Category Archives: Johnny Jolly

1

December

Is the Packers defensive line too fat?

What role had lack of conditioning played in the Packers plummeting run defense?

Remember when the Packers actually had a good run defense? It seems like forever ago, but as recently as October, the Packers turned into a brick wall against the likes of Frank Gore, Reggie Bush and others.

Those days are long gone now, and there are many reasons why the Packers run defense has gone from good to abysmal: Middle linebackers A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones are slow. The safeties don’t provide much for run support even when they play up on the line. Tackling, once again, is atrocious.

The Packers defensive line is also very fat. B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly all weigh in at over 325 pounds, and that’s listed weight. If I had to guess, I’d guess that Jolly is at least 15 pounds heavier than his listed weight of 325.

Remember back in the summer when reports came out that Raji and Pickett reported to minicamp overweight? I laughed it off because Raji and Pickett are fat guys and fat football players tend to get a little fatter during the offseason. No big deal. There was plenty of time to get back in shape before the season.

Jolly also had been out of football for three seasons and admitted that his weight climbed well above his playing weight before working to bring it back down and make the team.

Early in the season, it looked like I was right to just laugh off the reports of Raji, Pickett and Jolly being out of shape.

Led by the aforementioned three, the Packers only allowed one 100-yard rusher (Washington’s Alfred Morris in week 2) through the season’s first eight weeks. Since then, they’ve allowed a 100-yard rusher in four of the last five and have nearly allowed two players on the same team to top the century mark in the same game in consecutive weeks.

Are a few too many trips through the buffet line impacting the Packers run defense? Has the run defense slipped because Raji, Pickett and Jolly are wearing down due to poor conditioning after a strong start?

Only the Packers coaches and front office personnel can answer that question for sure. But as a fan watching the bottom fall out of this run defense, you can’t help but wonder if being out of shape in July is costing the Packers in November.

26

November

Packers News: Rodgers, Shields, Barclay, Jolly back at practice

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers practiced Nov. 26. / Photo by Wes Hodkiewicz via Twitter

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers practiced Nov. 26. / Photo by Wes Hodkiewicz via Twitter

For the first time since suffering a broken collarbone Nov. 4, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was on the field throwing Tuesday at practice.

Per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com via Twitter, Rodgers participated in all the individual drills open to the media before being “kicked out” for the team portion of practice. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy previously said Rodgers’ chances of playing Thursday against the Lions were “slim to none,” but it appears the quarterback has made some sort of progress in his rehab.

It’s worth noting that while Rodgers was able to throw the ball at practice, he was taking snaps from Garth Gerhart and not starter Evan Dietrich-Smith. But as Jason Wilde points out on Twitter, Rodgers and Dietrich-Smith have plenty of reps together.

Along with Rodgers’ return, cornerback Sam Shields, defensive end Johnny Jolly and right tackle Don Barclay were also both practicing. The Packers have struggled to compensate for each player being out the last two weeks.

Marshall Newhouse has been a train wreck filling in for Barclay at right tackle, while the once-deep secondary is now scrambling to fill holes, as they’re without Casey Hayward for the rest of the season and Shields has missed the past two games. The defensive line has been dominated without Jolly in the lineup.

One has to wonder whether Rodgers’ availability will be directly tied to Barclay. Allowing Rodgers to play three weeks after breaking his collarbone would be risky with Newhouse at right tackle against the Detroit Lions’ front four.

More information will follow when McCarthy talks to reporters after practice, as it’s still unclear whether or not Rodgers will be cleared for contact in time for Thursday’s game. However, Rodgers needed to practice today to have even the slightest of chances to play, and he did just that.

(UPDATE: McCarthy said he’s not expecting Rodgers to play this week. Asked if his chances were still “slim to none,” McCarthy said, “Closer to none.” McCarthy also said he expects Sam Shields and Johnny Jolly to play Thursday. The team is still preparing both Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien, although Flynn took the starter reps today.)

But hey, there’s finally some positive injury news on the Packers front. At least for today.

2

October

Mike Daniels Fitting in Nicely with the Giants Along the Packers Defensive Line

Mike Daniels tries to chase down RGIII

While Packers first-round pick Datone Jones got the hype, Johnny Jolly grabbed the headlines and B.J. Raji wondered aloud about a new contract, Mike Daniels kept plugging away.

The undersized fourth-round pick out of Iowa made the team out of training camp and has been the most disruptive Packers pass rusher on the defensive line this season.

Despite playing only 74 of a possible 198 snaps Daniels leads the defensive line in QB hurries (3) and is one of only two defensive lineman to record a sack. He also has four solo stops — the same as B.J. Raji and Ryan Pickett, who have played 115 and 95 snaps, respectively.

Daniels won’t overwhelm anyone with his size and strength, but he makes up for it with explosiveness, athleticism, and a motor that runs on high all the time. He’s kind of the DuJuan Harris of the defensive line — a rolling ball of butcher knives that is all over you before you know it.

Take a look at this video of Daniels sacking Andy Dalton.

Daniels didn’t dominate the offensive lineman and make a highlight-reel sack, but he stood his ground and used his quickness and burst to disengage and make a play once Dalton tried to escape the pocket.

Do Raji, Pickett or Jolly have the athleticism to make a play like that? Maybe. But Daniels for sure has it, and he’s an excellent complement to the slower behemoths that make up the rest of the Packers defensive line.

As Jones goes through the same struggles that most rookie defensive lineman go through, Daniels has stepped up and provided the pass rush and versatility that many thought Jones would provide out of the game.

Now that Daniels has put several exceptional plays on film, we’ll see if he can keep it up as more teams become aware of his ability.

Raji, Pickett and Jolly provide a nice base along the Packers defensive line. Daniels is an excellent change of pace that can provide some much-needed pass rush up front. Will Daniels become more than just a nice change of pace? You could argue that he already has.

We’ll see if he can sustain it.

16

September

The BIG 3 are Coming up Huge for the Packers Defensive Line

Ryan “Big Grease” Pickett has anchored the Packers defensive line through the first two weeks.

The big three — and I literally mean the B-I-G three — on the Packers defensive line have come to play through the season’s first two games.

Packers = soft? It looks like B.J. Raji, Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly have taken it upon themselves to change that equation.

The trio, which weighs a combined 1,000 pounds, played a key role in containing Colin Kaepernick’s running and shutting down Frank Gore in week one. On Sunday against the Redskins, they collapsed the pocket in the first half, allowing blitzers to get in Robert Griffin III’s face.

Pickett even swatted a pass and Raji was wagging his finger after a couple stuffs at the line.

All three players are free agents after this season. It’s an easy talking point to say that players are better in their contract years, but I don’t necessarily buy that theory (that talking point has been proven false, for fantasy football purposes, anyway).

Pickett is a prideful leader who wants to prove he still belongs. Jolly knows he’s beyond lucky to have another shot at both life and the NFL. Raji is an uber-talented player who can be unblockable in stretches.

Whatever the reason, all three are playing great and it seems like they’re energy is giving the entire defense a boost. I’m really looking forward to what this defense can do when Morgan Burnett and Casey Hayward return and take advantage of what the Big Three are doing up front.

Sure, it’d be nice to get more of a pass rush out of the Packers’ defensive line, but if the Big Three can keep can keep winning their one-on-one matchups, it should free up others to get after the QB while keeping the run defense strong.

Another player to watch: Datone Jones.

The rookie has been invisible the first two weeks. Not sure if his ankle is still bothering him or if he’s just going through the typical struggles of a rookie defensive lineman. Either way, if he manages to come around and provide a little pass rush, this d-line could go from solid to downright dangerous in a hurry.

I know it’s early. But through two games, we can’t call this Packers defense soft (a little lost in the secondary at times, maybe, but not soft). A big reason for that is the play of Pickett, Raji and Jolly.

8

September

Packers vs. 49ers – Game Day First Impressions, Unfiltered: SF 34 GB 28

Matthews late hit on Kaepernick

Matthews late hit on Kaepernick – (Getty images)

Green Bay Packers vs. San Francisco 49ers:  2013 Game 1

Unfiltered game day blog post of comments, observations and first impressions.

 

GAME NOTES:

All eyes (or at least these) will be on the Packers offensive line. Can they keep the 49ers away from Aaron Rodgers or create some running lanes for Eddie Lacy? They are my key to the game on the field.

Off the field, Mike McCarthy has to show he and his coordinators can hang with Harbaugh and his guys. MM had his lunch absolutely handed to him by Harbaugh twice last season. Let’s see what you have, Mike.

Of the two players listed as “questionable,” Morgan Burnett is out and Brad Jones is in. Would gladly reverse those two…

 

Inactives for today:

Green Bay PackersGreen Bay Packers
29 CB Casey Hayward
42 S Morgan Burnett
51 LB Nate Palmer
58 LB Sam Barrington
65 G Lane Taylor
86 TE Brandon Bostick
93 DE Josh Boyd

With Burnett out, 22 S Jerron McMillian and 43 S M.D. Jennings will be the two starting safeties.

San Francisco 49ers
5 QB B.J. Daniels
13 WR Chris Harper
23 RB LaMichael James
48 FB/DT Will Tukuafu
56 LB Nate Stupar
78 G Joe Looney
84 WR Jon Baldwin

———————————————

Mike McCarthy Pregame Show on 620 WTMJ:

Camp: I feel like we were able to get through a lot of different concepts and packages.

Happy with young players: It’s about a football game, about the 46 we’re going to dress, it’s going to be emotional and chippy, we have to stay above that stuff.

How long to have a fee of your team: If you have the same group lining up every game, you know by the first quarter of the season who you are.

injutries: Morgan unfortuante thing that popped up late in the week, casey, Dr,. McKenzie hasn’t givenb us a timetable.

MD and McMillian – they’ve played a bunch in the preseason. Morgan has been our quarterback back there so they have to step up.

young players on OL: Well, I’m extrenmely confortable witrh them – they’re all starting today.

CK & read/optin: Colin is one of the young studs at the QB position. he can make the throws to every quadrant and of course, we’re aware of his mobility . Read/option will frankly be a non-issue today.

5

September

Are the 49ers still Tougher than the Packers?

The 49ers still are tougher than the Packers…for now.

The San Francisco 49ers beat the hell out of the Green Bay Packers last season. Twice.

In week one, the 49ers ran for 186 yards and averaged almost six yards per carry. Alex Smith had only six incomplete passes and routinely hit wide open receivers hanging out in the middle of the field, unafraid of being laid out by Packers defenders.

In the divisional round of the playoffs, things got even uglier. Colin Kaepernick ran for 181 yards and threw for 263 more. When Kaepernick took off, he made Packers’ defenders look like lead-footed, lifeless zombies in a scene from The Walking Dead.

All of that damage was easy for even the average viewer to see while watching from his or her couch. If you broke down the film after the game and paid attention to what was happening in the trenches, things got even uglier for the Packers.

The 49ers offensive line operated like a machine — a modern, deadly, ruthless machine that was sent to Earth specifically to blow Packers defenders off the line of scrimmage, seal off the edges and create giant spaces for guys like Frank Gore and Kaepernick to gallop through.

When compared to the Packers offensive line, the 49ers wrecking crew was on a completely different level. The Packers allowed 20 quarterback hurries in the two games and never established the run. Green Bay’s front five always seemed to be flailing as yet another San Francisco defender broke through and set his sights on Aaron Rodgers.

The middle of the field — where both toughness and athleticism have a chance to shine — was also heavily tilted in the 49ers favor. Navarro Bowman and Patrick Willis, the 49ers two middle linebackers, combined for 30 tackles, a key interception and a sack.

In the week 1 loss, Alex Smith consistently found open receivers in the middle of the field while Kapernick simply ran by, through and around whoever happened to be manning the middle for the Packers in the playoffs.

A.J. Hawk totaled 22 tackles, but were any of them impact plays?

The 49ers left little doubt last season that they were tougher than the Packers. With the two teams set to meet again this Sunday, have the tables turned at all?

24

August

Cory’s Corner: Packers Defense Will Be Back This Year

Johnny Jolly could add an edge to the Packers defense.

Johnny Jolly could add an edge to the Packers defense.

There are a lot of reasons to feel optimistic about this Packers season. Aaron Rodgers is the game’s best quarterback at the most important position. A capable running game is now firmly in place after drafting Alabama bulldozer Eddie Lacy. And the leaner, stronger Jermichael Finley is keeping his tongue muzzled.

Those are great reasons. But I’m the pegging the defense to have a bounce-back season.

I understand if a lot of you are raising your eyebrows right now. Heck, the Packers were 22nd in the league in defensive yards per game (336) and tied for 30th — that’s second to last — with 123 penalties.

Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy made a bold move by bringing back defensive tackle Johnny Jolly. He hasn’t seen game action in 3 ½ years, spent six months in jail and tried to get his life back after a codeine arrest. But Jolly is looking like the left defensive end that started all 16 games in 2009. He had a sack, a pick, two fumble recoveries and 24 tackles back then.

Jolly has looked great in the preseason, showing that the fire for football never went out. His presence is even more important now that first round pick Datone Jones has been dealing with a pesky ankle injury.

Like Jolly, linebacker Nick Perry is another key cog this year. The first round pick saw his rookie campaign truncated due to nagging knee and wrist injuries. He is trimmer than last year and has a better understanding of the outside linebacker position, which was different than defensive end which is what he played at USC.

That makes two great bookend linebackers in Dom Capers’ 3-4 scheme. Clay Matthews has played out of this universe thanks to his impressive closing speed, his array of moves to get to the quarterback and his seemingly limitless energy. With a solid linebacker on the other side, Matthews will not be double-teamed nearly as often, which will open the door for Matthews to make his fifth Pro Bowl in his fifth NFL season.

The Packers front seven is better. Jolly brings a needed edge and nastiness that hasn’t been seen in awhile and A.J. Hawk brings the necessary leadership because he doesn’t care about the pay cut, he just wants to win. And as he heads into his eighth season, Hawk is like a quasi coach at inside linebacker.