Category Archives: Anthony Smith

31

July

A Little Support For Packers MD Jennings

With the departure of former starting safety Charlie Peprah, who was released in a very similar manner to former inside linebacker Brandon Chillar for failing his physical at the start of training camp in 2010, all eyes now look towards Charles Woodson, MD Jennings and Jerron McMillian to see which ends up being the starting safety opposite Morgan Burnett.

Only a couple of problems; Woodson is desperately needed at the line of scrimmage as the slot cornerback, Jerron McMillian is a 4th round rookie who naturally shouldn’t be counted on to step in as a starting safety and actually produce and MD Jennings, who despite being a “football nerd” and making it as a undrafted rookie free agent last year “is too small and short and looks like a cornerback instead of a safety” as paraphrased by Bill Johnson during Green and Gold Today on July 25th, 2012.

Is “the doctor” really too short and too small to be a safety with the Green Bay Packers?  I think the prototypical “safety” Bill Johnson is thinking of would be someone like Taylor Mays (who despite being a physical specimen apparently isn’t a half decent safety) who stands at 6’3” weighs 230lbs.  To figure this out, I’ve compiled a list of the Packers starting safeties from the last decade as according to Pro Football Reference.

 

Name

Height (inches)

Weight (lbs)

Aaron Rouse

76

223

Antuan Edwards

73

212

Atari Bigby

71

220

Charlie Peprah

71

202

Darren Sharper

74

210

LeRoy Butler

72

197

Mark Roman

71

200

Marquad Manuel

72

209

Marques Anderson

71

212

Morgan Burnett

73

210

Nick Collins

71

206

Average

72.27

209.18

STD

1.62

7.87

 

28

March

2012 Packers Position Group Analysis: Defensive Backs

Green Bay Packers defensive backs, Charles Woodson, Nick Collins, Charlie Peprah

Defensive Backs Charles Woodson, Nick Collins, Charlie Peprah

Packers Defensive Backs: We’re back with the third of this series where we examine each Packers position group as it currently exists. Today we finish the defensive side of the ball by examining the Packers’ secondary. As before, this article will examine three main points from the Packers’ perspective: where we are, where we want to go and what we need to do to get there.

Previous installments can be found here:

Packers Defensive Line:

Packers Linebackers:

 

Where are we now:

Here are the current suspects:

Charles Woodson (1st round)
Tramon Williams (undrafted)
Sam Shields (undrafted)
Jarrett Bush (undrafted)
Davon House (4th  round)
Brandian Ross (undrafted)

Nick Collins (2nd round)
Morgan Burnett (3rd round)
Charlie Peprah (5th round)
M.D. Jennings (undrafted)
Anthony Levine (undrafted)

While this position group has six undrafted players, only three are regulars and overall there is better representation near the top of the draft than in the defensive line and linebacker groups. That’s especially true if you count Pat Lee, a second round choice the Packers recently allowed to leave via free agency.

The Packers’ secondary had a tough time in 2011. As a group, they gave up 71 plays of 20 yards or more, and a lot of those were significantly more than 20 yards. The Giants alone had four plays over 40 yards in two games against the Packers. Yes, it was not pleasant.

So let’s start with Charles Woodson: In 2011, Woodson was a bit of a paradox. On one hand, he was what we have come to expect from Charles Woodson; the guy who makes the big play. Woodson had 3 sacks, 7 interceptions and a total of nine turnover plays on the year. On the other hand, his tackling, which used to be a strength, almost became a liability.  Woodson finally started showing signs of age, as he lost some of that quickness he previously counted on to avoid blockers and track down ball carriers in open space. Woodson was charged with 18 missed tackles on the season and nine penalties (more than twice as many penalties as any other Packer player). He also gave up five touchdowns, leading the team in that category as well.

17

August

The Best and Worst of Packers GM Ted Thompson – Part 2: The Misses

Green Bay Packers GM Ted Thompson

Ted Thompson is not happy about the items on this list.

As a follow up to Part 1 of this series,  Part 2 is a compilation of Ted Thompson’s worst moves as General Manager of the Green Bay Packers. Finding 10 things that Ted Thompson has done wrong in his career was a much more painstaking process than finding what he has done right. Without further ado, here they are:

The Misses:

 

1. Allen Barbre – Ted Thompson went into the 2009 season with Allen Barbre as his starting right tackle. During his starting stint Barbre may have been the worst right tackle in the history of the franchise. He allowed Jared Allen to sack Aaron Rodgers 7.5 times in two games, which was a huge factor in two of the Packers most painful losses of the last decade. Need more proof Barbre was awful? He allowed 5 sacks by Antwan Odom, who has only 23.5 sacks in his 7 year career.

2. Drafting Justin Harrell – Rarely has Ted Thompson completely whiffed in the first round of the draft, but he reached and whiffed badly with Harrell in 2007. Harrell tore his bicep tendon during his senior season at Tennessee and then showed up to his first training camp slightly out of shape. Following the bicep injury, Harrell injured his back and knee. Over four seasons as a packer Harrell participated in 14 games and made an impact in exactly none.

3. Signing Marquand Manuel – The first free agent to be signed by Ted Thompson was Safety Marquand Manuel. Ted Thompson signed his former Seattle player to a 5-year $10 million contract. The only issue with the signing was Manuel had the agility of an overweight and slightly ill hamster, and the speed of a run away sloth carrying a brick. He was cut one year into his 5-year contract.

4. Drafting Brian Brohm – The heralded Louisville quarterback was thought to be a possible first round talent by many draftniks as he entered his senior season. But a pedestrian year and an apparent lack of need at the QB position caused Brohm to fall through the cracks to the Packers with the 56th overall pick. Some people saw it as a waste considering the Packers’ numerous holes in their roster, others saw it as a good value (considering the Packers did not have a backup quarterback). After Brohm’s first preseason game Danny Wuerffel was seen laughing and hilariously imitating Brohm crow hopping to throw a ten yard out.

31

July

Green Bay Packers Free Agent Tracker

Green Bay Packers 2011 free agency tracker:

 

FB John Kuhn: RE-SIGNED WITH PACKERS

The Packers re-signed fullback John Kuhn on a three-year contract worth $7.5 million. The deal puts Kuhn amongst the highest paid NFL fullbacks.

While you may raise your eyebrows a bit at that, I think it actually makes sense. Kuhn contributed in multiple ways beyond blocking last season, including shouldering some of the running back responsibilities, catching passes, short yardage back and special teams contributor. Kuhn is also a popular player among fans and in the locker room.

Kuhn wanted back in Green Bay all along, but he played it smart and let the market set the price for him. With Houston making a strong push for Kuhn to replace the departed Vonta Leach, the Packers most likely paid Kuhn more than they would have liked. That’s not to say he’s not worth it. Kuhn is a valuable asset for the Packers to have in their hip pocket, but this does affect one of the tight ends being looked at as a possible H back.

He won’t be running the ball as much as last season, but I’d expect Kuhn to help cover for the loss of Brandon Jackson on third downs.

WR James Jones: RE-SIGNED WITH PACKERS

The Packers agreed to terms with Jones on a three-year deal worth $9.6 million.

It sounds as if Aaron Rodgers and Donald Driver went to bat for Jones, and when teams in receiver market went elsewhere, Jones decided to come back with the Packers.

We heard Rodgers say that Jones should be the Packers No. 1 priority, but I still have doubts that he swayed Thompson in any way. The more likely reason for Jones’ return to Green Bay was the fact that receiver-needy teams such as Minnesota and New York signed other players, with the Vikings acquiring Michael Jenkins and the Jets Plaxico Burress.

Now, the Packers return all their pass-catchers from 2010. With this many toys at their disposal, expectations will be sky-high for this offense.

DE Cullen Jenkins: SIGNED WITH EAGLES 

The Philadelphia Eagles have signed Cullen Jenkins to a five-year, $25 million deal.

26

July

Packers Sign Delaware Safety Anthony Bratton

The Green Bay Packers signed Delaware safety Anthony Bratton Monday night, their fourth confirmed undrafted free agent pickup of the 2011 offseason.

Bratton visited the Packers before April’s NFL draft, along with fellow Delaware safety Anthony Walters. He signed with the Chicago Bears.

At Delaware’s pro day, Bratton ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 and 4.50 seconds, and bench-pressed 225 pounds 15 times. He had a vertical leap of 37 inches and a 20-yard shuffle time of 4.09 seconds. Bratton stands 6-1 and weighs 215 pounds.

College summary

Bratton saw the field in all four of his years at Delaware, as he took over one of the starting safety positions in just his sophomore year. That season (’07), Bratton delivered a team-high 73 solo tackles and was second on the team with 103 total stops.

His ’08 season was lost to a torn ACL after just one game, but Bratton came back in ’09 with a second-team All-CAA performance where he led the team with four interceptions. Bratton then turned in a first team All-CAA season last year, helping the Blue Hens possess the best pass defense and total defense in the conference and the best scoring defense in the nation. He also had two interceptions and 66 tackles his senior season.

Commentary

I was high on Anthony Walters, his safety running mate at Delaware, but both Bratton and Walters are underrated players moving forward.

The Packers are likely losing much of their depth at the safety position, so a guy like Bratton stands a decent shot at making the roster or landing on the practice squad. Anthony Levine is a candidate to move from the practice squad to the 53-man roster, which would leave a theoretical opening for Bratton to grab in camp. But he could make the 53-man roster too, as the Packers already let go of Derrick Martin and may not re-sign free agents such as Atari Bigby or Anthony Smith.

And even though Bratton comes from a smaller school, I like his physical traits and experience in a secondary. It appears he can run and isn’t afraid to play near the line of scrimmage, but his three years of starting experience at Delaware might make him an interesting guy to watch in Packers camp.

18

July

Bringing in the Cavalry: A Look at the Packers Injured Reserve

Ryan Grant Injury - Packers injured reserved

Ryan Grant's injury against the Philadelphia Eagles was one of the biggest blows to the offense last season.

With the NFL lockout well into its fourth month now, there has been ample talk of which teams will fare better with a limited offseason. One of those teams, of course, is the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. But it’s not their championship status that has people convinced they’ll be ready. No, most people point to the (now cliché) fact that they have “16 players returning from injured reserve.”

While this is certainly the case, I started thinking about this claim a little more in depth. I wondered: Will all sixteen of those players really be making a difference?

Sure, guys like Jermichael Finley and Ryan Grant will have a HUGE impact upon their return. But what about a guy like Spencer Havner or even Brady Poppinga? What are they really going to be bringing back to the table?

Here’s a quick look at each player that ended up injured reserve last year and what their potential impact will be upon their return. They are ordered by the date of their injuries:

Josh Bell, CB

Type of Injury: Foot Sprain
When Injured:
Training Camp (August 10, 2010)
Impact for 2011:
None – The Packers offered Bell an injury settlement during camp, which he refused. After the Super Bowl ring controversy in June, it’s clear the team plans to go on without him next season.

#91 Justin Harrell, DE

Type of Injury: Knee (ACL)
When Injured:
Week 1 @ Philadelphia Eagles
Impact for 2011:
Questionable – Harrell could actually be a big influence on the 2011 season; however, one still has to be cautious with his downright unlucky injury history. If Harrell can manage to stay active for more than a game, then he might be able to do some damage along the line. We all know how big of an “if” that is, though.

#25 Ryan Grant, RB

Type of Injury: Ankle
When Injured:
Week 1 @ Philadelphia Eagles
Impact for 2011:
High – There’s no question that the Packers severely missed their primary running back for most of last season. Brandon Jackson just couldn’t get the job done, and James Starks, while showing a lot of promise, is still young and relatively inexperienced. Grant will provide some much-needed consistency to the ground game, even if he is splitting carries with Starks.

3

July

Cheesehead Radio News 06-15-11 with Special Guest Anthony Smith

Weekly Green Bay Packers News from Twitter and other Sources by Al Bracco and Jayme Joers (As heard on Cheesehead Radio 6/30/11 ).

To listen to the Anthony Smith interview, click one of the links at the end of this post.

Packer News 6/30/11

Al: The ESPY nominations were announced this week, with the Packers garnering 5 nominations. The Packers were nominated for “Best Team”, Mike McCarthy for “Best Head Coach” and Clay Matthews for “Best NFL player. Aaron Rodgers picked up two nominations himself, for “Best NFL Player” and “Best Male Athlete.” The winners will be announced on Wednesday, July 13th.

Jayme: Jay Cutler didn’t receive any love from ESPN, and got just as much from Packers Safety Nick Collins. Appearing on the the Colin Cowherd show on ESPN, Collins named Tom Brady as the toughest QB he’s had to face. Asked for who was the easiest, Collins surprisingly answered the question. “Jay Cutler,” said Collins, “I’ve had my share of success against him and I do get a good read on his throws.” Even in this lockout-marred offseason, the Packers – Bears rivalry flourishes.

Al: We haven’t heard much in the way of endorsement deals for the Super Bowl Champions, but this week AJ Hawk signed his name to an exclusive contract with Cinch gear, a leading name in performance training apparel for elite athletes. Cinch has a strong presence in amateur wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts and are looking at the Hawk deal to expand into the football arena. Cinch will be developing an AJ Hawk Signature series for 2012.

Jayme: On the sadder side of player business news, it was announced that Fuzzy Thurston owes the IRS 1.7 million dollars in unpaid payroll taxes, penalties and interest. The money is owed from a failed restaurant chain Thurston was involved with in the late 70’s. In 1984, he was deemed to owe $190,000. Almost 30 years later, the IRS has seized some of his possessions, such as one of his Super Bowl rings, and will auction them off to apply towards the debt.

Al: With all the praise being heaped on Aaron Rodgers lately, there had to be someone willing to crash that party – and naturally, there was. NFL.com’s Bucky brooks raised the ire of Packers fans by stating Rodgers is not yet in the class of Brady, Manning and Brees, and possibly can’t hang with Rivers and Roethlisberger, either. While I respect his attempt to temper the enthusiasm, his arguments were weak at best, and left out some important facts, like Rodger’s presently having the highest passer ranking in NFL history.