Category Archives: Davon House

16

August

Checking Up on the Packers’ Third-Year Players

Packers RB Alex Green could have the most to lose among third-year players.

Packers RB Alex Green could have the most to lose among third-year players.

At a time where rookies are looking to make an impression, sophomores are trying to make that jump, and veterans are honing their skills, it’s easy to overlook the third-year players. These guys are knee-deep into that transition between being a “young guy” and being a “veteran.” And for many of them, it’s this transition that will make or break their careers. When a football player goes looking to sign his second contract after three or four years, he’s going to know exactly what he’s worth – both to his own team and other teams.

The third-year players for the Green Bay Packers are an interesting group, to say the least. After winning the Super Bowl in 2010, the Packers picked at the 32nd spot in the 2011 NFL Draft. It’s a double-edged sword, because it represents a great achievement, but also provides a great challenge on draft day.

General Manager Ted Thompson ended up taking ten players that day, and four of them are no longer on the roster: G Caleb Schlauderaff (Round 6, No. 179), LB D.J. Smith (Round 6, No. 186), LB Ricky Elmore (Round 6, No. 197), and their final pick DE Lawrence Guy (Round 7, No. 233). Schlauderaff was traded to the New York Jets at the beginning of the regular season, Elmore was a disappointment who left with the cuts, Guy spent a year on injured reserve before being signed from the practice squad by the Indianapolis Colts, and D.J. Smith was a semi-surprising cut by the Packers last April.

The remaining six picks and two undrafted rookie free agents have made it this far, so let’s take a quick look at where they might be headed:

T Derek Sherrod (Round 1, No. 32)

  • Fate hasn’t been kind to Sherrod. No matter what people gleaned about his abilities from his short time in training and practices, there’s no avoiding the fact that his injury killed the value of Thompson’s first round pick. Sherrod’s been off the field since December 2011, and there’s no telling when he’ll get back on, not to mention how he will perform if he does. The Packers will be as patient as possible, but the outlook just isn’t promising.

WR Randall Cobb (Round 2, No. 64)

11

August

Surviving Sunday: News, Notes and Analysis from Packers Preseason

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

If you missed the Packer’s preseason game on Friday Night, good for you! It was about as ugly a display of football as we’ve seen around here for a while.

Luckily, it was the only the first preseason game.  Realistically, when talking about anything that happened in this game, one must start with, “It was only the first preseason game, but…”

So that’s what I’ll do.

It was only the first preseason game, but, the secondary was just awful.

The depth at cornerback we’ve all been talking about might be a mirage. One thing I’ve learned over the last five years, those of us that follow the Packers close enough to know about all 90 players on the training camp roster tend to overvalue the guys on the backend of the roster. We all read articles about this guy or that guy who might be the “unheralded diamond in the rough,” that we tend to convince ourselves that they are better than they really are.  We especially see it every year with the final round of cuts as we try to predict the roster and practice squads. Every year there are players put on the practice squad that we all figured would get snapped up by another team. And you know what, it hardly ever happens. So when it comes to Davon House, Micah Hyde, James Nixon, Loyce Means, Brandon Smith, David Fulton, Chaz Powell and Chris Banjo, they have yet to show they are as good as their press clippings make them out to be.

It was only the first preseason game, but, it became perfectly clear why the Packers felt they needed to bring in another quarterback. Graham Harrell does not have the tools to be anything more than what he’s been, a below-average quarterback who still looks like the game is too fast for him. BJ Coleman, who has the tools, has not made the jump we kept reading about in his second year, at least during game action. Pperhaps in practice he has looked good, but in real game action so far, he has been shockingly bad. I had high hopes for Coleman when the Packers drafted him, and from what I’ve seen so far, he seems to have regressed. Some of his passes were so off the mark, you were left wondering who he was throwing to. Perhaps he was betrayed by a WR running the wrong pattern at times, but overall, he was putrid.

31

July

Wednesday 7/31 Packers practice: Davon House shines

Packers cornerback Davon House may have been the most impressive player at Wednesday's practice.

Packers cornerback Davon House may have been the most impressive player at Wednesday’s practice.

With fellow cornerbacks Casey Hayward and Tramon Williams on the sideline nursing injuries, Packers cornerback Davon House stepped up during Wednesday morning’s practice at Ray Nitschke Field.

It’s risky business comparing an unproven player to an established veteran. In fact, comparing any two players is like playing with fire. Some comparisons carry some stereotypes–racial or otherwise. After all, who is Jordy Nelson compared to other than Ed McCaffrey?

But throughout practice, House made play after play. And after a strip of an unsuspecting Jarrett Boykin during a team drill, I thought of Bears cornerback Peanut Tillman. Now, Tillman is likely the best in the business at stripping (or punching) the football from the ball carrier, and House’s 11 career game appearances are dwarfed by Tillman’s 33 interceptions and 39 forced fumbles.

So needless to say, House isn’t in Tillman’s league as things currently stand. But from a physical standpoint, Tillman isn’t a bad comparison for House.

Tillman stands slightly over 6’1″, slightly taller than the 6’0″ House, but both players weigh in at just under 200 pounds and have (slightly) above-average straight-line speed.

Since House wears No. 31 and has dreadlocks hanging out the back of his helmet, he’s often likened to former Pro Bowl cornerback Al Harris. That’s not a bad comparison either, but I think House is naturally more physical than Harris at the point of attack. Harris was a physical corner, no doubt, but House likes sticking his nose in there in the running game.

And now that the team’s best turnover maker, Charles Woodson–owner of 38 interceptions and 15 forced fumbles in seven seasons in Green Bay–is playing with the Oakland Raiders, the Packers will need someone to step up and fill that void.

Last season, Hayward stepped up and picked off a team-high six interceptions. This season, House could be the secondary’s breakout player.

During Thursday morning’s practice, House provided blanket coverage on the perimeter. On one play, Jordy Nelson had a step on House on a deep post route, but House recovered and punched the ball out of Nelson’s hands, breaking up what would have been about a 40-yard gain.

Back in May, I took a stab at five potential breakout players for 2013, and House came in at No. 2, behind only Morgan Burnett.

15

July

Ten Packers Training Camp Topics: #10 – Who Starts at Cornerback?

Sam Shields is coming off a great 2012 season, but how will he fare in 2013?

Sam Shields is coming off a great 2012 season, but how will he fare in 2013?

Headed into training camp, the Packers’ depth at cornerback is not in question, but which players find the field is something to keep an eye on.

Returning from last season is Casey Hayward, who led the team with six interceptions. Hayward took over as the team’s nickelback when Charles Woodson suffered a broken collarbone, and the rookie went on to finish third in the voting for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. In May, we put Hayward’s rookie season under the microscope and looked ahead to what he has in store for his sophomore campaign.

The training camp competition at cornerback will feature Hayward battling it out against Tramon Williams, Sam Shields and Davon House. But of all possible scenarios, it’s hard to imagine one in which Hayward is the odd-man out.

Last season, the Packers led the NFL in nickel and dime usage. ESPN Stats & Information, the team used five or more defensive backs on 66.8 percent of the plays.

This would suggest that three of the four players will emerge from the competition and become a part of the rotation. However, the team is four-deep at the position for the first time in recent memory, so it’s certainly possible that all four players will see the field, depending on the matchup.

Williams, the now-30-year-old elder statesman of the group, has started 66 games in the past five seasons. But after suffering a shoulder injury in 2011, Williams hasn’t played at 100 percent the past two seasons. According to JSOnline.com, he has worked his way back to being closer to full strength.

And without Charles Woodson in the fold, Williams, in some capacity, will take on a larger leadership role in the secondary.

Question: Which three players “start” at cornerback?

Shields signed his restricted free agent tender to remain with the team in 2013, but he and the Packers have yet to agree on a long-term extension, perhaps in part because they still have a largely unknown commodity in House.

Last summer, the position battle focused on the starting spot opposite Williams. Prior to suffering a shoulder injury in the preseason opener, House appeared to be in line to win the job. Shields capitalized on House being sidelined and, after a disappointing 2012, had a great rebound year.

6

July

When will Davon House crack the starting lineup?

Packers CB Davon House

Packers CB Davon House

For the first time in a while, cornerback may be the deepest position on the Green Bay Packers roster.

Tramon Williams is entering his eighth season with the Packers, Sam Shields is coming off his second impressive season in three years and Casey Hayward is fresh off a six-interception campaign in which he finished third in the voting for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Last season, the Packers have led the NFL in dime and nickel packages, so Williams, Shields and Hayward each played a considerable amount. But all three will face stiff competition this summer from third-year cornerback Davon House.

House suffered a left shoulder subluxation in the first week of the preseason, forcing him to play with a harness for the nine games he was able to suit up for. But prior to the injury, House looked like he was on his way to earning a starting job.

“It was mine to lose and I lost it because of injuries to me,” House said, per the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “But later on in the season, Shields got hurt and it gave me an opportunity to step in there. I think it showed the coaches that I can play.”

House played 318 snaps in his second season, highlighted by a blocked punt in Week 8 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. But for House, 2013 is a new opportunity and another chance at earning (and keeping) a starting job.

“House is back here; he looks great,” McCarthy told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel‘s Tom Silverstein. “He had his surgery and I thought he had an excellent training camp. He’ll definitely be someone who’ll push for a starting position or definitely a big role in our defense.”

House will have his sights set on an expanded role with the base defense, but it won’t be easy. Williams, 30, has been a mainstay in the starting lineup for five years, while Shields and Hayward did nothing but impressive last season.

Opposing quarterbacks throwing in Hayward’s direction had a combined passer rating of 31.1 last season, and when Charles Woodson went down, Hayward’s role as the nickelback became increasingly important. The rookie proved capable of playing on the perimeter as well, but he enters training camp as the odds-on favorite to be (at the very least) the slot man in the nickel package.

4

July

Will Lingering Injuries Hang Around the 2013 Packers?

Tramon Williams on the ground with an injured shoulder is something Packers fans do not want to see in 2013.

Injuries suck. Injuries suck worse when they occur to players who suit up for the Green Bay Packers.

What makes injuries even more sucky is that the serious ones linger into the following season, or lead to once-good players getting released (hello, Desmond Bishop).

The Packers have had a bunch of players go down with serious injuries since 2010. Many of those players are gone, many are still around and are still feeling the effects of those injuries today.

Which Packers could be battling lingering injuries in 2013? Unfortunately, too many:

Tramon Williams

After a Super-Bowl run where Williams elevated himself to near the top of the list in the “Who’s the best CB in the NFL?” debate, he jammed his shoulder early in 2011 and hasn’t been the same since. He hasn’t been bad, just not as good as we thought he’d be after the Super Bowl win. Williams talked openly about the nerve damage in his shoulder bothering him in 2011 and it’s unclear if it still dogged him in 2012. Nerve damage doesn’t sound like much fun, or an injury that automatically heals itself. The fact that Williams recently turned 30 probably doesn’t help his shoulder much, either.

Davon House
Speaking of shoulders, Davon House also had problems with his. After playing much of last season in a shoulder harness, House had surgery in the offseason and now says he feels better than ever. Unfortunately that’s what every player coming back from an injury says. You never know what’s going to happen when surgery is involved, though.

Alex Green
It’s not easy returning from a torn ACL. It takes most players two seasons to get back to where they were pre-injury. Every now and then, a guy will go Adrian Peterson and come back even stronger than he was before. Alex Green was not as good as Adrian Peterson before he hurt his knee in 2011 and he defintiely wasn’t Adrian Peterson his first season back in 2012. Will the knee still bother him in 2013? If it does, he might not make the team. It’ll probably come down to how comfortable the Packers are with James Starks’ always-nagging injuries and how they feel about Green’s knee.

30

June

Surviving Sunday: Packers News, Notes and Links for the Football Deprived

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

Surviving Sundays with no Packers Football

To survive this particular Sunday, I don’t want to write about Desmond Bishop officially signing with the Vikings, Aaron Rodgers getting shafted on the NFL top 100 list or Aaron Hernandez (allegedly) murdering a guy(s). Instead, let’s do a Packers hypothetical:

If Packers GM Ted Thompson calls you tomorrow, rattles off the names of two players, and says he absolutely has to cut one of  them and is calling you for advice, what would you tell him?

Here are the scenarios:

Tramon Williams or Casey Hayward?
I’d keep Hayward and cut Williams. Not an easy choice because I’m not as down on Williams as others, but I’ll take the young guy who isn’t as afraid of contact as Williams has been lately. Having young CBs like Sam Shields and Davon House on the roster would also help cushion the blow from losing Williams.

Mike Neal or Jerel Worthy?
One guy is prone to injuries, the other is actually injured. I’m keeping Neal and cutting Worthy. Neal has showed flashes of being really damn good when he hasn’t been in the trainer’s room. Worthy didn’t show me much last season when he was healthy — not enough explosiveness. I know Worthy is young and defensive linemen need time to develop, but based on what I’ve seen so far, I like a healthy Neal over a healthy Worthy.

Jermichael Finley or James Jones?
Now this is a tough one. I want to say I’d cut Finley and keep Jones, but for some reason, Finley still strikes fear into other teams. You still see coverage shifted to account for No. 88 even though he hasn’t been what I’d consider a playmaker in his career. He’s been a decent enough tight end, but not really a playmaker. Jones seemed expendable until he went nutso last season and I like his ability to go up and catch a jump ball every now and then. I also value a good wide receiver over a one-dimensional tight end, so I’d cut Finley. I might live to regret that decision, though. It’s a tough one.

Adam Czech, Jersey Al, Kris Burke, Chad Toporski, Thomas Hobbes, Jason Perone or Marcus Eversoll?