Category Archives: Brett Swain

25

August

Packers vs. Colts: Things to Watch in Preseason Week 3

There was some audible Super Bowl chatter before the Green Bay Packers took on the Indianapolis Colts last August, but once that nationally televised game was in the books, and the Packers had destroyed the Colts to the tune of 59-24, Green Bay was the talk of the NFL and one of the NFC favorites to play in Dallas that coming February.

Fast forward exactly one year to Aug. 26, 2011, and the Packers and Colts will do the same dance Friday night at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, a venue where the Packers have never played but that also happens to be the home of Super Bowl XLVI.

The Packers will attempt to acquaint themselves with a building they hope to play in twice this season, but they also want their performance Friday night to be the kind of jumping off point that last season’s dismantling of the Colts was.

The Colts actually raced out to a 17-7 lead at Lambeau Field before quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense took control of the game, scoring three touchdowns in a ten minute span during the second quarter which gave Green Bay a 28-17 half time lead.

Matt Flynn and the backups took over from there, and that’s when the contest really got out of hand. Flynn led the Packers on four scoring drives, including two touchdown passes, and Jason Chery returned a punt 75 yards for the Packers final score. By the time the dust had settled, Green Bay had scored 59 points, a post-merger NFL record  for a preseason game.

Following that performance, the Packers’ Super Bowl bandwagon filled in a hurry. Part of that was due to what the Packers accomplished against the Colts on that August night.

Roughly six months later in Dallas, Rodgers and the Packers handsomely rewarded those who stayed on that bandwagon with a Super Bowl win.

Here are some things to watch in Friday’s game:

Getting a look at the running game

The play of the running backs will be and should be the main focus of most Friday night. The Packers have yet to get a good look at any of their four primary backs—Ryan Grant, James Starks, Alex Green and Dimitri Nance—this preseason, mostly due to either injury or snap count, and the clock is ticking on opportunities.

29

July

Green Bay Packers 2011 Training Camp: Previewing the Offense

Let’s take a quick look at how the Green Bay Packers offense stacks up heading into training camp by breaking down each position individually. Packers training camp starts Saturday, July 30th in De Pere, Wisconsin.

Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn, Graham Harrell

The Packers head into the 2011 season with likely the best 1-2 combination at quarterback in the NFL. Starter Aaron Rodgers put up fantastic numbers for the third consecutive year, throwing for 28 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while narrowly missing out on becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards in his first three seasons under center.

He didn’t let up once the playoffs started, as he threw for three scores in a win over Philadelphia then thrashed the Falcons in the NFC Divisional round with one of the more impressive playoff performances in Packers playoff history. He completed 86.1 percent of his passes that night (31-for-36) for 366 yards and three touchdowns. In the Super Bowl, Rodgers took home MVP honors for his 304-yard, 3-touchdown masterpiece against the NFL’s No. 1 rated defense. He’s a bonafide regular season MVP candidate heading into the season.

Concussions were Rodgers’ kryptonite, however, as he suffered two (at Washington, at Detroit) during the regular season. The latter kept him out of a huge matchup with the New England Patriots, but that allowed backup Matt Flynn to showcase his ever-improving skill set in primetime. Flynn put up Rodgers-like numbers, throwing for 251 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-27 loss that turned out to be a jumping-off point for the Packers playoff run.

There was talk that Flynn, who will be a free agent after the ’11 season, might be traded to a quarterback-needy team this offseason, but the Packers seem intent on holding onto him as a valuable backup. With Rodgers’ injury history, that could turn out to be an important non-move. Even he if does leave after the season, he’s worth more to the Packers this year as a backup than a mid-to-low draft choice.

If they would have dealt him, any injury to Rodgers might have thrown Graham Harrell into the starting mix. While he put up huge numbers and was fourth in the Heisman voting his senior year at Texas Tech, Harrell is obviously raw in many areas. He went undrafted in ’09 and spent sometime in the CFL before latching on in Green Bay. The league’s lockout also cost him valuable time in Mike McCarthy’s quarterback school. The Packers chose not to draft or sign any quarterback this offseason, so his No. 3 spot on the depth chart seems somewhat secure.

25

July

Packers Sign South Carolina WR Tori Gurley

The Green Bay Packers signed South Carolina wide receiver Tori Gurley Monday night, following up their acquistion of Utah kick returner Shaky Smithson.

Gurley didn’t make an official visit to the Packers before the draft. At 6-4, 220 pounds, Gurley is an imposing receiver who surprised some by coming out after just his redshirt sophomore season. At the NFL combine, Gurley ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds, the 20-yard dash in 2.67 and the 10 in 1.62. He also benched 225 pounds 15 times and had a vertical leap of 33.5 inches. He chose not to run at his pro day in March.

College summary

Gurley certainly didn’t light up the stat book in his two years at South Carolina. He caught just 31 passes for 440 yards and two touchdowns in his redshirt freshman season, and he followed that up with 44 catches for 465 yards and four touchdowns the next season. Joe Schad of ESPN did state that Gurley was “one of the most sure-handed receivers in the nation with no drops the entire season.”

During the 2010 season, Gurley had one of the best games in South Carolina’s receiving history. He caught 13 passes (one short of the school record) for 109 yards and a touchdown. But for most of his career at South Carolina, Gurley was stuck behind likely 2012 first rounder Alshon Jeffrey and his production lagged behind.

Commentary

From a purely physical standpoint, Gurley looks the part of a NFL receiver. At 6-4 and 220 pounds, Gurley would appear to be a size mismatch for any cornerback and a legitimate red zone threat. He’s trimmed down from his playing weight of 233 pounds, and at the combine, he told reporters that the lost weight helped him increase his speed. If that’s the case, he could be a scary option down the road.

But even with the physical traits, it’s hard to look past the lack of production at South Carolina. He had one of the premier receivers opposite him, and he wasn’t able to take advantage of the mismatches that likely created for him. And though he’s almost 24 years old, Gurley had just two years of playing time with the Gamecocks.

17

April

World Champion Green Bay Packers on Twitter — April 2011

The complete list of World Champion Green Bay Packers players and coaches on Twitter (As of April, 2011).

For a continually updated list of Packers on Twitter, go to: PackersTwitterverse.com.

Current Players/Coaches:

Aaron Rodgers (@AaronRodgers12)

Adrian Battles (@AdrianBattles64)

A.J. Hawk (@OfficialAJHawk)

Anthony Levine (@MrTr3_4)

Anthony Smith (@antkingsmith)

Atari Bigby (@20ataribigby)

Brandon Jackson (@bjackson32)

Brett Swain (@BrettSwain)

Bryan Bulaga (@BBulaga)

Clay Matthews (@ClayMatthews52)

Cullen Jenkins (@CullenJenkins)

C.J.Wilson (@cjwilson95)

Desmond Bishop (@Desbishop55)

Dimitri Nance (@DNance31)

Diyral Briggs (@BigBaby_50)

Erik Walden (@Ewalden5050)

Greg Jennings (@GregJennings)

Jermichael Finley (@JermichaelF88)

Josh Gordy (@4_flat)

Marshall Newhouse (@MNewhouse74)

Mike Neal (@mneal96)

Morgan Burnett (@MoBetta_42)

Nick Barnett (@NickBarnett)

Nick Collins (@nickthepick36)

Quinn Johnson (@QuinnJohnson_45)

Ryan Grant (@RyanGrant25)

Sam Shields (@stickyshields9)

Spencer Havner (@SpencerHavner)

Tim Masthay (@TimMasthay)

T. J. Lang (@TJLang70)

Tom Crabtree (@TCrabtree83)

Tramon Williams (@HighRizer38)

Winston Moss (@MeanOgreDude)

If I have missed anyone, please let me know…

.

——————

Follow Jersey Al:


                    Add to Circleson Google+

Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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6

April

2011 Draft Prep: Green Bay Packers Needs by Position – Wide Receivers

In this next installment of our 2011 Draft Prep series looking at the Green Bay Packers’ needs by position, we are going to analyze how the wide receiver position currently stands. Strengths, weaknesses, depth, and uncertainties will all be examined to determine the urgency of need in regards to next season.

This series is meant to help us figure out the needs of the team and how the draft could be used to improve the weaker areas. While Ted Thompson largely uses the “best player available” (BPA) approach, his decision to trade up or down the board is affected by what position players he would prefer to have. Additionally, the picking up of players in the later rounds and in undrafted free agency is often based on need, since the talent is less defined.

CURRENT PLAYERS:

#80 Donald Driver
36 yrs. old / 12 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2012

#85 Greg Jennings
27 yrs. old / 5 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2012

#87 Jordy Nelson
25 yrs. old / 3 yrs. exp.
Signed through 2011

#11 Chastin West
23 yrs. old / 1 yrs. exp.
Signed to reserve/future contract

#17 Antonio Robinson
25 yrs. old / 1 yrs. exp.
Signed to reserve/future contract

#16 Brett Swain
25 yrs. old / 2 yrs. exp.
Restricted Free Agent

#89 James Jones
26 yrs. old / 4 yrs. exp.
Free Agent (tender offered)

* Contract information acquired from RotoWorld.com

POSITION STRENGTHS:

It’s no secret why Mike McCarthy runs a pass-heavy offense. As fellow blogger Adam Czech recently pointed out, “the Packers receivers are among the most dangerous in the NFL.” Combined with the arm of Aaron Rodgers, this unit is easily one of the best in the league.

At the top is Greg Jennings, the vertical threat who runs some of the best routes in the game. He has put up over 1,100 yards in each of his last three seasons. Behind Jennings is Donald Driver, the dependable veteran who fights for every ball and every yard – a man whose motor never stops running. He is the Green Bay Packers’ all-time leader in receptions with 698 and sits only 41 yards behind leader James Lofton in career receiving yards.

27

March

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.

15

March

According to Hobbes: Packers Offseason Primer on the NFL Combine: Wide Recievers

Wide Receivers: Here’s the third of a series of articles looking specifically at the NFL combine and the Packers’ drafting tendencies. (read here for the rationale for this series and here for quarterbacks and here for running backs).  This article will use the combine numbers from previous players drafted by GM Ted Thompson as a guide for what wide receivers are likely to fit into the Packers’ scheme.

Again, this is merely an attempt to make a best guess based on statistics at which players the Packers might be interested in, game tape naturally trumps combine numbers, so take all of this with a grain of salt.  But I believe it will make for some interesting discussion. Listed below are two wide receivers in this year’s draft who I think fit the Packers scheme the best, based on their combine numbers.

Statistics of wide receivers drafted by the Packers:

Name Height Weight 40-Yard 3-Cone Shuttle Vertical Broad Bench
Terrence Murphy 6’1” 202.00 4.39
Craig Bragg 6’1” 196.00 4.45 36.00
Greg Jennings 5’11” 195.00 4.42 6.69 4.18 36.50 117.00
Cory Rodgers 6’0” 188.00 4.58 7.38 4.19 33.50 110.00
James Jones 6’1” 208.00 4.54 7.06 4.20 34.00 119.00 22.00
David Clowney 6’1” 190.00 4.36 7.00 4.15 32.50 123.00
Jordy Nelson 6’3” 215.00 4.51 7.03 4.35 31.00 123.00
Brett Swain 6’1” 200.00 4.40
Average 6’1″ 199.25 4.46 7.03 4.21 33.92 118.40 22.00
StDev 1.13 9.05 0.08 0.24 0.08 2.08 5.37 N/A

What the Packers are looking for: Ted Thompson is in love with wide receivers; the Packers had arguably the deepest wide receiver core in the league and it definitely helped them during their Super Bowl run.  Add to that Thompson always brings in a couple of wide receivers into camp and the fact that wide receivers are tied for the most drafted with 8 and it becomes apparent that wide receiver position is a big deal for Thompson (ironically, he’s somehow avoided the curse of Matt Millen by drafting 3 wide receivers high in the draft and hasn’t really had a bust)