Category Archives: Pigskin Paul

19

August

Pigskin Paul on the State of the Packers after Preseason Game 2

Graham Harrell Packers vs. Browns

Why are these guys smiling?

Time I think, for a bit more PACKERS talk with Game 2 of the Pre-Season in the books and still not a lot to get excited about from their on-field performances overall. Week two started out fairly well until AARON RODGERS went to the bench. Then it got scary and ugly thanks primarily to their lack of a back-up QB.

It’s not time for THOMPSON/McCARTHY to panic, but they had better be concerned and considering other options effective now. GRAHAM HARRELL ain’t no MATT FLYNN, and shows no signs of becoming him. He’s been studying under McCARTHY & CLEMENTS for several years and looks no more able to handle things out on the grass than a raw Rookie. He does not look to be able to read the D quickly enough to take advantage of opportunities in a small window of time. His delivery is too deliberate and his arm strength is just not of NFL caliber.

And I’m gonna question his attitude, at least as it is portrayed by the camera in his sideline demeanor. I don’t want to see a petulant, sullen guy like CUTLER on the Green Bay sideline, but I don’t want a seemingly indifferent, vacantly smiling guy either. Look like it means something to you and get your face into the photo sheet that shows what the Defense was doing against you last possession when you went three and out… again. If RODGERS goes down for any length of time, and HARRELL is the back-up option, this team will be Drafting in the Top 5 next April, just like COLTS this year.

The WR corps looks solid from top to bottom, if/when it’s healthy. But young guys like BOREL & GURLEY have got to be available more than they have been recently. I still wish JAMES JONES didn’t have such a big Cap number (thanks again A-RODGE). He might be tradable to say Miami for MATT MOORE next week. Not so sure I love the JONES to Seattle for T. JACKSON rumors much. But then again JACKSON has some talent (certainly more than HARRELL) and NFL playing experience.

2

August

Pigskin Paul’s Power Rankings: Packers are only #…

NFL Power Rankings

NFL Power Rankings: Packers at #4

PACKERS RANK:  #4         So here’s the skinny… I still am not sure how the PACKERS went 15-1 last year. No matter how great we all think AARON RODGERS is, it is almost incomprehensible that a team whose Defense allowed an NFL record 299.8 ypg in passing lost only one game? How does a team that averages 97.4 ypg rushing at a clip of 3.9 ypc win 15 games? How do you stop NFL passing attacks when your D can muster only 29 Sacks for the League’s 32nd ranking in Sack Pct?

There are a litany of improbabilities for rationalizing the PACKERS 2011 successes, but conversely they did a lot right. They scored the most points in the League with 560, while ranking a respectable 19th in points allowed. They managed a total of 38 defensive turnovers, tied for first in the League, while only turning it over themselves 14 times. Their +24 Turnover Differential was second only to the 49‘ers. They also had one of the best teaching Coaching Staffs in football, which allowed them to once again find success with one of the youngest rosters in the League.

But enough of last year and second guessing what happened. The real question right now is how will they fare in 2012. My PACKERS readers will probably crucify me for only ranking them 4th overall, but until I see some of the promised defensive improvement I have to be somewhat skeptical. And their lack of a real running game clearly showed up in their Play-Off loss to the GIANTS, resulting in that very disappointing one and done post season.

I am also a bit concerned about the affects of the biggest coaching staff  and front office turnover since WHITEY and COACH MAC started their collaboration in Green Bay. But most of that change is in the Front Office not within the actual coaching staff. The Coaching Staff merely went through some internal shuffling and promotions. I am sure MIKE McCARTHY will have his coaching troops organized and in sync with his wishes this year, as usual.

26

June

Speed and the Newest Packers: Perception vs. Reality

Packers rookies speed

How do the new Packers compare speed-wise to other rookies?

Even though most of my time for the past month has been spent doing team draft grades, I have indeed been watching roster activity and the rumor mill. I want to touch on a couple of aspects of the Packers’ current roster and it’s composition.

But before I head in that specific direction I want to debunk one of the myths I heard during and just after the Packers 2012 draft. I heard talk on national TV and read several articles in print that a big goal for the team this off-season was upgrading team speed. My observation two months after the draft would be that rumors to that affect were greatly exaggerated. Either that or they absolutely had one of the League’s slowest collection of players coming out of the 2011 season, during which they went 15-1. Yes they lost to the Giants in their first Playoff game, but I think that has more to do with their D having problems (like many do these days) containing ELI, and the fact the Packers’ O suddenly decided to become a turnover and mistake machine.

I will grant you that some of their rookie additions could increase team speed incrementally if they pan out, but based on the simple numbers coming out of the combine, Green Bay is still going to look a tad slow indoors on fast tracks. Let’s just look at the numbers of players who are now Packers who ran a 40-yard dash at the combine and how they fared.

NICK PERRY, Pick 28, ran a 4.64/40 which was the second fastest of any DE in Indy. But as an OLB, which he is currently listed at, he would have been tied for 4th fastest. That’s good and I will grant you, a significant upgrade.

JEREL WORTHY, Pick 51timed at 4.79, which placed him tied for 10th out of 22 as a DT. IF he’s a 3-4 DE then you don’t want to know how far the list he was as a DE.

CASEY HAYWARD/CB, Pick 62 was timed with a 4.57/40, which made him the 17th fastest CB out of 32 to run at the COMBINE.

JERRON McMILLIAN/S, Pick 133 recorded a 4.56/40 in indy which made him the 5th fastest S out of 20. That’s a real plus.

18

May

Looking at the Packers’ NFC North Rivals: How the Lions, Bears and Vikings did in the NFL Draft

NFC North DivisionPigskin Paul analyzes the 2012 NFL Draft Class of the Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings.

 

LIONS

The LIONS made the Play-Offs with 10-Wins and but for a few less injuries, and a bit more talent at certain positions they might have been able to make a solid run at a Super Bowl appearance. Lots of teams could say the same thing, but those other teams weren’t setting a League record for futility by going 0-16 but a few years ago. The team has truly come a long way since the FORD family parted ways with MATT MILLEN, and turned most of the personnel matters, including the DRAFT, over to MARTIN MAYHEW. The 2011 DRAFT didn’t even yield much immediate help because of serious injuries to NICK FAIRLEY & MIKEL LESHOURE.

The 2012 LIONS DRAFT looks promising on paper. RILEY REIFF may be the most talented OL that the team has drafted in the past decade. Whether he takes over at LT or RT he almost certainly guarantees that MATTHEW STAFFORD will take less hits in the pocket starting now. He’s a good athlete and comes from the FERENTZ school of OL play, which means he’s fundamentally sound and tough already. He’s a great value at Pick 23. The team took a slight flier in Round 2, by picking OKLAHOMA/WR/RYAN BROYLES. He’s coming off a serious knee injury and will most likely start the season on the PUP list. But if he returns to pre-injury form he’ll make NATE BURLESON an extra piece by season’e end. He’s only the NCAA D1 all time receptions leader, and is a dangerous Return Man as well. Healthy, he was a marginal late first rounder only lacking in great speed.I like the calculated gamble.

Rounding out their Top 100 Picks at No. 85 was DWIGHT “BILL” BENTLEY/CB who may have been a slight unknown to those who only study Top 25 Boards on the internet, but is well regarded overall as potential starting CB, who should be ready for sub-package work at the least, immediately. These three Picks represent some very solid work by the end of Friday Draft Night.

1

April

NFL Draft Predictions: Packers Mock Draft from Pigskin Paul

What would Ted do? - Ted Thompson

What would Ted do?

It is April Fools’ Day 2012. And it seems to me to be just about the perfect time to be the perfect fool and attempt to predict the entire PACKERS Draft 2012. I might update this just before the actual Draft … then again maybe not. So pay attention, it may be your one and only chance to Mock me in my attempt to predict what TED THOMPSON might do.

Just a few explanations of how I do this. No, these are not excuses, just my own ground rules. The key is using my Regardless of Position prospect rankings list. I take each PACKERS Pick number and look at my list starting 3 ranked players before the actual Pick number. Anything from that number and beyond is fair game. For instance in Round One, where they pick at 28 I look for a player that might fit their needs, type of player profile and guys who “fit their scheme.” Then I make a Pick, i.e. guess, from players I have ranked 25 and on.

I try to take into account past history, like the fact that about half their selections will have played in the Senior Bowl each year. If I do the Mock and then go back to see only two players from the Mobile then I might as well start over. My first look is at relative talent and fit for schemes (like a NT not a DT) they currently employ. I do look at perceived roster needs within reason, and some variety of positions. In 12 Picks TED is not going to draft 4 OL, even though he loves those big uglies. I also look at players physical measurements. WHITEY will stray from the norm occasionally, but he’s not picking very many 5’9” CBs, or receivers with 8” hand spreads and/or 29”long arms. It’s also very likely that with double digit Picks in his quiver he is going to find a new QB for MIKE McCARTHY to work with, especially in a year like this when his back-up (FLYNN) left town as a Free Agent.

You catch my drift, so let’s get on with it so you can have a good laugh or two to start off the month of April.

11

March

2012 NFL Draft Talk from Pigskin Paul

2012 NFL Draft talkI just updated my “Regardless of Position” list, and though it’s still not posted at my site, I’d like to share my 2012 Top NFL Draft Dozen, bakers’ style that is…

1)   ANDREW LUCK/QB

2)    ROBERT GRIFFIN/QB

3)    MATT KALIL/LT

4)    QUINTON COPLES/DE

5)    JUSTIN BLACKMON/WR

6)    MORRIS CLAIBORNE/CB

7)    TRENT RICHARDSON/RB

8)    MICHAEL FLOYD/WR

9)    LUKE KUECHLEY/LB

10)    DAVID DeCASTRO/OG

11)    COURTNEY UPSHAW/OLB

12)    FLETCHER COX/DT

13)    DONTARI POE/DT

This list is based on three factors:

  • My perception of their pro potential.
  • The importance of the positions they play to NFL teams in 2012.
  • Their actual physical attributes and potential.

It is not based on who I think specific teams are enamored with for their myriad of reasons. That I leave to the MOCK DRAFT process, which I guess I am about due to participate in.

 

Questions I have, some with answers, coming out of the COMBINE:

 

How high in the First Round did DONTARI POE place himself with his huge numbers at the COMBINE? Quite frankly I think the kid is somewhere between HALOTI NGATA & B. J. RAJI, when it comes to pure talent and potential NFL impact. I don’t think he’s MT. CODY at all. He’s huge, but is squarely built. AS for the rap that he seems to take plays off… welcome to the world of really big buys along the DL. On teams that don’t regularly rotate their DL all big guys get a series off here or there during a game, or they take a breather occasionally on the field. Guys that big can only be conditioned to a certain degree, which does not include running at full speed all day long.

I’d take POE in the second ten Picks of Round 1 if I needed a huge athlete to shake things out up front.

28

August

Post – Indy Thoughts on the State of the Packers

Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews sacks the Colts' Curtis PainterAfter reading a few quick items in he sports pages this morning I’m not sure how much extra insight I’m going to bring to the table regarding the PACKERS win over the COLTS Friday night, but here goes…

What more can a coaching staff hope for in the Pre-Season than a game that goes right down to the wire and requires back-ups and rookies to secure a victory in the clutch? How psychologically rewarding is it for MASON CROSBY to redeem himself from an earlier FG miss with a clutch game-winning kick in the final minute?

I would say I saw two negatives that I am sure MIKE McCARTHY and his staff will be concentrating on in the next two weeks. The first team offense was plagued by some untimely (not that there is any such thing as timely) penalties that hampered several scoring drives. The OL was a bit less than stellar in protecting AARON RODGERS from the COLTS pass-rush… in particular DWIGHT FREENEY.

FREENEY, who is still at the top of his game, made CHAD CLIFTON look like an old man on multiple occasions. CLIFTON should be OK most weeks, since there are not many DEs in the league of FREENEY’s caliber. But I’ll just voice the opinion that for the long term DEREK SHERROD had better make a ton of progress during the 2011 campaign so that he can handle that LT position by the time the 2012 season rolls around.

Though not dominant by any means, I thought the PACKERS RBs looked good overall. RYAN GRANT showed flashes of his old self, and JAMES STARKS was monster as a receiver out of the backfield. ALEX GREEN continues to show some ability, and tons of potential, in limited time as the 3rd RB. BRANDON SAINE continues to show flashes both as a runner and a receiver, but there isn’t room on the roster for 4 RBs this year. Not with the quality logjam at TE. And don’t forget JOHN KUHN will be a FB/RB swing man once again this season.

Overall, the PACKERS OL would seem to be the unit most in need of improvement as camp winds down. This is not unexpected because of their youth and the team’s decision to let DARYN COLLEDGE leave town as a VFA, and hold open auditions for his replacement. My money is still on T.J. LANG, but he shows some of the same inconsistency that plagued COLLEDGE for years.