Category Archives: Robert Francois

23

January

Packers Stock Report: End of Season, Full Roster Edition

CB Tramon Williams and S Morgan Burnett fight for an interception against the Saints

Packers CB Tramon Williams found himself in the falling category. Safety Morgan Burnett was steady.

The Packers end of season, full roster stock report is upon us. Below are over 2,300 words of insight, analysis, opinions and nonsense about every player currently on the Packers roster.

Read closely and enjoy, because many of these players likely won’t be around in 2013.

I incorporated each player’s performance from this season, and their future outlook while categorizing. Please agree or disagree in the comments.

As always, thanks for reading the weekly stock reports. Onto the last one:

Rising

Aaron Rodgers
It wasn’t as great as his MVP campaign, but it was still damn good. With chaos and injuries swirling all around, Rodgers kept the Packers offense moving forward and limited mistakes. A fine all-around performance and no reason to think it won’t continue in 2013.

Randall Cobb
With Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson hobbled most of the season, Cobb broke out and turned into the Packers most dangerous weapon. I worry a little about his durability, but his production when healthy was great. Oh, and he needs to drop fewer passes.

DuJuan Harris
Is this too much praise for the 5-foot-7, 210-pound rolling ball of butcher knives? Maybe. But if I’m buying Harris stock, I want in right now. I think he’s going to stick with the Packers and get a chance to make some noise.

Casey Hayward
Lost in the disastrous playoff loss and grumbling about the Packers lack of physicality was Hayward’s dynamic rookie season. I don’t care if the read-option sticks or not, stopping the pass will still be a defense’s top priority and Hayward can do it.

Sam Shields
He’s on the rise now. Will he remain on the rise if the Packers pay him? Or will he morph back into the timid and non-aggressive cornerback of 2011? There’s no denying his raw talent, and I’d like to see him develop that talent as a member of the Packers.

Clay Matthews
Microsoft. Apple. TRowe Price. Fidelity. With the contract that Matthews will get from the Packers, he’ll be able to buy all the stock he wants.

Nick Perry
How can a guy who was hurt most of the season land in this category? The same way Matthews landed in the rising category when he was injured. The Packers can’t afford another season with Erik Walden as the primary outside linebacker opposite Matthews. Perry is rising by default.

1

November

Packers Playbook (aka Hobbjective Analysis): Week 7 vs Jacksonville Jaguars

So I’m going to do something a little bit unusual from the usual Packers Playbook series; first off I’m going to breakdown a special teams play, namely Davon House’s blocked punt which turned into a special teams touchdown, but ru because I want to hear your rationale for running this play because frankly I don’t really understand it.

The Situation: The score is 7 to 3 in Green Bay’s favor and the Packers defense has just forced a 4th down.  The Jaguars have stayed in the game longer than most people had predicted but it’s probably more because the Packers seem to be off rather than any offensive firepower displayed by the Jaguars.

The Formation: To be honest I wasn’t able to find any of the position names for any of the positions, so I will be using my best approximations.  Naturally first off is KR Randall Cobb (18), who for obvious reasons is not in the picture and since this is a blocked punt play, is irrelevant to the play.  In the gunner/jammer positions are CB Davon House (31) aligning to the top of the screen and CB Jarrett Bush (24) and CB Casey Hayward (29) aligned to the bottom of the screen.  In terms of linemen (are they called linemen?), at RDE is ILB Jamari Lattimore (57) and at LDE is OLB Dezman Moses.  In the “middle” at DT is ILB Robert Francois (49) and TE Ryan Taylor (82).  In the “backfield” are SS Sean Richardson (28) and FS MD Jennings (43).

For astute readers out there will have noticed that this only adds up to 10 players, which is probably another reason why the Jaguars aren’t probably winning many games.

Pre-snap: SS Richardson approaches the line and looks to blitz while CB Hayward motions from the jammer position to the outside shoulder of LDE Moses.  After that CB House motions to the outside shoulder of RDE Lattimore.  Essentially at this point there are 8 players in the box, which is even with the 8 players the Jaguars have to block.

The Snap: CB Hayward bails out of the blitz to cover WR Kevin Elliot (87) who is the gunner that CB House was originally covering.

“OT” SS Chris Harris (43) blocks DT Francois leaving one of the upbacks, #35 to deal with RDE Moses.

15

October

Packers News: Saine, Smith done for season, RB White claimed

Packers LB D.J. Smith is out for the season

Packers LB D.J. Smith is out for the season

The Packers dominated the Houston Texans in every facet of the game Sunday night, but the injuries continued to pile up.

Running back Brandon Saine and linebacker D.J. Smith both suffered knee injuries in the Packers’ 42-20 victory. Both players have been placed on injured reserve, and thus, ending their seasons after just six games.

The injury bug has bitten the Packers’ inside linebackers yet again. After losing starter Desmond Bishop in their first preseason game, the Packers have now lost yet another key piece in the middle of their defense. Smith filled Bishop’s shoes in the starting lineup, and now the Packers will likely turn to Brad Jones to fill the starting position.

Jones and Jamari Lattimore both started as outside linebackers before moving inside this offseason. The Packers also drafted Terrell Manning out of North Carolina State, who has yet to make an impact on defense this season. Robert Francois rounds out the Packers’ depth at inside linebacker, after starting two games in 2011.

It’s too early to tell if the Packers will turn to the free agent market and add another linebacker, but the top available players at the position include E.J. Henderson, Gary Guyton and Gary Brackett. But seeing as the Packers still have five inside linebackers on the roster, they’ll likely roll with who they have for the time being.

To fill Saine’s void on the roster, the team has claimed running back Johnny White from Buffalo. White, a former fifth-round pick out of North Carolina, has appeared in 15 career games for the Bills.

With C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson both having been out of the lineup due to injury, White has carried the ball eight times for 34 yards this season. White will back up starter Alex Green and James Starks, and he’ll wear No. 34 with the Packers.

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Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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25

July

Packers Training Camp Rewind: LB Robert Francois

Robert Francois

ILB Robert Francois, #49, celebrates an interception against the Detroit Lions.

As we head into our first days of the Green Bay Packers training camp, I decided to spotlight a few back-up players from last year’s team who could be contenders to make the roster again. My first selection is Robert Francois, an inside linebacker who made some bright flashes as a temporary starter when he managed two athletic interceptions in coverage.

During the Thanksgiving Day game against the Detroit Lions, injuries to both Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk thrust back-ups Robert Francois and D.J. Smith into action. (Incidentally, the coaches had to communicate to players via hand signals in the second half, as both Bishop and Hawk were the only two players designated to wear speakers in their helmets.) Francois went on to start the next two games: Week 13 against the New York Giants, and Week 14 against the Oakland Raiders.

According to ProFootballFocus.com, these are some of the stats for Francois in those three games:

Snaps 166
Thrown At 15
Receptions 10
Catch % 66.7%
Yards 96
Average Yards 9.6
Yards After Catch 42
Longest 17
Touchdowns 0
Interceptions 2
Passes Defensed 1
QB Sack 0
QB Hit 0
QB Hurry 0
Tackles 14
Assists 2
Missed Tackles 4
Stops 5

 

After watching just about every snap that Francois played, his strengths and weaknesses became pretty clear. In fact, Francois was just about manhandled during his first series against the Lions in Week 12. His first five plays saw him get sealed off from the run, allowing two receptions in man coverage, and provide a poorly executed blitz. All that, of course, was made up for on the sixth snap, when he deftly intercepted a Matthew Stafford pass over the middle of the field.

In his subsequent starts against the Giants and Raiders, however, Francois showed a significant increase in his level of play. He exhibited more patience, better timing on blitzes, and improved run support. Where he often got sealed off and controlled by blockers against Detroit, he did a better job against New York and Oakland of squaring up with the run and not over-pursuing, allowing himself to get free of blockers more easily. Francois’s lateral agility/quickness leaves something to be desired, though, and it’s part of the reason for this missed tackle of Brandon Jacobs:

14

May

Green Bay Packers 2012 NFL Draft: The Reasons Behind the Picks Part II

NFL Draft Logo Image

2012 NFL Draft

So here is part II of the reasons behind the draft picks (see part I here)  Again, I’m not assigning grades to the draft or to the players because I don’t believe you can tell whether or not a player will pan out within the first 30 something days.  What I am interested in is what the Packers were thinking of when they decided to draft a player; with that in mind, this is what I think the Packers want to accomplish with each draft pick and which player each rookie could be potentially be replacing.

Jeron McMillian – Projected Strong Safety – Round 4, Pick #38 (#133 overall) – Replaces Pat Lee

Rationale: First off let’s be honest here, I don’t think we have the next Nick Collins in McMillian; I was actually very surprised that McMillian was drafted at all by the Packers simply because he doesn’t fit into the mold of what the Packers look for in safeties.  The Packers are probably more interested in playing two free safeties (which there really wasn’t one this year in the draft), consider their preferred pairing of Collins and Morgan Burnett (who ironically never really played together): both have good ball skills and the ability to jump passing routes.  What McMillian does best is run support, which is almost the exact opposite of a ball hawk.   Then again even if McMillian is the next Collins I highly doubt that the Packers can afford to stick him out there in his first year, which is even more reason why I think Woodson will have to make the move to safety.

What McMillian can do, and almost immediately, is play on special teams.  One of the less covered bits of news in the offseason was that cornerback Pat Lee was not resigned by the Packers but was curiously signed by the Oakland Raiders; many assumed this was just because of new Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie’s background knowledge of Lee, but I think its apparent that Lee is always going to be a liability in coverage so more realistically McKenzie wanted his special teams ability.  Lee actually was the gunner opposite of Jarrett Bush and it’s an important position, just look at who was the Packers priority signing this offseason (and it wasn’t Matt Flynn).  My assumption is that the Packers are hoping that McMillian contributes immediately to special teams as a gunner while refining his coverage technique and perhaps becomes a starter on the defense in the future, but anything more than special teams ace in his first couple of years is probably wishful thinking.

4

May

Brass Balls and the Packers Defense

Frank Zombo

Frank Zombo is one Packers defender that could be on the chopping block.

If using almost all of his draft picks on defensive players wasn’t enough of a warning, Ted Thompson could re-enact Alec Baldwin’s brass balls speech from Glengarry Glen Ross on the first day of training camp if he feels the Packers defense hasn’t gotten the message.

Replace Cadillac with a spot on the roster. Replace steak knives with a spot on the end of the bench. Replace getting fired with getting cut.

Message received.

Of course, this message doesn’t need to be delivered to everyone on defense. Clay Matthews is probably the Alec Baldwin of the Packers D. He can point to his $975,000 watch and automatically command respect. Desmond Bishop and Charles Woodson can point to their own watches, which aren’t quite as big as Matthews’, but are impressive nonetheless.

Because of their ineptitude last season and infusion of new blood for the upcoming season, the following defenders who received regular playing time in 2011 could be on the chopping block. They’ll have to prove during training camp that they have the “brass balls” to play in the NFL.

Jarius Wynn
After a strong start, Wynn disappeared and became just another guy (who couldn’t get to the quarterback) on the defensive line.

C.J. Wilson
Did Wilson make any memorable plays last season? He’s another guy you can add to the just-another-guy list.

Charlie Peprah
When Peprah was paired with pro-bowler Nick Collins, he did what needed to be done at safety. Without Collins, Peprah couldn’t keep up in coverage and looked a step behind on most plays.

Frank Zombo
It seems like the Packers want to give Zombo a chance, but he can’t stay healthy. Of course, when he’s been healthy, he hasn’t exactly set the world afire.

Erik Walden
Walden was adequate last season before dropping off after being arrested. The Packers resigned him this offseason, which makes me think he’s got the inside edge in making the squad. Of course, I’m sure it’s a minimal deal and the Packers wouldn’t be hurt much if they cut him, but why go through the through the trouble of resigning a replacement-level player with legal issues if you don’t think he has a shot at getting better?

30

April

What Holes Remain on Packers Roster After the Draft?

Packers Draft Pick Jerel Worthy

New Packers D-lineman Jerel Worthy should help the team's feeble pass rush.

So all those holes on the Packers defense are patched now, right?

Someone to get after the quarterback opposite Clay Matthews? We got Nick Perry for that.

A defensive lineman to fill the void left by Cullen Jenkins? Say hello to Jerel Worthy.

Defensive backs that can cover and won’t shy away from making a tackle every now and then? Welcome to Green Bay, Casey Hayward and Jerron McMillian.

If only it was that simple. Unfortunately, none of the Packers shiny new toys acquired in the draft have played a snap in the NFL. As excited as Packers fans are to have so many new faces — especially on defense — there’s no guarantee that they’ll make the team any better.

Right now the only tangible asset these draft choices provide is hope. What else does a football team have to sell in April?

But let’s be extra positive and assume that the Packers aced this draft and everyone they selected in rounds 1-4 does what they’re supposed to do and makes the Packers better.

Even if all the rookies fit right in, what other holes remain on the Packers roster?

Inside linebacker
Desmond Bishop is fine, but it’s going to be tough getting through the upcoming season without hurling a brick through my TV if A.J. Hawk doesn’t play better than he did last season. Yes, D.J. Smith and Robert Francois showed promise when they filled in, but it’s still fair to call one of the two inside linebacker positions on this team a hole if Hawk doesn’t bounce back.

Backup interior offensive line
Evan Dietrich-Smith did fine when pressed into action at guard in 2011, but I’d rather not see him snapping the ball to Aaron Rodgers in 2012. Thompson didn’t find a backup center or a center for the future in the draft, which means Dietrich-Smith is likely next in line if Jeff Saturday gets hurt (Sampson Genus also could factor in).

There’s more to playing center than snapping the ball and blocking guys. Centers are usually in charge of setting the pre-snap pass protection, calling out blitzes and acting as the quarterback of the offensive line. Is Dietrich-Smith or some other inexperienced player ready to fill that role on a Super-Bowl caliber team? I’d rather not find out.