Category Archives: Kevin Greene

24

September

Week 3 Key Matchups: Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks

Packers Aaron Rodgers vs. Seattle Seahawks

Packers QB Aaron Rodgers looks for a tough road win in Seattle

Week 3 is here and it’s time to look at some of the key matchups in the Monday Night game featuring the Green Bay Packers at the Seattle Seahawks.  On paper, this has the makings of an evenly-matched contest that will likely come down to who wins the turnover battle.

The Packers are the better overall team but CenturyLink Field and their raucous crowd, aka the 12th man in Seattle, has turned many super powers into chumps.  Let’s take a look at what I see as the keys to who comes out of this one with the “W”.

Russell Wilson vs. the Packer front 7

Rookie QB Russell Wilson won the starting job in training camp over newly acquired and former Green Bay Packer Matt Flynn.  Many were surprised as it seemed Flynn was the clear-cut choice to start after deciding to leave Green Bay where he had become a solid backup QB and had that monster game in week 17 of last season.

Flynn signed a hefty free agent contract with Seattle and was on his way but he finds himself, once again, on the sideline carrying the clipboard.  Wilson played very well during the preseason.  He was 35-of-52 (67.3%) for 464 yds, 5 TDs and just 1 INT.  Wilson also had 10 rushes for 150 yds and a TD.  That was enough to put him under center when the Seahawks opened the 2012 season.

Wilson has, at times, played beyond the typical rookie tendencies.   In watching the game vs. the Dallas Cowboys last week, Wilson was fundamentally sound and well-composed against a pretty good Cowboy pass rush.  He plays within the system and we can’t forget all of the success Seattle Head Coach Pete Carroll had at USC with his quarterbacks.  Wilson is not even a full year removed from his playing days at the University of Wisconsin and is still on the low end of his NFL learning curve.

Carroll has helped assemble a team and created an offensive system that doesn’t put it all on Wilson’s back.  Very composed and with a good pocket presence, Wilson is proving to be a key to the defensive game plan.  He plays it safe for the most part, and takes what the defense gives him.  Many of his completions last week were shorter routes with a few shots downfield.  Those high percentage throws can prove detrimental to the defense.  If Wilson is able to sustain long drives and tire the Packer defense, it will shift favor toward the Seattle side.

10

August

Packers Injuries: Bishop’s Pass Rushing Tough to Replace

Desmond Bishop

Packers LB Desmond Bishop is helped off the field after huring his knee Thursday in an exhibition game against the Chargers.

As the Packers wait for (hopefully good) news about the seriousness of Desmond Bishop’s injury, let’s take a quick look at where the linebacker will be missed most if he’s out for an extended period, or (gulp) the season.

Bishop was one of the few defensive players who made plays in 2011. That’s a vague phrase, but if you watched every Packers game you know what I’m talking about.

Very few Packers defenders flew to the ball last season and actually made something happen at the point of contact. Bishop did, and if he’s out, that playmaking ability will be sorely missed.

D.J. Smith likely will fill in for Bishop. I think Smith has the skills to replace a good chunk of Bishop’s playmaking ability beyond the line of scrimage. If Smith is around the ballcarrier, odds are he’s going to bring him down. He’s a tackling machine.

If you’re a sound tackler, you’re bound to make a few higher impact plays as well. Cause a fumble, lay out a TE going for a catch over the middle, tip away a would-be TD pass. Those types of plays tend to happen for guys who are fundamentally good at football, and I think Smith is fundamentally good at football.

It’s in the other team’s backfield where Bishop will be tough to replace.

Bishop is a good pass rusher. He’s not  known as a pass rusher, but he got after the QB when asked to blitz last season. His five sacks were second on the team and he added a number of QB pressures as well.

When Smith filled in for Bishop in the latter half of 2011, he had no problems tackling. If Smith was around the ballcarrier, the ballcarrier ended up on the ground.

But Smith looked lost when blitzing. He wasn’t a factor at all and usually got swallowed up by a lineman or easily discarded to the outside and away from the play.

If Bishop is out, and Nick Perry or Jerel Worthy don’t immediately help the pass rush, the loss of Bishop is a serious blow. It puts even more pressure on a secondary that struggled to cope with a nonexistent pass rush a season ago.

3

August

Nick Perry: High Priority Project for the Green Bay Packers

Packers Linebacker Nick Perry

Packers Linebacker Nick Perry

With the 28th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Ted Thompson was tempted by a handful of potential difference makers on defense.

Rather than selecting Courtney Upshaw, who had been projected by some as a mid-1st round pick, or Harrison Smith, who would have added some stability to the safety position after Nick Collins was released, Thompson picked USC’s Nick Perry in hopes of bolstering the Packers’ front seven.

Perry was immediately penciled in as Green Bay’s starting outside linebacker opposite Clay Matthews–a spot that has been a revolving door the past three seasons. Erik Walden, Brad Jones and Frank Zombo have each shown occasional glimpses of reliability, but the starting job remained vacant entering this offseason.

In comes Perry.

The rookie defensive end-turned-linebacker has been running with the first-team defense ever since mini-camp in June. But in the early stages of training camp, Perry hasn’t exactly drawn rave reviews.

He’s failed to generate much of a consistent pass rush, and he hasn’t made any “wow” plays in live team action. However, it’s clear after first week of training camp that the Packers are making Perry a highly-prioritized project heading into 2012.

Morning or evening, indoors or outdoors, if Perry isn’t directly involved in the drill the Packers are running, he’s doing one of two things: getting tips from Matthews or chatting with outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene.

Perry gave Greene reason for excitement on one occasion at Thursday night’s practice. In one-on-one drills between the offensive tackles and outside linebackers, Perry got physical and stood up Bryan Bulaga, causing Greene to shower him with praise.

Although he was quiet later in practice during team period and hasn’t generated many would-be sacks thus far, the 271-pound linebacker figures to be an immediate upgrade over last year’s starter Erik Walden setting the edge in the run game. Walden graded out dead-last among 28 3-4 outside linebackers against the run last year, according to Pro Football Focus.

Whether it’s in the form of a high sack total or simply an improved defense overall, the Packers certainly hope their project pans out in year one.

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Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

26

April

Packers 2012 NFL Draft – First Round Pick: Nick Perry, DE/OLB, Southern California

Packers First Round Draft Pick Nick Perry USC

Packers First Round Draft Pick Nick Perry USC

With their first-round pick (28th overall) in the 2012 NFL draft, the Green Bay Packers selected Nick Perry a defensive end/outside linebacker out of the University of Southern California.

Ted Thompson didn’t trade up, or out, of the first round and ends up with someone they can put opposite of Clay Matthews.

Player Details

NICK PERRY
Defensive End
University of Southern California Trojans
#8
6:02.6-271
Detroit, Michigan
Martin Luther King High School

CAREER NOTES

Perry started 22-of-37 games at Southern California – 21 at strong-side defensive end and one on the weak-side…Recorded 103 tackles (62 solos) with 21.5 quarterback sacks for minus 137 yards, 29.5 stops for losses totaling 166 yards and 51 pressures…Caused five fumbles and recovered two others, advancing one eight yards…Also deflected six passes…His 21.5 sacks tied Brandon Jenkins of Florida State and Melvin Ingram of South Carolina for 11th among active players in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision ranks…He led the team in sacks as a freshman (eight in 2009) and again as a junior (9.5 in 2011), as he became just the eighth Trojan to lead the team in sacks more than once in a career since Southern California officially began recording those statistics in 1983. He joins such elite performers like Jack Del Rio 13.0 in 1983 and seven in 1984); Marcus Cotton (ten in both the 1985-86 seasons and  twelve more in 1987); Craig Hartsuyker (eight in 1988 and nine in 1990); Willie McGinest (sixteen in 1992 and six in 1993); Sultan Abdul-Malik (seven in 1997 and eight in 1998); Ennis Davis (five in 1999 and six in 2000) and Lawrence Jack-son (ten in 2005 and 10.5 in 2007)…Since the Pac-12 Conference (formerly the Pac-10) began to officially recognize sacks in 1984, Perry is the only Trojan to outright lead the conference in sacks, accomplishing that feat in 2011…McGinest shared that title with Ron George of Stanford in 1992 and D.D. Acholonu of Washington State joined the Trojans’ Kenechi Udeze in sharing that title in 2003.

Agility Tests

4.58 in the 40-yard dash…1.57 10-yard dash…2.59 20-yard dash…4.66 20-yard shuttle…7.25 three-cone drill…38 ½-inch vertical jump…10’4” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 35 times…33-inch arm length…9 ½-inch hands…77 7/8-inch wingspan.

Scouting Report

5

April

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: OLB Sammy Brown, Houston

NFL Draft Profile, Sammy Brown OLB Houston

Sammy Brown OLB Houston

Green Bay Packers draft prospect profile: Sammy Brown

Player information:

Sammy Brown, Houston
6’2″, 243 lbs
2011: 93 tackles, 30 TFL, 13.5 sacks
2010: 76 tackles, 19.5 TFL, 7.5 sacks, 2 FF

NFL Combine: (not invited)

Houston Pro Day:

4.64 40-yard dash
7.13 3-cone drill
4.47 20yd shuttle
10’3″ long jump
33 7/8″ arms
9.5″ hands
37″ vertical jump
20 bench press reps

News & Notes:

A JUCO transfer, Brown  led the nation in Tackles for Loss in 2011. He was named 3rd team AP All-American and 1st team All C-USA. One of the few pure 3-4 OLB’s in the draft.

What they’re saying about him:

Wes Bunting (National Football Post): Might be a little on the short side, but looks bigger because of his longer set of arms. Possesses solid girth through his frame and carries his weight well. Plays As an outside backer in Houston’s 34 front and does a nice job as a pass rusher. … A highly productive pass rusher who has come a long way since being a JUCO transfer. Has a feel for getting after the passer, exhibits a good burst and closing speed around the edge and is an intriguing 34-type prospect.

Pro Football Weekly: Fluid-moving, agile athlete capable of bending the edge. Lack of instincts and passive playing temperament could limit chances.
Video:

Video Analysis:

  • Has a lot to learn, but flashes top-level athleticism.
  • Not as active in pursuit as I’d like to see. Gives up too soon.
  • Needs to learn to use those long arms to shed blocks.
  • Shows burst to consistently get into the backfield, but doesn’t sustain his effort to the whistle.
  • A special teamer and situational pass rusher with potential for much more if he can learn to play with max effort all the time.
  • A good UDFA to bring in and see if Kevin Greene can light a fire under him.
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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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4

April

NFL Draft Prospect Profile: DE/OLB Andre Branch, Clemson

NFL Draft Prospect Profile Andre Branch, DE/OLB Clemson

Andre Branch, DE/OLB Clemson

Green Bay Packers draft prospect profile: Andre Branch

Player information:

Andre Branch, Clemson
6’4″, 259 lbs
2-sport star in HS as a football tight end/outside linebacker and a basketball power forward.

NFL Combine:

4.70 40-yard dash
4.25 20-yard shuttle
7.19 3-cone drill
10.0′ long jump
32.5″ vertical jump
19 bench press reps
34″ arms
9″ hands

News & Notes:

Branch led the Tigers in sacks (10.5) and tackles for loss (17) in 2011. Played primarily right DE at Clemson, but has the athleticism and measurables to handle the conversion to 3-4OLB.

What they’re saying about him:

Wes Bunting (National Football Post): At 6-4, 259, Branch has the athleticism to stand up. He can bend, turn and burst to get to the passer. He is similar to Whitney Mercilus, except not quite as dynamic. However, instincts could hold him back at OLB, according to one front office man.

Frank Cooney (CBS Sports): Branch is a raw, flashy, long-armed player with great closing speed but still has a long ways to go if he wants to excel in the NFL… Possesses a legitimate blend of explosive speed and power which could result in much improved play with greater technique. Can beat lethargic offensive tackles off the snap with his burst. Good upper body power to stack and shed, as well. Some untapped potential in this area.

NFL Combine: Branch is a tall, physical and athletic end who could move to outside linebacker for a team that runs the 3-4 defense. He should be able to regularly beat NFL linemen on the rush and disrupt the passer, whether he’s standing up or has his hand on the ground. Because of his versatility and pass-rushing ability, he should come off the board late in the second round.
Video:

Watch Andre Branch’s NFL Combine Workout

Video Analysis:

  • Ideal size/speed combination.
  • Active in pursuit, can chase ball carriers down.
  • Will have to get stronger and play with better pad level, especially against the run.
  • Needs to use hands better to keep blockers from getting into his body.
  • Could develop into an explosive edge rusher as a pro.
  • Should have the ability to drop into coverage with good success.
19

March

2012 Packers Position Group Analysis: Linebackers

Packers Linebacker Clay Matthews III

Packers Linebacker Clay Matthews III

Packers Linebackers: We’re back with the second of this series where we’ll examine each Packers position group as it currently exists. We’ll be addressing three main points from the Packers’ perspective: where we are, where we want to go and what we need to do to get there.

Where are we now:

Here are the current suspects:

Clay Matthews (1st round)
A.J. Hawk (1st round)
Desmond Bishop (6th round)
Brad Jones (7th round)
D.J. Smith (6th round)
Erik Walden (6th round – is a free agent)
Robert Francois (undrafted)
Frank Zombo (undrafted)
Vic So ‘oto (undrafted)
Jamari Lattimore (undrafted)

Much like the defensive line spot, Ted Thompson has built this position group from the bottom of the draft up. Eight out of ten players came from the 6th round or later. I suppose that’s a bit of a necessity in today’s salary-capped NFL, especially with salaries for offensive skill players going through the roof. But it’s still a bit startling when you examine a roster closely and really see how a team is built.

Let’s start with Clay Matthews: Matthews could have been nicknamed “Fast and Furious” his first two seasons, taking the league by storm with 23.5 sacks. While sacks get the attention, getting stops in the run game are almost of the same value to coaches. To that end, Matthews was certainly lacking. There’s no better evidence than the now famous sound byte from the Steelers’ sideline during the Super Bowl. A Steelers coach is heard telling his offense they’re going to run at Matthews all day, because all he wants to do is rush the passer – he doesn’t want to play the run.

2011 was a different type of year for Matthews, but it was still a success. Gone were the high sack numbers, as Matthews was double-teamed an average of 37% of the time in 2011, and had practically no pass rush help to draw attention away from him. But other parts of his game solidified. He improved both in pass coverage and against the run, intercepting three passes, leading the team in tackles for loss and was only charged with 7 missed tackles on the year (according to Bob McGinn). So while many fans asked “what’s wrong with Matthews?”, the answer of course was, “nothing.” All he did was become a more complete player.