the NFC North champions. Against the Dallas Cowboys, Williams intercepted Tony Romo on the Cowboys’ final possession to clinch the Packers’ one-point victory, setting up a division-deciding game against the Chicago Bears. After beating the Bears, Williams intercepted San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, proving that No. 7 in red was, in fact, human. The first half of the season was different for Williams, as he wasn’t a reliable tackler and struggled to handle slot duties in Hayward’s absence.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: There have been plenty of knocks on Williams for his post-2010 play, but nobody can question is durability. Not even you. Since becoming a member of the Packers’ 53-man roster in 2007, Williams has missed one game. One. So while the injury bug bit the position, Williams was a crutch for the Packers to lean on. Was this his best season? No, but he showed significant improvement this year from his previous two seasons and was on the field every Sunday. And he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 39th-best cornerback, which was up from No. 61 in 2012.

25

January

Sam Shields 2013 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Packers CB Sam Shields

Packers CB Sam Shields

1) Introduction: Coming into the season, Shields was a restricted free agent and signed a one-year tender worth just north of $2 million. Shields opened the season as an every-down player and ended the season the same way — until he suffered a knee injury two snaps into the Packers’ playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers. Now, Shields is set to become and unrestricted free agent. He’s in line for a big pay day.

2) Profile: Sam Shields

  • Age: 26
  • Born: 12/8/1987 in Sarasota, FL
  • Height: 5’11″
  • Weight: 184
  • College: Miami FL
  • Rookie Year: 2010
  • NFL Experience: 4 years

Career Stats and more

3) Expectations coming into the season: Shields was viewed as the team’s top cover man entering the 2013-14 season, and he did not disappoint. Questions surrounded Tramon Williams as he entered his age-30 season, so the Packers were banking on Shields to be their top corner with young guys Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde and Davon House providing depth at the position. With Hayward battling a hamstring issue throughout the preseason, Williams saw some time in slot, which allowed Shields to remain on the perimeter, often handling the opponent’s No. 1 receiver.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Shields seemed to be at his best against the best in 2013. His top three grades according to Pro Football Focus, came against the Cincinnati Bengals (A.J. Green), Cleveland Browns (Josh Gordon) and Dallas Cowboys (Dez Bryant). He had a momentum-shifting interception against the Bengals and game-clinching picks against the Cowboys and Chicago Bears to help the Packers win the NFC North. Prior to Gordon’s record-breaking four-game stretch in which he racked up 36 catches, 774 yards and five touchdowns, Shields helped limit the breakout star to what-would-be season lows in catches (two) and yards (21) in a 31-13 blowout win for the Packers in late October. To start the season, Shields got off to a rocky start, as PFF held him responsible for 264 receiving yards in the Packers’ first two games. On the bright side, those 264 yards accounted for 39.8 percent of his season total (664).

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: With all due respect to Mike Daniels, Shields was the team’s Defensive MVP this season despite missing two games. He was the Packers’ most consistent every-down player, and their average-at-best defense would have been far worse (and were for two games) without Shields on the field. There’s no questioning Shields’ impact on the Packers’ defense.

19

January

Packers, Capers really missed Casey Hayward in 2013

Casey Hayward wasn't the Packers' only missing link in 2013, but he was certainly missed. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

Casey Hayward wasn’t the Packers’ only missing link in 2013, but he was certainly missed. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

As a rookie in 2012, Packers cornerback Casey Hayward was one of three finalists for the league’s Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. He graded out as Pro Football Focus’ fourth-best cornerback–the second-round pick trailed only established veterans Antoine Winfield, Richard Sherman and Charles Tillman.

After Hayward intercepted a team-best six passes and holding opposing passers to an abysmal 31.1 passer rating, the Packers had high hopes for Hayward, as they cut ties with their veteran leader and turnover-creator Charles Woodson following the 2012 season.

But Hayward’s encore was disrupted by a recurring hamstring issue, limiting him to appearing in just three games. He played 88 snaps.

With Woodson playing in Oakland and Hayward on the sideline, the Packers were left searching for a solution in the slot early last season. Sam Shields and Tramon Williams had fine seasons, but both are better suited for the perimeter. Micah Hyde didn’t play like a rookie, as he took over as the primary punt returner while proving to be a reliable run defender and a versatile cover man.

All things considered, the Packers’ cornerbacks fared well, but they were seriously lacking in one area.

For as long as Dom Capers has served as defensive coordinator in Green Bay, the Packers defense has relied heavily on takeaways. Woodson intercepted 19 passes and forced 11 fumbles during Capers’ tenure, which began in 2009. When Capers served as defensive coordinator with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1992-1994, he had another Woodson (Rod), who intercepted 16 passes in three seasons with Capers.

But for the first time since taking over in Green Bay, Capers was without his X-Factor in 2013. He didn’t have a play-maker. He certainly didn’t have a Woodson.

For a defense that had grown accustomed to bending but not breaking, losing its turnover-creating wild card would be like throwing Capers in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean without a raft. Hayward’s 88 snaps were a makeshift life vest, but Capers and the defense remained stranded and searching for answers.

It would be foolish to assume Hayward’s career will unfold like Woodson’s, but you don’t let go of your high-school sweetheart without a winner on deck. The Packers had a plan for Life After Woodson, but that plan (Hayward) fell by the wayside thanks to the injury bug.

16

January

Safety First: Packers’ offseason needs start in secondary

Morgan Burnett had a disappointing 2013 season, and the starting spot alongside him is very much up for grabs.

Morgan Burnett had a disappointing 2013 season, and the starting spot alongside him is very much up for grabs.

Injuries, Ted Thompson, Dom Capers, Nick Collins and more injuries. The reasons identified for the Green Bay Packers’ struggles at safety are plentiful, but the current state of the position leaves little room for debate.

The Packers are in less-than-ideal shape at safety. And it’s debatably the team’s most glaring need this offseason.

After missing the first three games of the season, Morgan Burnett was, as usual, an every-down player for the Packers, leading the safeties with 874 snaps played. M.D. Jennings, prior to seeing a reduction in playing time late in the season, finished second among the team’s safeties, as he was on the field for 809 snaps. But with Jennings’ future in doubt as he hits unrestricted free agency, the 2014 depth chart is foggy.

It may be unlikely but still possible that the Packers’ opening-day starter opposite Morgan Burnett is already on the roster, however he’s probably not currently listed as a safety.

Casey Hayward, who missed all of the 2013-14 season except for 88 plays, is set to return in 2014, which brings Micah Hyde’s situation into light. Hayward graded out as Pro Football Focus’ No. 4 cornerback as a rookie in 2012 and is at his best operating from the slot–the same spot Hyde saw most of his action this past season.

When he’s healthy, Hayward will be on the field. Given the Packers’ state at safety, Hyde’s best chance to see significant playing time may be at safety. Remember you’re living in a world in which Mike Neal plays outside linebacker.

Despite dropping what would have been a career-defining interception against the 49ers in crunch time a couple weeks ago, Hyde had a terrific rookie season, one in which he proved capable of playing all over the formation. If the Packers give him a full offseason of preparation, perhaps Hyde could be “the guy” alongside Burnett.

Of course, Hyde’s transition to safety hinges on the uncertain futures of cornerbacks Tramon Williams and Sam Shields. And both could be playing elsewhere next season.

Ideally, the Packers want two players who can play both free and strong safety. By committing to Morgan Burnett with a long-term contract, the Packers feel they have one such player already. But other than Burnett, the Packers have just Chris Banjo–and his 192 snaps played in 2013–and Sean Richardson (156) set to return next season at safety, and neither player has proven to be anything more than a solid run defender.

11

January

2013 NFL Playoffs Predictions, Divisional Round: AllGreenBayPackers.com

GAME PREDICTIONS
2013 NFL Playoffs: Divisional Round
Name Straight Up Against the Spread
New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks (-7.5)
Kris Burke Seahawks Saints
“Jersey” Al Bracco Seahawks Seahawks
Adam Czech Seachickens Saints
Marques Eversoll Seahawks Saints
Thomas Hobbes Seahawks Seahawks
Cory Jennerjohn Seahawks Saints
Jason Perone Seahawks Saints
Chad Toporski Seahawks Saints
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots (-7)
Kris Burke Patriots Colts
“Jersey” Al Bracco Colts Colts
Adam Czech Colts Colts
Marques Eversoll Colts Colts
Thomas Hobbes Colts Colts
Cory Jennerjohn Patriots Patriots
Jason Perone Patriots Colts
Chad Toporski Colts Colts
San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers (+1)
Kris Burke 49ers 49ers
“Jersey” Al Bracco 49ers 49ers
Adam Czech 49ers 49ers
Marques Eversoll 49ers 49ers
Thomas Hobbes Panthers Panthers
Cory Jennerjohn 49ers 49ers
Jason Perone Panthers Panthers
Chad Toporski Panthers Panthers
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (-9)
Kris Burke Broncos Chargers
“Jersey” Al Bracco Broncos Chargers
Adam Czech Broncos Chargers
Marques Eversoll Broncos Chargers
Thomas Hobbes Broncos Broncos
Cory Jennerjohn Broncos Chargers
Jason Perone Broncos Broncos
Chad Toporski Broncos Chargers
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Chad Toporski, a Wisconsin native and current Pittsburgh resident, is a writer for AllGreenBayPackers.com. You can follow Chad on twitter at @ChadToporski

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