Category Archives: Howard Green

22

February

Packers Stock Report: 2011 End of Season Full Roster Edition

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers stock fell a bit during the playoff loss to the Giants, but it remains high heading into next season.

The Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl and there will be no more meaningful football games for the next six months. That’s six months to reflect on how a team that lost twice to the Redskins during the regular season could go on to knock off the mighty Packers in the playoffs and keep rolling all the way to the Lombardi Trophy.

Depressing.

It’s hard to find a silver lining, but if you’re searching for one, take a few minutes and look over the Packers roster. It’s pretty good. Go ahead and cross off some of the players you think won’t be around next season, and it’s still pretty good. This team is going to contend again next season, and probably for the next couple of seasons after that. At least Packers fans have something to look forward to.

We’ve spent the last couple of weeks at AllGBP.com evaluating and grading every player on the Packers roster. Those report cards are done now, and it’s time to put this season in the rearview mirror.

To get started, I put together a full roster stock report based on each player’s status heading into next season. To categorize each player, I used my own opinion mixed with how I think the Packers view that player.

For example, Donald Driver played well in the playoff loss. If the Packers beat the Giants and hosted the NFC Championship, I’d probably list Driver as rising in that week’s stock report. But since the Packers season is over, and I don’t think Ted Thompson brings Driver back, I put Driver in the falling category.

You get the idea, so without further delay, here we go:

Rising

QB Aaron Rodgers
Finding motivation is never a problem for Rodgers, but the Packers early playoff exit should give the MVP even more incentive to come out fired up in 2012.

LB Desmond Bishop
Watching Bishop motor his way through games was one of the few enjoyable aspects of this season’s defense.

T Bryan Bulaga
Bulaga took a step forward in 2011 and might take a giant step sideways to play left tackle next season.

WR/KR Randall Cobb
Thanks to Cobb, kick and punt returns became fun again.

6

February

Green Bay Packers Offseason: Another Veteran Purge Could Be Coming

Packers WR Donald Driver

Packers WR Donald Driver might be a cut Ted Thompson makes this offseason. (Photo: Getty images)

It didn’t take long into Ted Thompson’s reign as Green Bay Packers GM for the unwavering 52-year-old to firmly establish that football moves under his direction would be made without the cling of emotion, void of any sentimental feelings that could effect a given decision one way or the other.

Among Thompson’s first moves as GM in 2005 were the releasing of guard Mike Wahle and safety Darren Sharper and declining to re-sign guard Marco Rivera, three players that were stalwarts for Packers teams that had won consecutive NFC North titles from 2002-04. Despite their undisputed contributions, each was shown the door both because of age and Thompson’s need to manage the Packers’ out of control salary cap.

Wahle was 28 years old and had played in 103 straight games when Thompson released him, but the move saved over $11 million in cap space. Axing Sharper, a 29-year-old All-Pro safety, saved another $4.3 million. Rivera went on to sign a five-year, $20 million contract with the Cowboys after Thompson let him walk at the age of 32.

All three of the moves were spurred by the Packers’ cap situation as he entered the job. No matter how unpopular, each needed to be made to get Thompson back into his salary cap comfort zone.

And while a drastic makeover like 2005 hasn’t been seen since, similar decisions to the ones Thompson made in that offseason have. In the end, making those tough decisions are a big reason why the Packers’ salary cap has never again reached 2005 levels.

Over subsequent years, Thompson released veterans Na’il Diggs (80 career starts, saved $2.9 million) and Bubba Franks (Three-time Pro Bowler, saved over $4 million), traded away an unretired Brett Favre, and let Ahman Green (the Packers franchise leader in rushing yards) and Aaron Kampman (owner of 54 career sacks in Green Bay) walk in free agency.

In 2010, Thompson released cornerback Al Harris, who started seven straight seasons for the Packers but was 36 years old and struggling to come back from a catastrophic knee injury in ’09.

Starting to sound like a broken record?  There was still more roster reshaping to do even after Thompson’s 2010-11 Packers reached the top of the NFL mountain.

23

January

Howard Green: 2011 Green Bay Packers Evaluation and Report Card

Howard Green

Howard Green

1) Introduction: One of the many memorable plays from Super Bowl XLV was Howard Green’s bull rush that forced a Ben Roethlisberger interception and resulted in a pick-six for Nick Collins. Green filled the space-eater role for the Packers in 2010, but never returned to form in 2011. Don’t expect him to return in 2012.

2) Profile:

Howard Green Jr.

Position: NT
Height: 6-2
Weight: 340 lbs.
AGE: 33

Career Stats

3) Expectations coming into the season: Immovable object. Nobody has ever mistaken Green for a quick and nimble pass rusher. The Packers claimed him off waivers from the Jets midway through last season to occupy space and stuff the run. They wanted him to do the same this season, but like most of his teammates on the D-line, Green didn’t make many plays and was just sort of there.

4) Player’s highlights/low-lights: Move along folks, no highlights to see here. Green played in all 16 regular season games and managed just 11 tackles. Lowlights include a terrible game against the Bears on Christmas and never adequately filling in when Ryan Pickett was hurt.

5) Player’s contribution to the overall team success: Even though there were no memorable plays like the Super Bowl bull rush, other teams can’t ignore a guy who weighs 340 pounds. Green might have been blown off the ball more often than a 340-pound guy should have been, but teams at least had to work a little bit to move him around.

6) Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Green was a healthy scratch in the playoffs.

Season Report Card:

(D) Level of expectations met during the season
(D) Contributions to team’s overall success.
(F) Contributions to team during the playoffs

Overall Grade: D-

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Adam Czech is a freelance reporter and a Packers fan living in the Twin Cities. Follow Adam on Twitter. Read more of Adam's writing on the Packers here.

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19

January

Green Bay Packers Free Agency: Rating the Packers 2012 FAs

C Scott Wells is one of eight free agents for the Packers in 2012.

It’s far from a Moneyball style stats movement, but the guys over at Pro Football Focus have slowly but surely put together one of the premier stat-organizing sites available for the NFL and its legion of fans. It’s not a fool-proof system, and I occasionally disagree with a rating or two from a given game. But PFF grades every player on every play for all 32 teams, so there’s no shortage of work these guys put into their grades and ratings.

With the 2011 season over in Green Bay, I used PFF’s ratings/grades to analyze the Packers’ eight free agents this offseason. If you’re not familiar with the ratings at PFF, don’t fret—a higher score indicates a better rating, and a negative score obviously isn’t what you’re looking for.

Also, for another look at the Packers’ free agents in 2012, check out this article from AllGBP’s own Adam Czech.

CB Jarrett Bush (-4.0, 321 snaps)

There was a time early in the season that Bush was rated as the Packers’ best cornerback. As the season wore on, however, teams exploited Bush in the passing game more and more. In the Packers’ final regular season game against Detroit, Bush played a season-high 83 snaps and allowed 105 receiving yards on 10 targets. Overall on the season, Bush allowed 19 completions on 38 attempts for 302 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions (72.5 passer rating). Bush also finished with seven tackles on special teams, which was good for third on the team.

TE Jermichael Finley (-4.4, 832 snaps)

A couple of factors hurt Finley’s rating in 2011. As you’d expect, one knock was drops. PFF had Finley for 14 on the season, which led tight ends by a wide margin and was fifth overall in the NFL. The other was run blocking, where Finley had just two positive games and finished at -8.3 (46th among tight ends). During a year in which so many tight ends put up shocking numbers across the board, Finley was a big disappointment to PFF’s eyes. He completed the season ranked as the 37th best tight end.

QB Matt Flynn (4.6, 119 snaps)

19

January

Which Packers Defensive Players Took the Biggest Step Backward in 2011?

Sam Shields - Green Bay Packers defensive back

Shields just one of many who had down years...

Man, this blog has turned into a depressing place this week. Scroll through the titles of the last couple of posts and you’ll see words like “regression” and “loss” mixed with phrases like “it’s over” and “fart in the wind.”

It’s probably best to make sure you don’t have any sharp objects nearby while reading.

This post is no exception. After coming up big in 2010, several Packers on defense took a step backwards. Who regressed the most?

Tramon Williams
After Williams got the best of Calvin Johnson on Thanksgiving, I thought the Tramon of 2010 was back. It looked like he was healthy and ready to blanket the other team’s No. 1 receiver as the Packers headed down the home stretch.

It didn’t happen.

Instead of taking the next step and establishing himself as a legit No. 1 CB in the NFL, Williams started giving up big play after big play. In addition to struggling in coverage, Williams was a tackling liability (his tackling was especially pathetic in the Christmas game against the Bears). He capped his lackluster season by allowing seven catches in eight attempts for 125 yards in the playoff loss to the Giants.

Perhaps the most frustrating thing about Williams was watching him constantly line up 10 yards off the receiver he was matched against, even on plays  when the offense needed five yards or fewer for a first down. Maybe Williams’ shoulder never healed after the Saints game. Maybe he did the best he could with the Packers bad pass rush. Maybe he missed Nick Collins.

Either way, Williams regressed in 2011.

A.J. Hawk
Mike McCarthy spent a good part of his season-ending news conference talking about how bad his team’s tackling was this season. He could’ve saved everyone some time and showed film of Hawk bouncing off ball carriers or getting dragged for three extra yards after initial contact on play after play.

Hawk signed a 5-year, $34 million contract in the offseason and did very little to justify the Packers’ investment. After averaging almost seven tackles per game in 2010, Hawk only managed 5.5 in 2011. He was also a major liability in pass coverage.

27

December

Week 17 Packers Stock Report: Rodgers and Nelson Rising, Hawk and Green Falling

Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson return to the rising category this week.

I’m still recovering from my Christmas food hangover, so no witty banter from me this week. We’re going straight to the stock report:

Rising

Aaron Rodgers
Welcome back to the rising category, Mr. Rodgers. We missed you last week and I hope you never leave us again. You will likely get to take a breather in week 17 and you’ve earned it. Even though you often make it look so easy, I’m sure it’s a lot of work to throw for 4,643 yards, 45 TDs and only 6 INTs in 15 games. Throwing for five TDs against the Bears is a great way to cap an MVP season.

Jordy Nelson
The Jordy Nelson stiff-arm returned on Sunday night. So did the play where Rodgers fakes a handoff, bootlegs right, and hits Nelson for a long TD after No. 87 runs by two defensive backs. That’s the kind of game Nelson needs to have if Jennings is less than 100 percent for the playoffs.

Scott Wells
No sacks. No penalties. Very few Bears defenders getting close to Aaron Rodgers. It was a statement game for the Packers offensive line and Wells deserves a lot of the credit. Early this season, it looked like the offensive line might be a strength for the Packers (for a change). Then injuries hit and the unit has been up and down. Through it all, though, Wells has been great, so great that Ted Thompson might have to step outside of his comfort zone and pay a guy who’s on the wrong side of 30 years old.

Steady

T.J. Lang
While Marshall Newhouse has been up and down at left tackle, Lang has been steady at left guard. Lang moved to right tackle on Sunday and never missed a beat. He’s had his share of pre-snap penalties, but otherwise the Packers have to view Lang’s first season as a starter as a success.

James Campen
If we’re going to give the offensive line all this love, why not throw some recognition Campen’s way? The offensive line coach has taken his share of heat in recent years, so it’s only fair that we recognize him when the unit he coaches plays well despite injuries and position shuffles.

Falling

23

December

Packers DLs Ryan Pickett Out, Mike Neal Questionable Against Bears

Ryan Pickett was ruled out for the Packers on Sunday. (Photo: Jim Biever, Packers.com)

The Green Bay Packers could very well be without two of their most heavily used defensive lineman against the Chicago Bears, as coach Mike McCarthy ruled out Ryan Pickett and made Mike Neal questionable for Sunday’s game.

Pickett suffered a concussion against the Oakland Raiders in Week 14 and hasn’t played since. McCarthy made it sound early in the week like they were holding him out of practice just to be cautious, but Pickett obviously hasn’t shown enough improvement to give it a go on Sunday. His situation is worth monitoring now that this second concussion has caused him to miss two straight games.

Neal, who has dealt with shoulder injuries throughout his brief career in Green Bay, hurt his shoulder against the Kansas City Chiefs and has been limited this week in practice. It’s 50/50 whether he’ll play on Sunday. He’s been ineffective since returning from a knee injury suffered in training camp.

If neither can go, the Packers will be relying on a rotation of B.J. Raji, Jarius Wynn, C.J. Wilson and Howard Green as down lineman on Sunday. Even Green was listed with a foot injury but is probable to play.

A matchup to watch on Sunday will obviously be the Packers’ injury-plauged defensive line against Chicago’s much-maligned offensive line.

McCarthy also ruled out Chad Clifton (hamstring, back) and Greg Jennings (knee) on Friday. Neither were expected to play. McCarthy also said Jennings will be challenged to play against Detroit, but remained confident that Jennings would be back for the postseason.

Everyone else listed on the injury report, including James Starks, Brandon Saine and Desmond Bishop, are probable to play.

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Zach Kruse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with a passion for the Green Bay Packers. He currently lives in Wisconsin and is working on his journalism degree, while also covering prep sports for The Dunn Co. News.

You can read more of Zach's Packers articles on AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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