Category Archives: NFL Lockout

8

June

Mark Murphy Entering Year Five: Where Does He Stand?

Mark Murphy

How much longer will Mark Murphy remain a Cheesehead?

Mark Murphy has seen the lowest of lows and the highest of highs as he begins his fifth season as President of the Green Bay Packers.

A former player who won a Super Bowl with the Washington Redskins and who also holds a law degree from Georgetown, Murphy seems the perfect balance between player and businessman, which would be a perfect fit for the National Football League’s smallest market.

With him entering year five of his tenure, now is a good time to examine what Murphy has done as well as what he didn’t do, and how the Packers have fared since Murphy took over for the legendary Bob Harlan.

Murphy was seemingly walking into a near-perfect situation when he took over on January 28, 2008.  The Packers were coming off a 13-3 season in Mike McCarthy’s second year as coach and the team was one play away from an appearance in Super Bowl XLII.  Brett Favre seemingly wound back the clock and enjoyed one of his best seasons in 2007.  Everyone thought Favre would be back for 2008 for one more Super Bowl push and Murphy would have time to learn his new job.

Then the “Summer of Favre” happened.

Favre announced (what would be the first of a few) retirements in March 2008.  Favre flew to Green Bay, gave a teary eyed press conference formally announcing his decision, and then he was gone.  Murphy, as the new guy in town, did what only made sense at the time especially given how little he likely interacted with Favre.  Murphy announced the team would retire Favre’s number at the home opener of the 2008 season against (now ironically) the Minnesota Vikings.

Favre’s picture was on the game tickets and the Packers planned a big celebration for their future Hall of Fame quarterback.  It was going to be one heck of a farewell party.

Well, the party never happened.  Favre changed his mind in the summer after the Packers had already installed Aaron Rodgers as the new starting quarterback and the rest of the story is history.  Since this was mainly a football decision, and he had only been on the job six months, Murphy stayed mainly to sidelines and let McCarthy and Ted Thompson work things out with Favre.

1

October

Packers Roster Transactions: What’s Up With Nick Collins?

In week 2, starting safety Nick Collins was lost for the year with a neck injury, and yesterday it was announced that Collins underwent neck surgery. Head coach Mike McCarthy was completely devastated when announcing the news to the media and insisted that there is a 0% chance that Collins will play another down in 2011.  And yet, nearly two weeks later, Collins remains on the team and is still listed on the team’s weekly injury report.

This is especially odd when you consider how precious a roster spot truly is.  Here at AllGreenBayPackers.com, the staff each predicted the 53 “starting” opening day roster, and each of us had to cut players who we felt deserved a spot on the roster.  Obviously, none of us were really remotely close (I think we all had 6 wide receivers on the roster for one), but the fact remains, I think we all wish that we had 54 roster spots to work with.

The Packers, however, seem to be going about it from a completely opposite approach.  The Packers are essentially playing with 50 players at the moment; Collins is out for the year, defensive end Mike Neal looks to be out at least until after the bye week if not entirely with a knee injury and outside linebacker Frank Zombo is out with another long injury with a broken shoulder blade.

Traditionally, when a player sustains a type of injury that is season ending, the team would immediately place that player on injured reserve and then usually sign or trade for a player who plays the same position to compensate.  This is even more true for playing making starters going on IR, since depth is needed at that position.  For instance when Tennessee Titan’s wide receiver Kenny Britt, a focal point on the Titan’s passing game, was placed on IR after tearing his ACL, veteran free agent wide receiver Donny Avery was signed immediately to replace him.  There are stories where general managers will call up free agents during a game to sign them when they are sure that they’ve player will be lost to IR.

So what are the possible reasons that the Packers would be keeping a roster spot for a player already for all intents and purposes on IR?

17

September

Packing the Stats: 2011 Week 1 Pass Defense

After week 1, every fan has the right to be optimistic.  Fans of winning teams will instantly project the same success to the next 16 weeks, fans of losing teams will console themselves that its only one game and fans of teams that got blown out will delude themselves into thinking that their team is the next 2003 Patriots, who got skunked 31-0 by the Buffalo Bills only to finish 14-2 and win the Super Bowl.

Packers fans can count themselves lucky to be part of the 1st group after a thrilling win against the New Orleans Saints but amidst the victory, questions arose. The Packers game up an astounding 477 total yards with Drew Brees shredding the Packers secondary for 398 yards.  Will this be an issue in games to come or just a result of playing one of best quarterbacks along with one of the most powerful  passing offenses in the NFL?

In my opinion no. Take a look at the statistics


Date Points TY R/A RY RTD
2010 Avg Tm/G 22.00 336.00 27.20 114.50 0.80
2010 Week 1 Avg Team 18.25 311.25 26.31 105.72 0.66
2011 Week 1 Avg Team 23.50 350.30 25.60 105.30 0.70
Difference 5.25 39.05 0.71 0.42 0.04
2010 Week 1 League Total 584.00 9,960.00 842.00 3,383.00 21.00
2011 Week 1 League Total 752.00 11,211.00 818.00 3,369.00 21.00
Difference 168.00 1,251.00 24.00 14.00 0.00

 


Date P/C P/A PY PTD INT
2010 Avg Tm/G 20.50 33.70 221.60 1.50 1.00
2010 Week 1 Avg Team 21.06 34.28 219.94 1.22 0.84
2011 Week 1 Avg Team 21.40 34.90 245.10 1.70 0.80
Difference 0.34 0.62 25.16 0.48 0.04
2010 Week 1 League Total 674.00 1,097.00 7,038.00 39.00 27.00
2011 Week 1 League Total 685.00 1,116.00 7,842.00 54.00 24.00
Difference 11.00 19.00 804.00 15.00 3.00

Abbreviations: TY: total yards, R/A: rushing attempts, RY: rushing yards, RTD: rushing touchdowns, P/C: passes completed, P/A: passes attempted, PY: passing yards, PTD: passing TD, INT: interception

7

September

Packers vs. Saints: 5 Things to Watch in Green Bay’s Week 1 Matchup

By the time the dust had settled on the second half of a Monday night onslaught, the scoreboard at the Louisiana Superdome read as follows: Saints 51, visitors 28.

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints had turned a 21-21 tie into an old fashioned blowout, scoring four touchdowns in the final 30 minutes of play against a Packers defense that had held up so well just a year before. Brees was deadly efficient that entire night in Novemeber 2008, completing 20-of-26 passes for 323 yards and four touchdowns—two of which went for 70 yards.

The 51 points was the beginning of the end for both Packers defensive coordinator Bob Sanders, who was fired after the season, and the Packers playoff chances. After coming into the game 5-5, the Packers left New Orleans beaten and battered at 5-6, limping to a 6-10 finish in Aaron Rodgers’ first season under center.

While the mastermind behind that disastrous performance is gone, the memory of that debacle in New Orleans still remains fresh in the minds of most of the Packers defenders who suffered through that Monday night embarrassment.

Thursday night’s Packers vs. Saints opener doesn’t serve as a rematch, per se, but the Packers are determined to prove that their new defensive scheme under Dom Capers is more than capable of stopping a Saints’ offense that’s still led by Brees and still as explosive as it was in 2008, just a year before they were to become world champions.

Here are some other things to watch in the Saints-Packers matchup:

Dealing with the hoopla

With hosting the NFL’s season opening Thursday night game comes all the bells and whistles of a defending Super Bowl champion. It’s the only game on for the national audience, who by now is starving for regular season NFL action. There is the pregame concert, with Kid Rock and a number of other entertainers scheduled to perform in front of stadium. The Packers will unveil another championship year on Lambeau Field’s facade. Jordin Sparks will sing the National Anthem. There is a ton of fanfare and media reporting before and after the contest.

All this could lead to an overwhelmed team that’s just seven months removed from reaching the peak of the NFL. And of course, the Saints have been there and done that after winning the Super Bowl the year before the Packers. They played the Vikings last September in the Thursday night opener and beat Minnesota. That experience should give the Saints a definite advantage in terms of dealing with the spectacle of the game, right?

31

August

Why The Packers SHOULD Suck During Preseason

Green Bay Packers PreseasonWe all know the story: the preseason games means nothing, but fans nevertheless believe in them like they were the real deal (they’re paying for it like its the real deal, for sure).  A 4-0 record in the preseason has got to mean something, right?

Wrong.  If the Colts have proven anything, it’s that 4-20  (16%) preseason record somehow correlates to a 75-21 (78%) regular season record since 2005.  Obviously Peyton Manning has something to do with this (or a lot to do with this); but the fact remains, predicting regular season success based off of preseason results is like drafting JaMarcus Russell: one party is going to be laughing all the way to the bank while the other is going to be wondering how they got robbed.

Perhaps the most famous example from last year was the Dallas Cowboys.  With Super Bowl XLV being held at “Jerry World”, owner Jerry Jones confidently predicted that his Cowboys were going to be the first team to ever play (and win) a Super Bowl in their own stadium.  Going into the preseason, head coach Wade Phillips assumed they already had the Super Bowl in the bag and so did the players, as they were SO talented, after all.  Preseason practices were held like a travelling circus.  And it showed. The preseason games were lackluster with many mistakes and mental errors, but perhaps more importantly, you could tell the team was coasting through the preseason.

Unfortunately, they forgot to stop coasting when the regular season started; the Cowboys started slow (and lost quarterback Tony Romo in the process) and limped into Lambeau Field with a 1-6 record.  After the drubbing that the Packers laid down on Sunday Night Primetime, Wade Phillips was fired and Super Bowl aspirations were finally put to rest by Jerry and Cowboys fans alike.

While perhaps not as drastic as the 2010 Cowboys, the Packers have experienced the same thing.  The Packers, for whatever reason, always seem to play well in the preseason, making touchdowns; interceptions and big plays look mundane.  For instance, in 2009 preseason Rodgers lit it up; with just a couple of series with the first team offense, Rodgers threw for 465 yards and an average quarterback rating of 124.1.  During the regular season however, by week 4 the Packers were sitting at 2-2 before finally rallying to finish 11-5.

31

July

The Packers’ Wild Week That Was: Day by Day Tracker

Green Bay Packers 2011 Training Camp

Green Bay Packers 2011 Training Camp

This was certainly a week like no other in the Packers Universe. A full off-season’s worth of activity was compressed into a time period of seven days. Here’s a day by day account of the week’s events:

Monday: July 25th, 2011

- The NFL lockout ends and the players approve the new agreement.
- Packers immediately start reaching unofficial agreements with Undrafted Rookie Free Agents (UDFA)

 

Tuesday: July 26th, 2011

- Nick Barnett comes to Lambeau Field, meets with Ted Thompson and leaves with only memories of his 8-year Packers career. Packers save 5 million in cap space.

- Packers Announce the signing of UDFAs:

Diondre Borel, QB, Utah State (6-0, 199)
Anthony Bratton, S, Delaware (6-2, 200)
Ray Dominguez, G/T, Arkansas (6-4, 334)
Sampson Genus, C, South Florida (6-1, 315)
Tori Gurley, WR, South Carolina (6-4, 216)
Jon Hoese, FB, Minnesota (6-2, 238)
M.D. Jennings, S, Arkansas State (6-0, 185)
Elijah “Peanut” Joseph, ILB, Temple: (6-1, 243)
Elisha “Eli” Joseph, NT, Temple (6-2, 290) (officially signed on Friday)
Jamari Lattimore, OLB, Middle Tennessee State (6-2, 230)
Brandian Ross, DB, Youngstown State (6-0, 191)
Brandon Saine, RB, Ohio State (5-11, 220)
Theo Sherman, G, James Madison (6-3, 302)
Antoine “Shaky” Smithson, WR, Utah (5-11, 202)
Vic So’oto, DE/OLB, BYU (6-3, 265)
Kerry Taylor, WR, Arizona State (6-0, 198)
Chris Donaldson, DE, Oklahoma State (6-1, 300) (officially signed on Friday)

- Packers players start arriving in Green Bay. Meet with trainers, coaches and are given their playbooks.

 

Wednesday: July 27th, 2011

- Packers announce the signing of free agent kicker Mason Crosby to a 5-year contract worth 14.75 million dollars.
- Rumors fly about other Packers that will or won’t be back. Some player agents respond. Colledge’s agent says he’s surely gone. Poppinga’s agent is doubtful he’ll be released.

 

Thursday: July 28th, 2011

- Packers Shareholders Meeting – Ted Thompson greeted with standing ovation.
- Daryn Colledge signs a 5 year deal with the Arizona Cardinals.
- Justin Harrell released, saving 1.25 million of cap space.
- Brady Poppinga released, saving 2.3 million of cap space.
- Players check into St. Norbert for start of training camp.
- Brandon Jackson signs a 2-year deal with the Cleveland Browns.
- Jason Spitz signs a 3-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
- Packers sign four of their draft choices, Caleb Schlauderaff, Ryan Taylor Ricky Elmore and D.J. Williams
- Mike McCarthy’s wife gave birth to a baby girl, Isabella.

28

July

Packers 2011 Training Camp: The Best Positional Battles to Watch

Ryan Grant will be taking on all challengers for his starting job

Ryan Grant will have plenty of competition in Packers training camp.

With the NFL’s longest work stoppage in league history in the rear view mirror, the Green Bay Packers will begin their 2011 training camp on Saturday, July 30th in De Pere, Wisconsin. It will be the first step in the Packers Super Bowl title defense, and like most training camps, it should provide a framework for how the organization’s roster will look heading into the 2011 season.

But it will also be home to several intriguing and important positional battles that will determine who starts and who rides the bench to open the year. Let’s go in-depth to breakdown some of the Packers best battles to watch during training camp.


RUNNING BACK

This will be the one everyone watches. 28-year-old Ryan Grant is returning from a season-ending ankle injury, and as the leading man to start each of the last three seasons, Grant still believes he is going to be the primary carrier. Grant claims the ankle is 100%, which is more then conceivable considering he believed he could have played in the Super Bowl if not on IR. He’s also the most experienced and accomplished back on the roster, as Grant rushed for over 3,400 yards and 23 touchdowns from 2007 to ’09.

When Grant’s 2010 season ended just eight carries in, the Packers running game floundered in his absence. Grant’s vision and one-cut and go mentality were sorely missed. Neither Brandon Jackson or John Kuhn were able to handle the No. 1 role, and the Packers running game was nearly non-existent. That is, of course, until 2010 sixth rounder James Starks took control of the position late in the season.

Starks rushed for 73 yards on 18 carries in his NFL debut against the 49ers, marking only the second time to that point that a Packers rusher went over 70 yards in a game. Starks then mostly disappeared for the remaining of the regular season, but reemerged for the playoffs and took the postseason by storm. His 123 yards against the Eagles in the Wild Card was a Packers rookie playoff record and arguably the team’s best rushing performance of the 2010 season. He rushed for just 66 and 74 yards in the following two games in Atlanta and Chicago, respectively, but Starks provided the kind of offensive balance the Packers needed.