Category Archives: ESPN

19

December

Rodgers Speaks, Says Nothing

Aaron Rodgers

Fans want to know when Rodgers is finally trading in the hoodie for a uniform

We have been through this drill enough that we all know it well:  Monday and Tuesday are off days.  Wednesday, back to practice and a bone scan.  Thursday, a teaser (perhaps) and Friday, the big announcement.

I’m, of course, talking about the playing status of Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.  For the past 45 days, Packer-land has obsessed over when #12 will get back on the field.  By now, we should all be used to the news that Rodgers is not quite ready, yet when that news has come, some interesting opinions have surfaced on message boards and social media.

As of Thursday, there still was no confirmation that there was a bone scan or an X-ray done on Rodgers’ collarbone.  It’s fair to speculate that one was performed, given that Rodgers is now within a normal recovery window and also given the team’s hopes that he may have made a jump in his recovery from the injury.  The key word there is “speculation”.  And that’s where it will stay until tomorrow.

Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and Rodgers both spoke to the media after Thursday’s practice.  ESPN’s Rob Demovsky wrote a brief recap.  He quoted only two lines from Rodgers, stating “I have a good sense of what’s going to happen” and “It’s an organizational and a medical decision at this point”.  Despite the brevity and lack of change in what has been said by the organization, much will still be made of these statements by Rodgers.

Twitter, Facebook, JSOnline (I personally recommend the comments section).  All mediums are filled with theories on what the brevity of Rodgers’ comments means.  Green Bay Press-Gazette’s Mike Vandermause opined that Rodgers was throwing the ball around at yesterday’s practice like he really wanted to play.

McCarthy went so far as to say that Rodgers looked good and like he was ready to play.  Unfortunately, McCarthy is just one cog in the process that gets Rodgers back in uniform and on the field for Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.  It would seem that both McCarthy and Rodgers are lobbying heavily to play.  But it’s what Dr. Pat McKenzie says that seems to ultimately determine the final decision.  There was speculation, based on the little that was said, that it seems like McKenzie is still holding Rodgers back and is not likely to clear him.  Again, more speculation.

2

December

Packers Reportedly Sign Running Back Kahlil Bell

Kahlil Bell

Bell was reportedly signed to replace Johnathan Franklin

The Green Bay Packers have reportedly signed former Chicago Bears and New York Jets running back Kahlil Bell, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.  Bell hasn’t played a down this season, after spending time with the Bears and Jets over the past two seasons.

Bell had his best game as a pro against the Packers on Christmas Day, 2011 when he rushed for over 120 yards in a Bears loss to Green Bay.

Bell’s signing means the Packers will need to make a corresponding roster move to make room for Bell.  Neither Bell’s signing nor any indication of what the next move will be have been announced by the Packers.

One scenario would have the Packers sending a current injured player to injured-reserve.  Among the possibilities are center Evan Dietrich-Smith, receiver Randall Cobb, offensive lineman J.C. Tretter or quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

The  move to sign Bell became necessary when the Packers placed rookie running back Johnathan Franklin on season-ending injured reserve after he suffered a neck injury against the Minnesota Vikings in week 12.

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on "AllGreenBayPackers.com

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23

October

If Finley is out for the season, can Quarless do the job?

Andrew Quarless was visibly shaken by Jermichael Finley's injury. Should Packers fans worry about Quarless as the No. 1 tight end?

Andrew Quarless was visibly shaken by Jermichael Finley’s injury. Should Packers fans worry about Quarless as the No. 1 tight end?

Three years ago in 2010, the Green Bay Packers won a Super Bowl with a rookie Andrew Quarless as their starting tight end.

That year, Jermichael Finley suffered a knee injury in week six against Washington and was forced to miss the remainder of the season; Quarless stepped in and the role of the Packers’ tight end shrunk within the offense. Prior to going down, Finley was on pace for 84 receptions and 1,204 receiving yards–an average of five catches and 75 yards per game.

After Finley was lost for the season, Quarless caught two or fewer passes in 14 of the team’s remaining 16 games, including playoffs.

Fast forward to October 2013, and Finley, again, faces an uncertain future after suffering a bruised spinal cord Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Finley is out of intensive care and walking on his own, but he’ll undergo more tests before a decision is made on his future for this season and beyond.

According to sources via ESPN, there is “no specific timetable for Finley’s return to the field, but indications are that he likely will miss at least four to six weeks.” Ed Werder tweeted Tuesday that Finley’s injury was not believed to be career-threatening, although the Packers could consider placing him on the injured reserve sometime later this week.

Clearly, at this point, no decision has been made on Finley’s availability this season.

The most optimistic will point to 2010 and suggest that plugging Quarless into the lineup for Finley will be enough. But as things currently stand, the Packers’ group of wide receivers is certainly not as strong as it was in 2010.

Then, the Packers made up for losing Finley by featuring Greg Jennings as the No. 1 target, while Jordy Nelson was exceptional in the stretch run and into the playoffs. James Jones and Donald Driver held their own as the third and fourth options.

Right now, the Packers will likely head into their matchup in Minnesota with Nelson and Jarrett Boykin as their starting receivers. At tight end, it’ll be Quarless along with a combination of Brandon Bostick and others. Myles White will likely be the No. 3 receiver, like he was last week against Cleveland.

21

October

Packers Await News On Finley

Jermichael Finley neck injury

Finley’s status remains uncertain after he was taken off the field on a stretcher against the Browns

Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley suffered a neck injury and was taken off the field in a stretcher during Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Browns at Lambeu Field.

We don’t have any update on Finley’s status other than that the Packers have confirmed that it was a neck injury, he does have feeling in all extremities, and that he remains in a local hospital for more testing.  As of early Monday morning, ESPN is reporting that Finley remains in the intensive care unit at the hospital.

After catching a pass in the second half, Finley was met by Browns safety Tashaun Gipson.  Gipson appeared to hit Finley’s shoulder area with his helmet as Finley was ducking in anticipation of contact.

Immediately after, Finley lay motionless on the field as he was tended to by trainers.  He was carted off the field on a stretcher and the Packers will now await more information on the severity of the injury.

From here the Packers are once again faced with game planning to be without one of their top offensive weapons.  After losing starting receivers James Jones and Randall Cobb last week, the team bumped receiver Jarrett Boykin into the starting lineup and promoted practice squad receiver Myles White.

Both Boykin and White saw time with the team’s offense against Cleveland, but neither come close to replacing what was lost.  Boykin made a few nice catches and seems to improve with increased playing time.  White fumbled an onside kick attempt during the fourth quarter and that would have given the Browns the ball, were it not for a Cleveland penalty to negate the play.

Without Finley, that leaves the Packers with Jordy Nelson, Boykin, White, Andrew Quarless, Brandon Bostick and Jake Stoneburner at receiver and tight end.  It is possible  that James Jones could be available next week.  He was a game-time decision this week and was held out.  Tight end Ryan Taylor had knee surgery this past week and will be out at least a few more games.

It seems like a weekly theme around here as more and more is needed from the young and inexperienced on the Packers roster.  The team has to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

15

October

Myles White Promoted From Practice Squad, Van Roten Placed on Injured Reserve

Myles White

White was promoted from the practice squad after Cobb was placed on injured reserve

The Green Bay Packers continue to make roster moves today.  According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsy, the Packers placed wide receiver Randall Cobb on injured reserve-designated to return, placed offensive lineman Greg Van Roten on season-ending injured reserve and signed receiver Myles White from their practice squad.

With Cobb slated to be out until at least week 15, many questions have surfaced as to what the Packers would do to fill the void on offense.  While replacing a dynamic receiver like Cobb is difficult by itself, the team will also miss his play-making abilities all around.  In addition to his duties as a receiver, Cobb has also carried the ball out of the backfield and returned kicks this season.

The Packers appear content to look to some of their current players and options.  It has been speculated that tight end Jermichael Finley will see extensive time split out at receiver.  This was already a given but was further fueled by the news that the Packers signed another of their practice squad players in that of tight end Jake Stoneburner.

White was signed for depth purposes as without Cobb, the Packers were down to just three receivers on their roster in that of James Jones, Jordy Nelson and Jarrett Boykin.

With Van Roten’s placement on IR comes some speculation as to how well offensive linemen Derek Sherrod and J.C. Tretter are progressing in their rehab from injury.  Both are on the physically unable to perform list and are now officially eligible to begin practicing with the team.  The Packers have up to three weeks to allow each to begin practicing and up to another three weeks from their first practice to either activate them, put them on season-ending injured reserve, or release them outright.

Sherrod hasn’t seen any football action since December of 2011 while Tretter was injured early in training camp during a non-contact drill.  With Van Roten now out of the mix, the Packers have only rookie Lane Taylor and Marshall Newhouse behind the five offensive line starters.  If Sherrod or Tretter are unable to return this season, the Packers will likely look to add another lineman for added depth.

What the Packers do with Sherrod, Tretter and defensive lineman Jerel Worthy, who is also on PUP, will lead to more roster moves in the coming weeks.

 

 

22

August

Micah Hyde and Jeremy Ross Battling For a Roster Spot?

Micah Hyde Training Camp

Is Packers CB Micah Hyde pushing WR Jeremy Ross out of a roster spot?

Green Bay Packers rookie cornerback Micah Hyde and second-year wide receiver Jeremy Ross could be battling for the same roster spot, despite holding two different positions on two different units. The one thing they do have in common, however, is that they’re both getting looks as punt returners on special teams. In fact, according to JSOnline’s Wednesday camp report, both Hyde and Ross will be returning “most if not all the punts against Seattle.”

Micah Hyde has been making a lot of splashes this preseason. He has taken full advantage of the injuries to Tramon Williams and Casey Hayward by making the most of his reps during practice and exhibition games. While he has a couple things to refine in coverage, he has shown great things as a blitzing defensive back. Overall, his praise has been well-earned. ProFootballFocus.com (PFF) even highlighted his performance against the St. Louis Rams last week: “Leading that group (of young corners), in spite of being involved in Chris Givens’ 57 yard reception, was 5th round pick Micah Hyde (+2.4) who outside of that catch surrendered only six yards on five targets. He also broke up two passes and registered four stops including a sack.”

As a punt returner, Hyde has had only a few opportunities to make an impact; however, his 13-yard (and only) return against the Rams was the longest by a Packers player so far this preseason. Head coach Mike McCarthy likes his ability to field balls, too. According to Rob Demovsky at ESPN’s NFC North Blog, McCarthy recalled a drill from rookie orientation camp: “Just to see (Hyde’s) ability to catch the ball on the run and do different things, hell, I was tempted to put him on offense. I think he has that type of ball-skill ability.”

With the cornerback group as deep as it is with Williams, Shields, House, and Hayward, it might take some extra duties for Hyde to really lock down a significant role on the roster.

Then there’s Jeremy Ross. Not too long ago, I wrote about Ross’ problems with ball security, but since that time there have been few reports about dropped catches. After Jonathan Franklin’s failure to field the third-quarter punt against St. Louis that resulted in a turnover (according to special teams coach Shawn Slocum), Ross has one fewer competitor to take the main job.

9

August

Maybe Greg Jennings is jealous of Randall Cobb

If Greg Jennings is so happy in Minnesota, why does he keep talking about Green Bay?

If Greg Jennings is so happy in Minnesota, why does he keep talking about Green Bay?

Enough is enough.

Former Packers wide receiver Greg Jennings simply cannot stop talking about his former team. And despite his assertion that the grass is greener in Minnesota, his repetitive jabs at the Packers suggest otherwise.

The breakup between Jennings and the Packers wasn’t a “he dumped her,” or “she dumped him” situation. It was a mutual divorce that made sense for both sides.

Even without Jennings, the Packers still have one of the top receiving trios in the league in Randall Cobb, James Jones and Jordy Nelson. Extending Jennings likely would have resulted in the departure of someone else. Morgan Burnett was signed to an extension last month, and Jones, B.J. Raji and Jermichael Finley are scheduled to hit free agency next summer.

Jennings, on the other hand, wasn’t ready to give up his “go-to receiver” label. In Green Bay, he’d have to share targets with three talented receivers and an athletic tight end. In Minnesota, Jennings is the clear-cut No. 1 receiver and figures to be towards the top of the league in targets.

But throughout this mutual breakup, a cloud of jealousy is hovering over Jennings’ head.

After all, his ex (Green Bay) has continually replenished their receiving corps under the watchful eye of Ted Thompson, grooming potential replacements for players on the decline. After taking Jennings in 2006, the Packers drafted James Jones in 2007, Jordy Nelson in 2008 and Randall Cobb in 2011.

And now, it seems like Jennings is having trouble seeing his ex with a younger, prettier (and less costly) girl.

In October 2012, quarterback Aaron Rodgers made a bold statement about Cobb, telling Packers beat writer Jason Wilde on their weekly in-season radio show “Tuesdays with Aaron” that Cobb “is probably going to go down as one of the best picks in Ted Thompson’s career, if not the best.”

Thompson’s draft résumé boasts Rodgers, Nick Collins, Greg Jennings and Clay Matthews, among others. But still, Cobb, after appearing in just 21 games in the NFL, was already in the conversation, according to the 2011 league MVP.

Later in the season, in Week 17, Jennings’ sister Valyncia trashed Rodgers on Twitter during the Packers-Vikings game in Minnesota. On top of urging her brother to “go to South Beach and get paid” after the 2012 season, Valyncia suggested that Rodgers favors Cobb over the other receivers.