Category Archives: Brandon Underwood



Ranking the Packers 2010 Roster: Players 67-30

As is the case for nearly ever Super Bowl champion, the Green Bay Packers assembled a deep and talented roster for their 2010-2011 championship season.

However, unlike most champions, the Packers had to do it the unlucky way.

15 players—many important contributors—landed on season-ending injured reserve, and Green Bay had to call on the bottom of GM Ted Thompson’s emergency board for players to even field a full roster.

In the first of three articles ranking the Packers’ roster, you’ll find many of those players that no one expected to contribute.

Don’t let the rankings fool you, however. During the Packers’ Super Bowl season, every player on this roster was important to achieving the final goal.

Here are players 67 through 30. (Note: Players who ended on the practice squad are not included, but those who ended on the injured reserve are.) This will be followed up by players 29-11 and then finally, the top 10 players on the Packers roster.

67. CB Josh Bell: Landed on the injured reserve in mid-August with a knee injury and probably won’t be back next season. He might forever be known as the guy who gave up the game-winner to Mike Wallace and the Steelers in 2009.

66. CB Josh Gordy: Activated from the practice squad for the final nine games of the season but never saw the field. The Packers like Gordy however, and he’ll get another look as a project player and is probable to make the practice squad.

65. LB Diryal Briggs: Brought in towards the end of October and contributed a handful of special teams tackles. Briggs is only 25, but chances are he gets flushed out by the return of several IR linebackers this summer.

64. G/C Evan Dietrich-Smith: Was brought back after being cut in training camp on Dec. 31 and served as Scott Wells’ backup for the final stretch. While he never saw the field, he’ll get a chance in camp to win a spot.

63. CB Brandon Underwood: The Packers have high hopes for him but he’s yet to realize any potential. That, along with his recent legal troubles, will make Underwood fight for a spot on this team moving forward.

62. LB Matt Wilhelm: Was added along with Briggs at the end of October as a true street free agent. Wilhelm was also guilty of the facemask that all but gave the Falcons a Week 13 win, and won’t be back next season.



Green Bay Packers Draft Strategy Part 2: Where Have All the 1st Rounders Gone?

In one of my previous articles (Green Bay Packers Draft Strategy: Taking A Closer Look),  which compared the Green Bay Packers’ opening day roster to that of the San Francisco 49ers was, I found that there is a huge discrepancy in the drafting strategies between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers.

A reader posed this very interesting question (Hats off to Ruppert, sorry it took so long for me to get around to posting about it):

“This also makes me wonder where, exactly, have all of our high draft picks gone? Or better yet, how good would we be if all our high picks would have turned out? I’m talking to you, Brian Brohm and Justin Harrell!”

-Ruppert December 6, 2010 at 10:32 PM

My feeling was that this all stemmed from one moment in 2005 when the 49ers drafted quarterback Alex Smith 1st overall.  While the 49ers offense is literally awash with 1st round draft picks, its not like the Packers have been whiffing the for the last 5 years either.

Simply put, all the Green Bay Packers’ 1st rounders are on the defense; what’s even more interesting is that if a player wasn’t drafted in the 1st round, then the chances are good that they weren’t drafted at all.  Consider the opening day roster for the defense:

Position Name Selection
DE Cullen Jenkins 256
NT B.J. Raji 9
DE Ryan Pickett 29
OLB Clay Matthews III 26
ILB Nick Barnett 29
ILB A.J. Hawk 5
OLB Brad Jones 218
CB Charles Woodson 4
FS Nick Collins 51
SS Morgan Burnett 71
CB Tramon Williams 256
*CB Sam Shields 256

The opening day roster consists of six 1st rounders, a 2nd and 3rd, followed by a 7th rounder and then 3 undrafted free agents (I’ve included the nickel back position as a starter since it basically is with the Packers).

This means 50% of the opening day starters were drafted in the 1st round, 33% were drafted in the 7th or not at all and only 17% were drafted anywhere outside that.



Packers – Steelers Revisited: Film Study

As part of my preparation for Super Bowl XLV, I decided to take another look back at last year’s game between the Packers and Steelers. Ah, memories… I’m sure everyone remembers how the game ended, but do you remember how it started?

It was week 15 of the 2009 season. The 9-4 Packers with a red-hot Aaron Rodgers came  riding into Pittsburgh with a 5-game win streak following their incredulous loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the now-famous Monday morning “Come to Jesus” meeting. The Packers’ secondary, however, was missing Al Harris, Will Blackmon and Pat Lee, forcing the likes of Jarret Bush and Josh Bell into emergency duty.

The Steelers, on the other hand, had lost five games in a row, and at 6-7, their chances of making the playoffs were in sure-fire jeopardy. The defense was giving up too many big plays and the turnovers were not coming as was the norm.

Based on all of these facts, the game started just as you would have expected. The Packers came out throwing and the Steelers, knowing they would, went right after Rodgers with an obvious attempt to intimidate him and cover up for their under-performing secondary.

In just the first minute of the game, the Steelers blitzed Rodgers 4 times and on their first  and only offensive play of the first minute, the Steelers victimized the decimated Packers secondary and Jarret Bush in particular.

Lets relive that first minute:

Play 1: Packers 1st and 10 Steelers Blitz:

Steelers show blitz, Rodgers sets the protection, Korey Hall moves into position to take a fake handoff and is just barely able to pick up James Farrior who is in the backfield and almost on top of Rodgers before he can take his drop.  Lawrence Timmons also blitzes and is slowed down enough to give Rodgers time to side-step the rush and stay upright.  This is the classic inside cross-over blitz you saw the Packers use quite a bit that season. Also notice Ryan Grant’s lack of effort to help out with slowing down Farrior.

Play 2: Packers 2nd and 10 Steelers Blitz:

Farrior and Timmons switch positions, but again come with a cross-over blitz. Farrior is slowed just enough by a Grant shoulder bump  this time, but Scott Wells is slow to react to Timmons who is blitzing right in front of him. Wells is only able to graze Timmons, who takes Rodgers to the turf just after the throw. Totally Scot Wells fault on this play.



Jersey Al’s Film Study: Running with the 2’s at the Family Night Scrimmage

While the Green Bay Packers are still in the early stages of training camp, I usually like to pay more attention to the second units. This seems especially true this year, as there aren’t many starting spots up for grabs (left guard and fullback, maybe).

So my interest then turns to who will be called upon to save the day in case of injury to a Packers starter. To that end, I fired up the Family Night scrimmage on the DVR and put the old slow motion remote to use. Time for a little dissection by DVR.

Some observations…

Bryan Bulaga: I can see why Mike McCarthy is giving Bulaga a chance at a starting job. Bulaga was almost perfect in his Packers debut. He wasn’t beaten once. Whether out on the edge with a linebacker or further inside battling the likes of Cullen Jenkins, Bulaga stood his ground and neutralized the pass rush. He showed quick feet, a good punch, excellent balance and proper body position. I can’t say enough about how solid he looked. the Packers didn’t run enough with the twos to make an evaluation on his run blocking.

Marshall Newhouse
is going to have a hard time making this team. He displayed a lack of strength and was easily thrown off balance, but in his defense, he was given reps at left tackle, which is not a position he’ll play in the NFL. Newhouse needs to build a lot more strength and then be used at guard, where his football smarts will help him more. As I have written previously, I believe Newhouse is destined for the practice squad, at best.

Breno Giacomini was not very far behind Bulaga in performance. His feet look infinitely faster than during his brief pre-season trial last year. He showed excellent positioning, always keeping that big body between the rusher and the QB. He even handled rushing linebackers, which was his undoing last year. maybe I’m starting to see why the Packers have carried him for 2 years. When Bulaga and Giacomini were the tackles, they looked like a very good pair and the thought crossed my mind that in a year or two, they could be the Clifton / Tauscher of their day.